Shabana Ali, a mother of two who comes from a conservative Muslim family, lives “a double life”: one under the burqa and the other with a metal detector, reports Telegraph.
The 34-year-old, who is a graduate, is working as a security guard with a private company. She is a member of the first batch of security guards to complete, early this month, a week’s training as part of a skill-development programme for minorities started by the Union ministry of minority affairs.
The uniform has turned an ordinary homemaker into a protector. For six days a week, she steps out of her conservative Old Delhi neighbourhood in a burqa. After an hour, it is replaced by blue uniform at capital’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. She said:
“I lead a double life, one under the burqa and the other as a security guard in uniform. It’s like playing a double role in a film.”
Shabana gets a monthly salary of Rs.8,000. But it hasn’t been easy for her. She said:
“I belong to a very conservative middle-class family, where women are supposed to remain indoors. People in my community need to understand and change their mindset. My father earlier fixed my marriage to a Sheikh in Saudi Arabia. When I learnt about it I cried a lot and complained to my schoolteacher. She scolded my father and threatened to complain to the police. Later, my mother fought with him and allowed me to join college.”
Shabana, who lives with her husband, her kids and her in-laws in a two-room house in a lane near Jama Masjid, had to take up this job after her husband, Qamar, met with a road accident and has been bed-ridden since. Shabana, who is proud of her job, is a picture of confidence, trained in frisking, fire-fighting, first aid and self-defence. Now, all she wants is that her kids should study at JNU.