Mysuru: Woman porter has fan following, showered with goodwill

There was reluctance from the public initially to engage her, sceptical about her ability to carry weight, Banu said.

Published: 09th March 2023 07:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2023 12:30 PM   |  A+A-

Rizwana Banu busy at work, as she carries a customer’s luggage at Mysuru railway station. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Licence No. 16 at the Mysuru railway station belongs to a very special person -- the only woman porter in South Western Railway Zone, Rizwana Banu. Passengers who spot the 39-year-old bearing luggage on her person rush to take selfies with her, engage in a chat to know her better and many give her extra money voluntarily after she completes her task.  

Banu was literally forced to storm this male bastion following the death of her husband, a porter. Eleven years of work has helped her stand on her feet and marry off three of her children, apart from giving her national-level popularity. 

This resident of Shanti Nagar rushes to the station before 5 am to begin her day. “I had no other option but to take up this job. My husband died 12 years ago leaving behind four young children including two girls. I kept visiting the railway station and convincing officials to allow me to do the job. Finally, a year later, I got the porter licence number,” she told TNIE. 

There was reluctance from the public initially to engage her, sceptical about her ability to carry weight, Banu said. “Now, I am a familiar face. Public generally do not bargain with me. In fact, many of them give me an extra Rs 100 or more than what I charge as a gesture of appreciation. Many passengers also request for selfies with me,” she added. 

“The 60 male porters at the station are supportive. Someone accompanies me if the luggage is heavy and we share the earnings,” she said.She expressed her gratitude to the Railways for the opportunity. “I gave my children basic education. I was able to marry off my two daughters and a son because of this job,” she said. 

“The escalators have eaten into my earnings now. I earn an average of Rs 300-400 now, as compared to Rs 500-600 earlier,” she said. Banu was selected to star in the Indian Idol show in Mumbai last year which helped her earn Rs 1.5 lakh. Apart from national publicity, it gave her a chance to travel by a flight for the first time. She lives with her 17-year-old son who works as a welder. “He tells me to stop working. I want to save money for his marriage next. I am fit and able to work well now. As long as Allah gives me strength, I will do this job,” Banu said. 

India Matters


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