Jaipur: A 33-year-old widow has chosen the male-dominated profession of a railway coolie, becoming the first woman porter in Rajasthan. Manju Devi, a mother of three, was earlier a homemaker and decided to become a coolie after the death of her husband Mahadev, who also used to work as a porter.
Devi, who has been working at the Jaipur Railway station in Jaipur for the last few days, was formally handed over her licence by the railway officials in Jaipur on Friday. She was transferred the licence of her deceased husband and handed over badge number 15, NWR spokesperson Tarun Kumar Jain said.
"I lost my husband due to a prolonged illness a few months ago. After his demise, I faced hard time in fulfilling our requirements. I am illiterate but I can work as a coolie," Devi told PTI.
Someone guided me to contact railway authorities so I approached officials who transferred the licence of my husband to me, she said.
"I have no land, no money and I understand that I have to struggle to educate my two daughters and son. I have to stand alone so I took the hard decision and I am satisfied with this," she said.
Devi now lives in a rented accommodation near the railway station whereas her children are staying with her maternal uncle in Harsoli village. Before her husband's demise she lived in Sundarpura village near Renwal in the district. "When I am settled here, I will bring them to Jaipur and make arrangement for their education," Devi, who works for almost 10-12 hours and manages to earn Rs 100 to 150 in a day, said.
She praises male coolies at the junction and says that they are supportive and guide her to do the job perfectly. "It is a male-dominant job but they support me," she said.
According to a male coolie it was a matter of pride for them that a woman coolie is working with them. "She is new to Jaipur and does not know all the aspect of the work but we help her and keep her with us," Prahlad, a coolie said.