Porter no 15: Life of Manju, first woman coolie at Jaipur railway station

Published: 27th May 2018 06:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2018 06:43 PM  

Manju Devi stands tall in her fraternity, being the first woman porter of the North-West Railways, in a profession that is considered a male bastion. | PTI
Manju Devi has been the sole breadwinner for her three teenage children. She lost her husband 10 years ago. | PTI
After overcoming family disputes and psychological hurdles and encouraged by her mother Mohini, Devi acquired her deceased husband Mahadev's porter license no.15 and took to the demanding task of hauling luggage of passengers at the Jaipur Railway Station. | PTI
Authorities initially told her there were no women porters and hence it would be difficult for her. | PTI
But she persisted and eventually given the badge number, she had said. | PTI
It took her a while to get a grasp of the realities of her job and the challenge included designing her own uniform. | PTI
Now, clad in a red kurta and white salwar, she sets out every day to work in multiple shifts, to make ends meet for her family. | PTI
Manju 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 Bachendri Pal, Anshu Jamsenpa, missile woman Tessy Thomas and private detective Rajani Pandit. | PTI
'I weighed 30 kgs and the passengers' luggage was also 30 kgs but it was nowhere to the burden of feeding three children,' Devi narrates in jest.
A set of Railway porter Manju Devi's uniform lies at her home in Jaipur on Sunday May 20 2018. | PTI
Railway porter Manju Devi respectfully places her license plate to her forehead in an apparent gesture of gratitude for enabling her financial independence in Jaipur on Sunday May 20 2018. | PTI
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