Mumbai: Mumtaz M Kazi, Asia’s first woman diesel engine driver, broke into a male bastion 25 years ago. She has been driving different types of trains since she was 20 years old and is inspiring millions of women in the country.
On International Women’s Day, she received the “Nari Shakti Puraskar” by President Pranab Mukherjee. Ms Kazi was among the top seven women to get this honour from the President.
“Gender biases have no place in modern India where inclusive development is a key objective,” said President Mukherjee at the ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi.
The 45-year-old is presently a motorwoman piloting suburban locals trains of Central Railway in Mumbai. Incidentally, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Thane section, where she drives the train on, is also India’s first and most congested railway route now.
Born in an orthodox Muslim family, when she first applied for a railway job in 1989, she faced opposition from her father, Allarakhu Ismail Kathawala, who is a senior railway employee.
After persuasion from friends and family, he relented and let her follow her dream job.
Ms Kazi is married to Maqsood Kazi of Nandurbar who is an electrical engineer. She has two children.
In 1995, her name featured in LIMCA Book of Records as first lady diesel locomotive driver. In the year 2015, she was awarded with Railways General Manager Award.
(With inputs from IANS)