The recent release of Netflix seriesGunjan Saxena starring Jhanvi Kapoor and Pankaj Tripathi in the lead is all about the real-life inspiring story of the Flight lieutenant Gunjan Saxena. She isthe first Indian Air Force woman who went to war.
WHO IS GUNJAN SAXENA?
Born in Lucknow into an Army family, she was among the 25 women who joined the Indian Air Force, notably this was also the first batch of women air force trainees for the IAF. Both her father and brother served in the army. In 1994, her first posting was in Udhampur where she had to face many gender-based challenges like adapting to make-shift changing rooms until new ones were built. But according to Gunjan, her male counterparts accepted the situation faster then she expected.
ROLE DURING KARGIL WAR
Flight lieutenant Gunjan Saxena created history at the age of 24, during the Kargil war, in 1999, when she flew a Cheetah aircraft as a flying officer, into the combat zone and rescued many soldiers. As part of Operation Vijay, she was asked to fly in Srinagar during the Kargil war to evacuate the wounded soldiers. Apart from evacuation, she also helped the troops in transporting supplies in the areas of Dras and Batalik. She was the only female pilot ( out of 10 pilots) based in Srinagar that flew hundreds of sorties, evacuating around 900 injured soldiers including those who were killed. Gunjan was the only woman who served in the Kargil war. After serving the IAF for seven years, she retired in 2004.
She was honoured with the honorable Shaurya Vir award for her courage and bravery during the Kargil war. She is popularly known as the Kargil girl. She made her domain in a man’s world with her courage and has inspired many women to pursue careers in the field majorly dominated by the men.