Sarla Thakral, first Indian woman to soar high in the sky!!

Sarla Thakral, first Indian woman to get a pilot license

Sarla  Thakral, first woman to get flying licence-1936.

'' 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.''
                                     .........Sheryl Sandberg

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.  

Sarla Thakral
 That her husband P. D. Sharma had 9 pilots in the family gave inspiration to Sarla to look skyward. Her husband was the first Indian to get airmail pilot’s license and flew between Karachi and Lahore. Further, her family was supportive of her passion for flying. She successfully completed one thousand hours of flying in the aircraft owned by the Lahore Flying Club. Unfortunately, her career objective to become a professional pilot could not materialise owing to the sudden demise  of her young husband when she was  barley 39 years old and further, World War II broke out and flying was suspended. So, she returned to Lahore, and joined the Mayo School of Art where she had training in the Bengal school of painting and obtained a diploma in fine arts. Though she was in a tough situation with the loss of her husband, she never had lost her spirit  to succeed in other fields. Back in Delhi, undaunted by the sudden change in her life, she took keen interest is such fields as painting and designing for the national School of Drama, costume jewelry making, sari designs, etc  and made a mark in her vocation. Her many breath-taking, colorful designs including wonderful calligraphy won the admiration of her customers.  She found happiness and peace of mind in whatever she was doing and according to her that attitude helped her surmount several crises in her life.

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.