Who is Sehar Iqbal the Pakistani Farmer and what great things she has done in this uncertain and strange times in a country like Pakistan. She has become an icon for Pakistani women in rural and backward areas with her initiative and her resolve to accomplish in difficult times.
Introducing Sahar Iqbal with just two words ‘female farmer’ is perhaps a kind of abuse of her abilities. She is a community developer, a corporate business woman, a student of English literature, a public relations officer, an influencer, a government employee, a journalist, a mother and a wife. She is playing all these roles well together and with lot of ease and also urging other ladies and gents to follow her footsteps.
Sehar Iqbal was born and educated in Sahiwal, then moved to Lahore and graduated in English Literature from Kniard College. She worked in journalism for a while and then moved into the public relations sector and worked as a consultant for a firm. Then they got married and came to Pakpattan. “My own story ended here and a new story was born,” she said.
When SOPs were tightened in Pakistan due to Corona, a rice crop was being planted in Sahar Iqbal’s village in those days, which required a large number of farmers to line up one after the other. Plant But the problem was how to implement social distance and SOPs here? “People in our area have a good habit of not begging. “If you give us a job, we’ll do it,” he said. We decided that someone would do something that would benefit them financially and train them. There is also social distance and training.
According to Sahar, Code was a big and brand new challenge. “I can’t tell you how we told and explained to the farmers how to work in a cod environment. He first learned about distance learning and then taught them. When the lockdown in Punjab closed the offices, many people in my community who used to work in the cities also lost their jobs and returned. They were hungry for food and drink.
“In the village, I had only a sheet, four walls, and a kind of depression,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do so that the culture here wouldn’t be affected, everyone would benefit and I would be busy too. My goal was to turn the negative energy that is being generated in me by reading and writing into a positive energy with the power of education and do something for the community.
Sahar Iqbal’s farm has 14 permanent employees, including seven women and seven men. His house is also built next to Sahar’s house. The rest of the workers are called to their fields on a seasonal basis. “When I started going to the fields, other women started coming because of it, which was a welcome thing. I wanted women to come to this field, which is completely ‘male dominated’.
Sehar says everyone is making a little money from farming, but their main goal is to develop the community, to empower women. She believes that if women are empowered, if they have enough knowledge or awareness to take their children to education, then things are changing. She says that a healthy community benefits the farmer and if the community is happy, it will affect the production and it will be good.