On 22nd March Air India the national carrier released a statement that it will be pulling out all stops to evacuate Indians stranded in different locations which have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The government and people have lauded the Air India’s crew for doing their duty. Among the crew, which is performing their duty with full determination are many women who are mothers and daughters too. One such gutsy female is Captain Swati Rawal.

 An act of bravery

Captain Swati Rawal is the commander of Air India 777 which flew to Rome to rescue the Indians stranded in the Italian capital. The mission withdrew 263 Indians from Italy. Rawal showed great courage, as she flew the plane into the current epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. She answered her duty’s call to make sure that the Indians who are stuck there could come back home. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also applauded Captain Raval. She is now the first woman pilot to operate a rescue flight.

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A pilot, a mother, a wife

Swati Rawal has not only made us proud but has also made her five-year-old son feel proud of her mother’s accomplishments. It wasn’t an easy choice to make, especially being a mother. Swati has been flying for over 15 years now. Her dream was to become a fighter pilot but at that time women were not allowed to fly fighter planes in the Indian Air Force so she chose to become a commercial pilot. Swati’s family has always been very supportive of her choices, even when she has put duty over her family.

Past achievements

She had also made headlines when she was part of Air India’s all women’s crew which operated from Mumbai to New York, a non-stop flight on March 8 to commemorate International Women’s Day. Captain Swati Rawal along with Captain Neha Kulkarni who was the first officer in the 14-hour long flight, lead the endeavour.

Swati Rawal has not only made us proud but has also made her five-year-old son feel proud of her mother’s accomplishments.

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The Air India crew has still been flying as part of the rescue operations are being reportedly ostracised by vigilante Resident Welfare Associations. The airline said RWAs of crew who operated special flights to Coronavirus outbreak hotspots are “obstructing them from performing their duty or even calling in the police, simply because the crew travelled abroad in the course of their duty.”

People need to remember that it is because of their efforts that we have been able to rescue so many Indians. Recently, Air India in a statement urged to all the concerned and particularly law enforcement bodies to ensure that the crew is treated with respect, courtesy and freedom.

Shreya is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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