Noorjehan Dewan was not always the confident, brave leader that she is today. "I was too afraid to go out on my own, even to the bus stop," she admits. Noorjehan had always led a sheltered life, but when the Gujarat riots started, she jumped into the fray, helping with relief work, medical aid and more. Her work involved stepping out of her home and her comfort zone, meeting people, visiting police stations; in short, leading from the front on behalf of the victims of communal violence and exploitation, mainly women. Despite being mocked by neighbours, and on occasion, thrashed by her husband, she stuck it out.