Rajasthan News

Jaipur Railway Station has 33-year-old Manju as Rajasthan’s first woman ‘coolie’

by RajasthanDirect
Mar 19, 2013

Several passengers at the Jaipur Railway Station find themselves in a dilemma when they come across 33-year-old Manju. The mother of three is a coolie at the station, offering to carry the heavy luggage of passengers for a small sum of money.

After her husband died a year ago, Manju took his job, becoming Rajasthan’s first woman coolie. With her husband’s brass tag plate, numbered 15, attached to her arm, Manju started working at the Jaipur railway station last week.

“I had no choice. In my village, there is no employment or a livelihood. Farming is not enough to support us as our fields are barren. So what could I do,” she says.

Lacking the physical strength that the male coolies possess, she opts for lighter bags and packages.

“Sometimes I earn Rs. 50, sometimes 100. And on some days, nothing at all; that’s when I get slightly tense,” she adds.

Breaking into a traditional male bastion has been Manju’s biggest challenge. However, she says she is yet to encounter any kind of harassment in the one week she has worked at the station. She works from 5 pm to 9 pm when the station is at its busiest. The security personnel at the station and her male colleagues keep an eye on her to protect her from any kind of danger.

In fact, she says she would not have managed without the support of the male coolies, who help her by giving tips on which trains to approach and also sometimes pass on clients to her.

“She is like our daughter; we will take care of her,” a senior coolie, Phool Mohammad, says.

Many passengers at the station, who at first are taken aback when Manju approaches them for business, lavish praise.

“We had a woman President and women even fly planes. So why not a woman coolie,” says a commuter.

src: NDTV

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