India

Indian woman, six-time world record-breaker, skydives in a saree!

13 Feb 2018 | By Gogona Saikia

Shital Mahajan Rane from Pune has broken several records. At 23, she's is the youngest woman to jump over the North and South poles without trials.

The Padma Shri awardee's marriage on a hot air balloon made it to the Limca Book of Records.

On February 10, she finished skydiving in all seven continents within a year.

And she loves skydiving in sarees.

In context: This Indian woman is breaking all skydiving records

13 Feb 2018Indian woman, six-time world record-breaker, skydives in a saree!

BeginningThe zoology student was inspired by her friend's brother

Mahajan was a Zoology student at Pune's Fergusson College without any family background in skydiving, but was inspired when she saw her friend's brother's stunts, who was in the air force.

On April 18, 2004, she made her first ever jump from a parachute over the North Pole from 2,400ft in (-)37 Degree Celsius.

Since then, she has made over 700 jumps.

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Mahajan holds six world and 17 national records

RecordsMahajan holds six world and 17 national records

Mahajan holds 17 national and six world records, she says. She's the first woman to perform the first accelerated free-fall parachute jump of her life over the South Pole, the first Indian civilian woman to fly with a wingsuit, and the first Indian civilian woman skydiving coach, among many others.

In November'11, Mahajan and husband Vaibhav Rane became India's first licensed civilian skydiving couple.

MissionThe quest to skydive in seven continents in a year

In 2017, Mahajan finished skydiving in all seven continents, after which her name was suggested for an international gold medal, a first for India.

However, she was rejected as she had done it in 10 years.

Three days ago, she re-did her feat and completed it in a year.

During her last jump in Pattaya, on Sunday, she was in a Maharashtrian nauvaari saree!

'Given freedom and space, women can do wonders'

Rane says if given freedom and space, "women can do wonders." "While motherhood is beautiful, restricting women to take care of just that department is something I don't believe in. I think my skydiving can inspire women, but it comes with its own risks."

GovernmentDespite a long streak of feats, no help from government

But Mahajan rues the Indian government's lack of support. "I've been spending my own money," she says.

The government apparently doesn't provide mental support either. When she finished skydiving in all continents, it "didn't even acknowledge me."

She wants to represent India at more platforms, "but I need sponsorship."

Women like Mahajan do India proud. The least we could do is offer assistance.