She is Shakti - Rebel girls who changed our world!
Shakti- we all believe in it and know that it can move mountains.
The feminine is worshiped and celebrated in India like nowhere else and this is the time we see it peak and blossom in every home and city in India.
Durga Puja and Dussehra are a time to celebrate different forms of the feminine and we pay homage to nine women who are the epitome of Shakti.
Each one has done something no other has done before. They have broken glass ceilings and battered stereotypes. They have blazed new trails and defied nay-sayers.
See what shakti is capable of when she sets her mind to it.
Arunima Sinha: A story of triple the courage and strength
Being a national level Volleyball player is in itself an honour and an achievement that requires hard work, practice, strength and dedication.
But what if you are a player who resisted a robbery on a train?
Its not for everyone, but Arunima had steel in her spine and could not meekly give in to robbers.
Incensed at being foiled, the robbers pushed her out of a moving train.
The resulting injuries left her with a broken hip and leg which eventually had to be amputated.
Most people would have rested on their laurels as a national level player and a heroine of a foiled robbery, but Arunima was made of sterner stuff.
Her inner shakti led her to take on one of the toughest challenges of the world and she trained for and conquered Mount Everest.
The first women amputee to do so!
Today young Arunima is not just a national icon and a Padma Shri awardee, but also a brand ambassador for the Swachh Bharat abhiyan and General Thimayya National Academy of adventure.
Dr S. I. Padmavati: A heartwarming tale of dedication.
During World War 2 young Padmavati fled from Burma to India so that she could become a doctor.
She studied medicine when there were very few doctors in the country and women rarely even set foot outside the home.
Having studied at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University, Padmavati returned to India and pioneered many new ideas.
Dr. Padmavati has many firsts to her credit:
She founded the first cardiac clinic and cath lab at the Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi.
She initiated India’s first Doctorate of Medicine in Cardiology
She set up cardiology departments at the prestigious Maulana Azad Medical College, GB Pant Hospital, and many more
She is the founder of the All India Heart Foundation, Delhi.
She sees patients 12 hours a day for five days a week even now.
She speaks Hindi, Tamil, Burmese, a smattering of German and French besides Telugu and Mayalayam.
She swims and goes for long walks even now at age 101.
Sharada Ugra: Playing the game by her own rules.
Debuting into her chosen profession at the same time as Sachin Tendulkar, she jokes that she had no role models.
Starting with Ranji match reporting, she boldly went where no Indian women had gone before. The press box at matches was a sacred bastion of men commentating and she broke into the box to commentate alongside.
Sharda, who is a senior editor with Cricinfo and ESPN India, was on such unbroken ground that even finding a toilet for women was not easy when she started out, so dominated was her field by men.
A self confessed sports fan, she chose to bring the games to millions when she realized she was not meant to play them. She has inspired many to follow suit.
Avani Chaturvedi: Flying in on the wings of fire
Avani is India's first female fighter pilot.
Hailing from a small town in Madhya pradesh, Avani belongs to a military family and has several members in the armed forces, including her own brother.
Not content to rest on her laurels, she also went on to be the first woman pilot of the Indian Air Force to complete a solo flight on a MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft.
She is a computer engineer and completed her B tech before joining the Airforce. Today she is an inspiration to many young women and is poised to fly higher than ever.
Harshini Kanhekar: From fighter pilots to fire fighters we have shakti in many forms.
Harshini Joined the national fire Service College in the face of her parents apprehension.
As the only woman there, she asked for no concessions and picked up the heaviest equipment and did the hardest drills in order to prove that women are no less when it come to courage and strength.
Upon graduation, she joined the Oil and natural Gas Company and today is a Deputy Manager fire services.
Harshini has been part of several rescue operations and has saved many during floods, wild life attacks and fires. From an all girls college in Nagpur to the fire stations has been a dream come true for Harshini.
Sumukhi Suresh: Ushering change through laughter
From a kabbadi player who loves rap, to a ten year old who is generally snarky at the world, Sumukhi plays a host of characters to make the world laugh. A rarity on the comedy scene mostly populated by men, Sumukhi is already creating waves in the industry.
She creates her own content and loves making people laugh. Mistakes help you create best, is her motto. In a place like Mumbai where celebrities are a common sight, Sumukhi gets recognized on buses and trains and is making a place for herself as a pioneer.
Roshni Misbah. She rides into your hearts with her attitude.
Roshni is an avid biker who zooms about town on a badass monster bike.
If you think riding a motor-cycle needs strength, you would be right and Roshni has just that strength which shines out of her helmet and hijab.
Not for her the rides on the pillion or something light and dainty or even stable and staid. Roshni loves her bikes and often rides to the rescue of those in need of role models and training to ride.
She has worked with NGO's in order to encourage other young women to follow their dreams and leave all others biting the dust.
Seema Rao: If you think women commandos are a rare breed, what do you think about a woman commando trainer?
Meet Seema Rao, a commando trainer with over 18 years experience.
Several international awards populate her life scape and she is an expert combat shooting instructor, an Army mountaineering institute HMI medalist, and a 7th degree Blackbelt in military martial arts.
She is one of a handful of instructors in the world authorized to teach Jeet Kune do, a martial art. As a Mrs India World beauty pageant finalist, she is as graceful as she is strong.
Dr Tessy Thomas: She launched rockets and firmly shattered the glass ceiling in the field of well, rocket science!
The first woman to head an Indian missile project, Tessy Thomas could have been anything she wished to be and chose missile science and the DRDO to work with.
With a PhD and an MBA firmly under her belt, Tessy joined DRDO and worked closely with Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam and has gone on to create history.
She has several national and international awards and has been awarded doctorates from 5 different universities for her pioneering work in missiles proving that she is shakti and can ride rockets to make dreams come true.
So, get inspired by these trail blazers this Dussehra.
Find the fire within and let it burn bright! Resolve to live to the fullest and find the shakti within us and help litlle girls in our lives.
Every little girl is shakti. If these trailblazers could find their niche, so can she.
A Happy Puja to you and yours!