In A Male-Dominated Profession, Manju Devi Stands Tall as The First Woman Coolie of The North-West Railways
Manju Devi is the first woman coolie of the North West railways. She has distinguished herself in a field that is still dominated by men. For her three teenagers, Manju is the only provider. In the year 2008, her husband passed away.
Dealing and overcoming family disputes and psychological obstacles, Manju was encouraged by her mother Mohini. She later acquired her deceased Mahadev’s porter license no. 15 and took to the demanding task of hauling luggage of passengers at that time Manju was the first female employee of a “coolie” in the entire North Western Railway zone (region). In 2013, she began working at the Jaipur train station.
Authorities initially told her there were no women porters, and hence, it would be difficult for her. But she persisted and eventually given the badge number, she had said.
She needed some time to understand the realities of her job, and one of the challenges was coming up with her own outfit. She now leaves every day to work many shifts to provide for her family, dressed in a red kurta and white salwar.
Manju Devi was among 112 women who were felicitated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, besides former beauty queens -Aishwarya Rai and Nicole Faria -mountaineer Bhalchandra Pal, Anshu Jamsenpa, missile woman Tessy Thomas and private detective Rajani Pandit.
– By Sarita Agrawal.
Let’s listen to the story of Manju Devi in her own words