Read The Story Of Mirza Salma Beg, India’s Youngest Female ‘Gateman’
- IWB Post
- October 5, 2015
Yeh ladki kya kar rahi he? Aisa bhi kabhi hota hai?
These were the questions that Mirza Salma Beg had to deal with, each time people asked questions about her profession.
So what happens when a level crossing ‘gateman’ is not a man but a 22 year old girl? Yup…You heard it right! Very few of us could imagine that the person whose job is to lower the rod of the level crossing every time a train crosses the station, would be from the fairer sex.
Meet Mirza Salma Beg, the only woman helming a level crossing in India. If you ever decide to stop by the Malhaur station near Lucknow, you might come across an unlikely sight. A girl lowering the level crossing manually, the heavy iron rod confidently grasped under her little palm.
It has been two years since Salma had been doing this job excellently, standing shoulder to shoulder with the male workers.
So why did she choose this occupation? Well, no surprises. Answer is the same old poverty that left her no choice but to take up the work that her father used to do before he lost his hearing ability. A paralysed mother who needed medical attention and a little sister still studying, were the ones who were in her mind when she applied for the post of a gateman.
“Gataman.’ The very word brushes away every possibility of a woman ever doing the job. But straying away from this clichéd mentality Salma has proved all speculations wrong.
So what happens when a 20 year old girls says that she will be working at a level crossing? The most difficult job was and still IS to convince her relatives and the society to believe that there is hardly any profession where women cannot be engaged in.
“Faltu mein bhej diya hai is ladki ko.” Such were the comments that Salma had to endure from her ‘esteemed’ colleagues who thought that she will not be able to work. After shutting their mouths through her work, Salma now have learnt the most valuable lesson that comes in life.
“Anyway, people who have to crib will crib anyway isn’t it?” Yup that’s right Salma, those who want to criticize you, will do so even if you have just won the Nobel Prize.
On the education front too, Salma has managed to prove her mettle. A humanities graduate, Salma did manage to complete her education even after many hurdles.
It is women like Salma that makes JWB proud about what we do. The countless stories of women in India and the world that we search are part of the same thought process:
Way to go Salma!