Republic Day: 10 things to know about the trailblazing flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth

By Tenzin Norzom|26th Jan 2021
As flight lieutenant Bhawana becomes the first female fighter pilot to join the Republic Day parade, here are 10 interesting facts about her.
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Women empowerment in the Indian Armed Forces is at a nascent stage, to say the least – with a mere 10 fighter pilots out of 1,875 women officers in the IAF, according to official data of the Ministry of Defence. In fact, it was only in 2015 that the induction of women as fighter pilots was approved by the Ministry.


Trailblazing women like Bhawana Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh, and other women in the Air Force have proved that women are capable of flying fighter jets as efficiently as their male counterparts.


As Bhawana shatters yet another glass ceiling this Republic Day, here are 10 interesting facts about the fighter piold


1 On the 72nd Republic Day, flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth is set to make history as the the first female fighter pilot to join in the Republic Day parade.


2 Posted at the Rajasthan airbase, the 28-year-old is commissioned on a MiG-21 Bison fighter plane.


3 President Ram Nath Kovind honoured Bhawana with the Nari Shakti Puraskar on March 9, 2020.


4 In 2016, Bhawana, along with Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh became the first women to be inducted into the Indian Air Force as fighter pilots.

Women in air force

(From L to R) Flight lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth, and Mohana Singh

5 She completed Day Operational syllabus for carrying out a combat mission on MiG-21 Bison aircraft in 2019.


6 During an interaction with PM Narendra Modi, Bhawana shared how as a child, she always wanted to become a pilot but wasn’t aware that women weren’t allowed at the time until later, as she belongs to a civilian family.


7 Hailing from Darbhanga in Bihar, Bhawana was raised in a middle-class family. Her father Tej Narayan Kanth worked as an electrical engineer in the Indian Oil Corporation and mother Radha Kanth is a homemaker.


8 Bhawana grew up with a love for sports like kho kho, badminton, swimming, and painting.


9 Prior to joining the armed forces, Bhawana who graduated from BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru in 2014, worked at Tata Consultancy Services.


10 According to The Indian Express, Bhawana found inspiration in her neighbour Manas Bihari Verma, an aeronautical scientist who helped develop the light combat aircraft Tejas, which will be displayed at the Republic Day parade.

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