Twenty six-year-old Gulista Ansari has become Dehradun’s first female erickshaw driver. She took up this profession a fortnight ago after buying an e-rickshaw for herself on December 21.

The decision

Prior to this, Gulista was working for a company that manufactured medicines.  But given the number of hours she had to put in and the meagre income she was earning, she decided to quit it and turned to erickshaw driving.

“On average, I would earn Rs 5,000 every month which was not enough to sustain my family,” said Gulista. “I decided to quit and took a bank loan of Rs 1,57,000 to buy a battery-operated rickshaw. I thought of driving an e-rickshaw after I saw on TV that women in many parts of the country were professional drivers now.”

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Gulista couldn’t study beyond class 5 but that didn’t thwart her from achieving her goals.

“I now earn up to Rs 600 per day, plying the rickshaw from 8am to 8pm,” she added.

People’s response

Gulista’s unique profession has received mixed response from people. While some made jeering remarks at her, some hailed her for exhibiting great courage.

“I think some people find it difficult to accept that I’m doing what has traditionally been regarded as a man’s job. But then there are those who tell me that I’m an inspiration,” Gulista told TOI

Family

She lives with her 68-year-old mother who is proud of her daughter’s decision. She has five other sisters and all are married, but marriage isn’t on Gulista’s mind who has resolved to shoulder the responsibility of the household.

It is heartening to see young girls taking up jobs that are considered unconventional for them. Their resolve to fend for themselves and their family is commendable.
Picture credits: TOI
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