How 6 Daredevil Women of the Indian Navy Circumnavigated the Globe

Ever been told you couldn’t do something because it’s a “man’s job”? It’s time to shut the haters. This Women’s Day, we present you stories about women who’re acing conventionally male-dominated jobs and smashing ‘StreeOtypes’ along the way!

Camera: Sumit Badola
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

On 21 May 2018, the INSV Tarini returned to Indian shores, rightly triumphant, for it had just circumnavigated the entire globe for a period of 254 days. Six sailors alighted from the sailing vessel, equally triumphant. These six sailors were officers of the Indian Navy – and they had just become the first all-women Indian crew to ever do what they’d just done. Since then, they’ve smiled for the cameras, spouted words of wisdom to whichever woman – or man – will ask them for it, featured in a National Geographic documentary (called Tarini which airs on Women’s Day).

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But mostly? They’ve thrown every ‘streeOtype’ out to sea and tell me proudly that, “doubting oneself does not come to an officer of the Indian Navy” and that they had listened to no detractors because “if you do that, you’re already putting them on a pedestal”.

These 6 women have thrown every stereotype out to sea.

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Meet Lieutenant Commander S Vijaya Devi, Lieutenant Commander P Swathi, Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal, Lieutenant Payal Gupta and Lieutenant Commander Aishwarya Boddapati – the 6 women who set sail for close to a year.

Were there new skills they picked up on the way?

"“Definitely. Since childhood, I have never repaired anything. My first experience of doing such a thing was when I joined this crew. I feel like I don’t need any plumber or electrician at my home! I can do it myself.”" - Lieutenant Payal Gupta

The INSV Tarini all-women crew.

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Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal recounted a conversation she’d just had with a female student:

"“One student came up to me and told me, ‘Ma’am I want join the army, since my father was also a martyr of Kargil, but there are a lot of family and friends who are telling me not to join the defence forces, since it’s not a place for women. I want to tell each and every girl like that, that don’t let anybody decide how the future is going to be for you.”"

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman meets the Tarini crew.

Watch this video to know more.

Catch the documentary on their historic expedition tonight at 9 pm on National Geographic.

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