Kalpana Chawla

The forgotten hero of millions: Kalpana Chawla

While most girls played with dolls, she used to draw pictures of airplanes. She had a strong desire to travel beyond the blue yonder, to fly into the heavens and touch the sky…someday. Her story will surely inspire you to dream more. This is a story of a bold, fearless woman, the epitome of courage and power, which deserves to be written in gold.

Her parents must have had great foresight, for she was named ‘Kalpana’, which means ‘imagination.’ She would gaze at the stars and have made up her mind to unravel the questions of time and space.

All through her entire academic career, she was brilliant. The path she took was in no way conventional or easy, but her remarkable courage and ambition got her there and in the process inspired an entire generation to do the same.

At a time when women were struggling to give opinions at home and even at work, Kalpana set records and broke glass ceilings everywhere. Kalpana went to space as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm reporter. She was the only woman who was part of a six-astronaut crew, which was a huge success. Following this, Kalpana ventured on her second voyage into outer space with a seven-member crew, which turned out to be her last.

Kalpana Chawla left behind a legacy in Indian Space History and was the first Indian woman to fly in space, and the second Indian to be in Space. For her outstanding career achievement and her significant contribution to the country, many aerospace aspirants take her as a role model.

She left her mark on every Indian and has set a mighty example for being courageous, dedicated, and an independent woman who followed her dream. She has taught young girls and women to dream and never let society’s preconceived notions and biases hold them back.

There was such passion in her dreams, that they outlived the news and manner of her demise. Thank you for teaching us to never hesitate in outgrowing our surroundings and the limitations set for us by the patriarchal society.

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