Rape,dowry,foeticide-Modern times holocaust of the Indian women:part 1


Every 22 minutes a woman is raped in India, every 90 minutes a bride is burnt alive! out of every 10 women 7 have been sexually harassed, female foeticide status at a all time best ,945 females per 1000 males and honor killings reported at least a 1000 every year. and the icing on the cake, India is on the number 4 Th position in the list for most dangerous countries for women giving tough competition to Afghanistan and  Congo. WOW!!! Not convinced watch this- NIRBHAYA

Many of us must have come across these famous lines,”water water everywhere,not a drop to drink” Yes that’s the state of rapes in India, every where whether you are rich or poor doesn’t matter ,whether you are young or old doesn’t matter, maybe the policies of government for population control or illiteracy eradication may not have access to the cross section of people in the country but the objectification of woman is a common theme for all. Right from the daily wage labor class to the factory workers to employees of MN C’s ,the first thing men notice about an individual is her gender and then the vicious circle of teasing ,harassment and rape starts.In India being a woman is a curse! You think I am overreacting then please watch this.

Mostly  they will kill you in the womb itself or if you are successful in taking birth,then you had it.Right from the discrimination at home where you will be competing for food ,clothing and education with your brothers or fathers or uncles,to the widespread unreported sexual abuse by the same men folk, you would also be taught by the women folk what you are not suppose to do since you are a female, yes you got it right a list of d  o’s and dont’s is handed to every little girl in India and yes her ears are pierced even before she starts speaking because she is a girl and it is her duty to become beautiful even when she is still running around in her diapers!



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Continuing the series of blogs by IWRM on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered male bastions, here is the fourth piece on Indian Women Fighter Pilots.

Flying Officers Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh on 18 June 2016 were commissioned as India’s first three women Fighter Pilots .

Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian woman to fly the MiG 21 Bison, solo. Not only did this declare that a woman from a small town in Madhya Pradesh could become a combat pilot, but it exponentially contributed to the complex narrative surrounding gender inequality in India.For decades, perennial monologues by men about pregnancy, practical ‘ineptitude’ and menopause have denied women a spot in a gamut of high-pressure professions, including the armed forces. “There is a strong belief that combat, by nature, is a male occupation; that the army is a male space and combat the most masculine of all aspects of war,”

Chaturvedi has worked hard in destabilising that belief. She underwent six months of intensive training at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, Hyderabad, before she was inducted into the IAF fighter squadron. “The best part of being a pilot is that you are flying an aircraft—it is a machine. The aircraft does not know who is sitting behind it, so the machine will behave in the same way it would behave with a male pilot,” Chaturvedi’s defence family gave her unconditional support, irrespective of her gender. The Indian Air Force, however, has traditionally been structured along immutable gendered lines. Chaturvedi received her Bachelors in Technology from Banasthali Vidyapith, a university in rural Rajasthan’s Tonk district.

Bhawana Kanth hails from Darbhanga district in Bihar. As a child, she always dreamt of flying planes. She opted for the fighter stream after successfully completing her stage I training.Daughter of an officer in the Indian Oil Corporation, she set the goal of becoming a fighter pilot and serve the nation.

Mohana Singh comes from Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan. Her grandfather was a flight gunner in Aviation Research Centre and father is a warrant officer in the IAF. Mohana is excited to continue the family legacy of serving the nation.

While women pilots have been flying helicopters and transport aircraft since 1991 in the IAF, it was last year when the government decided to allow women into fighter jet cockpits.

In a first, a woman has been inducted as a pilot in the Indian Navy. Shubhangi Swaroop, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, will soon be flying Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft.

For Shubhangi, who is the daughter of a Naval commander, its a dream come true on being selected as a pilot. Though Shubhangi is the first Naval woman pilot, the Navy’s Aviation branch has had women officers operating as air traffic control officers and as ‘observers’ in the aircraft who are responsible for communication and weapons.

There have been women fighter pilots in other countries long before India .A brief history of such brave women of some major countries are listed below.

1st Turkish Woman Fighter Pilot

Sabiha Gökçen  was a Turkish aviator. She was the first Turkish female combat pilot, aged 23. According to some sources, including Guinness World Records, she was also the world’s first female fighter pilot, being enrolled in the Military Aviation Academy in Eskisehir in 1936.As girls were not being accepted by the War College in Turkey in those years, Sabiha Gökçen was provided, on Atatürk’s orders, with a personalized uniform, and attended a special education programme of eleven months at the Tayyare Mektebi (Aviation School) in Eskişehir in the academic year 1936-1937. After receiving her flight patents (diploma) she trained to become a war pilot at the 1st Airplane Regiment in Eskişehir for six months.She improved her skills by flying bomber and fighter planes at the 1st Aircraft Regiment in Eskişehir Airbase and got experience after participating in the Aegean and Thrace exercises in 1937. In that same year, she took part in the Dersim rebellion and became the first Turkish female air force combat pilot. A report of the General Staff mentioned the “serious damage” that had been caused by her 50 kg bomb to a group of fifty fleeing “bandits.” and she was awarded with a takdirname (letter of appreciation). She was also awarded the Turkish Aeronautical Association‘s first “Murassa (Jeweled) Medal” for her superior performance in this operation.

In 1938, she carried out a five-day flight around the Balkan countries to great acclaim. In the same year, she was appointed “chief trainer” of the Türkkuşu Flight School of the Turkish Aeronautical Association, where she served until 1954 as a flight instructor and became a member of the association’s executive board. She trained four female aviators, Edibe Subaşı, Yıldız Uçman, Sahavet Karapas and Nezihe Viranyalı. Sabiha Gökçen flew around the world for a period of 28 years until 1964. Her book entitled “A Life Along the Path of Atatürk” was published in 1981 by the Turkish Aeronautical Association to commemorate Atatürk’s 100th birthday. Throughout her career in the Turkish Air Force, Gökçen flew 22 different types of aircraft for more than 8,000 hours, 32 hours of which were active combat and bombardment missions.

1st British Woman Fighter Pilot

Joanna Mary Salter (born 27 August 1968 in Bournemouth) was Britain’s first female fast jet pilot flying the Panavia Tornado ground attack aircraft with 617 Squadron, she later became an inspirational speaker. In November 2016 she joined PwC as a manager, responsible for digital capabilities within the People and Organisation practice. Salter joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 18 to be an Engineering Officer but she went on to train as a pilot after the British government announced that women would be allowed to fly jet aircraft in 1992. As part of her engineering training she had studied at the Royal Military College of Science. Salter was awarded her wings on 3 Apr 1992 and at the end of 1992 she finished her fast jet training at RAF Brawdy with Dawn Hadlow (nee Bradley), who became Britain’s first RAF female flight instructor.

In August 1994 Salter joined 617 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth in August 1994 as a Flight Lieutenant, and was declared combat ready by the RAF on 21 February 1995. Salter was the first woman to be an operational Tornado pilot and she later flew from both Turkey and Saudi Arabia in protection of the No-fly zone over Iraq. Whilst flying ground attack Tornados, Salter started a MBA course with the Open University in 1996, being sponsored by the MoD, she completed the course in 1999.

1st German Woman Fighter Pilot

Hanna Reitsch (29 March 1912 – 24 August 1979) was Germany’s most famous female aviator and test pilot, starting in the early 1930s. During the Nazi era, she and Melitta von Stauffenberg flight tested many of the regime’s new aircraft.

She set more than 40 flight altitude records and women’s endurance records in gliding before and after World War II. In the 1960s, she was sponsored by the West German foreign office as a technical adviser in Ghana and elsewhere and founded a gliding school in Ghana, where she worked for Kwame Nkrumah.

1st French Woman Fighter Pilot

CommandantCaroline Aigle (12 September 1974 – 21 August 2007) was a Frenchaviator who achieved a historical first when, at the age of 25, she became the first woman fighter pilot in the French Air Force. Her promising military career was cut short by death from cancer seven years later. She was posthumously awarded the Médaille de l’Aéronautique (Aeronautics Medal). After graduating from the Polytechnique, Aigle chose to join the French Air Force. On 28 May 1999, she became the first woman to receive the Air Force’s coveted fighter pilot wings. She was assigned to the Mirage 2000-5 in the escadron 2/2Côte-d’Or” in 2000, and promoted to the rank of Commandant (roughly equivalent to Major) in 2005. Among the top candidates, she was also on the verge of being selected as an astronaut for the European Space Agency. By the time of her sudden death three weeks before her 33rd birthday (the cancer, a melanoma, had been diagnosed only a month earlier), she had accumulated a total of 1600 hours of flight time.

Aigle was a keen athlete and represented the Air Force in inter-service sports competitions. She was the 1997 French military champion in triathlon, followed by the 1997 triathlon world championship in military team competition. Still competing in 1999, she and her team won the triathlon world military vice-championship. She was also a skydiver and free-fall parachutist.

1st Russian Woman Fighter Pilot

Lydia Vladimirovna Litvyak (August 18, 1921 in Moscow – August 1, 1943 in Krasnyi Luch), also known as Lilya, was a fighter pilot in the Soviet Air Force during World War II. With twelve solo victories and four shared kills over a total of 66 combat missions, over about two years of missions, she was the first female fighter pilot to shoot down an enemy plane, the first of two female fighter pilots who have earned the title of fighter ace, and the holder of the record for the greatest number of kills by a female fighter pilot. She was shot down near Orel during the Battle of Kursk as she attacked a formation of German planes.

1st American Woman Fighter Pilot

Jeannie Marie Leavitt (born c. 1967) is a United States Air Forcegeneral officer. She became the United States Air Force’s first female fighter pilot in 1993, and was the first woman to command a USAF combat fighter wing.

Leavitt began her Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas in 1992. She was being trained as a T-38 instructor pilot at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio when restrictions on women flying combat missions were dropped in April 1993. Thereafter she began formal combat training in the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, becoming the service’s first female fighter pilot.1st Lt. Flynn sitting in the cockpit of a F-15E during her time with the 555th Fighter Squadron.Leavitt’s F-15 flight hours have included 300 combat hours, mostly over Afghanistan and Iraq. On one mission, during Operation Southern Watch in 1996, she supported a Royal Air ForceTornado GR1 under threat from an Iraqi Roland surface-to-air missile.

From 2002 to 2010, Leavitt earned three master’s degrees; a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University in Alabama (2002), a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base (2004), and a Master of National Security Strategy from the National War College (2010).

Leavitt’s first command was the 333d Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. She was appointed Commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, at the same base in June 2012.

1st Israeli Woman Fighter Pilot

Roni Zuckerman, the first female jet fighter pilot for the Israeli Air Force, received her wings in 2001. Zuckerman is the granddaughter of Zivia Lubetkin and Icchak Cukierman (also known as Yitzhak Zuckerman) whose nom de guerre was “Antek”. Her grandparents were among the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during World War II and among the 34 fighters who survived. They were founding members of Lohamei HaGeta’ot (“the Ghetto Fighters’ kibbutz”), which was established near Haifa in the late 1940s by survivors of the ghettos, and it was there that Zuckerman was raised.

Although women had served as pilots during the Israeli War of Independence and a few years thereafter, the Israeli Defence Forces had, until 1995, denied women the opportunity to become pilots. After the prohibition was lifted, the first female graduate was F-16 navigator “Shari” in 1998, followed three years later by Zuckerman, the first female jet-fighter pilot in IAF history.Another Israeli woman who took the course at the same time as Lt Zuckerman, but failed to qualify, described to a reporter the training as “mentally and physically exhausting.” She stated, “I did 100 push-ups a day, which is difficult for a woman. Of the women on the course, only Roni qualified.

1st Chinese Women Fighter Pilots

China has a significant number of female pilots. According to china.com.cn, the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) has had 545 female student pilots in its history, of which 328 have graduated and 52 of them are currently flying military aircraft.

In 1951, the Chinese government decided to admit the first group of female pilots.

In 2009, the first 16 female fighter jet pilots graduated from the Air Force’s Third Aviation College. That year was also the first time female pilots participated in the National Day parade by flying fighter jets.

Liu Yang and Wang Yaping, two female pilots, were also chosen to participate in astronomical missions with the Shenzhou-9 and 10 spacecraft in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Piloting fighter jets involves more danger and pressure than other types of aircraft, such as transportation craft or helicopters and it’s traditionally been seen as difficult for women. It requires pilots to be strong physically and China is intentionally training greater number of female pilots because other countries’ experience with such pilots seems to indicate that they often are more careful, and particularly excel in certain tasks, such as recognizing maps and operating delicate equipment.

1st Korean Women Fighter Pilots

The supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea met two of the country’s female fighter pilots.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched “with satisfaction” as a pair of female fighter pilots flew supersonic jets in a series of drills. He called the pilots “very admirable” and “flowers of the sky.”He said they should be proud of mastering supersonic jets that are, “hard for men to fly.” He said they were the first female fighter pilots “in the history of army building,”.

1st Pakistani Woman Fighter Pilot

Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot

Ayesha Farooq fought her mother to pursue her dream; ‘In our society most girls don’t even think about doing things as flying an aircraft,’

With an olive green head scarf poking out from her helmet, Ayesha Farooq flashes a cheeky grin when asked if it is lonely being the only war-ready female fighter pilot in the Islamic republic of Pakistan.

Farooq, from Punjab province’s historic city of Bahawalpur, is one of 19 women who have become pilots in the Pakistan Air Force over the last decade – there are five other female fighter pilots, but they have yet to take the final tests to qualify for combat.

1st Afghani Woman Fighter Pilot

Niloofar Rahmani (Persian: نیلوفر رحمانی‎, born 1992) is the first female fixed-wing Air Force aviator in Afghanistan‘s history and the first female pilot in the Afghan military since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

1st UAE’s Woman Fighter Pilot

Mariam al-Mansouri (Arabic: مريم المنصوري‎), (born 1979 in Abu Dhabi), is the first female fighter pilot of the United Arab Emirates. She was one of the first women to join the United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) academy after women were allowed to join, graduating in 2007.She flies an F-16 Fighting Falcon and lead UAE mission airstrikes against ISIS over Syria.

1st Somalian Woman Fighter Pilot

Asli Hassan Abade was one of the first women pilots in Africa; she is also the first pilot known and so far only female pilot in the (Somali Air Force – SAF).She soloed her first flight on 9 September 1976.

1st Danish Woman Fighter Pilot

Line Bonde (born c.1979) is a Danish fighter pilot. In July 2006, aged 27, she became the first female Danish fighter pilot, flying an F-16 jet fighter.

1st Swedish Woman Fighter Pilot

Captain Anna Dellham recently completed her first Gripen solo flight to become the first female Gripen pilot in the Swedish Air Force.

Captain Anna Dellham becomes the first female Gripen pilot in the
Swedish Air Force. Photo: Swedish Armed Forces

In fact, Anna Dellham is Sweden’s only female combat pilot whatsoever. She was awarded her wings in the mid-1990s and flew the Viggen until the aircraft was taken out of service before going onto fly the SK 60. She now works with Gripen’s development at FTS, the Aeronautical Command of the Air Force Headquarters.

1st Norwegian Woman Fighter Pilot

Mette Grøtteland (born 1969) became the first female fighter pilot in the Royal Norwegian Air Force after qualifying to fly jet fighter aircraft in 1992.



Continuing the series of blogs by IWRM on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered male bastions, here is the third piece on Indian Women Skaters.

India’s 1st Pro Female Skater Atita Verghese Teaches Young Girls To Skate To Defy Social Taboos

In a country that is more synonymous with traditional culture, conservatism, and women not pushing against the social norms, Atita Verghese is a breath of fresh and is determined to lead a whole generation of other young women in her wake as she skates her way through a social revolution. She is India’s most prominent female skateboarder and began grinding the rails at age 19 in Goa. She has been a pro for nearly 3 years and today she trains many of Bangalore’s budding skaters. It wasn’t always easy being the only girl in a very male-dominated sport, let alone in a country where there are certain expectations placed on women as they grow up.

Atita’s mother sadly became an acid attack victim, a crime that is overwhelmingly aimed at women in order to keep them from breaking away from the gender expectations. It wasn’t just about rebelling against the social norms, it was also a way to challenge the way gender violence has been allowed to go unchecked and unaccounted for many years.

“We have to allow [partnerships] between all genders to exist harmoniously and find a solution for this self-destructive world that we live in. The idea of locking women up and covering them up is not a solution, it is part of the problem. We must really investigate and play close attention to how we raise our boys, and start with them first,” she says.

Atita says the skate parks she visits and helps build become a safe haven where stereotypes surrounding gender, sexuality and other taboos do not matter. Along with the emphasis on skating, Atita and her crew teach young kids math, English, photography, art etc. She describes her role as now more of social worker, because of the way they were now seen by local neighborhoods who would donate and encourage Atita and her crew to continue helping the children. What started with a passion for skating and wanting to do life on her own terms, has become a valuable empowering tool for girls in boys who she comes in contact with to think differently about the world and find a way to make positive change in their communities.

“There is something inherently wrong with the way in which society has conditioned our idea of femininity. The misconception here is that one needs to be meek in order to be feminine. Consequently, girls grow up to be very conscious of their bodies. Young girls need to understand that you can be strong, get on the skateboard, and go home and wear nail polish, all at the same time,”

“Our societal structure is such that, once a girl hits puberty, it is considered inappropriate for her to be seen jumping around outside. Generation after generation of female oppression has resulted in women lagging behind physically. Girls tend to be hesitant and often shy about falling while learning. It becomes necessary to hold their hands, show them what is possible and get them involved in the alternate sub-culture that is evolving in cities such as Bangalore,” she added.

Atita spearheads an organization called Girls Skate India in 2014, and hosted a tour featuring 12 other girls from around the world, traveling across India teaching other young girls how to skate and build ramps. Girls Skate India is the first and largest platform to feature, connect and increase the number of female skateboarders in the country and they are mostly self-funded.

“I truly believe there is a female revolution happening in skateboarding right now and the fight is what will push us to achieve more to realize what we are capable of,” She had found her mission – to encourage more girls to take up skateboarding.

In December 2015, Atita and the Girl Skate India team organised India’s first all-girls skateboarding tour, covering four locations in India – Bengaluru, Goa, Kovalam (Tamil Nadu) and Hampi (Karnataka). Atita brought together 12 female skateboarders from nine different countries and they travelled in a bus to the different locations, spreading the message of skateboarding and also helping to build another skate park in Bengaluru.

Atita’s dream is to make skateboarding in India a movement as big as Skateistan, which started in Afghanistan and has now also spread to Cambodia and South Africa. 40% of Skateistan’s skateboard enthusiasts are girls and 60% come from underprivileged backgrounds.

Chennai girl set for Belgium World Skating Championship

Aarathy Kasturiraj, a skater from the city, has many accolades to her credit. And now, this young medical student is set to participate in the World Championship in Belgium this month. Aarathy is the only girl skater from the state to represent India.

Nineteen-year-old Aarathy, who practises for almost seven hours a day, currently concentrates on building endurance to prepare for both short and long races in the championship. “I will be competing in 200m, 500m, 1000m, 10km, 15km and 42km races. For that, I have been following a strict diet to gain energy, apart from morning warm-ups at Island Grounds and long distance practices, for which I skate from Chennai to Mahabalipuram.”

She has also undergone several international training sessions, says that she started doing roller skating since she was seven. She says, “I got attracted to skating after watching children doing it at Anna Nagar Tower Park during my regular visits there with my mother. And once I started to practise, the speed and balance gave me a thrill and helped me enjoy the sport. She has won 112 medals in the sport. Frequent falls, numerous bruises and a bleeding chin haven’t deterred her from skating.

Aarathy was seven when she took to skating. She is the first girl from India to finish 10 in the World Championship held at China in 2009 and in Korea in 2011. “These victories and bagging the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement in 2008 are special to me. I started skating in 2001 and participated in my first Nationals in 2002. It took me four years to win my first National gold medal and I now have 24 National medals to my credit. I have 112, of which 95 are gold, 10 are silver and seven, bronze. This includes medals won both at the national and international levels.

I train six hours a day…5 to 8 in the morning and 5.30 to 8.30 in the evening.” The time in between is spent at college (SRMC), cramming her mind with Gray’s Anatomy. “I return from college by 4.30, quickly change, eat and set out for practice. Once I get back, I spend an hour studying…that’s on some days.”  I have no time to go out with friends, or go partying, no time for television…I also have to follow a healthy diet and stay off junk food. But I don’t regret it because I know I have to give up something to achieve something.”

“From when I started, till now, I have seen quite a few people taking to the sport. At the District or State Championships, you see a good turnout,” she says, pleased with the growing popularity of the sport.

When Girls Skateboard in India



INDIAN WOMEN SURFERS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES -2Continuing the series of blogs by IWRM on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered male bastions, here is the second piece on  five daredevil Indian Women Surfers,the first of  their kind!

How female surfers in India challenge the system and over throw patriarchy one wave at a time. Beach patriarchy is a problem the world over but in more conservative societies like India, even things like wearing shorts to surf can draw unwanted attention. Ever since the surfboard arrived at our shores, women have been battling a seemingly unending wave of stares and backyard whispers to do what they love. 


1. Ishita Malaviya, the first woman professional surfer of India.

Born and brought up in the coastal city of Mumbai, Ishita was always an outdoors person. Unlike most city bred girls who are not really comfortable stepping outside urban confines, Ishita dreamt of moving to a greener, less chaotic place ever since she was a teenager. Around the same time, she was really drawn to surfing but assumed that there were no waves in India and that she would have to travel abroad to start surfing. In the year 2007, Ishita moved from Mumbai to the small university town of Manipal in coastal Karnataka to pursue her higher studies. This is where serendipity was waiting to strike her!

Utter coincidence led Ishita and Tushar, her boyfriend, to meet a German exchange student who had come down to India with a surfboard. And it was through him, that they discovered an Ashram where the devotees were surfers from California who were surfing at a spot which was only an hour away from where the two of them lived. A little converstaion and a lot of excitement later, they were ready to ride their first wave!

Ishita was in her second year of college when entrepreneurship beckoned. Friends, acquaintances, foreigners, enquiries started pouring in from all corners and by the time Ishita had completed her four-year course, this number only grew. It was then that she decided to take this up as a profession along with her partner. The was born in an abandoned bar by the sea in the small village of Kodi Bengere of Udupi district in Karnataka.

Surfing, India, Back in 2007, when Ishita started surfing, the sport was pretty much unheard of in India. Being the only girl among boys who in comparison could paddle more aggressively, she did feel intimidated. But Ishita was not one to give up easily and persevered and went on to become the first successful professional woman surfer from India. 

So what keeps us Indians away from surfing? “Most people don’t know how to swim and live in fear of the ocean, “says Ishita adding there is a lot of social pressure on women to look and dress a certain way. Dark skin is not considered beautiful and so most women are afraid of getting tanned. But Ishita has a lot of hope for the future of women’s surfing in India owing to people like her oldest student, a 65 year old woman from the village and an increasing number of girls keen on learning the sport.Ishita and Tuishar with participants of ‘The Nipper Programme’

2. Suhasini Damian –Auroville Surfer Girl and Enterpreneur


She grew up in Auroville, Pondicherry, and while her immediate neighbourhood was very forward-thinking and diverse, the same could not be said about others. “Many people I know always comment on my skin tone – that I am so dark and used to look more beautiful before,” in her own words.While Suhasini started surfing at 20, Sinchana Gowda was barely in her teens when she took to the board, an age vulnerable to unnecessary criticism. “Many people ask why girls even participate in sports. There are still many who say that we should not go surfing because we will get tanned,” the 15-year-old said.

Sinchana surfs in the village of Mulki in Karnataka on the west coast of India though the problem doesn’t differentiate between coasts as Suhasini can testify – “I have had men whistling and shouting nasty, vulgar comments while I walk to the beach with my board in my surf shorts and rash vest.”Surfing certainly sees more men on the board than women, and one of the reasons could be this attitude. “I feel that if women are exposed to a more supportive and encouraging environment without being harassed on the beach, more of them would surf,” Suhasini pointed out.

Sinchana has had to prove herself to garner support from the local community. “Even without people’s support we have to fulfil our dreams by ignoring their negativity. Once we get medals, we receive their support. We have to constantly prove ourselves. Many still believe that a girl’s place is inside the home,” she said.She hopes ardently for more supporters, and particularly more sponsors for surfers in India. With surfing now included in the Olympics, she’s hoping to participate and win a medal for India.

Suhasini hopes that parents and friends will be “more supportive of surfing and less worried about what they or other people think of their daughter’s skin tone, what she wears or whether she’s married or not”.


• 3.Tanvi Jagadish—the only female surfer and stand-up paddler to have represented India

• Tanvi was just eight when she was introduced to water sports. Fascinated, she was soon at the point where surfing turned into more than a hobby—it became her career goal. However, in all her youthful exuberance, little did she anticipate the hurdles that were to stand in the way of her ambition.

• Where 17-year-old Tanvi comes from, the idea of girls wearing shorts and venturing into the water is pretty much unimaginable. Her father Jagadish works with Hindustan Petroleum and her mother Kavitha is a housewife. Tanvi is currently studying at Sharada Pre-University College in Mangalore. Tanvi’s parents were skeptical about her safety in harsh waters, and society had several objections with regard to her attire.

• “Society always had a way of pulling me down and even started putting pressure on my parents, yet they always believed in me and understood my passion and the knack I have for the sport. I worked very hard in the beginning without the support of my parents but they were just testing how strong I was with my surfing selections and I just worked on it.”

• Tanvi was highly influenced by April Zilg, a prominent athlete from North Carolina who is well recognised on the American SUP circuit.

• Accompanying her husband on a six-month tenure, April experienced the much-talked-about culture shock in India, personally witnessing how difficult it is for women here to chase their dreams. There were instances when she even came across billboards asking parents not to throw their baby girls in the trash.

• Unable to stay away from the water, she decided to move to Mulki, a town near Mangalore, but she could not have imagined that she would be responsible not only for ushering SUP into the country but also changing a young girl’s life.

• April came across Mantra Surfing Club in Mangalore, one of the few organisations in India offering young people opportunities to get involved in water sports. April was quick to notice that though plenty of girls are interested in surfing and paddling, they take a step back because of familial constraints.It was during this time that April got to meet Tanvi, then a 14-year-old full of life, energy, and the enthusiasm to surf. Totally unbothered by restrictions, Tanvi plunged deep into the waters and surfed with total ease. The genuine passion in her eyes made it clear to April that Tanvi was destined to be in the water.


• 4.Sinchana Gowda: School girl, riding a wave at 15

• Sinchana tested waters when she was in 3rd grade. Now at 15 she has many medals to display, won at various competitions. The nearest sea shore is 50 kms away from her backyard. Six months of rigorous training catapulted her on to a podium among victors. India’s youngest surfer is a resident of Kallega, near Puttur in Dakshina Kannada. Studying in Class 10 at Sudhana Institutions, she dreams big and wants to win medals in surfing at international meets in senior category. What she needs is support to ride on waves to attain glory in a tough sport she loves i.e. surfing.

·2014- First medal when she stood 2nd at Covelong point classic surfing international meet at Mahabalipuram beach, event organised by SFI

·2015- Stood 2nd in standup Paddleboarding and open ocean Kayaking competition at Manapad beach in Chennai

·2015- First in national level competition held at Covelong point.

·2015-Entered semifinals in first attempt representing India in Asian meet at Covelong point.

·2015- Four bronze medals at National level swimming competition at Bengaluru

·2015-Youngest surfer to win gold medal at All Cargo open of surfing competition
• 5. India’s Youngest Female Surfer Aneesha Nayak

• No matter what, you must simply continue doing what you do and being you. There’s nothing in the world that can stop you, nothing at all! Aneesha Nayak a 15-year-old surfer girl from Puttur has come a long way. Aneesha has won a bronze medal at the age of 14 at International science fair in the US. She believes in following her dreams and sends a strong message to our young readers that continue with your passion and not let anything affect your mental stability and inner peace.

• There for sure is gender disparity in sports, only it’s not as intense as it used to be. Slowly things are changing but still the men feel uncomfortable if overtaken by a female. In surfing, there is a bit of disparity. Except for my home break, where all the men I surf with are my trainers, my Gurus, who support me by helping me improve my surf skills, when I surf most of the other breaks the men tend to get over aggressive and try to put me down by not letting me catch waves. But I took this in a positive way. It has only helped me increase my speed and endurance to be able to surf out there, even if it means I’m the only girl, and be able to catch waves despite the male dominance.

• It all started when I was 3. My parents have a rough relationship when I was young. My mother was mistreated in the household which made her want to leave but she wasn’t clear about splitting up as I was a kid and she thought I would want my dad. Then came a day when I was 5, I can still see it as if it happened yesterday. That night my dad walked out of the house and went to his parents. My mother and I stayed alone for three months until he came back into the picture. Later on we moved from Mangalore to Puttur and things were working out for about a year. Eventually, my dad became alcoholic and would fight with my mother almost every night. This was my life from age 7. Once when I was 14 after the usual fight at night, when I was in the kitchen to get some water, my dad walked up to me and said something sweet as if nothing had happened, I looked him straight in the eye and told him not to talk to me if he didn’t know how to talk to my mom, and that’s the end, that was the last time that I spoke to my dad. Then came a day when my dad asked us to leave the house. My mother and I went through a lot of struggles at that point and we finally moved and he never tried to make contact after that. I wasn’t really okay with sharing my story but once I shared with a few friends something changed in me. There were friends who were going through similar things and hadn’t shared it with anyone. They shared it with me and they felt much better and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives.

• It’s been 13 years since it has been introduced in the country. People are slowly getting the hang of it and thinking differently. Since a kid, all of us have been told by the elders that, once you go to the deeper side of the ocean it will just grab us and that we will not be able to make it back on land. Though it’s slow, that thinking is now changing!





Smashing Stereotypes-Archana Sardana


In this series of blogs, IWRM will be focusing on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered the male bastions. The first in the series is Archana Sardana.

Archana Sardana is India’s first female BASE jumper. She is a certified skydiver and was the first Indian to skydive with Indian Flag in United States of America. She is also the first woman Master Scuba Diver Trainer in India and has done multiple deep sea scuba dives in every corner of the globe. Raised in a country where women’s participation in sports remains uneven even today, she did not grow up as an adventure sports enthusiast. A mother of two boys, she graduated with a diploma in interior design, and says she was never really interested in pursuing outdoor activities.

She has done 335 skydives and 45 BASE jumps across the globe and unfurled the tri-color at a depth of 30 meters in the ocean, off the Andaman’s Neil Island, setting a record in the process. She is also the first Indian to BASE Jump the KL Tower, Malaysia with the Indian Flag. After discovering her love for adventure sports, She completed Adventure and Advanced Mountaineering courses from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling and Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. She has a ‘C’ license in skydiving from the United States Paratroopers Association having completed 335 skydives. She is the only Indian woman to be certified by Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), USA as a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. She runs her own venture ‘Archana Sardana Scuba Diving Academy,’ training young women on how to conquer their fears and feel the rush of adventure sport.

Over time, she has sought ways to use her adventurous spirit to help others. An expert at jumping out of helicopters, she did her first jump in service of an organization called ‘Blind Free India. “She believes that adventure activities make you a strong and independent person. She finds it a fitness mantra not only for the body but even the mind, and it helps build determination. Says she: “It helps you explore yourself as an individual. You realize that nothing can be bigger than this universe, it helps you be calm and strong at the same time.”


Archana’s next ambition is to jump off Mount Everest!


Indian Women & The Holocaust Of Dowry!


INDIAN WOMEN & THE HOLOCAUST OF DOWRY!There is a silent gendercide going on in India. 50 million women are missing from the population of India as per the date available in 2005. The apparent reason behind is female feticide. But the actual reason is –DOWRY!!!

Indian women have very low socio-economic status in the society due to the fact that Indian society is bye and large patriarchal and hence women are always treated as less than a man. Also since marriage and motherhood are the ultimate telos of the life of an Indian woman, all her life she is discriminated as “PARAYA DHAN”. Since she is supposed to go to someone else’s house as marriages are largely patrilocal, a huge amount of dowry is required to be given as a penalty by the parents who gave birth to a girl child. The parents nowadays with advent of technology prefer to get the female fetus aborted as it is much easier and cheaper then raising a girl child and marrying her off. Also since sexual violence against women is very high, families feel threatened by the presence of girl children and hence get the female fetus aborted. Even in olden days, the practice of female infanticide was very much rampant for the very same reasons.

The birth of a male child is celebrated even today with fervor in Indian families. As a male child is synonymous with a blank cheque for the family as when the boy grows up and gets a job, he would be rewarded by his future in laws by money, gold & property there by instantly lifting up his family status and affluence. But the story does not end here, if the girl fails to give birth to a male heir or if she is unable to bring back more dowry after marriage many a times she is burnt/killed by her husband and in-laws.

Dowry is a chronic problem of the Indian society just like the caste system and people have a criminal greed for dowry and go to vulgar extents of blackmail, torture, violence and murder of women for this.

DOWRY is nothing more than criminal extortion. Dowry should be defined as the method of selling one’s boy rather than being glorified as a status symbol and a source of income.

There are certain things that can be done to stop this social evil like

• Any man or family which demands dowry should be deemed as not fit for marriage as they cannot take care of themselves.

• Do not give Dowry to the people who torture your daughter as they may kill your daughter for their greed.

• The life and safety of your daughter is more important than marriage.

• Dowry demand should be treated as a threat to the life of your daughter.

• Any family which demands or extorts dowry in criminal, don’t marry your daughter to such a family or don’t send her back to such a family.

• In India the number of women is less than men so it should be the prerogative of your daughter to select and reject grooms and not the other way round.

• And the most effective solution to a dowry free society would be the empowerment of women. Make your daughters capable, invest in their education and employment rather than investing in dowry. Invest in her future because her future is your future and the country’s future.




Seventeen Forgotten Women Warriors



1.Marguerite de Bressieux

In France, in the late 1400s, Royalist troops battled against renegade nobles. In one such battle Marguerite de Bressieux, the princess of a Royalist castle, was captured by Louis de Chalon, the Prince of Orange, and along with her 11 women in waiting, was raped by his men.
Several months later, while Royalist troops prepared to attack Louis de Chalon at the battle of Autun, 12 knights appeared. They were dressed in black armor, wore black crepe veils over their helmets, and carried a black banner depicting an orange pierced by a spear, emblazoned the words Ainsi tu seras (you will be so). 
Eyewitnesses reported that they fought well. Each time they confronted one of the rapists, they would raise their visor so that he would know the identity of his executioner before killing him. Marguerite herself was badly injured in the battle, and died several hours later. She was buried with full military honors.

2.The Valiant Ladies of Potosi

In the mid-1600’s lived who would become two of Peru’s favorite folk heroines: the valiant ladies of Potosi. Doña Ana Lezama de Urinza, adopted into the de Sonza household, developed a close friendship with the de Sonza daughter, Doña Eustaquia, and in later years became her lover. Both women displayed a passionate interest in the fencing lessons provided for Eustaquia’s brother, and after the young man’s death, were allowed to pursue their interest. By age 13, they were studying with a swordmaster, as well as learning to handle firearms.
As was befitting proper young women of their class and times, they were raised in virtual seclusion from the rough life of Potosi. In their late teens, however, they often dressed as men, slipped away from the de Sonza hacienda, and plunged into the violent nightlife of the city for adventure and a test of their martial skills. In one street fight against four men, Ana was knocked out, and Eustaquia warded off the attackers with her sword until Ana regained consciousness and jumped to her feet. Ana identified the man who had struck her down, and attacked him with such ferocity that she cut through his shield and nearly severed his hand. The remaining three men fled.
For five years, the lovers wandered Peru, engaging in fights and gaining great fame as swordswomen. They returned to Potosi after Eustaquia’s father died, and willed them his estate. A few years later, Ana died from a wound she received in another of her dangerous pastimes: bullfighting. Four months later, Eustaquia died of grief.

3.Nancy Wake

Nancy Wake,a New Zealander, was living with her husband in Marseilles when WW2 broke out. She became an ambulance driver, later moving on to serve in the French resistance. Her group is estimated to have saved over 1000 downed airmen and lost soldiers from capture by the Germans.
Nancy became a thorn in the side of the Germans, and in November of 1942, the Gestapo records indicate their concern with an enemy agent they called “the White Mouse.” After being captured in 1943 and escaping, she was flown to England where she underwent grueling training for the Special Operations Executive. The only woman in Special Ops, she was ranked as a marksman with a Sten gun, and taught various methods of silent killing.
On March 1st, 1944, Nancy was dropped into France near Montlucon. Operating under a false name, she soon worked her way into the leadership of a 7,000 man guerrilla task force. On their first major assignment, Nancy and her guerrillas were attacked at their base by 22,000 German soldiers, supported by aircraft and artillery. Nancy and her men slipped out of the trap after dark, leaving 1500 German soldiers dead. By July, she was operating with a task force of 2000 maquis, attacking German conveys that were bringing troops and supplies to the Normandy front.
Britain honored her with the King George medal, America awarded her the Medal of Freedom with Bronze Palm for her aid in the rescue of two American officers, and the French government awarded her two Croix de Guerre, and a third Croix de Guerre with Star, and the Resistance Medal. 
Concerning Nancy Wade, a fellow maquis leader told an historian, “She is the most feminine woman I know, until the fight starts. Then she is like five men.”

4.Abbess Odette de Pougy

From the 7th through the 13th century in Western Europe, Abbesses held enormous powers. They commanded huge tracts of land with their knights, levied taxes on the surrounding populations, and even had coins struck in their own images. The often waged war on one another, and fortresses of warrior monks and nuns grew such a problem that laws were passed forbidding citizens to loiter outside convent walls, for their own safety. The king or queen could only subdue them with difficulty, and various popes established creeds against women engaging in martial combat in an attempt to weaken the sisterhood. The papal ban against women wearing armor proved to be the technicality on which Joan of Arc was sentenced to be burned as a heretic.
In 1265 Abbess Odette de Pougy of Notre Dame Aux Nonnains challenged Pope Urban IV. He wanted to build a church on the site where his father’s shoemaker’s shop once stood. The Abbess forbade him to do so, as the land belonged to her abbey. Pope Urban sent a work crew to break ground, despite the Abbesses’ objections, and she sent an armed party that drove them from her land. Two years later, he tried again with the same results. Enraged at the Abbess, the pope excommunicated the entire abbey. The sentence remained in effect for 14 years, but the Abbess was resolute, and the pope’s church was not built until after her death.

5.Philothey Benizelos

It was not unusual in world history for women warriors to be nuns: in the 1650’s, Philothey Benizelos established a convent in Greece and so successfully attracted women students that the local governments feared her growing power. The women of the convent were armed and trained as fighters, for several times Philothey had been called to forcibly pacify rebellious tenants who protested the harsh taxes exacted by the convent managers.


In the late 9th an early 8th centuries BC, Assyrian Queen Sammuramat secured the throne from her husband Ninus, ordered him killed, and seized control of the expansion of the Assyrian empire. She fought her way to oceans, thereby accessing foreign trade ports for land-locked Assyria. She conquered Babylon, and constructed one of the seven wonders of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. She went on to capture Ethiopia and Egypt, held Bactria against her husband’s attack, and repulsed the armies of India. 
According to chroniclers of the time, the Queen led an army of 300,000 foot soldiers, 5,000 horse cavalry, and large contingents of camel-mounted cavalry and charioteers. Her impressive legend of accomplishment and conquest led the Greeks (who called her Semiramis) to fashion tales that she must be descended from the gods. 
She left behind her own records of her accomplishments on a variety of self-glorifying monuments. At the base of one statue, the Queen had engraved
“Nature made me a woman, yet I have raised myself to rival the greatest men. I swayed the scepter of Ninos, I extended my dominions to the river Hinamemes eastward; to the southward to the land of frankincense and myrrh; northward to Saccae and the Scythians. No Assyrian before me had seen an ocean, but I have seen four. I have built dams and fertilized the barren land with my rivers. I have built impregnable walls and roads to far places, and with iron cut passages through mountains where previously even wild animals could not pass. Various as were my deeds, I have yet found leisure hours to indulge myself with friends.”

7.Khawlah Bint al-Kindiyyah

In the early days of Islam, women of noble status had the same rights as their husbands, including the right to raid, to wage war, and to fight in battles. Khawlah Bint al-Kindiyyah rode with her female captains in the front ranks of Arab army, as they clashed with the Greeks at the battle of Yermonks. The Greek strategy bested the Arabs, and the Arab army retreated in panic. Khawlah and several other women captains assumed control of the army and turned back on the Greeks, urging the men to follow her into the center of battle. When a Greek soldier knocked Khawlah to the ground and advanced for the kill, her captain Wafeira severed his head with her sword, and displayed it to inspire the Arab soldiers.
Khawlah and her women captains (Alfra’Bint Ghifar al-Humayriah, Oserrah and Wafeira) were eventually captured by the Greeks in a battle near Damascus and their weapons were confiscated. Feeling that she and her captains were being treated rudely by their captors, Khawlah stirred her captains to escape. With no other weapons than the poles that held up their tent, they attacked their guards, and the soldiers fled before them.
A historian who saw Khawlah fight in battle described her as a tall knight, muffled in black and fighting with ferocious courage. She and her women captains were experienced warriors with the strength to control a camel in battle, to fight with a sword and lance, and to render a simple tent pole into a deadly weapon.

8.Black Agnes

In Scotland in 1334, Lady Agnes Randolph, called Black Agnes, fought in defense of the Castle Dunbar in the Earl her husband’s absence. Her adversary was England’s Earl of Salisbury, a specialist in military engineering and technology. For five years, the English general laid siege to Dunbar, and directed against her some of the most advanced machinery that had appeared in England. Black Agnes, leading her troops, withstood him, and after each bombardment, ordered the maids to dust the furniture and shake out the rugs in her chambers, and act of normalcy designed to irritate Salisbury, as he attempted to terrorize the inhabitants of Dunbar with his mines and cannon.
When the bombardment failed, Salisbury’s men built a testudo, a wheeled, covered shed under which his men worked battering rams. Agnes observed the apparatus for a time, before ordering her men to swing a large rock over the battlements and drop it on the testudo. As Salisbury’s men fled the crushed war machine, Agnes commanded that fire be dropped on the remains.
Finally, Salisbury brought Agnes’ brother, the Earl of Moray from prison to the Castle Dunbar. He displayed the Earl, and threatened to kill him if she did not capitulate. Her response came in two parts: first, because the castle did not belong to her, she could not surrender it, and second, because her brother had no children, his death would simply assure that she would inherit all his lands and with them, even greater power. Salisbury reluctantly returned her brother to prison.
On June 10th, 1338, Salisbury withdrew his siege from Castle Dunbar and never returned. A small poem written by some of his men conveys his attitude about Black Agnes:
She kept stir in tower and trench,
that brawling, boisterous Scottish wench.
Came I early, came I late,
I found Agnes at the gate.

9.Gallus Mag and Sadie the Goat

In the year following the Civil War, a number of women outlaws populated the American scene. New York claimed barkeep Gallus Mag, a brawler and thief, who displayed neatly labeled jars of pickled human ears she had bitten off in her many fights. 
Sadie the Goat, another New Yorker, was famous for butting strangers in the stomach with such force that they were disabled while she robbed them. One evening Sadie, despondent over losing an ear to Gallus Mag in a recent fight, walked along the New York waterfront. Hearing some shots, she discovered a robbery in progress and watched with fascination as a group of drunken men attempted to steal a small sailing sloop anchored mid-river. A handful of crewmen easily drove the would-be pirates into the river.
Sadie assessed the soundness of the robbers’ scheme as well as their ineptness in executing Hudson River piracy. Confident that she could captain the crew, she helped the floundering men out of the river and proposed her plans. Within days, she discovered a larger sloop, engineered its hijacking, and led her crew on a rampage of robbery, murder, arson, and kidnapping up and down the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. 
Sadie the Goat earned a fortune before the determined and organized farmers who lived along the Hudson River forced the end of her piracy career. She returned to the Fourth Ward, acclaimed as “Queen of the Waterfront.” In a gesture of good will, Gallus Mag returned her ear, and a grateful Sadie mounted it in a locket, which she wore at all times.

10.Mrs. Wright and the women of Groton

Though the Sons of Liberty are celebrated for participating in the American Revolution, few know of the existence of the Daughters of Liberty. As the rebellion against the British escalated, many women were moved to warrior effort. 
In Old Middlesex, Massachusetts, when Prescott moved out with his regiment of “Minute Men,” Mrs. David Wright of Pepperell, Mrs. Job Shattuck of Groton, and a group of local women whose names have not been recorded put on their husbands’ clothing, armed themselves with muskets, axes and pitchforks, and took possession of Jewett’s Bridge, an important link between Pepperell and Groton. They elected Mrs. Wright their captain and vowed that no enemy would cross the bridge.
Captain Leonard Whiting, a heavily armed courier carrying British intelligence dispatches from Canada to Boston, failed to fight his way through Mrs. Wright’s small army and was taken captive. The women discovered the letters and sent them to Colonel Prescott.

11.Kenau Hasselaar

In 1581, the Netherlands came under attack by Spain. At the Dutch city of Harlaam, three thousand fighting men and a unit of women warriors prepared to receive the fury of the Spanish army. The women, led by Kenau Hasselaar, a 47 year-old widow, formed the elite corps at Harlaam. 
When the Spanish army was approaching, she proposed to the military governor that she raise a women’s fighting unit and arm it at her own expense. Permission was quickly granted, and three hundred women instantly volunteered. Each woman, an expert with sword, dagger, and musket, wore light armor over her dress, disdaining to costume as a man.
Kenau Hasselaar’s troops fought in all major actions, both within and without the walls of Harlaam. She also led them in countermining operations and in heavy construction to bolster damaged defenses. The grateful citizens of Harlaam granted Kenau a pension in the form of a permanent public position as a tax collector.
At this point, Kenau Hasselaar disappeared from the pages of history.

12.Madame de Chauteau-Gay

The crusades of the 13th century, as did those preceding, found many women warriors in the Holy Land. A historian of the time wrote, “French women warriors in this period were either duelists who made themselves locally famous in France or hard-fighting crusader soldiers who usually died unidentified.”
Madame de Chauteau-Gay exemplified the former. She was, as one commentator expressed, “…both gallant and handsome; she was generally to be seen on horseback, wearing huge top-boots, kilted skirts and a man’s wide-brimmed hat with steel trimmings and feathers to crown all, sword by side and pistols at saddle bow.”
Though married, she challenged the captain of her lover’s cavalry regiment to a duel after the officer had, in her opinion, mistreated her friend. Aware of Madame de Chauteau-Gay’s fame with sword and pistol, the cowardly officer appeared at the duel with two swordsmen by his side. Madame de Chauteau-Gay’s squire asked her to withdraw because of the unfairness. She responded, “It shall never be said that I encountered them without attacking them.” She engaged all three swordsmen at once and after offering an excellent account of her sword skills, she was, in the end, overcome and killed by her adversaries.

13.Ingean Ruadh and Stikla

Saxo Grammaticus, an ancient Danish historian, wrote:
”There were once women among the Danes who dressed as men and devoted every waking moment to the pursuit of war. Those who had the force of character or were tall and comely were especially apt to enter into such a life. Such martially trained women often functioned as “shield maidens” and accompanied both male and female warriors in battle. They entered legend as “the Valkyries.””
The Irish, who were often terrorized by Viking attacks, remember through their oral tradition on Viking captain, Ingean Ruadh, “the Red Maiden.” Called Rusla in her home country of Norway, the Red Maiden commenced her career with the overthrow of her brother, the king of Norway. She with her constant companion, the shield maiden Stikla, warred against Iceland, the British Isles, Telemark, and Denmark.

14.Vera Krylova

One of the most extraordinary martial records of a Russian woman fighter belonged to a young schoolteacher named Vera Krylova, the daughter of a factory worker. In the summer of 1941, after hearing Molotov’s speech announcing war between Germany and Russia, she enlisted in the medical corps, having experience as a student nurse. Vera worked within 100 feet of the German lines, dressing the wounds of injured soldiers. She was credited with carrying and dragging hundreds of wounded men to safety as bullets from German sharpshooters meant for her exploded the earth around her. At 21, she became a regimental medical inspector with the rank of Captain – and she had not yet begun to fight.
In August of 1941, the German army pushed toward Moscow as the Russian army rallied its resistance. In the confusion, Vera’s company was separated from the main force which she, injured in an earlier skirmish, was riding in a wagon with the wounded. For days the remnant company meandered in deep swamp an forest, trying to avoid capture. As they approached a seemingly deserted village, the Germans sprang an ambush. When the two commanders of the company were shot, the exhausted and leaderless Russians stood numb in the face of the German fire. Quickly mounting a riderless horse, Vera fired into the air several times and ordered the company to follow her. She led them to shelter, while the Germans, using the village as a center, dispatched soldiers into the forest to encircle the Russians. She moved quickly to the middle of the enveloping German offense before its units could link up. She commandeered some retreating Russian artillery and ordered it to fire on the village to soften the German position for her soldiers.
True to her nature, Vera led the first cavalry assault on the German village, but as she approached the edge of town, six Germans rushed from hiding and pulled her from her horse. Vera fought them until a German rifle butt smashed into her face, knocking out three of her teeth. In a fury she cursed and spit blood on her attackers as she kicked and punched. Even her now weakened resistance proved effective, as she bought enough time for her comrades to come to her rescue. Dazed and bleeding, Vera rallied her troops once more and led them deep into the dense forest.
The German army was unprepared for forest warfare, but Vera had a talent for it. Laffin writes that the Germans “… learned some of their costliest lessons in the forest of Bialowieza where Vera Krylova was in action.” After running and fighting for 2 weeks, Vera’s soldiers reached the last German barrier before the safe village of Serpukhov. A 23-hour battle ensued at the river crossing as a German force fought to prevent Vera’s company from joining the main Russian guerrilla force while also stalling for another unit to attack her from the rear. Understanding the enemy’s strategy, Vera waited for the right moment, and then led a charge across the river. The German defenders scattered, and she continued on to Serpukhov. When she entered the town at the head of her unit, it was still only the beginning of her dazzling warrior life.
Vera survived the war and returned to teaching, one of the most honored of Russia’s modern women warriors.

15.Hannah Snell

In the mid eighteenth century, a British woman named Hannah Snell, aka “James Gray” joined the Frazer Marines disguised as a man to search for her lost husband. Her unit shipped for India aboard the Swallow, and she was immediately thrown into the battle for Pondicherry. In the first assault group to cross a river, Hannah waded chest deep under fire from the French batteries. She spent two weeks fighting in the trenches and seven consecutive nights as a frontline picket. For her efforts, she received six bullets in her right leg, five in her left, and one in her stomach. By doctoring the stomach wound herself, she maintained her disguise.
After her recovery she was assigned to the Tartar Pink and later to the Eltham. At first, her shipmates teased her for her lack of beard and called her “Miss Molly Gray;” however, her courage and toughness soon earned her the nickname “Hearty Jimmy.” 
When she retired from the military in 1750, she published her autobiography and launched a speaking tour of England and Europe. With the proceeds she opened an inn, which she named the Woman Warrior.

16.Moll Cutpurse and the Roaring Girls

In the 16th and 17th centuries, urban observers took note of the “Roaring Girls” phenomenon. Averell, in his Marvailous Combat, describes women “who from the top to the toe, are so disguised, that though they be in sexe Woman, yet in attire they appear to be men.” The chamberlain records carried this account dated January 25, 1620: “Yesterday the bishop of London called together all his Clergie about this towne, and told them he had express commandment from the king to will them to inveigh vehemently and bitterly in their sermons against the insolence of our women, and they’re wearing brode brimd hats, pointed dublets, theyre haire cut short or shorne and some of them stillettaes or poniard [knives and daggers], such other trinckets of like moment.”
The cover girl smoking a pipe and carrying a sword, pictured in the Roaring Girls, a book published in London in 1611, depicted a real, historically verifiable model of the type. Mary Firth, also known as Moll Cutpurse, lived in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Her name appears in a number of lawsuits of the period. In her confession recorded in the Consistory of London Corrections Book of 1605-1606, she admits to “frequenting alehouses, taverns, tobacco shops and associating with ruffianly, swaggering and lewd company, namely with cutpurses, blasphemers, drunkards, and other of bad note.” She appeared in court again in 1621 on a charge of wrongful arrest. Mary claimed that because of her reputation for locating stolen goods, she was asked by a friend to find a certain pickpocket and regain the purloined items. Mary sought to represent herself as an underworld policeman to rationalize her high-handed manner with the plaintiffs.
During the English Civil War, Mary single-handedly robbed the commander in chief of the parliamentarian forces, General Fairfax, even though he was an excellent swordsman in the company of an armed guard. She not only slew several guards but also killed the general’s horse so she could not be followed. She relieved Fairfax of his purse but was soon captured and sentenced to be hanged. A bribe of 2000 pounds in gold won her release, and Mary returned to a life of robbery. She died in her mid-seventies, a wealthy woman.

17.Nguyen Thi Minh Khai

In the early 20th C, the Vietnamese defended their homeland against a French invasion, and over one million women participated in the fighting. The initial successes of women in battle spurred more women to join the war, and with these and many other examples to inspire her, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai joined the Vietnamese guerilla force in the early 1940s, eventually leading them in the fight against the French in Nam Ky. She was captured and tortured by the French to learn her troop’s movements. 
While imprisoned, she wrote a poem in her own blood on her cell wall:
A rosy-cheeked woman, 
here I am Fighting side by side with you men.
On my shoulders weighs the hatred which is common to us,
The prison is my school, its inmates my friends,
The sword is my child, the gun is my husband.
Minh Khai cut out her own tongue rather than divulge any secrets, and soon after, was executed. In Vietnam today, women’s groups and military units still take her name to honor her.

Mardaanis of India


India’s Mardaanis!
India has been ranked as the 4 th most dangerous country for women and seeing the crime graph it is self explanatory that Indian women are subjected to sexual assault/harassment day in and day out.
That too when most of the cases go unreported so one can only begin to imagine the mammoth of a problem this is for women.The #MeToo campaign has also brought out stories of sexual assault to light from all over the world.

Well this is the problem but what about the solution. Some will say we need to change the mindset of men who treat women as objects and I agree but that is a long drawn process , also the laws needs to be made stricter and implemented but that too is not in women’s hand.The important thing is to understand the psychology of the attacker .Men assault women because they can as they are not expecting any retaliation, they know they can do it and get away with it.Thats it Period.

So we need to change this music , these dynamics and that can be done if women learn to defend themselves because the same men are afraid to attack homosexuals as they expect to be attacked by them.

Also the human body when confronted with an assault situation goes into fight or flight mode. So to fight one needs to train.

There are so many forms of martial arts like Krav Maga, Karate ,Kungfu, Judo, Taekwondo,Akido,,Thang-ta,Muay Thai,Wing Chun and Indian forms like Gatka, Lathi , Kalaripayattu .Martial arts can be learnt at any age and not only does it equip you to fight but also gives you confidence and makes you self -disciplined, which makes it a necessary life skill in today’s date and age.

There are so many Indian women who are teaching others self defence and topping the list is 76 year old Meenakshi Amma who teaches Kalaripayattu . Richa Gaur who runs the Global Institute of Self-defence and martial arts at Jaipur who herself is a champion in Muay Thai. Then there is 33 year old Sharmila Madhu who teaches Kungfu at Mysore.And many others like Kambung Wanysa from Arunachal Pradesh,Bhavisha Singh, Pashwini Sharma from Saharanpur, Pragya Chabra , Pinki Singh from Patna who are doing this noble work of empowering other women and girls .These women are not only martial artists but an inspiration for millions of women who have been taught that they are weaker than a man.These women everyday are breaking this myth that men are stronger than women.

So my call to action to any woman who reads this, please go and equip yourself with martial arts, please go and enroll yourself today and after you have learnt please teach other women and girls so that there is no more rape ,molestation, acid attacks.

No more “abla naaris “only 

Mardaanis- a force to reckon with!!!