Recent years have recorded more women venturing into male-dominated territories and making significant impacts in those fields. The story of Shanti Devi is a daring one that will serve as an inspiration to women while reiterating that nothing is impossible to do if only you believe.
At the outskirts of Delhi, is situated the Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar Depot, a home for trucks, where over 70,000 trucks are packed. Covering an area of more than 75 acres and is reportedly the largest trucking stopover point in Asia. There Shanti Devi and her husband Bahadur make their livelihood, she is over 70 and the first woman mechanic in India.
She was an apprentice under a man called Mistri who taught her how to change tires, fix punctures and make minor engine repairs.
Devi’s first marriage was a shipwreck her husband was a drunk and a gambler, who used all her money for drinking and gambling. She also suffered domestic violence in the marriage until he died.
She got married to Bahadur whose wife ran away to marry another man. Both Devi and Bahadur had a bad marriage, and coming together they had children from their earlier marriages to take care of. They first started a tea stall at the spot that has now been transformed into a huge mechanic shop.
In a bid to make more income, she started learning how to fix trucks. As funny as it was, Devi excelled.
Contrary to other similar stories, Devi was encouraged by the men who lived in her area. She claimed that the other mechanic men loved that she was also doing the business and they introduced her to their customers. Her husband is proud of her and loves the fact that she holds the title of the first and only woman mechanic in India.
“I believe a woman can do any job if she has a passion for it”, she said.
Devi and her husband had been run the business together for over twenty years. Although she is happy and proud of her achievement, she is bothered to be referred to as the only woman mechanic in India. She desires that more women will also join her in the business rather than stay idle at home doing nothing.
Devi claims that she is proud to announce that she runs the business and a successful home because she still does all her domestic works as a wife even at her age.
Currently, they earn 48,000 rupees (£650) a month in the peak summer months, where some only manage to gather 2,000 rupees (£26).
They conveniently take care of their children and they have a nice home where they live and bought themselves.