Women are going places, they say. But Mumbai’s Motorwoman, Mumtaz Kazi takes people places by driving them in Mumbai’s local trains. Not only is she one of the few motorwomen the world has seen, but she’s also a first in Asia, to begin with.
In a career span of more than 20 years, Mumtaz has driven various kinds of trains. She is also Asia’s first woman train driver.
Sure that didn’t come easy, did it?
From a very young age, Mumtaz wanted to be in Railways. Her father was a Trunk Superintendent at Churchgate railway station. She grew up in the railway quarters and used to watch the trains pass by.
She was born and brought up in Mumbai and went to Seth Anandilal Poddar High School. In 1989, just after her SSC, she applied for the job of the motorman.
Since that very year there was a change in the railway recruitment board policy in India, Mumtaz could sit for the examinations and applied for it.
She did extremely well in examinations, leaving everyone impressed with her ambitiousness. And, was appointed in 1991 just after her class twelve examination.
While she was extremely happy about the job, she faced a bit of resistance from her father’s side upon her decision. Her father, Allahrakhu Ismail Kathawala, asked her to complete her Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology (DMLT) course first.
After much convincing, Mumtaz’s father gave in and gave her his blessings. And, she became the first motorwoman. In its 1995 edition Limca Book of Records acknowledged Mumtaz’s success and she became the first woman diesel engine driver in Asia at the age of 20.
Not only that, Mumtaz also went on to become the first train driver to possess the skill of driving both Electric and Diesel engine.
Throughout her journey, Mumtaz was the courageous support system to her family. It was because of her, they could buy a home in Mumbai and she also helped with her brothers’ education. Both her brothers, Imtiyaz and Feroz, are engineers and settled abroad.
But that’s not the only thing for which she makes all look up to her. When she’s not driving trains and being on the job, she is a homemaker and loves spending time with her family.
She got married to an electrical engingeer from Nandoorbar, Maqsood Kazi, in 2002 and is a proud mother of two kids Tausif Ahmed and Fateen.
In the year 2015, she was awarded Railways General Manager Award.
And, in 2017, on International Women’s Day, she was awarded the Nari Shakti Award by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Mumbai’s local train is one of the busiest railway network and Mumtaz, like a boss, pilots the busiest local trains. With her grit and determination, Mumtaz, over the course of more than two decades, has set an example that there’s no job that women can’t do. After all, the levers on the train don’t know if it’s a man or a woman’s hands operating them.