Gunjan Saxena and Srividya Rajan. Names that most of the people of India have to forget. Names that is an inspiration to every Indian girl.
Names of India’s first women combat aviators who went all guns blazing into the heart of the war zone that was Kargil, eighteen years ago.
That time male-dominated armed force hesitate to let a female in the army, those females selected would also have to go that extra length to prove that they were not only qualified but as good as the men if not better in carrying out the assigned tasks. Saxena and Rajan were waiting for one such opportunity to shine, and they eventually got it when the war broke out with Pakistan in 1999 over Kargil.
The battle was tense and the army needed each and every pilot of theirs during the battle. The women pilots were called in, tasked with medical evacuations, supply drops and spotting Pakistani positions in the war zone. Not worrying about the fact that their tiny Cheetah helicopters were unarmed and completely defenseless to enemy attack, the two brave hearts continued flying in and out of the danger zone in North Kashmir. Apparently, in one of the attacks, the Pakistani Army fired a rocket at Gunjan’s chopper that was ready for take-off at the Kargil airstrip. The missile barely missed the chopper and crashed into the hill right behind. This was just one of the many near death experiences that Saxena and Rajan encountered, but it never slowed them down.
Like every other Indian soldier, they too were prepared to die for their country that day. Gunjan was carrying a fully loaded INSAS assault rifle and a revolver with her, in case they crash landed near the enemy base they would have gone down fighting. Talking to NDTV, she says it was the evacuation of the injured Indian Army soldiers that motivated her the most during the war.
“I think it is the ultimate feeling that you can ever have as a helicopter pilot. That was one of our main roles there – casualty evacuation. I would say it’s a very satisfying feeling when you save a life because that is what you’re there for”
Gunjan was awarded the Shaurya Vir Award, a gallantry award presented for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct enemy combat. She was also the first woman to receive such an honor from the army.
Source: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-10-things-that-every-Indian-should-know [Answer from , lives in New Delhi]