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Taking to the skies 

ISP Hyderabad Bureau 

Deccan has a new star on the horizon. A young girl who is breaking glass ceilings with her sheer determination but at the same time while keeping in tune with her family priorities and cultural ethos. Syeda Salva Fatima is India’s one of the few women muslim commercial pilots. In her hijab inside the cockpit she is creating news around the world that no traditional boundary can clip your wings if you have the persistence to achieve things. 

Syeda Salva Fatima’s journey from taking to the skies in a two-seater Cessna to navigating global air traffic on an Airbus 320 to reaching 550 flying hours was a journey full of struggles. She is a daughter of a bakery employee who had the guts to stand by the dreams of her daughter despite all odds including that of his own close people. She saw a childhood full of poverty and her 34 years of struggle is no short of  a lesson for children to learn. 

Her home and locality, Moghalpura in Hyderabad, did not have piped water and most of the early hours were spent fetching potable water. Apart from poverty and family’s financial constraints, she also had a tough time fighting the conservative norms of the society. 

During school days, Fatima was on the verge of being dropped out of the school due to non-payment of school fees but it was sheer God’s prudence that her principal took note of the sincere efforts of the child and her parents and sponsored her education for free. 

Fatima acknowledges in her media interviews that she has never in her career faced any gender or religious discrimination. She proudly says that prioritising her religious requirements, her hijab was gifted by her airline on the first day of her duty and also she was never alone in her journey to do the most responsible job of piloting the place. She was always helped by many people on the way in her career. 

A senior journalist from Hyderabad, who is also a philanthropist, financed her aviation academy studies in 2007. And she got her Commercial Pilot Licence in 2013. The Telangana government through a special order gave her Rs. 35 lakhs in scholarships in 2015 for her multi-engine endorsement and DGCA Type rating. All these efforts of helpful people gave her the required skill training to fly an Airbus or Boeing.

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