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May 22, 2018

Ex-camel jokey completes fellowship from US


May 22, 2018

LAHORE: A Pakistani-descent ex-camel jokey in UAE has completed scholarship under Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship Programme from Washington DC and wants to do something for the welfare of marginalised and underprivileged communities in his homeland – Pakistan.

Ramesh Jaipal – a member of Hindu community from Cholistan, Rahimyar Khan, was dispatched to United Arab Emirates at a tender age of five as a camel jokey in 1990 where he had spent five years to serve as a jokey in a camel race in the deserts. He was rescued by United Nations Organisation (UNO) and sent back to Pakistan in 1995.

According to Ramesh, “I was sold by my parents living in abject poverty.” Talking to The News exclusively via WhatsApp call from USA, Ramesh Jaipal said that those were the difficult times, when his poverty-stricken parents had to sell him as a camel jokey to the Arabs.

Recalling his memories, he said, “I felt very happy to see the big vehicles running on roads of Karachi from where I was taken to Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, to be transported to UAE. I could see airplanes at the airport.

Then, I boarded an aeroplane. As I arrived at UAE’s airport after a few hours, I was fascinated to see an altogether new world. I was shifted to a bungalow of Arbab Muatir Bin Aanooda Aamiri. Later, I was taken to a desert where hundreds of children from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and India were brought to serve as camel jokey.”

While relating his horrifying tale of sufferings, Ramesh said he had been used as a camel jokey in race on every Friday for five years, while in remaining days he had spent days and night by massaging the camels and clearing their waste, tenting them, and training the camels. He shared that he had won at least 20 races during his ‘stewardship’; which actually he was winning for his master – the owner of the camel, who had purchased Jaipal by paying 500 Dirham per month to his parents.

Jaipal said that his owner won 5 to 10 lakh Dirham per race. He got appreciation from the owner of the camel but could not forget the affections of poverty-stricken wrinkled faces of his parents. He was tortured many times over minor mistakes during his stay in UAE as a camel jokey.

Jaipal, who has been awarded honorary citizenship of California, said his wounds have healed and he would always remember the wounds that injured his soul. According to him, his wounds encouraged him to stand up and speak for the rights of his community.

He vowed to become a politician and work for the welfare of the poor of Pakistan. He wants to bring legislation for ordinary citizens, especially the minority communities. He said his past is horrible and he has decided to take part in politics to save children of his community from horrible experiences he had gone through.

Ramesh Jaipal, who had obtained master’s degree in Sociology and Rural Development, said if the state, community and parents had played their role, he and many other children could have been saved from exploitation.

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