M A I N   N E W S

Jalandhar’s ‘real Mardani’ guards men at night
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Nakodar, August 23
She is the real Mardani, not reel. Razia Begum (50) guards nearly 1,300 persons of Bir village in Jalandhar while they are asleep.

Deployed as the village watchwoman, she has been carrying forward the legacy of her ancestors for the past 16 years now.

Razia returns home at the break of dawn and after resting for two-three hours, her day’s chores begin. Besides keeping record of births and deaths, she testifies for girdawari of agricultural land in the village. She also keeps the Mehatpur Police updated if she spots any suspicious element and has to go door-to-door extending invites to villagers for any government event.

For all this, she gets Rs 800 a month and that too, at times, after four-five months. So to make ends meet, she even works as a domestic help. “At times, I do not get to sleep for more than three hours but since I have chosen to work, I will continue,” she said.

Hailing from Sheikhupur village of Kapurthala, Razia says: “I got married when I was 19 years old. My father-in-law Ala Ditta was the village watchman. After he died, my husband Mangat Ali took over and after his death I took the charge. My sons Ramzan and Mustaq were very young then.” Her sons are now married and work as daily wage labourers.

About what keeps her going, she says: “I remember Khuda when I step out. I know he is beside me.”

Sukhbir Singh, clerk at the Nurmahal police station, said: “Though constables are deployed in all villages, we still depend on watchmen as they know their villages better. I had met Razia once and she had been of great help.”





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