Inspired by Kalpana Chawla’s story, Hijabi girl secures commercial pilot’s license

Mohaddesa Jafri was seven-year-old when Indian American astronaut Kalpana Chawla died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

Mumbai: A 26-year-old Hijabi girl who was inspired by Kalpana Chawla’s story, recently secured a commercial pilot’s license. She became Maharashtra’s first Shia girl to get the license.

The girl, Mohaddesa Jafri, daughter of Maulana Sher Mohammed Jafri and Aalema Farah Jafri recently returned from South Africa where she had undergone the training.

How did she become fan of Kalpana Chawla?

Mohaddesa Jafri was seven-year-old when Indian American astronaut Kalpana Chawla died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in February 2003.

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After Chawla’s demise, posters and banners were seen at multiple places in the country. When Jafri went out of home along with her father saw the posters and asked him about the astronaut.

Her father narrated Kalpana Chawla’s story and explained how brave she was. After listening to the astronaut’s story, Mohadddesa became a fan of Chawla.

After reading many articles on Chawla and watching her videos, Jafri informed her parents that she want to join the aviation industry.

Finally, in 2020, she joined a flying school in Johannesburg, South Africa. However, her relatives were not happy with her parent’s decision to send her for pilot training. The relatives commented that despite being Maulana and Alema, they sent their daughter for pilot training.

Ignoring the remarks against the decision, they allowed their daughter to continue pilot training as they were sure that it is not irreligious.

Who was Kalpana Chawla?

Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian origin who went to space. She who was a Mechanical engineer had gone to space thrice.

The first two missions were successful. Her third flight which was on Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003 was not successful as the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Apart from Chawla, six other crew members died in the disaster.

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