India’s First women in air – India’s first lady pilot – Sarla Thakral
The year 1936 when the flying was like dream, flying in air was like miracle.
There were only male in the cockpit of the airplane.
At that time one lady entered the cockpit of a Gypsy Moth and flew into the blue skies, and made a history as India’s first lady pilot.
The dashing, courageous, Sarla Thakral. She was only 21 year old when she achieved that sky.
Her husband P D Sharma was the initiator behind that and father-in-law was the supportive of all the things.
P D Sharm’s family after all had nine pilots already and they were all supportive of the decision.
“In fact it wasn’t so much my husband. My father-in-law was even more enthusiastic and got me enrolled in the flying club,” says Sarla and adds,” I knew I was breaching a strictly male bastion but I must say the men, they never made me feel out of place.”
She obtained her ‘A’ license when she accumulated over 1000 hours of flying.
She was looking for the group B license that would authorize her to fly as a commercial pilot. But when she was undergoing training in Jodhpur, unfaith happened. Her husband died in a crash in 1939. She widowed at 24. She abandoned her plans to become a commercial pilot.
She joined the Mayo School of Arts in Lahore. But her parents re-married her and she settled in Delhi after partition. She succeeded in establishing herself as a renown painter. Most of her water colors have followed the Bengali School of Art.
Along with paintings she also began designing clothes and costume jewellery.
She supplied her jewellery designs to several cottage industries for over 20 years. She had also started textile printing and her sari prints were a rage with the fashionable crowd.
One of the clients was Vijaylaxmi Pandit.
Now she is 91 years old young lady still flying high in his life.
“Every morning I wake up and chart out my plans. If there is plenty of work I feel very happy otherwise I feel a precious day has been wasted,” she says.