My Veil


By: Sami Ara

Being First Muslim Lady pilot of India, who happens to be a Kashmir from Sumbal Sonawari, comes with lot responsibilities and handwork. On one of my visits to Sumbal Degree College, I asked my husband and sister that if I needed to cover my head, my husband was of an opinion that uniform needs to be respected above all. I continued without a ‘dupatta’.

Selfies were flashed all over social media with or without my knowledge, lot of great comments, few disturbing ones, mostly me being without a head cover. I wondered why those few people hated me so much, I hated them back banter of words continued without logic and reason.

I felt challenged and was unhappy, few days passed and I cooled down, started to connect with my innermost self. I told First Muslim Lady pilot of India, if by covering your head changes few lives, and change pours in, why not, let us do it.

Yes I started to think about it with my clear heart and open mind. I got an answer, Sikhs can wear turbans, Hindus wear tikka and Christian wear cross, why can’t I wear a piece of cloth called Duptta. I immediately wrote to my boss VP OPS INDIGO, Capt Ashim Mitra, gave my logic and reason for thinking big and blah blah. To my surprise he allowed me to wear whatever duppta I had at the moment and promised me that my company will design one for all, willing to wear.

Next day (IST December)I write a new page in history of Indian aviation, I report to dispatch for my Hyderabad Raipur Hyderabad flight with veil on my head my veil turned few heads, it was first time in Indian aviation that they had seen pilot flying with a veil, that too from left side of cockpit, wearing all stripes. I received lovely comments. I myself felt exquisite with this new-found look. I was new happy me. I promise to fly with this veil as long as I live and fly high, may be next 15 or so years Insha Allah. What I want to say when I listened to banter of words and made sense out of it, so can you all.

Let us all pledge to change things in Kashmir, let us work hard to excel and stay on top. I continue to learn and lesson, say it, I am listening, and writing this article on 35000ft (ca. 11 km) above mean sea level enroute to Cochin from ABU Dhabi somewhere over Arabian Sea.

The author Sami Ara is Pilot (Commander at Indigo Airlines), hails from Sumbal area of north Kashmir and for feedback can be reached at

(The views expressed above are the author’s own. Kashmir Patriot is not responsible for the same.)



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