The President of India, to mark the occasion of International Women's Day on March 8, decided to present seven women achievers the Nari Shakti Puraskar, which literally translates to 'woman power award'.
Unsurprisingly, among the seven women who made it to the list were the Indian Air Force's first-ever female fighter pilots: Flight Lieutenants Mohana Jitarwal, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth. Congratulations to these real-life heroes!
The three women were the first to be inducted into the squadron and took their solo flights in a MIG-21 in 2018. “We are very lucky that we have got an opportunity to fulfill our dreams because when we joined there was no option for women to join the fighters' team. Once we got our training staged we got the news that we would be allowed so I would like to say that the Air Force has supported us a lot to achieve our dreams,” Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi said to a news agency.
So what is it like to be one of India's first female fighter pilots? "Being a woman and first does not matter much, being a fighter pilot matters. There is no such thing as a difference between a male officer and a female officer. We share the same syllabus and all other amenities,” she said.
Watch the President present the award to the three leading ladies:
President Kovind presented the Nari Shakti Puraskar to Flt Lt Avani Chaturvedi, Flt Lt Bhawanna Kanth and Flt Lt Mohana Singh. They became the first Indian women fighter pilots to fly a MIG-21 Bison. #SheInspiresUs #WomensDay pic.twitter.com/bQwT0zDuks— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) March 8, 2020
Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth, who also received the award, said that flying the MIG-21 is a matter of pride for her. "I think that giving Puraskar is a way to inspire people and there are a lot of women who have got the award and it shows the efforts put by various women in the country," she said.
The news has come just about a month after the Supreme Court declared that women officers should be allowed to command posts in the army and given permanent commission. We're glad that the government is recognising women's efforts and contributions towards the country, and we hope this paves the way for more women to do the same.
Featured Image: PTI