Monday, 29 July 2013

Oinam Laibi - Inspirational Story of a female Autorickshaw wala from Manipur

Posted by Siva Kumar Ari
Oinam Laibi, a Manipuri woman who dared to challenge stereotype that women can take up certain professions only. Since 2011, She has been driving a passengers autorickshaw from Pangei Keithel to Khwairamband Keithel, Imphal and back in her auto-rickshaw, to support the household expenses and her two sons studies.  And with the extra savings she make, she wants to treat her ailing husband who is a heart patient.
Oinam Laibi - Inspirational Story of a female Autorickshaw wala from Manipur
Oinam Laibi - Inspirational Story of a female Autorickshaw wala from Manipur



Women in the state have always played multiple roles within the house and outside it but their contributions have largely gone unnoticed. There are quite lot of women, who, compelled by circumstances, not only take care of all the household chores but come out of the four walls to earn a living for the whole family under very trying conditions. But even among these women, rare is the case of someone who drives an auto rickshaw to support her family and earn enough for the treatment of her ailing husband.

Such a woman who has challenged the stereotype that women can take up certain professions only and who had taken to driving an autorickshaw is Oinam ongbi Laibi from Pangei Keithel. She ferries passengers from Pangei Keithel to Khwairamband Keithel and back in her autorickshaw.

With the earning from driving an auto rickshaw, Laibi manages the household expenses as also the responsibility of her two sons’ study. Moreover, with whatever savings she manages, she is also planning to treat her ailing husband who is a heart patient. With this hope in mind and the responsibility of meeting the day to day expenses of the family, Laibi has been driving her auto rickshaw since 2011. Despite repeated requests to stop her work from her two sons reading in Khundrakpam Public School in class X and VII who could not bear to see the hardships she is going through for their sake, she continues driving her autorickshaw with the sole purpose of making her sons’ future secure and treating her husband.

Konsam Ningol Laibi is the fourth of the seven children of Konsam Kaomacha and Konsam ongbi Apabi from Pangei Haotal. She got married to Oinam Rajendro from Pangei Keithel in 1996 and they have two sons. To earn their livilihood, the couple used to work in a brick field. They worked untiringly to sustain themselves and for a bright future for their children but fate had other plans, as her husband was detected with a heart problem and could no longer exert himself physically, leaving Laibi the full responsibility to run her family. As problems increased, they thought of a better way to make their livings and they invested all their savings in buying a diesel auto rickshaw which they rented out.

However, the income they get from the renting their vehicle could not cover their expenses which led Laibi to take the daring decision to drive the auto rickshaw herself. Leaving aside all misgivings, the inconveniences and problems which she might face following this out of the ordinary decision, she began driving her auto rickshaw from 2011 onwards. In the beginning, people used to look at her in a strange way and she could not find many passengers since people did not seem to trust a woman driving a passenger vehicle. Gradually, she gained the trust of the people and she began to get enough passengers to make her living.

Talking to The People’s Chronicle, Laibi said that she always avoid parking in the parking space of her permit in Imphal since all the other drivers are men. She brings passengers from Pangei Keithel and return back with the passengers she could get from Imphal without parking there.

She revealed that she was always fascinated by vehicles since her early childhood and since she had very little chances of landing a job due to her lack of education, deciding to drive the autorickshaw came naturally to her. Whatever people say about her, she is determined to drive her auto-rickshaw as long as she can, she added.

She also said that her ultimate goal in life is to get her husband treated and added that she will have no regrets in giving up driving the autorickshaw if her husband is well and hearty once again.

In this patriarchal society, a woman like Laibi, who dares to take up a ‘man’s job’ to make a living and support her family, is rare. In that sense she is a role model who challenged the stereotype and chose take a different path. It is women like her who challenges fossilised mindsets and usher in social changes. Manipuri society needs many more Laibis who would be role model to many women to face up to the challenges without giving in. The society should give all the support and cooperation they can give to people like Konsam Ningol Laibi.

Source : The People's Chronicle 

1 comment:

  1. jayaraj mangalore20 August 2013 at 12:06

    great women with determination ;;; thinks what is important.

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