Meet Padmavathy Bandopadhyay, a true epitome of women empowerment

By City Spidey
Photo: City Spidey
Posted: Mar 09, 2019

The world celebrated Women's Day on Friday with full joy and fervour. You must have read, seen and heard about various people and personalities from different walks of life achieving great things and bringing laurels to their family, friends, and society in general.

City Spidey brings to you one more story, which will truly inspire and aspire you to attain success in your personal, professional and social life.

Meet 74-year-old lady Padmavathy Bandopadhyay. Her physical appearance might look ordinary to many but her achievements speak volumes. To begin with, she became the first woman Air Marshal in the Indian Air Force, taking over as Director General Medical Services (Air) at the Air Headquarters in New Delhi in 2004.

Prior to this, she was lauded as the first woman Air Vice-Marshal (2002) and the first woman Air Commodore (2000) in the IAF.

Apart from this, she also takes pride in being the first woman Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Society of India and the first Indian woman to have conducted scientific research at the Arctic. She is also the first woman officer to have become an aviation medicine specialist.

She is now leading a peaceful retired life with her family in Greater Noida. Recalling her childhood days and years spent with the IAF, Padmavathy told City Spidey, “I was the second child of a religious orthodox Brahmin family in Tirupati. Men in my family were far more educated than women. One can only imagine how difficult studying medicine would have been for me but my father backed me at every step. I mean, I was always fascinated by dogfights and other military air manoeuvres.”

Seeing her mother ill and bedridden during her childhood, Padmavathy decided to become a doctor, in fact, nurse but Sino-Indian War in 1962 compelled her to join the armed forces and serve the country.

It was during her internship at the Air Force Hospital, Bangalore when she met her husband, Flight Lieutenant Satinath Bandopadhyay. They both fell in love and got married.

Talking about their professional achievements, Padmavathy said, “During the 1971 war with Pak, we were both posted at the Halwara air base in Punjab. I was fresh out of the IAF Command Hospital and he was an administrative officer. It was a challenging time, but we did well. We were the first couple to receive the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM), an award for exemplary devotion to duty, at the same defence ceremony.”

Besides an illustrious career they had, both are active RWA members too!

“We stay in Sector Alpha 1 of Greater Noida, one of the cleanest and most beautifully laid out areas in the city. Everybody in the sector is quite fed up with this Dadi (laughs)! But we are a proactive RWA. We hold regular meetings to maintain the sector and suggest improvements,” said Padmavathy.

When we asked her to send out a message to all the women on this momentous day, she stated, “Dream big. Do not sit idle and work hard to achieve it. Always try to do good for others during your ups and downs in life. Working as a team is the key to achieve success.”

TAGS: Women's Day / self-empowerment / strength / valour / pride / Padmavathy Bandopadhyay / Greater Noida news / Alpha 1 / RWA members / IAF / medical officer / empowerment / Army