Republic Day parade represents the depth of culture and strength of Indian forces while felicitating brave warriors and saluting the ones creating history. This year, Flight Lieutenant Swati Rathore joined the list of historians as she became the first woman ever to lead the flypast at the annual Republic Day Parade.
Dr. Bhavani Singh Rathore, her father and a Deputy Director in the state’s Agriculture Department, said, “My daughter has let me hold my head high. I am overwhelmed as the dream which she saw has turned into reality.”
Although Swati hails from Nagaur, a small district in Rajasthan, she completed her schooling from Ajmer. During a school competition, Swati drew a tri-color and this is when her parents realized that they must support her dreams of doing something for the nation. Incidentally, her brother is a Merchant Navy officer.
In order to pursue her dream of becoming a pilot, Swati Rathore joined the NCC Air Wing immediately after school and appeared for the Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) in 2013. One year later, out of 200 female candidates, 98 were called by the Air Force Selection Board for an interview. Out of this, 5 candidates made the cut and Swati was the only individual who managed to secure her selection as a pilot.
Leading ministers such as Vasundhra Raje Scindia, Sachin Pilot, etc, have time and again mentioned Swati in their tweets while addressing the various achievements throughout her career. She is often hailed as ‘Rajasthan’s Pride’ by people on the internet.
हम सभी के लिए गर्व का विषय है कि गणतंत्र दिवस के अवसर पर राजपथ पर होने वाली परेड में वीरभूमि #Rajasthan की बेटी और वायुसेना की फ्लाइट लेफ्टिनेंट #SwatiRathore 'फ्लाई पास्ट' का नेतृत्व करेंगी। मैं उनके उज्जवल भविष्य की कामना करती हूँ! pic.twitter.com/SMrFhouiwr
— Vasundhara Raje (@VasundharaBJP) January 22, 2021
Furthermore, Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became the first female fighter pilot to participate in the ceremony. She belongs to the first batch of women pilots that entered the Indian Air Force fighter squad along with Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh. Chaturvedi will be the first female pilot for the Rafale jet.
Such leaders continue to redefine the standards of women empowerment in India.