42-year-old Shahana Begum lives in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. After losing her husband 17 years ago, she has repeatedly witnessed the struggles Indian women face on a day-to-day basis in a patriarchal society.
Popularly known as the 'Bandookwali Chachi' (aunt with a gun), Shahana carries a gun and confronts anyone who tries to eve-tease, sexually assault, or hurt a woman or girl in her neighbourhood. She told Daily Mail, "My gun is now my second husband... No man dares trouble a woman in my district nowadays... They know I will shoot them. I protect the women of my society like a mother and it is the responsibility of every mother to safeguard her children."
In 2013, Shahana helped bring justice to a girl who was raped for two days by three men. She handed the criminals to the police and forced them to accept the report. The main offender, however, later married the victim and went scot-free.
The women in her neighourhood look up to Shahana in times of need and feel free to approach her with their problems. Shahana, a mother of four children, is the first person women approach when they face domestic violence or any other form of insecurity or threat from men, reports Patrika.