It’s amazing how there are so many things one takes for granted in a Hyundai. Tasteful, well put-together interiors, versatile engines. The driver-and passenger-centric philosophy of the manufacturer’s products shines through unfailingly in every little detail across their range, as it does today on a warm morning. We are in the all-new Hyundai i20 with the 1.0-litre Turbo GDi BS6 Petrol and 6-speed iMT, coasting along merrily on the road that leads out of town.
The all-new Hyundai i20’s 6-speed iMT brillantly complements the turbo-petrol engine and takes the stress out of city driving.
This journey of ours is a celebration of two journeys. The first among them is Hyundai’s own. This year marks the 25th year of the manufacturer’s operations in India, a period in which it has sold over 90 lakh cars and endeared itself to millions of our countrymen. Over the years, from the Santro, Accent, Verna, Creta, and Venue, it has launched several game-changers, which have made a significant difference to people’s lives. This series is also Hyundai Motor India’s way of acknowledging others who have impacted the lives of many positively, and another game-changer, the all-new Hyundai i20 with the 1.0-litre Turbo GDi BS6 Petrol and 6-speed iMT, is taking us to the HQ of the over-half-a-century-old Women’s India Trust (WIT), in Panvel, Maharashtra.
To know more about the WIT, one has to travel back to 1918, the year Kamila Tyabji was born. Tyabji’s father, Faiz Badruddin Tyabji, was the chief justice of Mumbai (then Bombay), and she is believed to be among the first Muslim women to go to Oxford where she read law. Tyabji, who had an impeccable taste in saris, would go on to establish a thriving practice in London, where she lived for 25 years. On a visit to India in the mid 1960s, Tyabji would travel to Bihar, which was at the time reeling under a famine, and help political leader and social activist Jayaprakash Narayan in relief efforts. The time she spent in Bihar and the apathy of the bureaucracy in the state and elsewhere in the country drove her towards working for women at the grassroots level. When she returned to Bombay, she set up the WIT, in Panvel, in 1968. “She put in a fair bit of her own money to set it up. Her idea was to train unskilled and marginalised women and help them become financially secure,” says Dhanoo Khusrokhan, the current chairperson of the WIT. Tyabji, who passed away in 2004, started off by teaching women from underprivileged backgrounds to stitch petticoats for saris, and steadily added other vocational skill-enhancing programmes to prepare them for opportunities that arose in the ensuing decades.
WIT runs several vocational skill-enhancing programmes such as block and screen printing and jam making.
Farsightedness, being future-ready, and delivering the latest tech to customers is also a very Hyundai India attribute. For the last 25 years, the manufacturer has always ensured that the latest models and technologies are accessible to Indian customers, and this has been a major factor in its success here. Take the Hyundai i20, for instance. Several experts have spoken highly of this premium hatchback ever since it was launched late last year. This attractive Hyundai, like all other products from the manufacturer, sets the benchmark in many respects. It has the longest wheelbase in its class; you won’t find a bigger touchscreen around than its intuitive 10.25-inch unit; and it’s got every creature comfort customers would possibly want: Onboard Oxyboost air-purifier with air-quality indicator? Check. Advanced Blue Link connected vehicle system? Of course! Bose Premium Sound System? Yes, sir! The bells and whistles list is a long one, and its refined and responsive 120hp turbo-petrol engine is an effortless customer that makes both scything through rush-hour traffic and cruising on the highway a breeze.
City, backroads, highways — the all-new Hyundai i20 Turbo iMT is a revelation.
And then there is the iMT or Intelligent Manual Transmission that takes convenience to another level. For those who come in late, the iMT is a ‘clutchless manual’ — a manual gearbox but without a clutch pedal. So, while gear changes are still achieved via the gear lever, you don’t have a clutch pedal to modulate. And that, in case you’ve never had an opportunity to experience this revolutionary tech, is a liberating feeling. You’ll find commuting to be much less of a chore, drive across town to meet your friends more often and you’ll find rush hour to be way less stressful than it used to be. How does it work? Hyundai’s iMT technology features a Transmission Gear Shift (TGS) Lever with an Intention Sensor, Hydraulic Actuator, and Transmission Control Unit. The system has been designed to offer a seamless drive experience by incorporating a cohesive logic between various components of the manual transmission, achieving smooth gear shifts without the need to mechanically operate the clutch pedal. The two-pedal system, Hyundai India says, enhances convenience “without compromising on fuel efficiency and performance”. The 6-speed iMT in our i20 enlivened our drive, admirably complementing the capabilities of the turbo-petrol engine and playing its part in making the car an agile, immensely manoeuvrable urban warrior.
The organisation also teaches tailoring, embroidery, and toy making to underprivileged women.
The Women’s India Trust, located in a leafy lane, is housed in a building that doesn’t call out for attention. But inside, even though parts of it are being renovated, one can sense the hum of activity, all of it adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. Kamila Tyabji may have started out by teaching marginalised women to stitch petticoats, but over the years, she also made sure they went beyond that. Today, the WIT has a food processing unit that makes jams, marmalades and chutneys that are sold in several department stores across the city and elsewhere; and there are yet more departments that focus on screen printing, tailoring, toy making, and block printing. The products made by the women — from bedspreads and quilts to rugs and towels — are retailed at its centres and stores in Tardeo and Mahim, besides Panvel. WIT’s other interventions include setting up nursing (auxiliary nursing and midwifery course) and pre-school teachers’ training schools, a kindergarten centre for local children, a daycare centre, and a girls’ hostel. “Helping women become financially independent is an imperative, and we’ve had thousands of women pass through our gates. And to touch people’s lives in a positive manner is an immensely satisfying journey,” says Khusrokhan. That’s something Hyundai India will identify with.
WIT has been conducting the auxiliary nursing and midwifery course since 1983.
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