Swarnalata Dalai: Daughter Of Dalit Farmer Scales Mt Everest
Every year, thousands around the world attempt to scale Mt Everest. On May 21, Swarnalata Dalai, achieved the same feat. So what makes her special? The 20-year-old is a daughter of a landless Dalit farmer from Odisha. She achieved this feat on Monday despite the several obstacles she has been facing life.
The Everest dream
Swarnalata is a resident of Jagadiha village in Odisha’s Jajpur. She has always been curious about mountaineering. Swarnalata started her training two years ago. She underwent a severe training schedule that involved everything from carrying heavy loads to getting accustomed to sleeping on the snow in tents. The young girl began to develop the Everest dream with her mentor Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to scale the world’s highest peak.
Her parents and four siblings’ happiness knew no bounds when they saw the news on television, covering Swarnalata’s Everest feat, sitting inside their small mud house. Her father, Jhunarani Dalai, a farmer, told TOI that his daughter “was always fascinated by mountains. She would run through the green village fields and speak about scaling the hills surrounding our village. She has won many prizes as an athlete in school, but mountaineering was fairly new to her.”
Scaled Everest and other mountain peaks with teammates
She achieved the feat with teammates Poonam Rama and Sandeep Toliya, both from Uttarakhand. In February this year, the three scaled Mt Aconcagua, the highest point of South America. Swarnalata went on to do the Roopkund trek and then the Indian Women’s Gokyo: Everest Grand Circle Expedition, which helped her get selected for the Everest journey.
Another impeccable example of determination is Nahida Manzoor, a young mountaineer from Srinagar. Nahida is currently preparing for the task of scaling the world’s highest peak, in a two-month mountaineering expedition course.
Sangeeta Sindhi Bahl (53) from Jammu, became the oldest Indian woman to scale Mount Everest on May 19. Sangeeta has broken the record of Premlata Agarwal who had scaled Everest at the age of 48, on May 20, 2011.
It is stories like these which inspire us to move onward and upward in life despite the severe challenges and obstacles.