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|Sarla Thakral, first woman to get flying licence-1936. www.tribuneindia.com|
'' We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents, and interests.''
Considered as a weaker section of the society, particularly, in the rural places, growing up as a woman in the bygone days in British India was a tough one. Strangely, in this society, woman is worshiped as the Goddess - symbol of prosperity, courage, wisdom and compassion. In the Hindu Pantheon, there are so many Goddesses characteristic of those qualities and at temples more men of all ages than women prostrate before the goddess and pay for the welfare of their family. Yet at home,the situation was diagonally opposite; the women were relegated to the backstage when it came to important decision making.Of course, there were many exceptions to this gender discrimination. Overall the society was conservative and women were not on par with men. But in reality, woman had to struggle to prove her worth in the society. In the last several decades, especially during freedom struggle, more and more women became bold, outspoken and exhibited their leadership quality in many fields. Some broke the barriers and won the admiration of the people. The British rule encouraged the Indian women to go to school and colleges and learn vocational skills.
The first Indian woman, dressed modestly in her sari to sit in the cockpit of a 'Gypsy Moth' amidst numerous strange gadgets, moving the joystick and taking the plane sky ward was one Sarla Thakral. Being a 21 year old woman with a 4 year old girl, Sarla took the honor of holding the first aviation pilot 'A’ grade license to fly an aircraft in 1936 during the raj. Thus she found a niche in the history of Indian aviation. Born in 1914 in Delhi, she got married at the age of 16 and when she got the covetous pilot license.
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Sarala showed to the Indian women that with courage, will-power and passion, they can enjoy sitting in the cockpit of a plane, in the middle of innumerable electronic gadgets and soar into the sky and play hide and seek with the nature's wonder - clouds, thus proving they are no way falling behind men in the realm of conquering the vast expanse of sky.