Biography of Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena:
Flight lieutenant Gunjan Saxena is best-known as one of the first women Indian Air force officers to the Kargil war zone in 1999 along with her fellow lieutenant Srividya Rajan. She flew a Cheetah helicopter into the combat zone and rescued several soldiers. Gunjan Saxena, the daughter of an Indian armed force officer, was summoned by the Indian Air Force when the conflict between India and Pakistan battle. Flight Lieutenant was asked to fly in Srinagar and she agreed to fly. After this incident, she came to be known as the Kargil Girl.
-: Some Important facts :-
- Name: Gunjan Saxena
- Age: 45 Years
- Date of Birth: 31 August 1975
- Age (as in 2020): 45 Years
- Birthplace: Lucknow
- Nationality: Indian
- Education: Graduate
- Marital Status: Married
- Profession: An Indian Air Force officer
- Famous For: First Indian women IAF officers to fly in a combat zone (Kargil War)
- College/University: Hansraj College, University of Delhi
- Hobbies: Reading, Exploring New Places
- Awards and Achievements: Shurya Chakra Award by the Indian Army
- Husband : Name Not Known (an Indian Air Force Mi-17 Helicopter Pilot)
- Daughter: Pragya (born in 2004)
- Father: Anup Saxena (an Indian Army Officer)
- Mother: Not known
- Siblings: Brother- Anshuman Saxena (an Indian Army Officer)
Gunjan Saxena: Early Life and Education
Gunjan Saxena was born in a middle-class Army officer family on 31 August 1975. She is currently 44 years old. She is from Lucknow, India. She born and brought up in a family with a defense background. As her father Lt Col (retired) Anup Saxena and brother Anshuman Saxena served the Indian Army, Gunjan also decided to join the armed forces after her graduation. From a very young age, she wanted to join the Indian Air Force and was always cheered on by her father and brother to work towards this dream.
She completed her graduation i.e. Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Hansraj College in Delhi. During her college days, she joined the Safdarjung Flying Club which is located in New Delhi to learn the basics of flying. After completing her graduate degree, she started applying to get a job as a pilot. At this time she went on to take SSB examination and got the opportunity to join In the Indian Air Force(IAF) in the year 1994.
Gunjan Saxena: Career
In the year 1994, she got an opportunity to join the very first women’s batch of IAF trainee pilots which consisted of 25 brave and skilled women. It was the very first batch of women IAF trainee pilots. She was posted in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir and many places of India. She and Flight Lieutenant. Srividya Rajan became the first Indian woman to fly Cheetah helicopters in combat to help abandon injured soldiers.
Waiting for the best opportunity to serve the nation, during the Kargil War in 1999 between India and Pakistan, Gunjan and her colleague lieutenant Srividya Rajan got an opportunity to prove her mettle. They both were required to fly very close to Pakistan-dominated territories in Srinagar to rescue the Indian soldiers. Indian army carried out two major operations which led to the triumph during the Kargil War– Operation Vijay and Operation Safed Sagar. Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena was associated with Operation Vijay with the tasks involving medical evacuation, surveillance of Pakistani positions in the war zone, and the provision of supplies.
Earlier in those 19 century days, women were not allowed to fly in the war zone because of extreme physical and mental stress factors. But at the time of the Kargil war, the Indian armed forces were in desperate need of all of their pilots to perform the duties in order to attain victory against Pakistan. Thus, situations took an extreme change, so male and the women both pilots were called on to serve the nation.
She escorted her Cheetah helicopter through hostile mountain territory to supply medical evacuation, spotting Pakistani enemy positions, and rescue their injured soldiers in the war. She proved her spirit excellently in the Kargil’s Operation Vijay and became the first-ever woman pilot of IAF to do so. She supplied crucial equipment to army units at the points in the Dras and Batalik sectors.
Her tasks were mainly evacuating casualties and carry out aerial observation. She has picked up the dead and the wounded from the mountain edges, where flying an aircraft requires an excessive skill, was her only assignment. She had to complete her task with gunfire and missiles targeted towards her helicopter.
Gunjan Saxena: Personal Life
Gunjan Saxena’s love for the nation is reflected in her personal life as well. Gunjan Saxena is married to an Indian Air Force officer Wing Commander Gautam Narain. He is a pilot by his profession and flies mostly IAF Mi-17 Helicopter. The couple has a daughter and her name is Pragya, who was born in the year 2004. Her husband also served as an instructor at the National Defense Academy(NDA) which is the first tri-service academy in the world. After her service as a short service commissioned officer(SSC), now she is a housewife and lives with her family in Gujarat.
Gunjan Saxena: Awards and Achievement
For her outstanding service and determination in the Kargil War zone, she was honored with the Shaurya Chakra Award (a gallantry award presented for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy) by Indian Army. She became the first woman to receive the Shaurya Chakra Award.
Gunjan Saxena’s Biopic
The Kargil Girl, a big-budget Bollywood movie is inspired by her real-life story, India’s first female Air Force officer to fly in a combat zone during the 1999 Kargil War. Gunjan Saxena’s role is acted by Janhvi Kapoor and her father and brother are played by Pankaj Tripathi and Angad Bedi respectively. This biopic is streaming on Netflix from 12 August 2020. It’s other supporting actors are Vineet Kumar, Manav Vij, and Ayesha Raza Mishra among others. The movie has been directed by Sharan Sharma and produced by Dharma Productions and Zee Studios.