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Indore

Updated on: Saturday, February 22, 2020, 08:48 PM IST

Indore’s first female traffic warden and former actor Nirmala Pathak passes away

Pathak managed traffic on city roads for more than 22 years, that is, till 2018 when she met with an accident.
Nirmala Pathak with Shahrukh Khan | Sunil Agrawal

Nirmala Pathak with Shahrukh Khan | Sunil Agrawal

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Indore: City’s traffic warden Nirmala Pathak, 94, died here on Saturday. Her last rites were performed at Malwa Mills cremation ground. A large number of social activists and traffic policemen attended her funeral while chief minister Kamal Nath paid tributes to her in a tweet.

Pathak managed traffic on city roads for more than 22 years, that is, till 2018 when she met with an accident. A paralytic attack followed, which weakened her physically.

When women of her age were relaxing at home with their grandchildren, Nirmala stood on roads around MTH Compound, Shastri Bridge, Regal Square for hours to streamline vehicular movement under searing sun. One could see her doing same during rain or in chilly winter.

She was not a traffic cop but an honorary member popularly referred to as traffic police warden.

An actor too

Born on August 12, 1926, in a Maharashtrian family in Sikh Mohalla, she was married into a well-known family of Indore at the age of 12. However, the marital bliss lasted only for few years. In a bid to support her family, Nirmala moved to Mumbai and shared screen space with famous Bollywood actors like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Natraj Gopikishan and others.

She worked as a dancer, stunt artist and duplicate in movies like Khuiya Mail, Jadui Chirag, Aai Milan Ki Bela etc. She also acted in Marathi plays. When she could not support her family and make her ends meet in film industry, she took up the job of delivering film reels on a bicycle. This earned her sobriquet, 'Cyclewali Bai.'

Later, she took up traffic management on voluntary basis in Mumbai and worked for 20 years. In 1993, she returned to Indore. After watching chaos on roads, she started serving as traffic warden.

Won over 200 awards

She had met eminent people including former prime minister Indira Gandhi, Balasaheb Thackeray, actor Shahrukh Khan and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Nirmala received about 250 awards, trophies, medals, certificates for social service. Indore's Mashwara Welfare Society founder Asita Sharma has instituted Nirmala Pathak Award in her memory. It is to recognise Nirmala's contribution in improving city’s traffic management.

CM pays tribute

Chief minister Kamal Nath paid tribute to Nirmala Pathak through a tweet. “The news of demise of traffic warden Nirmala Pathak is saddening. I pray to Almighty to give strength to her family to bear the loss,” he tweeted.

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Published on: Saturday, February 22, 2020, 08:32 PM IST
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