Meet Delhi’s Roshni Misbah, a ‘Hijabi biker’ who is breaking stereotypes
22-year-old Roshni Misbah, a Honda CBR 250-riding Jamia student ’, is quickly acquiring a celebrity status in Delhi and on social media
This Honda CBR 250 cc rider attracts a lot of startled looks, particularly when she dismounts. Onlookers gape when they see her in a leather jacket, high heeled boots and head covered in hijab under the helmet.
This is 22-year-old Roshni Misbah, popularly known as ‘hijabi-biker’, who defines her own style, is quickly acquiring a celebrity status in Delhi and on social media.
Roshni, who studies Arab Islamic Culture at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, rode a bike for the first time when she was in the ninth standard.“Unlike many girls, I wanted to ride a bike rather than a scooty (gearless). I always had a passion for bikes and I am fulfilling it,” she told Hindustan Times.
After trying her hand on her friend’s and her father’s motorcycle for years, Roshni bought her first bike, Bajaj Avenger Cruiser 220, as soon as she got admission in Jamia. Apart from devoting her time and energy to her family business, she also did part-time jobs to save money for the bike. She saved more than half the cost of the bike while her father chipped in with the rest to help her buy her first motorcycle.
However, only five months later she sold her bike and upgraded to the legendary Royal Enfield 500 because she ‘loves its sound and feel’. And then her passion for a sports bike led her to acquire a Honda CBR.
Roshni, who comes from a conservative Muslim family, found her inspiration and support from her father. Her extended family did not approve her father’s decision to allow her to ride a bike.
“My uncles and everyone else would ask my father why he had given me a bike because it is not meant for girls, and even, who would marry me?”
But her father stood by her. “Let her follow her dreams. We trust her,” the girl from Ghaziabad quotes her father as having said.
Roshni says she is happy to break stereotypes, “It is sad that women are expected to only cook, get married and have children. This despite the fact that women are excelling in all the fields,” she said.
She is also part of several biking groups in Delhi, including ‘bikerni’, an all-female bikers’ group in Delhi. For Roshni, biking is not only about speed or flaunting her riding gear. She also undertakes social awareness campaign and participates in ‘cause rides’. Roshni said, “I never break the rules, I don’t do stunts. In fact I try to raise awareness on safe biking. And I always wear safety gear when I am on the road.”
Roshni has become a star and a source of inspiration to many girls.
“People recognize me on the road, I see students waving at me, I also wave at them.” In her college, she says, girls come up to her, to praise her and ask her to teach them how to ride a motorcycle.
However, this also has come up at a cost of criticism and her religion, which she finds amusing. “Hijab is very much a part of me. Religion is no hurdle, hijab is no hurdle for me. I pray five times a day, I practise my religion. But that doesn’t stop me from riding a bike. Hijab is part of my faith and culture. I study Arabic culture, and I read about so many women in West Asia moving ahead with their hijab. If they can do it, why can’t I?” she said.
Roshni urges women to follow their dreams, and since her biggest supporters have been her parents she also asks other parents to support their daughters in education and in pursuing their dreams.
Roshni wants do a PhD in Arab culture, help her father in the family business, and continue to drive motorcycles. She has already set her sights on her next steed, a Triumph rocket 2300 cc.
Author’s twitter handle is @rizviuzair