Anchal Gangwal (24), a Flying Officer from the Indian Air Force Academy, has shattered the proverbial glass ceiling. The daughter of a tea stall owner in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh, she has bagged the prestigious President’s Plaque on graduating from the IAF Academy.
This Computer Science graduate was commissioned into the Indian Air Force a few days ago after she graduated with 123 other flight cadets.
Before joining the IAF, Anchal was a Sub Inspector at the Madhya Pradesh Police Department and later Labour Inspector in MP Labour Department.
Reportedly, Anchal had dreamt of joining the Air Force since she saw IAF personnel conducting rescue operations during the Uttarakhand floods in 2013. A skilled basketball player, Anchal had started appearing for AFCAT (Air Force Common Admission Test) after her graduation; she got selected in the sixth attempt to SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal).
Her father Suresh Gangwal, who has studied till Class 10 and has been selling tea for the past 25 years, was quoted as saying, "One can understand my financial condition. At times, I faced problems with depositing her school or college fees. I had to borrow money from others on many occasions to deposit the fee. Sometimes I had to pretend to be out of town to delay fees deposition."
However, Anchal’s family could not attend the felicitation ceremony at the IAF Academy in Dundigal owing to the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Coronavirus.
A Combined Graduation Parade (CGP) will be held at Air Force Academy on 20 Jun 20.
Due to #COVID situation parents & relatives of the passing out cadets will not be able to attend the ceremony.
But you can watch live:
Doordarshan & IAF social media pages, 20 Jun @0845 onwards. pic.twitter.com/WCW5skaowC
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 19, 2020
Anchal expressed gratitude at her parents’ unconditional support. She said, “To stand in my uniform, in front of my father and mother, who have fought all the difficulties in their lives to get me here (was a dream). However, due to COVID-19 that could not happen. But I am happy that they could see the ceremony on television.”
The CAS concluded by reminding the graduating officers that the solemn oath taken by them should be their guiding principle while they execute their duties & responsibilities.
Glimpses of the ceremony. pic.twitter.com/OGPektC2lV
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 20, 2020
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also lauded Anchal for her stupendous achievement.
रौशन थी धरती तुझसे, अब रौशन होगा आसमां भी।
दुआओं पर परवाज करो, रौशन कर दो जहां भी।
अंधेरों को चीरकर फिर एक बेटी 'आंचल' ने रच दिया है इतिहास
ऐसे ही बढ़ती रहें बेटियां, यही तो हैं हम सबका गौरव और अभिमान भी।
बेटी आंचल को स्नेह और आशीर्वाद! माता-पिता को बहुत-बहुत बधाई! pic.twitter.com/juZYfdCVZZ
— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) June 22, 2020
He tweeted, “Anchal, daughter of Suresh Gangwal, who runs a tea shop in Neemuch, will now fly the fighter plane in the Air Force. Daughter Anchal, who made Madhya Pradesh proud, will now fly in the heights of the infinite sky to protect the pride and honour of the country. Congratulations, blessings and best wishes to the daughter."
(Edited by Athira Nair)