Mushtaq Hurra

The proud daughters of soil!

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By: Mushtaq Hurra

Though the Stereotype of gender still prevails in many parts of India but daughters have proven their mettle in all the spheres of life and outshone boys. They have elevated themselves to heights and are on top of the hierarchy now. From statesmanship to aeronautical engineering, women have been walking parallel to men in all the spheres of life and many icons like Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, Sunita Williams, Tina Dhabi, and many others have emerged as role models for Indian woman in particular and global women in general.

Kashmiri daughters are not far behind and have accomplished many a great missions in different walks of life. In the recent past, Syed Sehrish, Ruvaida Salaam and others have displayed extraordinary excellence at national levels. Though the daughters of urban areas are privileged enough with lots of facilities and platform available to them, more special is the case when a someone from rural background has carved a niche for herself at national level.

Yes, I am talking about Sami Ara- Kashmir’s first commercial pilot from northern Kashmir’s Sumbal area of District Bandipora. Born to Ghulam Mohiuddin and Mukhta Jee, Sami found an educated environment at home as both her parents were educated government employees.

Sami attained her primary education at primary School Sumbal and was the only girl student in the area’s boy’s high school. During those days, girls were confined to domestic activities alone and were supposed to help their parents in different domestic chores.  After passing her matriculation examination with flying colours, Sami joined M L Higher secondary school Hajin for further studies. Sami was the apple of every eye in the higher secondary School Hajin for her all-round capabilities. Besides being sharp in studies, she was a bold debater, orator and athlete. After passing her 12th class examination, she was yearning to become a doctor but couldn’t crack the Common entrance test. Her passion to excel in life didn’t stop her from chasing her dreams. She didn’t lose hope rather came up with courage and enthusiasm to face the challenges of life very bravely.

She went for her B.Sc degree and was probably the first female science graduate from Sumbal area. After her graduation, she was longing to go for her master’s degree but there was something else in store for her. She opted for a private job but this didn’t suffice her as she had to be an achiever. According to Sami, hardships and difficulties never stop a person from chasing his/her dreams rather these things make a person stronger and bold enough to overcome difficult times in life. Sami didn’t give up and continued to look for new fields to explore. After some months, she applied for the job of airhostess and got selected. This boosted her morale and self confidence. Now, Sami began to prepare for a bigger endeavour.

She kept working hard while earning. Her job of airhostess didn’t stop her from working hard in academics and began to dream for a bigger career in aviation. Yes, beyond her stint of airhostess. After many years of hard work, she had gathered enough merit and other requirements to go for commercial pilot training in Texas USA. She completed her training in a record period of three months and was qualified enough to fly an aeroplane. Yes, Sami was now a licensed commercial pilot and ofcourse the first lady pilot of Kashmir valley. She gave wings to her dreams to fly high. She showed that hardships can’t stop anyone dreaming big.

Sami is married to a commercial pilot from Madhya Pradesh and is blessed with two children. “I have earned enough name, fame and wealth. I wish to sensitize young people, particularly girls, about the career options in aviation and other sectors. I want to eradicate the stigma of gender bias from my society particularly from rural areas. Though the scenario is quite different and encouraging compared to my childhood when women education was stigmatized in our valley but we still have a lot to do,” Sami says adding that the credit for her success goes to to her mother and her own hard-work. Sami believes that strong will power and clear intentions can do miracles.

Sami has become new media sensation in Kashmir, with lots of fans and followers. She is visiting educational institutions, colleges and universities to interact with students and counsel young people about new career options particularly in aviation. She has become an instant celebrity though the struggle and the efforts she has made are less known.

She is gaining popularity among young people for her adventurous and sensational career. Flying in air tempts every human being so she is followed by people as a source of inspiration. Her journey has never been easy. As goes the saying that ‘Rome was not built in a day’, same is the case with Captain Sami Ara- her journey has been full of challenges and barriers.

The writer is a teacher, Columnist, Poet, Orator and a Social activist. He can be reached at [email protected]


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