It is not often that we come across people who battle the odds so much, that the odds are forced to bend. There are some inspiring stories that sporadically grace our newspapers and make us beam with pride. Here, we list a few exceptional women who chose to challenge their bodies, overcome the chaos that surrounded them, and emerge stronger than ever.
This is a list of women, who chose mind over body.
• Arunima “Mt. Everest” Sinha – First female amputee to climb Mt. Everest
She made headlines, and for all the right reasons. Just 22 years old when her dreams came crashing down, this woman is now what girls dream to be. She became helpless when she fell off a running train trying to resist thieves and had her leg crushed, but she became extraordinary when she turned out to be the first female amputee to conquer Mt. Everest with a prosthetic leg, to prove to the world that it is always about your determination to succeed and nothing else matters.
The author of the book ‘Born again on the mountain’, Sinha is the recipient of the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India. The fearless woman is now looking to build a free sports academy for the poor and differently-abled persons.
• Sana Iqbal- Her Ride Against Depression
Riding her Bullet Electra, this 28-years old singlehandedly led a cause she truly believed in. Suffering from depression herself around the age of 27, Iqbal had felt that suicide was the only solution. Thankfully, she realized she was wrong. A biker since her 7th grade, Iqbal used her passion for biking to fuel her other passion: spreading awareness about depression. Starting her journey from Goa in November 2015, she chose to create a better world for her 6-month-old baby that she had left behind with her family. Over the course of the next three months, she covered 40,000 km spread across 8 states, spreading the hope of life, counselling youth suffering from depression.
• Irom “Iron Lady of Manipur” Sharmila
A prisoner of conscience according to Amnesty International, this civil rights activist, and poet from Manipur has been protesting against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts which millions believe is unconstitutional and against the nature of humanity. Fasting since almost 15 years now, “Mengoubi” or the “fair one”, she is now the world’s longest hunger striker. With scholarships and institutes named after her and millions of well-wishers, it is no wonder that she was voted as ‘Top Woman Icon of India’ by MSN Poll, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 2014.
• Preethi Srinivasan – Founder of Soulfree
The fact that this young lady was meant for great things was never doubted; however, the kind of greatness she would achieve was questioned when she came back paralysed after an innocent day out at the beach with friends. At just 18, this national level swimmer, captain of the U-19 Tamil Nadu Cricket team, and an exceptional student saw her future shatter in front of her when she suffered spinal cord injury. Fortunately, she has always been a fighter. With phenomenal support from her family, she founded Soulfree, an NGO that works for the needs of women with disabilities. A motivational speaker, content writer, and support system for many women, Srinivasan is one such who made her own destiny.
• Sudha Chandran- Dancing Her Way To Fame
World-renowned for her classical dancing, this Indian woman almost saw her passion give up when she met with a car accident and lost a leg. However, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Chandran rose to become an even better dancer with the help of a ‘Jaipur foot’, and went on to gain even more success and recognition as a beloved actress on Indian television. An inspiration for many, she has been invited to perform at events far and wide, with an inspirational speech by her being one of the prerequisites!
This may be a short list of only five names, but there are innumerable faceless women who have fought battles that would break most of us. So this Women’s Day, let’s raise a toast to these amazing women who chose to swim through the clouds and grab the silver lining, to inspire us all!