» 07/20/2012, 00.00
Revolution of Nepalese women: from slavery of Hindu culture to flying planes
Until a few decades ago, women were burned on the pyre of their deceased husband as a gesture of submission. Their emancipation is the visible sign a secular state and the presence of associations for women's rights in the territory. The story of Anusha Udas, a girl of 22 who become pilot thanks to perseverance and family support.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - For
centuries relegated to the margins of society and considered inferior to men,
Nepali women have succeeded in emancipating themselves during these years of
secular democracy. Some of them now occupy important positions once unthinkable
and this is due to the gradual opening of the country to foreign organizations
and associations for women's rights.
Anusha Udas, 22, works as a co-pilot for Fishtail Air, a small Nepalese airline.
The girl is among 28 women pilots employed in about 400 airports and runways
spread across the country, where the airplane is one of the main means of
The young woman says: "As soon as I saw a plane take off into the sky at a
speed that I had never seen before, I knew I was destined to fly. My heart
started pounding and that was a sign to me, so I decided to follow my dream.
" To achieve this dream, Udas faced the harsh dictates of the Hindu
society of Nepal,
where until a few decades ago Sati-pratha was practiced, where widows were burned
on the funeral pyre of their husband.
Unlike other families, the girl's parents are part of a more open generation. They
have lived through the period of civil war between the monarchy and the Maoists
that in 2007 led to the fall of the Hindu kingdom and the proclamation of a
secular state. However, Udas also needed to great perseverance and determination
to convince her father to send to her to South Africa for a pilot's course. In
there are no schools of aviation, the only option is to go abroad, with costs
which may extend to 58 thousand dollars.
After the course, Udas returned to Nepal in search of work, knocking
on the doors of all the airlines in the country, only to hear each and every
time that this was not a woman's work, flying is too strenuous. After nine
months of repeated disappointments, Fishtail Air, a small short-staffed local
transport company took her on and in a short time she became a co-pilot. "Now
my dream is to become a captain - she says - the next goal is to reach the
thousands of flight hours required by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
Born in the 50s, the Nepal Air Force has always been a place for men only. The
first woman to enroll in a course for pilots was Prabha Vaidya in 1979. The
course was organized by the Canadian government, which had offered the
opportunity to train Nepalese pilots. Vaidya presented herself along with 24
other candidates, but her application was denied because of her gender. She
never became a pilot, but was the first woman air traffic controller in the history
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