Flying high on her dream, fighter pilot Mawya Sudan an inspiration

From drawing sketches of flying machines on the walls of her room during her childhood to becoming the 12th woman fighter pilot of the IAF, Mawya Sudan is flying high on her dream
Mawya Sudan achievement is all the more special as she belongs to the remote Lamberi village on the Line of Control in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district. (HT Photo)
Mawya Sudan achievement is all the more special as she belongs to the remote Lamberi village on the Line of Control in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district. (HT Photo)
Updated on Aug 27, 2021 06:54 PM IST
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Flying officer Mawya Sudan, 24, is a trailblazer. The first woman fighter pilot from Jammu and Kashmir has fired up the imagination of girls of the border belt looking to make a career in the defence services, particularly the Indian Air Force.

From drawing sketches of flying machines on the walls of her room during her childhood to becoming the 12th woman fighter pilot of the IAF, she is flying high on her dream. Her achievement is all the more special as she belongs to the remote Lamberi village on the Line of Control in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district. Located south of the Pir Panjal, where India launched the surgical strike in 2016 to avenge the attack on the Uri army camp, villages such as Lamberi see shelling by Pakistan during border skirmishes that can trigger mass migration during flare-ups.

On the flight path

“It was innate to her. She was always fascinated by flying machines. As a child, she would watch helicopters flying over. She would bring chalk pieces from school and draw planes on the walls. Those crude sketches gave way to posters of jets as she grew up. She dreamt of taming a big flying machine one day and she is living her dream now,” says her proud father, Vinod Sudan, an engineer with the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board.

While Mawya is undergoing training at present, her father recalls her flight path. She studied at Carmel Convent School before opting for the non-medical stream at JK Public School, Kunjwani. She scored 80% and qualified for the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme to study for a degree course in an institution outside the state of residence. She opted for MCM DAV College for Women in Chandigarh and graduated with honours in political science before joining the defence and national security studies department at Panjab University.

“During her stay in Chandigarh, she underwent coaching for taking the services selection board (SSB) test. Five months into the post-graduation course and Mawya got a call to join the IAF academy at Hyderabad,” he says.

Wind beneath her wings

Mawya’s mother Sushma Sudan is a homemaker, while her elder sister Tanya is an alumna of Indian Institute of Management at Kozhikode and works as a consultant with a multinational company. “We have stood solidly behind our daughters, supporting them in their pursuits. Of course, Mawya faced challenges but her indomitable spirit won,” he says.

Mawya is focused and self-made. “She never had a Plan B. She believes your goal has to be your passion and it should be followed objectively with single-minded devotion. She is now a soldier and to her, the country comes first,” says Sudan.

Duties come before rights

She focuses on performing her duties rather than cherishing the thought of rights and demanding them. “Now girls are joining Sainik Schools and will be at the National Defence Academy (NDA) as well. These are the big decisions to empower women. The government is trying to bring women to the fore in every field. Hopefully, society will welcome and adapt to these changes,” he adds.

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Monday, December 06, 2021