The Sky is No Limit: The Inspiring Story of IAF Officer Aanchal Gangwal, Whose Father is a Tea Seller


The Sky is No Limit: The Inspiring Story of IAF Officer Aanchal Gangwal, Whose Father is a Tea Seller

Illustration: Arati Gujar

While people spent Father’s Day putting up pictures of their dads on social media with endearing captions, it was actually quite special for one father: Suresh Gangwal, a tea seller from a small district in Madhya Pradesh. Suresh’s daughter Aanchal Gangwal, was commissioned as a flying officer of the Indian Air Force.

At the graduation parade, Aanchal Gangwal was awarded the President’s Plaque, which is awarded to the flight cadet who stands first in the overall merit in the ground duty branches. 123 officers were commissioned as officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which included 19 women officers.

Aanchal Gangwal holds a graduate degree in Computer Science and had earlier worked as a sub-inspector in the MP Police Department. She has also been a labour inspector in the MP Labour Department for eight months.

In an interview to The New Indian Express, Aanchal Gangwal said, “When I was a school kid, I had decided to be in the defence. Today as I become an officer, it still feels surreal. It is a dream come true. To stand in my uniform, in front of my father and mother, who have fought all the difficulties in their lives to get me here. However, due to Covid-19 that could not happen. But I am happy that they could see the ceremony on television.”

She pointed out how her parents have always been supportive of her and had full faith in her. “When I told my parents that I want to be in defence, they were a little worried like any parent. But they never tried to stop me. In fact, they have always been the pillars of my life,” she added.

Aanchal Gangwal’s father Suresh, who has set desi-parent goals with his commitment to his daughter’s future, revealed that, “There were times when I had to borrow money to ensure that she continued her studies. We are happy and honoured.”

During the parade, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had said that instead of going home on a break, this year’s newly commissioned IAF officers would be proceeding straight to their next units to shoulder responsibilities for the task at hand. When asked about it, Aanchal Gangwal said, “I am always ready to serve my motherland and see this as an opportunity to do so.”

Gangwal has proved that if you have drive, even the sky is not the limit. Quite literally.