Samta Kumari – India’s Fifth woman loco pilot and First Woman Driver of Gorakhpur
The Railway Recruitment Board, Gorakhpur, has selected first women loco pilot on Monday. Samta Kumari is the fifth women loco pilot all across the India appointed by the Railways.
Samta Kumari, a residence of Bihar, said that she always dreamed to become a train driver and she finally did it. She wanted to pave the way for others to enter the male-dominated job.
Samta Kumari, Lucknow division’s first, and India s fifth woman train driver started her debut drive from Lucknow-Gonda Passenger (train number 592) on 14 July 2010. She will now assist Gyanendra Dixit, the Main Pilot of the Lucknow Gonda Passenger Train Number 592. She also promised to do her duty with full honest and commitment. She also promised to do her duty with full honest and commitment.
For the residents from nondescript places between Lucknow and Gonda, Samta Kumari is the reigning star. Villagers flock to halts and railway stations for a glimpse of this 28- year- old woman engine driver, the first in the Lucknow division and the fifth in the country.
But Samta’s fan base is giving their idol cause for concern.
”People try to jump near the engine to see me through the window. There are also a large number of passengers who rush towards the engine whenever the train stops. I want to appeal to these people to be careful about their safety and take me as any other driver. I am no one extraordinary,” she said.
”Two days ago, I was the assistant loco pilot on the 592 Lucknow- Gonda Passenger from Charbagh Railway station in Lucknow to Gonda. That day, I had only one thought – I should work hard and one day get the opportunity to drive the Rajdhani Express between Kashmir and Kanyakumari,” she added.
The third among four sisters and a brother, she was offered a railway job on compassionate grounds after her father Keshav Bihari, a railway employee, passed away in 2005. But she turned it down.
The feisty woman had said: ”I don’t want any sympathy. I wanted to be a pilot. But when I came to know that Surekha Yadav, Mumtaz Khan, Sunita Naik and Richa Patel had already become train drivers; I joined the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) and decided to try my luck. I appeared in the Railway Recruitment Board Examination and cleared it without much difficulty.
”Trains are not new to me. I have grown up and played around them because my father used to be posted at railway stations in Bihar.” Her elder sisters Alka and Arti are municipal councillors in Khagaul in Danapur, while her younger sister Mamta and brother Prabhakar are looking for a job.
But the hand that operates the locomotive’s levers also loves wielding the paintbrush. Water colours are her favourite.
”My mother Dayawanti Devi is very proud of me. She wants me to work hard as a train driver as well as devote time for my hobby,” Samta said.
But how does she cope with all this? ”Whenever in despair, I remember Indira Gandhi, who was a woman of conviction and strength. She inspires me to follow my heart,” Samta said.