#Inspiration

Major Prajakta Desai Has Proved That Defence Is A Place For Women!

Major Prajakta Desai
Major Prajakta Desai, the first female officer in the Indian Army to become an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle observer pilot spoke to SheThePeople and shared her journey. Here’s her story:

“I was a crazy kid growing up. My dream was to become Miss World as soon as I turned 18. Over the years, I somehow lost interest in the world of glamour. But I knew I’d to make a name for myself. I was 8 when I watched Border and the war scene left me inspired; I thought to myself, ‘I am going to join the army and make my country proud one day’.

My relatives disregarded my passion for a kid’s ramble. they’d often say, ‘girls shouldn’t dream big’ but my parents motivated me to aim for the sky; and I did. In my final year at college, I started preparing for the Combined Defence Services exam. I ranked 21st on the merit list for the Officer’s Training Academy in Chennai which had only 10 seats. I was sad, but I didn’t give up. Despite not being shortlisted, I kept calling the academy to know if they had any plans of increasing the no. of seats. Luckily they did and in 2010 I joined the academy.


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It was a year-long training. I kept least contact with family, just to stay focused on my goal. I remember calling my father on the first day at the academy and saying, ‘don’t call me unless someone dies.’ The training was rigorous but I knew I couldn’t give up. I’d tell myself, ‘15 seconds of fear or 15 years of life’ and that kept me going. In 2011, I passed out as Army Air Defence Lieutenant and Army became my way of life.

In 2011, I was posted in Jodhpur and no two days have been the same since then. From Chennai to Srinagar; I have served in every corner of the country. I am a trained mountaineer, skydiver and hot air balloon pilot. I also have experience in flying microlight and sail planes. In 2014, I married my long time sweetheart who is also an Army Officer. We only met thrice a year due to the exigencies of our service; but we faujis know how to live a lifetime with each minute. In 2019, I became the First female officer of the Indian Army to be a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Observer Pilot.

In 2021, I withdrew from the Indian Army, but my husband is still serving. Serving the armed forces was a thrill. Very often I hear parents say Defence isn’t a place for girls. I’d say stop putting a full stop to their dreams; let them decide and I am sure they’ll only make you proud.”

Watch the video here.