Wednesday, April 25, 2007

traffic stoppers!!

It was surprising to see a female traffic police officer one day, “wo-manning” a crowded cross- road at Vasai as I have always maintained that Traffic policing is a tough, physically sapping job, completely male dominated. It was amazing to see a woman, yelling fiercely at the errant drivers, whistling as loud as her male colleagues!

For the record, Vasai is the first place in Mumbai where women traffic Inspectors were deployed, followed by Mira road and then Thane. Since the experiment worked well, they were stationed all over Mumbai. Vasai is also the ONLY place where one shall find a Lady Rickshaw driver! There is but one courageous lady, whom I have yet to meet personally, but have seen her drive past me, determined to break the gender bias that comes with certain professions.

This century belongs to women! From heading companies, to being the head honcho of our government, they have been prospering. It is a heartening sight that we have women bus conductors, ticket checkers and bar- tenders too!

I wanted to know how was it for women to hold such authoritative and responsible jobs, so went to Vasai police station where I spotted a lady in her uniform. After exchanging pleasantries, I told her I was a ‘Citizen Journalist’ wanting to ask her a few questions, which put an instant smile on her face. Her first words though, were “No photographs please!”

The first thing I noticed was that she was a sweet and respectful Maharashtrian lady, so unlike the officer I had seen eye balling drivers the other day! Her name was Mrs Rashmi T Sankhe, and she was a Mahila Police Naik. She had been working in a police station at Thane for 7 years, followed by a stint at Nala Sopara for 6 and ½ years. I was informed that a certain S.P Mrs Archana Tyagi had given impetus to the concept of women traffic Inspectors. Mrs Tyagi believed that women could do the job too. I personally feel that errant female drivers are let off by the traffic policemen, and at least a woman would do justice to the job! Mrs Sankhe was given the opportunity, and she took it. She has been managing traffic at Vasai for ten months now.
On being asked how she felt about the job, she smiled and said that although it was physically demanding, she liked it. It was difficult sometimes to explain to people that their papers were not proper, or some were missing. She said that men were non co- operative at times, bull headed, constantly arguing (Now, where have I heard THAT one?!). She has always had the support of her superiors, if things got out of hand. I don’t think many people would dare to bribe a lady officer, which would help in decreasing traffic violations, or increasing government income!
In all, she seemed satisfied with the job, and was doing her duty diligently, with pride. As it was time for her to head home, and assume the charge of home- maker, we could not chat a lot. I have promised her a copy of this article too!

Mrs Sankhe, Mrs Tyagi, and many other women like them should serve as an inspiration to one and all!


Kartikeya Dwivedi. said...

Well said Preeti!

shifting sands said...

Hi Kartik, I have had the good fortune of being Ms. Lady Rickshaw Driver's passenger one fine morning three years back. It is really good to know that she's still into the profession and doing fine it seems.....cheers to one brave lady!!

Rashmi said...

Hey Kartik....great write up!...and my Salutes to Women Power!...sure takes grit and determination to make it in a Mans' World....

Anonymous said...

Do you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one on twitter but could not discover one, I would really like to become a fan!

Kartik said...

Aww! Thanks :). You can find me on FB. Just type Kartik Dwivedi :). I am glad you liked the write up :). i hope I can continue wreiting articles that interest you :).

Anonymous said...

Find and pick some good points from you and it helps me to solve a problem, thanks.

- Henry