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Mehrunnisa Shukat Ali: India’s first lady bouncer who employs 2500 women

Bouncer Mehrunissa (Left) with Laxmi, famous acid attack survivour on whose life film Chappak featuring Deepika Padukone is based on

Born in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Mehrunnisa Shaukat Sheikh is India’s first female bouncer who employs about 2500 people in her Delhi-based company Mardaani Bouncer and Dolphin Security Service Private Limited.

Speaking with Awaz-The Voice, Mehrunnisa said, “My childhood in a conservative Muslim family was not like that of most Muslim girls. My father did not want the girls of the house to study as he was afraid that if they get educated, they will do what they want.”

Mehrunnisa, 36, was born as the third among seven siblings. She faced poverty from the very beginning as her’s was a large family with limited income. Her mother wanted the girls to be educated and she fought with her husband and get Mehrunnisa and her sisters enrolled in Islamia Girls School.

Mehrunissa with colleagues

Mehnnisa graduated in Hindi Honours from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut.

Speaking on the phone, Mehrunnisa said that after her father’s business suffered losses, he suffered a heart attack. He was shifted to Delhi for treatment. It was here that Mehrunnisa saw a male bouncer for the first time. She took the bouncer as an Army man and she too wanted to join the Army.

Mehrunnisa came to Delhi in 2003. At that time, bouncers were not offered permanent jobs. There was no concept of female bouncers. At an event, Mehrunnisa asked a male bouncer for a job. Seeing Mehrunnisa’s physique, he hired her.

For the next five years, Mehrunnisa traveled daily from Saharanpur to Delhi without informing her family to work as a female bouncer in events. She received Rs 250 as daily wages. Soon Mehrunnisa was working in the high end Hauz Khas of South Delhi.

Mehrunnisa  gets an award

A journalist noticed Mehrunnisa and he wrote about India’s first female bouncer who provides security to women at clubs and events.

Mehrunnisa opened a company named Mardani Bouncer and Dolphin Security Service Private Limited in 2010. She wanted to change the perception about and the working conditions of women bouncers.

She had experienced that, male bouncers do not treat women with dignity and at par. As the bouncers’ job is mostly at night, female bouncers are always worried about their security. The owners of companies do not provide ‘pick up’ and ‘drop off’ facilities to them.

She said earlier, lady bouncers were referred to as guards. “I protested at this and this led to the women being called lady bouncers.”

Mehrunissa with women pilots

She says she wants to get due recognition, dignity, and remuneration for the lady bouncers.

“Through ‘Mardaani Bouncer’ I want to train the lady bouncers in martial arts so that they can protect themselves and the women better. Most of the lady bouncers have no martial arts training.”

Mehrunnisa says, “There are a lot of difficulties in running the company right now. Some big people don’t want my company to grow because of the inherent bias against women. I have to struggle to find work for my trainees.”

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She received the country’s first bouncer award from Rani Mukherjee in the women’s program of Hindustan Times newspaper. The India Book of Records has also honored her as a female bouncer. Similarly, in 2021, Mehrunnisa was honored by Swati Maliwal, former Women’s Commission Chairperson in the Kejriwal government, as the country’s first female bouncer

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