In the olden times it was difficult for an Indian girl to give wings to her dreams. Scenario in today’s India is much better but it was terrible in the olden days. At a time when women were fighting for equal status in the society being ODD meant being number ONE too. This was the case with the first lady pilot of India Sarla Thakral. The conservative culture of 1936 did not allow women to peruse career of their choice but this lady dared to do it, and the title with which she had herself crowned, now no one can take back from her.

Sarla Thakral as Pilot

She was born in 1914 in united Bharat and got married at a very early age of 16 to PD Sharma, first man to get airmail pilot license. His family had nine pilots and this gave a lot of support to Mrs. Sarla Sharma. She was determined internally and supported externally, basically the two major factors necessary to achieve any target in life.

Her new family supported her through out her training days and eventually she became the first Indian Lady to get, “A” license, after having accumulated more than 1,000 hours of flying. She had flown a Gipsy Moth solo from Lahore flying club.

Tragically, Captain Sharma died in an airplane crash in 1939. After some time, regaining her strength from the traumatic loss, the young widow applied to get trained for commercial pilot license, but World War II had begun and civil training was suspended. Waiting for her dream to get fully accomplished was now too hard for her as she had to raise a baby girl too, and to earn something for living. The Heartbroken mother went to Lahore and began training in Bengal School of Painting, to obtain a diploma in fine arts.

Sarla Thakral as Business Woman

After the Partition of India, she moved to Delhi from Lahore with her two daughters, where she met R. P. Thakral and married him in 1948. Sarla, also known as Mati, became a successful businesswoman, painter and began designing clothes and costume jewellery, for National School of Drama.

“I dabbled in designing costume jewellery, which was not only worn by the who’s who of that time, but also supplied it to Cottage Emporium for 15 years. After that, I took to block printing and the sarees designed by me were well sought after. This too continued for 15 years. Then I began designing for the National School of Drama and all along I kept painting.” – Sarla Thakral

Sarla represents the face of a new and confident Indian woman. She came as a fresh breeze of courage and determination, leaving hundreds inspired for generations.

She Died in 2008. Once she said in an interview when discussing about lessons from life:

“Always be happy. It is very important for us to be happy and cheerful. This one moto has seen me tide over the crisis in my life”.

One thought on “The 1st Indian Women to fly an Aircraft – Sarla Thakral

  1. When sincerity is in driver’s seat, even hurdles decorate the pathways…
    Could know something worth knowing…
    Thanks 👍

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