Bharathi Veerath made headlines as India's female Uber driver in 2013. Yesterday, she was discovered dead at her residence in the city of Bengaluru, in a suspected case of suicide.

A school dropout, the 39-year-old was one of the first female licensed taxi driver in India. Bharathi's life story was one of determination and courage. She had moved to Bengaluru from her home town in the neighbouring state of Telangana in 2005. Initially working as a tailor, she joined an nonprofit where she learnt how to drive. Bharathi then went on to get a driving licence and a job at an all-female cab service Angel City Cabs. When she joined Uber in 2013, she became the company's first cab driver in India.

Her persistence led her to raise a loan to purchase her own car, a Ford Fiesta, in 2014. She also famously drove one of India's most celebrated female corporate leaders, Biocon CEO Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw in 2014.

"We are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bharathi Veerath. Bharathi was a positive person and one of our top female driver partners. She was an inspiration to many driver partners and riders. Our thoughts are with her family." an Uber spokesperson said.

Bharathi was one of the earliest women to break the barriers in a largely male-dominated profession. Last year, Uber and its Indian rival Ola announced plans to employ and train thousands of female cab drivers in the country.

The city police is still investigating the cause of the suicide, and say that Bharathi planned to return to her hometown and had told her employer she would stop working.

Published by General Olomu