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Flying High & Steady…

Many Many Congratulations: Shivangi Swaroop… not only for becoming the first female pilot in the Indian Navy, but also for giving some respite to the people of India who were shell-shocked after receiving news related to rapes and murders one after another in the last few weeks! The gang-rapes and brutal murders of some young girls in different parts of the South Asian country have shocked the entire nation in recent times. In such an atmosphere, the news of Shivangi has brought some relief and joy… her story proves that the Indian girls not only be in the news by being tortured, but also by achieving new feats! The Indian girls had done it in the past. However, some tragic incidents have erased those sweet memories in recent times. Shivangi’s success reminds us of the past glory, yet again.

Shivangi with her mother.jpg
Shivangi with her mother

Shivangi’s rank is an important one in the Indian Navy, as the newly-appointed Sub-Lieutenant will be flying the Dornier Surveillance Aircraft. Her main duty will be to conduct surveillance in border areas from the sky and to rescue injured soldiers, if necessary. So, Shivangi will have to face a tough challenge. It is a matter of pride for her, as she has been entrusted to ensure the national security. It is a matter of reckoning also because despite the bright presence of young ladies in other fields, their presence in the Indian Armed Forces is still significantly lower!
The ratio of young ladies joining the Indian Navy is less than 6%. Till 1992, young ladies were recruited in the Navy for providing medical care only. Later, the Naval Forces allowed young ladies to join some of its special units! Still, the Navy had no female pilot before Shivangi. And most importantly, no woman has ever had the opportunity to work onboard naval ships. The Navy argues that the naval ships do not have the facility so that young ladies can fly directly from ships. The aircraft that Shivangi would be operating is capable of taking off and landing from the coast! It means the Indian Armed Forces are yet to create a conducive environment for the young ladies to work.

Bhawana Kanth.jpg
Bhawana Kanth

So, Shivangi’s journey, so far, has not been so easy. Bhawana Kanth’s job was not easy, either! Kanth is one of the first female fighter pilots of India. She was declared as the first Combat Pilot, along with two of her cohort, Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi. The trio was inducted into the Indian Air Force Fighter Squadron in June 2016. It seems that the Indian Armed Forces are slowly changing their attitude towards women! This changing attitude helps young ladies to find their places inside the fighter jet cockpit. Indeed, it is a great attainment in a country ridden by gender discrimination.

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