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Hyd bakery worker's daughter gets her wings, becomes pilot

Thu, Mar 12, 2015, 03:50 PM
Hyderabad, March 12, 2015: Unlike girls of her age who dream of becoming doctors or engineers, she wanted to be something different. Many laughed at her dream, but today she is one among the few Muslim women in India to hold a commercial pilot's licence.

Coming from a modest background - her father is a bakery worker - Syeda Salva Fatima, with her sheer determination and hard work, entered the male-dominated field and became the first female from the poverty stricken old-city of Hyderabad to get the licence.

Having crossed the first step she is now preparing for the second - certification on a mid-sized passenger jet.

A resident of Sultan Shahi, a densely populated neighbourhood in the backward old city, Salva dreamt of flying aircraft since her school days.

"When I was in the ninth standard I used to collect articles about the aviation industry and pictures of different aircraft. Like almost all the girls, my friends wanted to be either doctors or engineers, but I wanted to do something different," 26-year-old Salva told IANS.

"I used to share my thoughts with my classmates and they always used to ask me whether this is really possible. But in the end, the dream came true thanks to Almighty Allah," said the burqa-clad woman, who studied at the Aizza School in Malakpet here.

Eldest among four children of Syed Ashfaq Ahmed, she had no clue either as to how her dream would come true in view of the meagre earnings of her father.

As her parents insisted that she opt for engineering, she enrolled for coaching conducted by Urdu daily 'Siasat' for EAMCET, a common entrance test for engineering and medical courses.

It was 'Siasat' editor Zahid Ali Khan who gave wings to her dreams. On learning about her ambition, he offered to bear the entire expenditure for her training.

It took a year for Salva to gather all information and prepare herself to take the final plunge. In 2007, she enrolled in the Andhra Pradesh Aviation Academy.

"It was my first air experience and I was thrilled," recalled Salva, who had an adventurous nature from her school days and was a keen participant in extra-curricular activities and games.

Salva was also aware of the ups and downs in her path. "People used to ask me: 'You are a girl, what will you do by becoming a pilot? After your marriage, you will have to be a housewife.' I never cared about these comments and taunts because my family supported me," she said.
Agency: IANS
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