The first Indian woman mountaineer to reach the Mount Everest Summit, Bachendri Pal was announced the winner of Padma Bhushan, the second highest civilian award in the country. The names of the 2019 awardees were announced on the 70th Republic Day. Pal reached the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world in 1984.
Mountaineering Is More Popular Now, Says Bachendri Pal
More than 30 years ago when Bachendri Pal reached the top of Everest, mountaineering was not so much known or popular among women. However, these past decades have seen a revolutionary change in the way women think of mountaineering. Pal said that ever since she climbed the topmost peak of the Himalayas in 1984, people have been asking her whether mountaineering is a sport or not.
Years later, Pal believes that mountaineering is now indeed a sport. While talking to media she said, ”What else would you call it? It is about the hunger and the desire to scale newer peaks that keeps us going. We started it as a sport and now it is only growing.
According to her, “Climbing and leadership roles are being followed by other sporting disciplines and it is a happy feeling that so many youngsters, especially women, are taking it [mountaineering] up as an adventure, as a sport.”
Awards Increase Sense Of Responsibility
The 64-year-old Bachendri Pal received Padma Shri award earlier. She says that these awards have increased her sense of responsibility towards others. In all these years, her target has been to play the role of a leader and help others achieve their goals. Pal says that she is happy to be the inspiration behind so many people.
At present, she is the head of the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation in Jamshedpur. Even at the age of 64, Bachendri Pal says newer campaigns and expeditions excite her. Nowadays, her major task is to travel across India and conduct leadership programs for various sporting and corporate organizations.
Dedicates Award To Parents, Tata Steel
The success story of Pal has found a place in the syllabus of the Indian schools and even today she is very much popular. The celebrated Indian woman mountaineer receives hundreds of emails and letters every day. She is also a recipient of Arjuna awards.
According to Pal the children and youth of the country keep her alive and motivate her to achieve more. She believes that the love of all these people is what keeps her going. Bachendri Pal dedicated her Padma Bhushan award to her parents and Tata Steel for backing her all these years.