A woman is an epitome of love, sacrifice, care and ability to nurture life. Gandhiji once said, ‘Intellectually, mentally and spiritually, woman is equivalent to a male and she can participate in every activity”.
India is very fortunate to have had numerous great women and their contribution to society in whole and to Women in particular is invaluable.
On this women’s day we remember the ‘First’ Indian woman, who achieved accolades and accomplishments in their respective fields.
Sarita Thakral (First Indian Women Pilot)
The first lady who pioneered a career in aviation cannot be forgotten. Sarla Thakral, was the first Indian woman to get an aviation pilot license and fly an aircraft. Thakral received the aircraft when she was just 21 years old. She also has achieved the title of the first Indian to get airmail pilot’s license.
Indira Gandhi (First Indian Woman Prime Minister)
The only child of the country’s first Prime Minister, Indira was destined for politics. After the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira becomes the head of Congress Party and thus Prime Minister of India. She was the first female head of government and served from 1966 to 1977. Indira Gandhi was named as the ‘Woman of the Millennium” in a poll organized by BBC in 1999. She also became the first woman to receive the ‘Bharat Ratna’ award.
Rita Faria Powell (First Indian Woman to win Miss World Pageant)
It was back in 1966 when Mumbai born model Reita Faria, won India its first glory at the Miss World Pageant. Faria was only 21 at that time when she not only becomes the first Indian to achieve the feat but also the first Asian to do so. After winning the pageant Faria bid the modelling world adieu and went on to complete her MBBS degree. Hence she becomes the first Miss World winner to qualify as a doctor.
Durga Bai Kamat (First Indian Female Actress)
Durgabai Kamat was the first female actress of Indian cinema. In the early 1900s, acting in the films or theatre was a taboo for women, so much so Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema had to use male actors to female role in the first Indian film, ‘Raja Harishchandra’. However the film’s success encouraged the female actress and thus he introduced Durgabai in 1913 in his second film ‘Mohini Bhasmasur’ as a leading lady. Interestingly her daughter, Kamalabai Gokhale (born as Kamalabai Kamat) played the role of Mohini, thus she became the first female child actress of Indian cinema.
Sushmita Sen (First Indian Woman to win Miss Universe Pageant)
An inspiration to today’s modern women, Sushmita Sen was the first Indian woman to win the ‘Miss Universe’ title in 1994. Sushmita then forayed into Bollywood and is known as an actor who speaks her mind and is not afraid to live life on her own terms. ‘Bold and beautiful’ is the phrase that truly describes her.
Kiran Bedi (First Woman IPS Officer)
Kiran Bedi is India’s first woman to join officer rank of the Indian Police Service. Bedi joined the service in 1972. Bedi after completing her training she was posted as the Sub-Divisional police officer at the Chanakyapuri police station in New Delhi and become the first woman in uniform to lead the all male contingent of the Delhi Police at the Republic Day Parade in 1975. Bedi was tough lady in all male bastions. Bedi is the current Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
Kalpana Chawla (First Indian Woman Astronaut in Space)
Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian woman who reached in space. As a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator, she went to space in 1997. A role model for many young women in India and around the world, Kalpana will always be remembered for her incredible journey from Karnal to NASA.
Bachendri Pal (First Indian Woman Mountaineer to climb Mount Everest)
In the year 1990, Bachendri Pal was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for her achievement as the first Indian woman mountaineer to climb the Mount Everest. Bachendri led the expeditions in 1993, 1994 and 1997 with a team conspiring of only women in ‘Indo-Nepalease Women’s Mount Everest Expedition’, ‘The Great Indian Women’s Rafting Voyage’ and ‘First Indian Women Trans-Himalayan Expedition’.
Prathiba Patil (First Indian Woman President)
Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the first woman President of India as well as the 12th President. Mrs Patil held office from July 2007 to July 2012. Pratibha Patil also served as the Governor of Rajasthan from 2004 to 2007.