On April 12, 2011, a young girl, Arunima Sinha, met with an accident and lost her leg. But her artificial leg didn’t stop her from becoming the first female amputee to scale Mount Everest in 2013. And today, as she turns 32, let us look back at the courageous journey of the World’s first female amputee, who conquered all the seven highest peaks in the seven continents, defying all odds.
Born in Ambedkar Nagar near Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Arunima was raised by her mother after the death of her father who worked in the Indian Army. Arunima, who was a national level volleyball player, wanted to join paramilitary forces. And her journey to Delhi, to appear for the interview of CISF, was a life-changing one.
On April 12, 2011, she boarded the Padmavati Express train from Lucknow to Delhi to write the exam for admission in CISF. In an attempt to snatch her bag and her gold chain, some robbers threw her off the general compartment of the train. As she fell on the tracks, another train running on a parallel track crushed her leg below the knee. She was hospitalised with serious injuries and lost her leg as doctors had to amputate her to save her life. On April 18, 2011, she was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for further treatment. After four months of treatment, she was provided with a prosthetic leg.
While still being treated in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, she got in touch with Bachendri Pal, as she resolved to climb Mount Everest. When Sinha narrated her story, Pal said, “My child, you decided to climb Mount Everest in these situations with Prosthetic (Artificial) leg. You have climbed Mount Everest, my child. Now just the date remains for the world to know”. And under the able guidance of Pal, Arunima reached the summit of Mount Everest at 10:55 am on May 21, 2013, becoming the first female amputee to scale Everest.
After climbing Mount Everest, Arunima Sinha’s next goal was to climb the seven highest peaks on all seven continents. By 2014, she had successfully climbed the six summits in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, Australia and North America. On January 4, 2019, she climbed the final summit in Antarctica and became the first female amputee in the world to climb Mount Vinson. This completed her mission of hoisting the Indian Flag on the seven highest across the seven continents.
In 2013, she was awarded the honorary doctorate by the University of Strathclyde for her inspirational achievements. Moreover, the recipient of the fourth highest civilian award, Padma Shri (2015), Arunima Sinha, published her book named ‘Born Again on the Mountain’ in 2014.
She is a fighter, who fights every battle of life with great valour. The never giving up spirit is truly what heroes are made of. On her birthday let’s celebrate life with courage and optimism.