Driving trucks is generally not seen as a woman’s forte. But 25-year old Tabassum Ali from Madhya Pradesh dared to become one, not fearing the dangers on the Highways and the lonely stretches after nightfall. As the youngest and first woman in Madhya Pradesh to get a driving license for heavy goods vehicle, steering the wheels truck is no big deal for this Arts graduate. She mostly drives between Madhya Pradesh and neighboring Chhattisgarh, on an average covering 200-225Km daily, with just one load man accompanying her. For Tabassum, driving trucks has been pretty much a way of life for the last three years when she decided to financially support her family of nine. She gets enough stares from people when she hits the road. She is also the most admired woman in her town for being the first woman to break into the traditional male domain.
Trucks are not new to Tabassum. Both her father and brother are also truck drivers. By chance that she got an opportunity to drive a truck when she was just 22. That would literally take her on a different course. Tabassum learnt driving in her relative’s car and obtained a driving license when she was 18. When she expressed her desire to become a truck driver, her family welcomed it and encouraged her to go ahead. She earns around Rs.30,000 per month which she mostly spends on her sister’s education. In 2015, she was honored with a gold medal by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for being the first woman truck driver in the state.
Tabassum has been preparing for public service commission exams. And she hopes to run her own driving school some day.