Jasmine, the Face of Courage and Compassion

Aziza Roshani
Posted April 10, 2018 from Afghanistan
It's Jasmine, on the right side.

It has been almost three years living in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and this country is treating me dearly enough to feel home again. On a daily basis, every evening I go for a rickshaw ride – straight from the university campus to the place called Love lane – which takes me 15-20 minutes to get there. Normally the rickshaw pullers are barefoot men and young boys with their local looks. Just a few days back while following my same routine, surprisingly I met a wonderful and overwhelmingly exceptional woman, driving rickshaw on the busy roads of Chittagong. Her name is Jasmine – known as Jasmine khala and Jasmine apu. Perhaps so far, she is the only well-known rickshaw driver woman here (at least as far as I know). Unlike many rickshaws, her one was slightly different – it was more of a motorbike with lights and two-sided horn. She also had a loud pop Bangla music in the bottom part of her rickshaw, which while driving she was singing along with the singer. Throughout the way, the reactions of pedestrians were very different – some were strangely staring at us from behind their fancy cars, while some were giving us thumbs up, claps and whistles! Yet, most of the pedestrians were angrily shouting at her to turn off the music by calling her “Pagal Nari” which means insane woman. Since she was dressed in a full black hijab, the locals were expecting her to behave the way a Muslim modest woman meant to act, but I feel by now she got used to the life that she is experiencing in her regular basis. That night I kept thinking about her free-spirited nature and her courageous attitude in an obvious patriarchal environment, where even playing music has a lot to do with our faith and belief system. Indeed, the music itself has to go through many ups and downs in a male-centered society.

Comments 8

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Olutosin
Apr 10, 2018
Apr 10, 2018

Wow, I raising all my fingers up for Jasmine. My thumbs are not enough. What a brave woman. I love her spirit.
Thanks so much for sharing with us.

Aziza Roshani
Apr 10, 2018
Apr 10, 2018

Thank you very much for reading it!

Jill Langhus
Apr 11, 2018
Apr 11, 2018

Hi Aziza. Thanks for sharing this awesome story with us. Yay Jasmine! Will you see her again? Maybe you could tell her to join WP. I want to hear her stories, for sure:)

Aziza Roshani
Apr 11, 2018
Apr 11, 2018

Thank you, Jlangus! if we see again, I would surely tell her :)

Jill Langhus
Apr 12, 2018
Apr 12, 2018

Great:) Have a good one!

Adeola Samuel
Apr 11, 2018
Apr 11, 2018

Interesting story, that speaks volume. Happy to read this. Thats greatness spirit, Jasmine is unstoppable for sure.

Aziza Roshani
Apr 11, 2018
Apr 11, 2018

Thank you, Adeola! <3

Adeola Samuel
Apr 11, 2018
Apr 11, 2018

You are welcome Aziza