As Janhvi Kapoor’s ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’ is about to be premiered on Netflix on 12 August, many of us are excited to watch it. The inspiring story of Gunjan Saxena, who made history, as she flew into a combat zone during the Kargil War. A feat that had not been allowed for or achieved by a lady officer in the IAF till then.
As Bollywood is gearing for the release of Gunjan Saxena’s biopic — ‘The Kargil Girl’ on Netflix on 12th August, many are curious to know more about Gunjan. Here’s the inspiring trailer of the movie:
Here are some of the unheard facts about this badass woman warrior, Gunjan Saxena that may answer what inspired Bollywood to make a movie on her life.
Our victory in the Kargil War of 1999 showed not only our enemies but also the world that what we were capable of. Our defense forces fought with the ultimate grit and dedication as they uprooted the Pakistani infiltrants on our country.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) was monumental in ensuring India’s win in the war. And, one member of IAF who played a critical role in the Kargil war is Flight Officer Gunjan Saxena, who will always be remembered as the Kargil Girl.
Gunjan Saxena made history as she flew into a combat zone during the War, a feat that had not been allowed for or achieved by a lady officer in the IAF.
She was later awarded the Shaurya Chakra- an Indian military decoration awarded for bravery, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaging directly with the enemy.
While pursuing an undergraduate course at Hansraj College, Gunjan Saxena came across the golden opportunity of joining the very first batch of female IAF trainee pilots. Belonging to a second-generation defense officer, she was really thrilled to accept the challenges that came with this life. At that moment, her father and brother were serving in the Indian Army.
The defense forces were majorly dominated by male officers. Lady officers in the IAF were not even given a chance to fly as equals with their male counterparts.
But, Gunjan decided not to leave this glorious opportunity to change this sad reality.
She cleared the entrance exam, the SSB, and the medical tests and joined the IAF as a pilot. Sadly, lady officers weren’t then allowed to fly fighter jets as they are now. Though many people had doubts about women pilots in the IAF as they were still not sure how women would cope with the mental and physical stress of flying, and of wars.
But, this feisty young woman proved her potential during the Kargil War.
As per the sources, Gunjan operated Cheetah and was one of the ten pilots based in Srinagar during the conflict. When the complications got worse, this boss lady refused the option to move out of Srinagar – the danger zone. During the war, flight officer Gunjan Saxena flew her chopper to airdrop the vital supplies to Indian troops at difficult sites.
And, during these flights, she also picked up the wounded/dead bodies from steep and unruly mountain ranges.
Without caring much about her own life, she kept her seniors updated on the enemy positions to support them in making better strategies, which ultimately contributed to the overall victory.
Knowing how her trips were fraught with danger, she kept flying into volatile areas where her enemies were ready to shot her down. But she flew fearlessly, ready to martyr for her motherland.
In a terrifying incident, the Pakistani Army fired a rocket at her helicopter. She managed to escape the attack as the missile missed it and crashed into a hill behind it in a deafening explosion.
But this brave young officer remained undaunted. She didn’t let her brave spirit get affected by this nerve-wracking event.
Recalling her role in casualty evacuation in the Kargil War, Gunjan shared:
“One of our main roles was casualty evacuation. I think it is the ultimate feeling that you can have as a helicopter pilot… it’s a very satisfying feeling when you save a life because that’s what you are there for.”
Even though Gunjan was an exemplary officer, her tenure with the IAF was a short one. It ended a few years after the Kargil War as the permanent commission was not valid back then. While sharing how happy she is with the fact that now women are allowed permanent commission in the IAF, she shared:
“I think inducting women in the fighter stream is a very, very big and a positive step on part of the Air Force. Being a pioneer, I would say, it feels great and I would only say that I hope these women who’ve come into the fighter stream now give their 100 per cent and really, really touch the sky with glory.”
While she fought against the gender barrier, she has inspired millions by being the only lady officer to set foot in the Kargil War.
At IFORHER, we are eagerly waiting to see the inspiring yet unconventional story of Flight Lt. Gunjan Saxena. It will surely inspire millions of young girls to believe that DREAMS KNOW NO GENDER!