Vidya devi, 26, is a bus conductor with the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking. A postgraduate in social work from Kurukshetra University, Vidya is expecting her first child in next few months, but she still continues her job with dedication.
CTU started recruiting women conductors in May 2014 when the first lot of 72 took over, breaking into a male bastion.
Vidya joined as a conductor in December last year after she quit the contractual job at the National Rural Livelihoods Mission. Hailing from a small village in Fatehabad district of Haryana, Vidya’s parents are uneducated farmers. “I was scared of this kind of a job but my relatives and colleagues at NRLM forced me to take up a permanent job, that too in a big city like Chandigarh,” says Vidya.
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“I was scared of this kind of a job but my relatives and colleagues at NRLM forced me to take up a permanent job, that too in a big city like Chandigarh,” says Vidya.
Her husband works with Delhi Metro and she says she finds it difficult to live in the city without him.Vidya’s parents have always supported her to study. “Their support was very important
Vidya’s parents have always supported her to study. “Their support was very important for me even as a child because many people in the village didn’t approve of a girl studying so much,” she says.
After her marriage, Vidya says her in-laws too extended support. “My mother-in-law is very friendly and I took this job after she agreed,” adds Vidya.
She says that initially she was very nervous about an eight-hour job. “I was very shy. But my female colleagues who were already here really helped me build confidence,” adds Vidya.
Vidya finds no challenges at work as she claims city residents are well-mannered. “I never became a victim of sexual harassment here. But people lose their cool when they miss their stop,” she says.
But sometimes, she says, commuters do not vacate the reserved seats for women and elderly.
Appreciating the initiative of having women as conductors, Vidya says, “It is a good way to bring equality and tackle unemployment. People support me now and that gives me a lot of self-belief. Now many girls ask me about vacancies.”
The villagers who taunted Vidya are now proud of the girl who has a successful career in a big city.
Sarabjit Kaur Sekhon, 57, is a Sub-Inspector with the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Chandigarh Police.
After Kaur lost her father in the 1971 war, her grandmother advised her not to get into the Army or the police, as she couldn’t afford to lose another beloved. But Sarabjit’s love for uniform made her apply with the Chandigarh Police in 1977 on the advice of her lecturer. The decision proved right and she is happy with her job.
A district-level athlete, Sarabjit recalls that while she was studying at college, an appointment letter by the Chandigarh Police reached her home and was received by her mother. Sarabjit’s mother went straight to her mother-in-law who was disappointed. “I came home only to be welcomed by a furious grandmother with an iron rod who wasn’t wearing her spectacles,” says Sarabjit, adding that somehow she convinced her mom and grandmother and joined the police.
Sarabjit has three children; all of them are settled in the United Kingdom.
On the problems her job poses, Sarabjit says, “I have never faced any problem. But, yes, I have faced some challenges in the field that never bothered me. I always use this emotional weapon to get truth out of criminals,” adds Sarabjit.