Source: economictimes | Image Courtesy: economictimes
Inspiration comes to us in several ways. Yellamma, a 22-year-old autorickshaw driver in Bangalore, has drawn inspiration from her need to feed her family. She currently drives an auto while simultaneously preparing for IAS (Indian Administrative Services) examinations.
She has been slowly changing the views of Bangaloreans on what professions are considered acceptable for women in India. When she was 18, she was forced to get married to a flower decorator who is no longer with her today. Being a single mother with no education or skills to provide for her child, she decided to drive an auto-rickshaw in the crowded bustling city of Bangalore.
Her brother-in-law taught her to drive a rickshaw and after a lot of enquiring, she found someone who was ready to rent the three-wheeler to a woman. She was turned away by several owners only because she was a woman.
Currently she drives the auto at a rent of Rs.130 per day while she earns about Rs.700-800 every day on an average. She gets about half of her earnings to keep after deducting the rent and fuel expenses.
Despite running on a tight schedule from 6am to 8pm everyday, she has not given up hope on creating a better future for herself. She spends almost all of her spare time in pouring over books and magazines for her future examinations. Currently she is working towards completing her PUC, but her dreams don’t stop at that.
She wants to join the IAS and says that she would like to help the women in India. The kind of discrimination she faced from other male drivers when she first started driving the rickshaw has prompted her to make this decision.
The passengers who have used her transport have always been extremely supportive. She says that they keep asking her about her story and put in an extra 10 or 20 rupees to help her with her education.
The Logical Indian salutes Yellamma for her strength and willingness to follow her dreams in the face of all the obstacles thrown at her. We hope that she fulfills her goals. We would also like to thank the passengers of Bangalore who have supported her by using her rickshaw without showing any kind of discrimination.