Breaking social barriers and beating the odds, East Delhi's Syeda Nasreen-- the sole Muslim woman e-rickshaw driver in the area-- is setting an example. With her head partially covered with a headscarf, Nasreen trawls the by-lanes of Karkardooma for passengers, competing with the male e-rickshaw drivers who dominate the streets, and multitasks her household chores.
She can be seen taking passenger from Karkardooma metro station to the district court, covering a distance of 3 km, in umpteen batches through the day. While her alcoholic husband stays at home, she negotiates the mean streets to earn for her family of five.
Around three years ago, when Nasreen invested the pension fund savings from her last job in an e-rickshaw for her husband, she hoped for a glimmering future. Little did she know what the future held for her. When the novelty of the prized possession wore off in a few days, her husband parked the rickshaw for the bottle.
Nasreen realized that she had to take the saddle. With the sole courage that bicycle-riding skills gave her, she soon hit the road plying the e-rickshaw. Apart from all societal constraints, she admits, the toughest part is dealing with sexist competition from male e-rickshaw drivers who are insecure that her success will invite more women to join their ranks.
With one child under her mother’s guardianship in Hyderabad, she takes care of the upbringing of other three along with the husband. After dropping kids to their schools in the morning, Nasreen rules the road like a queen!