Laxmi Lakra- the first woman to drive a locomotive

Image Credit: News Station, Tribal Beats

Laxmi Lakra belongs to a tribal family and hails from Jharkhand. She has created history with her achievement which has broken many stereotypes.

Laxmi became the first woman engine driver for Northern Railways. She belongs to a poor tribal family in Jharkhand- She studied in a government school. She studied hard to get a diploma in electronics. She later took the railway board exam and passed it on her first attempt.

She was born in a tribal family in Salgi, a village near Ranchi, Jharkhand. Her father worked as a construction laborer and had to provide for all 4 of his children. At the age of 5, she enrolled in a district government school. After graduating from high school in 1996, she went on to obtain a diploma in electronics. In college, she started borrowing her friends’ scooters and motorbikes to drive during her free time. With the support of her family, she went on to clear the Railway Recruitment Board Test on her first attempt at the age of 27 and was the only woman in a batch of 372 trainees.

Looking back she recalls that even though her parents were illiterate, they never discriminated between her brothers and her and her sister, all of whom had been given the freedom to choose their careers. She went through 6 weeks of Learning Road training followed by a rigorous 33 weeks of further training. During her training, she first drove a super-fast ABB locomotive from Ghaziabad to Ambala. After her training, she was certified to drive light engines and goods trains in the Delhi circle and Ambala. She hopes to drive the super-fast Shatabdi express someday. She truly has been an inspiration for women in our country and continues to shatter gender norms.

Note: Surekha Yadav from Mumbai became India’s first woman engine driver when she joined the Central Railways in 1992. Laxmi Lakra is the second woman ever to achieve this feat.

She faced a lot of challenges in reaching this position. As a woman, it wasn’t so easy. All the while she wanted to take electronics as her major. When she wanted to ride a bike, she faced challenges there too. Yet she was determined to reach her goal, which she did reach. She became the second woman engine driver in India.

Staff Reporter

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