Why do we come to know about such high achievers only when they're approaching their 80s? They should be in textbooks inspiring generations of girls and boys. Padmavathy Bandopadhyay was the first female Air Marshall in the Indian Air Force. (1)
She broke so many glass ceilings but what I like most about her is the gratitude that she got all those opportunities rather than the "women's rights" approach that feminists have nowadays. I think this is truly the Hindu way. (2)
She dreams big then pushes and pushes until she gets what she wants while having faith in Bhagwan and acknowledging all the people who support her. Interviewers keep asking her what she feels about being the first woman to do this and that (3)
She says she was just doing her job and realized only much later that she was the first woman doing something.
It reminded me of how I realized one day that I was the first woman-engineer in my family (4)
Of course, going by my journey of decolonization and what I am finding out about India's educational heritage, I won't be surprised if female ancestors of mine were doing engineering design or project management. (5)
After all, Indian queens were leading water management projects even just a few centuries ago. They were making war strategies & fighting battles too. Not to forget ancient Brahmavadinis who debated their male counterparts or authored verses that are still chanted today (6)
Going back to Padmavathy ji she doesn't seem to have any ill-will towards the men who mocked or made assumptions about her abilities based on gender. She recounts how she was once not in her uniform but wearing a saree & driving her official car with the Indian flag. (7)
She was stopped by a security officer. When she told him that she was an air force officer, he said "Impossible, how can that be?" She showed him her identity card and commended him for doing his job of verification so diligently. What an attitude! (8)
I love that she and her husband were awarded the Vishisht Seva medal together - they were the first couple to be awarded at the same investiture ceremony. That reminds me of a Yajna in which husband and wife sit together to perform the rituals. (9)

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More from @singhsahana

26 Jan
Two years ago, when I was living in Singapore and sent this piece to the Straits Times, I was expecting a rejection. After all, they had rejected some of my earlier pieces. (1) straitstimes.com/opinion/indias…
But, in this article, I pointed out that in Singapore the ties with European colonising powers are remembered better than the deep-rooted influence of a non-colonising India (2).
I wondered why the Sanskrit name of Singapura did not evoke an image of the Sanskritic kingdoms centred in Indonesia, which were highly civilised and cultured. (3)
Read 8 tweets
10 Dec 20
In camps housing Pakistani Hindus that I visited in Delhi & Jodhpur in 2019, mostly there were people on visas waiting for the day when they could become Indian citizens. But in Jaisalmer, I saw another side which made me rather despondent. (1)
At Bhil Basti at Jaisalmer I came across some 1,000 Pakistani Hindu families living in pitiful conditions. A massive slum exists near a major international tourist destination like the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer & the inmates are all Pakistani Hindus! (2)
Many of the refugees became citizens in 2005 or later but still had not received any benefits in terms of water, electricity, education or employment. Their huts look so vulnerable and unprotected from the elements. (3)
Read 6 tweets
9 Dec 20
One year ago, I met this man who had fled from Pakistan after a targeted campaign was unleashed on Hindus as revenge against the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992-1993. His shop was set on fire. With his wife and children, he managed to reach Jodhpur and stayed with an uncle. (1)
Keeping his pride aside, he decided to sell sundry things from a reda (mobile cart). It was a hard life especially as he wasn’t from a poor family in Pakistan. Eventually he saved enough money to rent shop space. Today, he has 3 shops and is of course, an Indian citizen. (2)
From selling 200 Rs worth of goods in his reda he went to 50,000 Rs. “My advice for new refugees from Pakistan is they must work hard at any job and keep at it. My friends who were ready to stick on have done well; those who gave up & went back to Pakistan are regretting." (3)
Read 7 tweets
20 Nov 20
48 hours since I posted my article on Medium and it has 26K views - highest ever I got on Medium. It's mindboggling - the emails/messages I'm getting from people who wish to start their own gaushalas or contribute to Texas Gaushala. (1) medium.com/age-of-awarene…
Some say they broke down and cried while reading my article. Some want to simply drive down to Texas Gaushala. I have no idea how Abhinav or Pratibha are going to handle this flood - but I am sure Krishna will show them the way. (2)
Many non-Indians have appreciated & highlighted portions of the article which you can yourself see. These are people who recognize that the Vedic framework is so broad it goes beyond dichotomies of east-west, human-animal & every other dichotomy to embrace the whole universe (3)
Read 5 tweets
20 Nov 20
On World Toilet Day I am thinking of Ram Krishn Prasad the cab driver who drove me home from Delhi airport in 2018. He was such an amazing son of India that I requested him to come inside and allow me to record his message. (1)
How much he has learned by listening & observing even though he never went to school! He built a toilet for his house in the village at a total cost of 75,000 Rs. It's probably a twin pit latrine with pour-flush system. The stabilized waste is used as manure in the fields. (2)
Additionally, he made arrangements for grey water (bathwater, kitchen wastewater etc) to be filtered and used in the fields. He also reuses some water for cleaning indoors. He says he got the idea to reuse water when he stayed at the house of a Mukhia in Rajasthan. (3)
Read 8 tweets
8 Oct 20
Friends, do you know that each time you buy from Amazon you can ensure that 0.5% of the eligible price goes to your favourite charity? Right now Amazon has partnered with Christian missionary charities like World Vision. (1)
Why not let your money go to organizations like @IshwarSewa working with Hindu refugees from Pakistan to develop their skills? All you've to do is go to smile.amazon.com and select Ishwar Sewa Foundation as your charity to support with yr Amazon purchases. (2)
Then make sure that when you buy from Amazon next time, order via smile.amazon.com (it goes to the same Amazon) & check that ISF is the beneficiary. Send some joy to people who have suffered great humiliation in Pakistan and moved to India to rebuild their lives. (3)
Read 5 tweets

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