Tabassum Bano – Allahabad’s First Woman e-Rickshaw Driver
Tabassum Bano had been tortured physically and mentally by her in-laws for dowry. She was thrown out of the house with her six month-old son, but she did not give up. She braved many difficulties. Confident and self dependent, Bano has set an example of courage as Allahabad’s first female e-rickshaw driver.
Tabassum Bano riding the e-riskshaw
Tabassum Bano had been tortured physically and mentally by her in-laws for dowry. She was thrown out of the house with her six month-old son, but she didn’t give up. She braved many difficulties. Confident and self dependent, Bano has set an example of courage as Allahabad’s first female e-rickshaw driver.
Says Tabassum, “One year after marriage, my in-laws started torturing me for more dowry. My son was just six months old at that time. One day they even took my clothes off and threw me out of the house. Tired of their torture, I had even thought of committing suicide, but my child gave me the reason to live and fight.” She relates; “Finally, I decided to get divorce from my husband and made up my mind to come to Allahabad and start a new life. With just two rupees in hand and my son in my arms, I began my journey from Pratapgarh by foot and reached Allahabad after walking 50 kms. Once when I was at new Yamuna bridge, out of hunger my son started crying uncontrollably and I became restless and helpless in this unknown city. An old man saw us and brought us to Sister Sheeba Jones. My life changed since that day.”
Tabassum gives the credit to Sister Sheeba for changing her life. “Sister Sheeba first taught me how to ride a scooty and then four-wheelers.” Besides riding the e-rickshaw, Tabassum also works as a maid in houses to bear her expenses of her family. Apart from her own son, Tabassum is taking care of six other members of the family. “After my brother-in-law’s death, I took care of my sister and her three children. There is no male member in our family. I take care of my old mother too,” she says.
Before coming to Allahabad, Tabassum didn’t know how to read and write. But later, she started studying and cleared the class X examination. Her son Abdullah studies in a reputed English school in the city. Sharing her experience as a female e-rickshaw driver, she says, “I want to change people’s attitude towards women. There are different types of people in our society. Some people stare at me awkwardly while some praise and encourage me. I want to show that women are strong and can face challenges.”