Sarla Thakral

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Sarla Thakral
Sarla Thakral.jpg
Sarla Thakral
New Delhi, India
Died(2008-03-15)15 March 2008
Spouse(s)P. D. Sharma , R.P Thakral

Sarla Thakral (1914 – 15 March 2008 [1] ) was the first Indian woman to fly an aircraft. [2] [3] [4] Born in 1914, she earned an aviation pilot license in 1936 at the age of 21 and flew a Gypsy Moth solo. She had a four-year-old daughter. After obtaining the initial licence, she persevered and completed one thousand hours of flying in the aircraft owned by the Lahore Flying Club. Her husband, P. D. Sharma, [5] whom she married at 16 and who came from a family which had nine pilots, encouraged her. While Sharma had been the first Indian to get his airmail pilot's license, flying between Karachi and Lahore, his wife was be first woman in India to attain her "A" license, when she accumulated more than 1,000 hours of flying. [6]

Tragically, Captain Sharma died in an airplane crash in 1939. After some time, his young widow tried to apply to train for her commercial pilot license, but World War II had begun and civil training was suspended. With a child to raise, and needing to earn her livelihood, Thakral abandoned her plans to become a commercial pilot, returning to Lahore and attending the Mayo School of Art where she trained in the Bengal school of painting, obtaining a diploma in fine arts.

Thakral was a dedicated follower of the Arya Samaj, a spiritual community dedicated to following the teachings of the Vedas. [7] Within this community, remarriage was a possibility for Thakral.

Arya Samaj Hindu religious organization

Arya Samaj is an Indian Hindu reform movement that promotes values and practices based on the belief in the infallible authority of the Vedas. The samaj was founded by the sannyasi (ascetic) Dayanand Saraswati on 10 April 1875. Members of the Arya Samaj believe in one God and reject the worship of idols.

After the Partition of India, she moved to Delhi 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. [6] She died in 2008. [1] [8] [9]

Partition of India partition of British India into the independent states of India and Pakistan in 1947

The partition of India in 1947 eventually accompanied the creation of two independent dominions, India and Pakistan. The Dominion of India became, as of 1950, the Republic of India (India), and the Dominion of Pakistan became, as of 1956, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). In 1971, the People's Republic of Bangladesh (Bangladesh) came into being after Bangladesh Liberation War. The partition involved the division of three provinces, Assam, Bengal and Punjab, based on district-wide Hindu or Muslim majorities. The boundary demarcating India and Pakistan came to be known as the Radcliffe Line. It also involved the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury, between the two new dominions. The partition was set forth in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj, as the British government there was called. The two self-governing countries of Pakistan and India legally came into existence at midnight on 14–15 August 1947.

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  1. 1 2 "Sarla Thakral, in a clear sky". May 14, 2015. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  2. "First National Pilot Licences: Sarla Thakral – India". Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide. 2015-07-25. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  3. "Women's Day: Top 100 coolest women of all time: 72/100". CNN-IBN. 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  4. "Down memory lane: First woman pilot recounts life story". NDTV. 2006-08-13. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  5. "In 1936, she was the first woman pilot to enter the cockpit in a saree!". NTDTV. 2017-09-16. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  6. 1 2 Ramachandran, Smriti Kak (2006-02-05). "Flying colours & ground reality". The Tribune . Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  7. Kulkarni, Jayant (2009-11-25). "Remember Sarla Thakral's maiden flight of fancy". Daily News and Analysis . Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  8. Chavan, Vivek (2007-10-17). "India's First women in air – India's first lady pilot – Sarla Thakral" . Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  9. Austa, Sanjay (2003). "Sarla Thakral - India's First Lady Pilot - Still Flying High". Archived from the original on 2008-12-26. Retrieved 2017-08-04.