People in the Indian state of Telangana are in awe of a mother
Her elder son, Nizamuddin, was stranded in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh after the Indian government announced a sudden nationwide lockdown during the last week of March.
With public transport shut and no means to ensure his safety, the mother decided to undertake an incredible journey of more than 1,500km on her scooter that lasted three days.
The gritty woman, Razia Sultana — who is named after Raziya al-Din, the first female Muslim ruler of South Asia during the 12th century — was determined to bring her 19-year-old son home at any cost.
She rode for about 1,600km for her son, half of it alone passing through half a dozen villages.
The 48-year-old woman is the head teacher at a government school
Like the over 1.3 billion people there, the sudden lockdown announcement caught both the mother and son unaware, leaving them separated after state borders were ordered sealed to stop any movement.
He was stuck in Nellore town, about 800km away from home in Bodhan, where his mother lived together with her two other children, younger son Yasar and daughter Ayesha, according to The Hindu.
After attempts to bring him back in a transport truck failed, a distraught but determined Razia decided to set out for Nellore herself on her scooter, reported a local newspaper, Telangana Today.
She sought permission from the state police, following which they issued a letter authenticating her identity and the reason for her travel
Razia then packed a few chapatis for the trip to Nellore that was going to take over 20 hours.
According to Telangana Today, she filled her scooter with five litres of petrol and left her home at 6am on Monday, 6 April, while using Google Maps on her mobile to help with directions.
Travelling through half a dozen villages, she took a break for a couple of hours at a police checkpost around the night of 7 April. She reached Nellore in the early hours of Tuesday, where she met her son.
The mother and son then set out for Bodhan on 7 April and reached home on the night of 8 April.
Throughout the trip, Razia rode the scooter herself and did not allow Nizamuddin to ride as she was worried about police checks en route and possible explanations to probing questions.
Razia has expressed her gratitude to the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh police for cooperating with her during her incredible journey
Meanwhile, the local newspaper reported friends and neighbours being amazed at Razia's courage, for undertaking a dangerous journey which involved her riding through vast empty roads of southern states.
For now — while India is gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, where the coronavirus has so far killed more than 200 people — Razia, a widow who lost her husband 14 years ago, is happy to have her son back safe.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Razia has one son. The story has since been updated to reflect the correct number of children she has.
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