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The valley of Kashmir is not all about war and bloodshed. Iram Habib’s achievement as the first Muslim women pilot from Kashmir proves the same.
Here is something to cheer us up. An exemplar Iram Habib, aged 30, is the first Kashmiri Muslim woman pilot to wheel an aircraft. She is an inspiration to all irrespective of gender which speaks of valor and she proves the saying, ‘where there is a will there is a way.’
When we speak of the Kashmir we only focus on the war and bloodshed. But facts don’t lie. It was from the valley that we got Tanvi Raima, a Kashmiri Pandit who became the first woman pilot in 2016 joining Air India as a commercial flyer. In yet another instance we have the 21 year old Ayesha Aziz who is India’s youngest student flyer. And now we have Iram Habib.
Iram a strong willed woman who nevertheless received her first set of dejection from her own family when she expressed her passion to be an aeronaut. She is born to a business man father Habibulah Zargar who is a supplier of surgical instruments to government hospitals. Iram was in class 12 when she expressed her fascination for the aviation industry. Her family was taken aback as flying for a livelihood is not meant for women in the war torn Kashmir.
As most of the children do, Iram was no exception. She gave in to the pressure from her parents and went on to study a Bachelor’s in Forestry from Dehradun. She also completed her post graduation in Forestry from the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir. Though she studied forestry she clung to her passion for flying with a never say die attitude.
It took her six long years to convince her parents to allow her join the aviation industry and take up flying for a living. Her parents who actually wanted Iram to pursue her PhD in forestry and settle down with a government job finally gave up. Leaving her doctoral studies Iram left for flight school in Miami, US.
In her interview with Tribune she said, “I had to study hard and pass exams. In the US, I had 260 hours of flying experience which is important for the license. I got a commercial pilot license in the US and Canada on the basis of my flying hours but I wanted to work in India”. She also said though her parents were supportive, she had to listen to the constant complaints from her relatives and friends saying that a Kashmiri woman can never get a job as a pilot.
She also said to the Tribune that back at her training school in the west everyone would express their concern over a Kashmiri woman becoming a pilot but no one discriminated against her. Like all other trainees she too had to study hard to qualify for the tests and trials. Iram also trained herself in Airbus 320 at Bahrain and Dubai.
Its indeed a proud moment for Iram’s alma mater Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in Kashmir. An official statement by the university said, “It is a proud moment for the Faculty of Forestry, SKUAST-K that one of our M.Sc Forestry pass-outs, namely Iram Habib, daughter of Habibulah Zargar, has been selected as a first officer in the aviation sector.”
With offers from commercial airlines like Indigo and Go Air, Iram makes the record for becoming the first Kashmiri Muslim woman to wheel the aircraft. Citing Iram’s example I urge all parents to encourage their children to lead their life as they really want it to be.
With tweets and news overflowing with her success story here are few words of mine. Get rid of lesser options. Commit to the one thing you love. The consequences may not favor you right away but in the end the universe will rearrange itself to celebrate your stubborn heart. Iram who wanted to be a pilot but was forced to do a PhD in forestry was considered an outlier by her own social circle. But something in her told her it would be okay. And here she is standing tall as a pilot ready to reach the open sky.
Image Source – YouTube & Pixabay
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Rimli Bhattacharya is a First class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of
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