There are many stereotypes prevalent in our society that women can’t do a job and are just a liability upon families. 21-year-old Banjeet Kaur breaks all these negative stereotypes. She belongs to Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir and drives an auto-rickshaw to help her father financially.
She says that her father was a school bus driver but as schools were shut down since the COVID-19 started and haven’t opened since, he lost his job. So in order to fill up for financial needs, he started driving auto-rickshaw but still couldn’t make proper amount of money to sustain his family’s livelihood. So, Banjeet stepped-in to help his father.
Along with driving auto-rickshaw, she is making sure that her studies don’t get much affected. Her dream is to join the defence and is passionate to serve the nation. She is in second-year of her study programme. She doesn’t want to make auto-rickshaw driving her full-time profession and sees it like a part-time job. She says that girls should be ready for every kind of situation.
When talking about her sister, a smile passes through Davinder Kaur’s face. She is happy that Banjeet drives and supports their father in sustaining their family. Davinder also knows to drive.
Sardar Gorakh Singh, father of Banjeet says that girls can excel in every field and can choose their profession depending on their will. He says that her daughters asked him to teach auto-rickshaw driving after he lost his job during the lockdown. He supported them in learning driving.
Rachana Sharma, Assistant Regional Transport Officer (ARTO), Udhampur says that girls like Banjeet Kaur, who drives auto-rickshaw to support her father and family, sets a good example for other girls of his age. She says that when she was transferred as ARTO at Udhampur, she started a campaign called ‘Girls can drive’ through which many girls were taught to drive.
Earlier, Pooja Devi became Jammu’s first bus driver. She is a mother of two and drives a private bus from Kathua to Jammu. Stories like these set an example for other women of the UT that too they can come out of the fences of their houses to sustain livelihoods.