Odisha’s Woman Auto-Rickshaw Driver Proves ‘Male Domain’ Is Myth

Balasore: It takes sheer guts and determination to shatter the myths of society and break stereotypes, especially if you are a young woman who has been deserted by her husband. Madhunita Bindhani of Balasore proved that she has the courage to be different, when she decided to drive an auto-rickshaw instead of taking up a menial job. The 29-year-old is the first female auto-rickshaw driver of this town.

She went to school till Class VII and was married off at the age of 15, who later deserted her to get married to another girl.

“Although I am from a poor family, I never lost hope after being deserted by my husband. I took charge of my life and always fought with what I had. In a society where women are oppressed, she needs guts to stand up for herself,” she said. 

On a typical day, she finishes her household chores and sends her children to school. Then she drives her auto-rickshaw within 60 km radius of the town.  

Madhumita has been on the job for nine months now. Most of her customers are women since they feel safe with her and also trust her driving skills. Many of these women are regular passengers who avail her service daily. 

Since she herself could not complete her education, Madhumita dreams of educating her two children. “I want to ensure my children pursue higher education and for this I am ready to drive for a few extra hours as it would fetch me more money.”

Madhumita’s hard work gets her Rs 10,000. So far, she has not encountered bad behaviour. On the contrary, people respect her. 


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