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Arati Saha
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Arati Saha – The Inspiring Swimmer From India

Arati Saha – The Inspiring Swimmer From India

Arati Saha is truly an inspirational woman, taking not only India but the entire world by storm! Arati first began making waves when she became the first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel, a feat that was previously thought impossible. Arati continued to achieve great success and inspire many more with her remarkable accomplishments throughout her lifetime. She is the first Indian sportswoman to be awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour. 

It’s no surprise that Arati has become something of a role model for women everywhere, especially those living in India. Arati’s spirit and ambition are contagious and serve as motivation for countless women seeking to make their own unique mark on the world.

Early life

Gupta came from a middle-class family. She was born in 1940 in Kolkata, India. Panchugopal Saha, her father, was an employee in the armed forces. In 1946, at age five, she won the gold medal in 110 yards freestyle at the Shailendra Memorial Swimming Competition, beginning her swimming career. 

The Career Of Arati Saha

Between 1945 and 1951, she won 22 state-level competitions in West Bengal. In 1948, she participated in the national championship held in Mumbai. She won silver in 100 metres freestyle and 200 metres breast stroke, and won bronze in 200 metres freestyle. She made an all-India record in 1950.  

She represented India at the 1952 Summer Olympics along with compatriot Dolly Nazir. She was one of the four women participants and the youngest member of the Indian contingent at the age of 12. 

Crossing The English Channel

Arati was inspired to cross the English Channel by Brojen Das. At the 1958 Butlin International Cross Channel Swimming Race, Brojen Das became the first among the men and earned the distinction of being the first person from the Indian subcontinent to cross the English Channel. 

She started her final practice in the English Channel on the 13th of August. During this time, she was mentored by Dr. Bimal Chandra, who was also participating in the 1959 Butlin International Cross Channel Swimming Race. 

A total of 58 participants, including five women from 23 countries, participated in the competition. The race was scheduled for August 27th, 1959 at 1 am local time from Cape Gris Nez, France to Sandgate, England. However, the pilot boat of Arati Saha did not arrive in time, and due to high currents, she had to quit. 

On September 29th, 1959, she made her second attempt. Starting from Cape Gris Nez, France, she swam for 16 hours and 20 minutes, battling tough waves, covering 42 miles to reach Sandgate, England. 

Honours And Awards

She was awarded Padma Shri in 1960. She was the first Indian woman sportsperson to receive the award. 

Arati Saha – Inspirational

Arati Saha is an inspirational and pioneering figure in the history of India. She stands out as a symbol of strength and ambition for women in India and everyone else. Today, her memory continues to motivate us to dream big and break boundaries.

Arati broke down doors never before opened and showed us what is possible if we take action on our dreams. Arati’s inspiring journey has also left an indelible mark on thousands of lives – as clearly evident by her lasting legacy of inspiring greatness amongst young Indian women today.

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Hannah

Hannah

Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights

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