International Women’s Day: Odisha Bikerni Bravely Rides Against All Odds In Society
Bhubaneswar: A woman should have the freedom to live life on her own terms and dare to fulfil her dreams.
Amita Singh, the bikerni from Odisha, is a living example of such an empowered woman. She has carved an identity as a woman of substance in an orthodox, male-dominated society.
For her bold choice, this daredevil female biker was awarded at the Pride of the Nation Excellence Awards 2021 in New Delhi recently.
Odisha Bytes caught up with Amita on the occasion of International Women’s Day for a freewheeling chat. Excerpts:
First of all, congratulations on winning the Pride of the Nation Excellence Award.
Tell us, what do women empowerment and feminism mean to you? Are they the same or different?
Yes, there is a difference between feminism and women empowerment. Feminism means equal respect and opportunity for men and women without gender-based discrimination.
Whereas women empowerment means breaking the norms of an orthodox society that hinder a woman’s self-identity and forces her to bury her dreams and capabilities.
According to you, is women empowerment a myth or a reality?
To an extent, I believe women empowerment is a mixture of myth and truth. This is because no women is given her right to choose her life or pursue her dreams into reality. Every woman fights a battle every day to prove her capabilities.
So, how can empowered women develop a better society by standing against all odds?
A courageous woman who has decided to live life on her own terms and dares to live her dreams is definitely an empowered woman. In that, she sets an example for girls in her own household and also sends out a message to society that each one is born with a purpose and identity. It’s up to her whether she gets lost in the crowd or forges a unique identity so as to inspire others, transmit that burning desire to achieve something.
You are definitely one such woman. So how would you like to work as a bikerni to empower women?
As a bikerni, I ride on special events like Republic Day, Women’s Day and Independence Day to orphanages for girls and old age homes. I provide them with materials they need and nutritional food. At the same time, I also inspire them to smile, to have the courage and audacity to achieve their dreams.
It must have been difficult to be a bikerni in a male-dominated society. Please share your experience on this?
I can’t say it was difficult because in the biking community, a rider is a rider and gender doesn’t matter. In fact, the male riders teach us how to handle bad situations and tough rodas during biking trips. They are of great help while riding on tough hilly roads or during an avalanche or landslide.
Talking about males, do we need men’s empowerment along with that for women? What do you feel on this?
For me, men’s empowerment is equally important as now the scenario has changed and many women are empowered these days. Many parents also understand that marrying a daughter at the ‘right time’ is not as important now as making her financially independent.
Besides, certain privileges, laws and freedom enjoyed by women are sometimes misused and men are trapped.
And what was it personally for you? As in your marriage and family.
Unfortunately, I was married into a very conservative family. For 8 long years, I had been completely indoors living with a ‘ghunghat’. I was neither allowed to step out nor allowed to speak to any outsider. But my husband was very supportive and understanding. He broke the societal chains and gave me the freedom to create my own identity. So I can say Shakti becomes Shiv-Shakti when Shiv combines.
How does it feel to represent Odisha as a bikerni?
It’s my immense privilege that I represent Odisha across the globe. Men from the state were well known in the biking community. But when I emerged as a female biker, I was given a respectful place in many biking groups of Odisha.
I also aim to bring more glory to Odisha like I did in Madhya Pradesh where I raised the slogan “Jai Jagannath, Jai Odisha”. It gives me electrifying energy to think that the state which embraced me shines in some way due to my dedication and passion.
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