Those of us who have met women from India know that they are capable of accomplishing anything. This week was simply further proof of that, as the world witnessed the toppling of barriers for International Women’s Day and the start of Women’s History Month.
Air India on March 8 executed an extraordinary and unprecedented feat: completing the longest possible commercial flight, a 17-hour jaunt from New Delhi to San Francisco with an all-female crew in the air and on the ground, encompassing the pilots and cabin crew all the way to the check-in staff and baggage handlers. This is a new record in the aviation industry, and one that women (and men) everywhere can be proud of regardless of background.
This great news was followed by another aerospace-oriented announcement of a more martial kind. The Indian Air Force (IAF), for the first time, is inducting female fighter pilots into action this June as part of the next fighter pilot class. Until now, female IAF pilots were relegated to other roles such as helming helicopters and cargo planes. But Bhuwana Kanth, Mohana Singh, and Avani Chaturvedi will be the first to shatter this glass ceiling on their way to the sky.
“They will be treated as fighter pilots rather than women pilots,” air chief marshal Arup Raha told NDTV.
Congratulations are in order to Air India and the Indian Air Force, two government organizations that have seen their fair share of problems lately, but who are flying in the right direction this week.
And the nation of India, which the world has come to know as a sweltering hotbed of battered and gang-raped women preyed upon daily by disgusting men in a culture run amok, has made a few baby steps toward becoming a civilized global power. There is still a very long way to go- but also hope.
Kudos are most of all in order to the ladies who are paving the way for future generations to aim for nothing less than the sky. I have perhaps become as emotional writing this piece as any in the last 3 years. We are humbled and inspired, and have some hope for the future now in an environment of seemingly endless bad news.
Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor