26-year-old Mohaddesa Jafri from Jogeshwari, Mumbai is the first Shia Muslim woman to become a trained commercial pilot. Her parents, Maulana Sher Mohammed Jafri and Aalema Farah Jafri, despite objections from society and relatives, supported Mohadessa's dream of becoming a pilot.
Mohadessa's parents are preachers at the local masjid. Having completed her training in Johannesburg, South Africa Mohadessa returned to India after getting her license. When she was a child, she recalls seeing posters and hoardings of Kalpana Chawla and being fascinated. She asked her father about Kalpana's life, and he narrated her inspiring story.
Mohadessa was only seven years old when Kalapana Chawla passed away following a shuttle crash. It was then she got more interested in knowing about Kalpana's life and started reading up on her and decided to become a pilot.
Her realtives and extended family registered their protest claiming that it is irreligious for the daughter of a maulana and aalim to allow their daughter to become a pilot. But Mohadessa's parents came in her defense and supported her dream. Finally, in 2020, she joined a flying school and became a pilot. Hopefully, Mohadessa has paved the way for other women from her community to pursue their dreams just like her.
(With inputs from Times of India and Siasat)
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