Women's Activism NYC

Sarla Thakral

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"Always be happy. It is very important for us to be happy and cheerful. This one moto has seen me tide over the crisis in my life". In 1936, Sarla Thakral was the first Indian women to fly. At the age of 21 years old, Sarla had earned her Pilot License in 1936 and flew a Gypsy Moth solo. Sarla already at that time had a four-year old daughter and was married. Sarla's husband was the first Indian to have gotten his airmail pilot's license and he flew between Karachi and Lahore. Her father in law was really encouraging and had encouraged Sarla to enroll in the flying club. Sarla obtained her 'A' license after going over 1000 hours of flying and soon she was looking for a group B license which would allow her to fly as an commercial pilot. When Sarla was working to get this license, the civil war broke out and the civil training had gotten suspended. In her training during Jodhpur in 1939, her husband had died in a crash and she became widowed at the age of 24. She had abandoned her dreams of becoming a commercial pilot. Later Sarla had returned to Lahore, where she joined Mayo School of Arts and received her diploma in fine Arts. Sarla has later became an entrepreneur and she had took up her time to create jewelry, Saree designing, and had designed for the National School of Drama. One of the clients she had was Vijayalaxmi Pandit!

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