Sandhya Marawi: A women coolie who’s breaking the stereotypes.
Sandhya Marawi: A women coolie who’s breaking the stereotypes. | Credit: Voxspace

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Sandhya Marawi: A women coolie who’s breaking the stereotypes.

Nov 17, 2018

Women face hundreds of stereotypes in our society. Even in this day and age, we have not evolved to see that men and women are different only by gender and that their capabilities cannot be stereotyped. We give many labels to women and try to limit the things they do. Many women are showing the way to the future by proving to the world that nothing is impossible to them. Women are achieving in business, in the corporate sector, in IT, in sports and in many other fields. However, we don’t really need to look at these big achievers to witness the power of women. If we just look around, we can find women with immense strength and grit right next to us.

One such picture of spirit and courage is Sandhya Marawi of Madhya Pradesh. After the unfortunate passing away of her husband in 2016, Sandhya was left with three children to take care of and no means of livelihood as her husband was the sole breadwinner of her family.

Looking for jobs that could sustain her family, Sandhya immediately took up the job of a porter in Katni railway station when she got the opportunity. Even though it is considered to be very unusual for a woman to work as a porter, she does the job with total commitment. You can see her transporting heavy luggage at the railway station among other male coolies. Despite having to travel for 250 kilometres everyday for work, she is undeterred and is supporting her family consisting of her three children and her mother-in-law.

She says that she had requested the railway official for a transfer to the railway station at Jabalpur, which is near to Kundam village where she lives. But, she has not received any response to her request. Despite this, she has kept working to make a living even though it is not easy. She hopes to earn enough money to give quality education to her children so that they can live a good life. Her strenuous journey from her village to Jabalpur and then to Katni is something that can make many people, men or women, to contemplate giving up. But, she says she is not the least bit inclined to give up her work. This 30 year old has definitely taken on life by its horns and is an epitome of determination. Among the 40 coolies working at the Katni railway station, Sandhya is the only woman coolie and probably one of the very few ones in the country.

Many of us forget the fighter that we each have inside and we succumb to the pressures of the society. People like Sandhya are a reminder to all of us that we can do exactly what we want to do. No matter what it takes, we have the power within us to fight it out with circumstances, prejudices, society or even with ourselves to not just survive but live life on our terms. 

The number of stereotypes that Sandhya Marawi has unassumingly broken is astonishing. From people who say women are not cut out to lift weights, to people who say that women belong in the kitchen, she has silenced many people. The best thing is, she has done all this by just doing her job. She did not have to go out of the way to prove anything and she did not have to do anything just to prove people wrong. We definitely need more women to get inspired by Sandhya and realise that they are all powerhouses who lack nothing at all. Women can do anything they set their minds to and there is stopping them.