By Haziq Qadri @haziq_qadri

A YOUNG woman is challenging gender stereotypes in India by riding the streets of New Delhi on a motorbike

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Videographer / director: Shams Qari
Producer: Haziq Qadri, Ruby Coote
Editor: James Thorne

Roshni Misbah is questioning why women riding a motorbike isn't the norm in India

Roshni Misbah has been turning heads as she speeds past on her CBR Repsol and Royal Enfield bikes wearing a leather jacket, high heels and a headscarf. 

Riding a motorbike isn’t the regular mode of transport for women in India, but Roshni has had a passion for motorbikes since a young age - and she wants to encourage a more female riding culture.

She said: "The riding culture for women in India is still new. In our society, its really hard to do something out of the box. Why can’t we ride a bike? It was my passion and I am fulfilling it.”

The student turns heads when riding her CBR Respol and Royal Enfield around the streets of New Delhi

Recently dubbed the ‘Hijabi Biker,’ the 22-year-old student strongly expresses that her choice to wear a hijab has no relevance to her motorcycling. 

She said: “My bike riding has nothing to do with my Hijab. Lets not mix the two things. I have been dubbed as Hijabi Biker just because I cover my head.

“Hijab is a part of my culture and it’s also my choice to wear it. It can never become a problem for me."

Roshni's passion for motorbikes stems from her father's enthusiasm for bikes

Roshni was 14-years-old when she rode a bike for the first time, with her interest in motorcycling stemming from her bike-enthusiast father.

She said: “I always wanted to ride heavy bikes. It was my passion and for the last six months, I am making it real.

“My dad is a bike enthusiast. So it’s already in my genes. It’s in my blood. Since childhood I have been travelling with my dad on a Royal Enfield. That was fascinating and I too wanted to ride one.”

Roshni said: "The riding culture for women in India is still new. In our society, its really hard to do something out of the box. Why can’t we ride a bike? It was my passion and I am fulfilling it”

But despite her father’s encouragement, other members of Roshni's family were harder to convince.

She said: “My mother was scared of all this. She wasn’t happy with bike riding. But then she gave a thumbs up and I am riding a bike now.

“My uncle objected to the idea. He would ask my father why he had given the permission - 'This is a men’s job.' But my father supported me all the time.”

The feminist is studying Arab Islamic Culture at Jamia Millia Islamia and has already gained positive recognition from her peers.

The 22-year-old has been riding since she was 14
The feminist wants to encourage more women to ride

She said: “All my friends are very, very supportive and all of my girlfriends want to learn to motorcycle and so I’ve started to teach them."

Fellow student, Muzzammil Malik, said: “I know Roshni like everyone else in the college. She is very famous and we all feel proud of her.

“Whether it’s Roshni or any other girl. We don’t need to be startled by such a thing. Its good to let Roshni follow her dreams.

"I also ride a bike and she rides better than me.”

Peers have dubbed Roshni has the 'Hijabi Biker'

Another student, Zoya Khan, said: "I’ve seen her riding her bike around and when I went home my father had bought a newspaper article and said, ‘This girl is from your college!’ 

"I said, ‘Yes, I have seen her and I want to learn to ride a bike too.' And my father said, ‘Yes, go ahead and learn.'"

Roshni is a part of a all-female biking group in Delhi called Bikerni. 

She said: “Bikerni is an all woman group. They ride for women empowerment, for education, for everything that is related to women and girls.

Roshni is part of the all-female biker group Bikerni

“I want all other girls who are passionate about riding bikes to join us and come out of the box. It’s not a sin to ride a bike.”

Roshni has become an inspiration to many girls in Delhi and now wants to be a professional biker and get into superbike racing.

She added: “Before motorcycling, I was going through some really bad times, but since I got on to the motorcycle my life, my mentality, everything has changed. 

She is now teaching her girlfriends how to ride motorbikes

"The way I have started looking at the world is very different now. 

“When I am on the bike, I feel like I have got wings.”