Though there is disparity, but woman have also achieved prominent positions in India, be it in politics or elsewhere. But something what makes Yogita Raghuvanshi different from others is her determination, when she first thought to drive a 16-wheeler truck. The decision she took was not merely her interest but circumstance forced to take up this odd job something which any woman seldom choose.
She is the first and only female truck driver in India and Superwoman in all right. She is a qualified lawyer too who present her case confidently. Though the profession of Truck driving has made her unique in the league, she never wanted to live a life of pity after her husband died in a road accident leaving young Yogita and her two children to live their life. For next few months were difficult for others facing the uncertainties of life along with financial crunch.
She took up the job of lawyer, but was not satisfied as there was not enough earning to sustain the family. So she joined a boutique but all this couldn’t fetch the needed amount. That is when she decided to take up Truck Driving. But it was not that easy decision. As the job involved frequent travelling across the country in the male dominated profession. But only relief was instant earning.
But initially everyone protested including her in laws, but she didn’t want to compromise with the careers of her children because of financial crisis. Though she convinced all with her confidence.
Now it has been more than 16 years of her journey as a truck driver. Yogita is far from the archetypal inter-State trucker. Shuttling between cities across the country with her truck had its inevitable load of problems when she started out, snide comments, hostile stares and more but Yogita said, she soon got tuned to the challenging, all male world of truck drivers.
In 16 years of driving, she has covered over five lakh kilometres. But Yogita, unlike others, does not see what she does as a gesture to break stereotypes. She has a unique way of dealing with “highway vultures”, who ask for a bribe. She with her presence of mind and wittiness, manages to deal confidently.
The rest is history, now recognition after recognition, which brought her to limelight, her self-determination and inner steely strength, came in the form of Mahindra Transport Excellence Award in 2013 and a Mahindra truck. She has also received Sambandh award 2018 at Kolkata by Seva Kendra Calcutta recently.
Speaking to News Sense, Yogita says, “Nobody believes that I drive trucks – whether then or now. They assume that I am the driver’s woman. Mechanics on the highway look for a scooty or a car to fix a punctured tyre. But I show them my 10-wheeler. (Laughs). Men at dhabas and elsewhere leer at me, but when they see me at the wheel their look changes dramatically. But none of this bothers me, it never did. I have taught my children the same”.
Yogita fights for her dignity still continues even when factory outlets where she delivers consignments, do not allow her to access toilets on their premises – one major reason why she has discouraged her daughter from opting for trucking as a career. She holds up her dignity as a woman again when she says: “Women are stronger than men in controlling their behavior better and education helps one exercise restraint.” It’s an open secret that the Indian trucker community is notorious for contracting health risks from the highways.
For Yogita, India is small now as she had already covered the longest route till date involving Bhopal-Kerala-Jammu-Jalandhar-Indore-Bhopal in less than 10 days. She now wants to cover more, she also wants other women too can take up the job and something different.