The inspiring story of Rekha, India's first and only licensed fisherwoman

15th Dec 2017
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When KC Rekha fell in love with Karthikeyan, she had to fight the caste system with no support from either family. In the 20 years since, she has fought against plenty of taboos and social stigmas and stands strong as the first and only fisherwoman in India.

The couple hails from Thrissur, Kerala where the family's primary mode of income is from fishing. But 10 years ago, Karthikeyan could not go fishing as his deckhand quit and they did not have the money to recruit a new one. Out of necessity, Rekha decided to be her husband's deckhand.

Though Karthikeyan stood by her, people in the Chettuva village did not approve of it. They believed that a woman's place is in the shore praying for her husband and men in the family to come back safe from the sea.

That did not stop Rekha as she braved not just the sea but also sea sickness so that she and her husband together can bring food to home and take care of their four daughters. In an interview with Manorama, she said,

"The first time I went out on the boat, I was doubling over with nausea. I just lay on the floor of the boat exhausted and wondering if this was going to work at all.”

With time, Rekha has gotten good at what she is doing, be it laying the net or understanding habits of fishes. Talking about her to Hindustan Times, her husband said,

“She is better than me in doing that. She can give you lessons on the habits and paths of fish such as sardine, tuna, mackerel and sea bass.”

Eventually, the villagers have also come to terms with having a fisherwoman in their village. Rekha was felicitated by The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) few months back and she also holds the first fisherwoman's licence and the only one that the country had to issue so far.

Image Credit - Hindustan Times


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