On any busy traffic crossing in the historic Mughal city of Agra, one would be surprised to see the number of women on two-wheelers. Not only young girls, but more and more middle-aged women, including housewives, are now seen enjoying their new-found freedom of mobility, a stark contrast from a few years ago.
One can witness similar scenes some 60 kilometers away in Mathura, the city considered sacred by Hindus being the birthplace of Lord Krishna.
Mathura resident Pawani Khandelwal, who describes herself as a raging feminist, truly believes that something as simple as riding a two-wheeler can transform lives of middle-aged housewives in small towns where even switching from wearing a saree to a salwar-suit is seen as a revolution.
Being able to ride a “scooty” – a smaller version of a scooter with auto-transmission – can empower women by making them self-dependent, she says.