Meet Lieutenant Shivangi Singh
Lieutenant Shivangi Singh, the first woman pilot of navy hails from Muzaffarpur, a small city in Bihar. Her father is a government school teacher and her mother a homemaker. During her childhood, she was captivated by the sight of seeing a politician using a helicopter to attend a political gathering in her native village, which inspired her to become a pilot. She has two siblings, both currently pursuing BBA. She did her schooling from DAV Public School, Muzaffarpur, and a BTech from Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology in mechanical engineering. After her graduation, she cracked GATE and joined the Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, for MTech in material science engineering. It was while she was pursuing her MTech that she joined the Indian Navy.
Growing up in a small town in Bihar, I did not have much awareness about the defence forces. However, in college, I had many of my friends preparing for the defence forces. Their stories of Services Selection Boards (SSBs) and their keenness to join the forces laid the foundation for my interest. I did have a dream of becoming a pilot but, due to my background and lack of knowledge about the profession, I did not know that women could also be pilots in the defence forces. Fortunately, for me, the Indian Navy had recently started inducting women officers as pilots and, as luck would have it, in my final semester, we had naval officers visiting our college for UES Entry. I was immediately attracted to the uniform and their persona, and I made up my mind to join the Indian Navy. I wanted to don the white uniform as well as fulfil my dream of becoming a pilot.
Being in the armed forces gives one a different perspective to life. The training you undergo when you join the armed forces offers lessons that last a lifetime. They make you believe that you can do anything if you have the right mindset. The training makes you mentally strong so that you are prepared for any situation. The top lessons I received would be that you can do anything if you believe in yourself. Be prepared for the worst – always. And that self-discipline takes you a long way.
The best thing about being in the armed forces is that every day is different and you learn something new.
During working hours, we undertake various professional and training activities. Back from the squadron, in my free time in the evening, I prefer to go for a run and, over the weekends, I make sure I find time to brush up on professional aspects. I also like to sketch, for which I take time out over the weekends.
The Navy is a perfect fit for me because it has given me the opportunity to live my dreams of becoming a pilot as well as do my bit for my motherland. Being able to do so makes me happy and my parents proud. What else can one ask for?
Freedom to me means being able to do what I’ve always wanted to do, being able to live my dreams. You feel happy when you are free. I feel happy when I fly among the clouds. I feel happy when I am able to do tasks assigned to me. I feel happy when I am able to contribute towards the safety and security of my nation. I feel happy when I am able to make my parents proud and do something for them. I feel happy when I learn something new every day.
Not just women, I feel everyone should consider joining the armed forces because the kind of lifestyle and opportunities you get here, you can’t get anywhere else. People from all over the nation willing to die for each other, which is rare to see in any other field. Women especially can explore a large number of opportunities provided by the Navy according to their interest. They can choose to be Observers (Airborne Tacticians), pilots, education officers or any other cadre of their interest. Apart from that, you can choose to excel in a sport or pursue any hobby including sailing, shooting etc. Being able to explore your capabilities and being able to follow your dreams gives you a different kind of empowerment.
My message to women across the country would be this:
If I, coming from a small town in Bihar, could achieve my dreams, feel free, independent and empowered, then anyone can, if you believe in yourself and have the right mindset. Never be afraid to chase your dreams. It might take time but it will be worth it.