Meet Pooja Devi from Kathua, who is the first woman to become a bus driver in Jammu and Kashmir. She ferried passengers on the Jammu-Kathua route for the first time on Thursday, December 24.
Pooja, a driving trainer, adopted this profession because of her passion to become a professional driver. Coming from an economically weak background, one of the factors that led her to take up the job was the wish to earn for her family.
She says that if women can be pilots, doctors, police officers and do other kinds of jobs, why can’t they become professional drivers?
Pooja, a mother of three, is also accompanied by her toddler son when she is driving the bus. Pooja said that her son cannot stay at home without her, so she has no option but to take him along. Her daughter studies in Class X, and her eldest son in Class VII.
It was, however, not an easy journey for her to be where she is. She had to face many hurdles including opposition from her family and husband. But it was her passion for driving that led her to pursue this profession despite the struggles.
Pooja always wanted to become a bus or truck driver. Initially, she used to drive cars to learn how to drive commercial vehicles. She then became a driving instructor at a reputed driving institution in Jammu. She had also driven taxis and a truck in Jammu.
Pooja learnt truck driving from her maternal uncle Rajinder Singh and later applied for a license to drive heavy vehicles.
When she got the driving license, she approached the Jammu-Kathua Bus Union. The lady driver is grateful to the union for having faith in her. The union president Kuldeep Singh not just accepted her request but also gave his bus to drive.
Pooja is also thankful to her male colleagues, passengers, and the public for supporting and welcoming her decision.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)