Arati Saha – The Buoyant Bengali
Blog By Sunandhini | Aug 03 2018

Marie Curie once said that “We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” Barely five days, after turning 19 years old, young Arati Saha from India, did just that. In 1959, Arati Saha became the first Asian woman to successfully swim across the English Channel, holding an impressive timeframe of 16 hours and 20mins.

Born into a middle class family, Arati’s penchant for swimming was first noticed by her father, Panchugopal Saha, who then admitted her to the ‘Hatkhola Swimming Club.’ The young girl’s burgeoning interest towards the sport bore fruit in 1946, when she won the gold in 110 yards freestyle at the Shailendra Memorial Swimming Competition at the mere age of five. Thus began Arati Saha’s illustrious Swimming career.

The following years reflected steady progress, with Arati winning 22 state-level competitions in West Bengal. The promising, young talent with a distinct determination to Excel, garnered nation-wide attention, when she created an all-India record in the 100m breast stroke, in 1951. However, the awe-worthy achievement did not happen until a few hurdles; the failures at the Olympics and her first attempt to cross the English Channel only seemed to render this swimmer a more resilient one in nature.



Image credits


It all started when Brojen Das became the first Asian to cross the English Channel in 1958, at the Butlin International Cross Channel Swimming Race. When Ms. Saha wrote to the swimmer, congratulating on his achievement, he not only responded by telling her she could achieve the same, but went on to suggest her name to the organizers for the following year’s event. Despite failing to raise the necessary funds, the young athlete managed to gain the immediate and immense adoration of the then Chief Minister of Bengal, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, and the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who then arranged for the logistics.

Following her momentous victory in 1959, she was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honor in 1960. Arati Saha, the invincible woman, mounted a herculean task with her sheer guts and determination in a time when most women were reduced to the kitchen. She is a standing testimony to the fact that nothing can come between a woman and her dreams, and sets an example to others that one must never stop dreaming and achieve our goals.



Blog By Sunandhini

Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Posted by Raj 04/08/2018

A good start Nandini. Keep writing . I like the title of your blog

Talk to Us

We Love to hear from you.

You talking to us would help us give you a better product.