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Born to drive, 71-year-old Mani Amma of Kerala has licence for 11 types of vehicles

Taking driving a new level, 71-year-old Radhamani Amma in 2021 got the hazardous goods transportation licence

When it comes to breaking the glass ceiling, Radhamani Amma of Kerala’s Thoppumpady, has made it a habit. The 71-year-old grandmother who is fondly called Mani Amma, has taken driving skill to another level as she enjoys the singular distinction of being the only woman in India to hold a licence to drive vehicles in 11 different categories.

As per a report in CarToq.com her licence allows her to drive both transport and non-transport vehicles. Along with light motor vehicles she can drive heavy ones like buses, lorries, and trucks, and also vehicles which have been the exclusive domain of men like JCBs, cranes, road rollers, forklifts, trailers, and excavators, among others.

Interestingly, she started driving when she was 30 years old and the vehicle was a car. She was motivated by her husband T.V. Lal, who insisted on her learning to drive. Incidentally, her husband started a driving school in Kochi in 1978.

It was unusual for women back then to master driving lorries and buses but she remained unfazed and even learnt to operate construction equipment vehicles acquiring licenses for each one of them. “Back then, people were very curious and surprised to see a woman driving a heavy vehicle.”

Going beyond learning driving, she took over the driving school to support her family after the demise of her husband in 2004 in an accident, and today she is helped by her children.

Not resting on her laurels, in 2021 she received the hazardous goods transportation licence while in 1988 she got her first bus and truck driver’s licence.