By Arré Bench Sep. 08, 2020
Sixteen-year-old Ayesha Aziz became the youngest student pilot in India in 2011. Aziz graduated in aviation from the Bombay Flying Club in 2016, and the following year, at 21, she bagged her commercial pilot’s license. Since then, she has also trained at NASA.
At the age of 16, most of us are either dealing with a college dilemma, heartbreak, a wave of teenage angst or all of the above. But 16-year-old Ayesha Aziz was adding wings to her dreams as she became the youngest student pilot in India in 2011.
Born in Kashmir, Aziz, now 23, later moved to Mumbai with her family. However, somewhere between catching flights to Srinagar with her mother, a resident of Baramulla district in J&K, a young Ayesha fell in love with the idea of flying away. The frequent air travels to the Valley only further added to her curiosity and obsession with airplanes and pilots. Soon enough, she found herself enrolled at The Bombay Flying Club.
While the news about her young achievement was much celebrated, a few naysayers were less than impressed by “a Muslim girl without hijab” reaching new heights. Her professional pursuit was deemed as “not perfect for a Kashimiri girl,” Ayesha shared in an interview with Times Of India in 2017. But Ayesha Aziz was not one to back down or be discouraged by the sexist words of a few. It was important to her that women weren’t deemed as imperfect for a job just because of their gender. “We have to change our attitude and do justice to girls,” she stated.