Pictures of a woman driving a bus in Jammu and Kashmir has taken the internet by storm. Pooja Devi has become the first woman to don the role of a bus driver in the state.
According to an India Today report, the woman is in her thirties and is the mother of three children. She, however, took it upon herself to break the stereotype and ferried passengers on Jammu-Kathua route for the first time on Thursday, December 24.
"I always wanted to become a bus or truck driver. I always dreamt of driving heavy vehicles since I was a kid. I come from a very poor family. My father was a farmer. My family wasn't able to educate me, but I decided to take up driving as a career," said Pooja.
Pooja spoke about the hardships she faced during her journey, including opposition from family and husband. She stated that her spouse was of the opinion that 'driving was not a good profession for women', but she wanted to pursue her dreams.
"Initially, I used to drive cars, then I became a driving instructor at a driving school. I also used to drive taxis. Then, I decided to drive heavy vehicles. Rajinder Singh Ji taught me truck driving. I'm very grateful to him. There was a time when I felt that no one would give me a bus to drive. But Jammu-Kathua Bus Union reposed faith in me," she added.
Interestingly, her seven-year-old son accompanies her during the trips.
"I have three children. My daughter studies in Class 10, my son in Class 7 and the youngest son in Class 2. My youngest son can't stay at home without me. My husband is a labourer. I want to appeal to the government to help us financially," Pooja said.
Meanwhile, male drivers and passengers praised Pooja on her decision to take up driving as a profession.
"It is a matter of great pride for all of us. She has shown immense courage. Other women should draw inspiration from her. Women are doing very well in every field. They are even flying fighter planes. I hope more women in J&K will start driving passenger buses," said Kuldeep Singh, a bus driver.
"When I saw a woman driving the bus, I was very surprised. We feel proud of her. It is a historic moment for J&K," said a passenger.