Gunjan Saxena. The first female aviator ranger to set foot in the raging battlefield of Kargil. The only lady officer who played a crucial role in the Kargil War. The women who flew through the high altitude of Kargil during the war. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Kargil War, and in honour of our victory in Kargil War, here’s a story saluting Gunjan Saxena’s bravery.
While pursuing her under graduation course at Hansraj College, Gunjan Saxena came across an opportunity to join the first female batch in the Indian Air Force (IAF). With hard work, examinations and medical tests, she became a pilot in the IAF. The 25-year-old was initially posted in Udhampur and was later transferred to Srinagar. It was the time when the Kargil War erupted between India and Pakistan. It was the era when women flying into combat zone was rather skeptical. The war took a toll on the Indian Forces and their resources. And Gunjan stepped her foot in the combat zone. She, along with her colleague Srividya Rajan, was given the duties to transport vital supplies to the Indian troops, pick up dead and injured soldiers from the war zone. She also had the responsibility to survey the area and update about the movements of the enemy. This was her routine for twenty-long days! Saxena would always carry a rifle and revolver on the chopper for her safety in case of a crash landing in the enemy area.
According to reports, when Gunjan’s helicopter Cheetah was ready to take-off, the Pakistani Army fired a rocket. Her helicopter managed to escape the missile and it crashed into a hill. Gunjan’s tenure with the IAF ended a few years after the Kargil War. We should thank Gunjan for her grit and determination. It is because of her today we can see women taking up fighter pilot roles in the IAF. She is the first woman to receive the Shaurya Vir award.
Bollywood movie on Gunjan Saxena
Flight Lt Gunjan Saxena's story has inspired Bollywood to honour her with a biopic starring Jhanvi Kapoor in lead role. Directed by Sharan Sharma, Angad Bedi and Pankaj Tripathi will essay the roles of Gunjan’s brother and father, respectively. In a picture that was leaked online a few months ago, Janhvi is seen wearing a pair of blue-coloured IAF dungarees with minimal make-up and her hair tied in a tight bun.
Kargil Vijay Diwas
Kargil Vijay Diwas, named after the success of Operation Vijay, is celebrated on July 26 every year in honour of the Kargil War Heroes. On July 26, 1999, Indian Army evicted Pakistani’s intruders and succeeded in recapturing the Tiger Hill and other posts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. The war was fought for more than 60 days and ended on July 26 and resulted in the loss of 527 brave hearts who laid their life for the country. These brave hearts served their country in the true sense and honoured their motherland by protecting it with all their strength. Every year, the Prime Minister of India pays homage to the Kargil martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate.