Inspiring India: India's first woman fire fighter Harshini Kanhekar
Playing with fire is no child's play and that is why Harshini Kanhekar saves people from it. India's first ever firefighter, the 38-year-old is an inspiration in every sense. Harshini has, what can we say, 'burnt down' stereotypes in what is generally understood as a man's job.
Harshini Kanhekar's life revolves around strenuous activities of drill for hours at a stretch. She is also adept at handling and lifting heavy equipment used in the rescue operations and having the knowledge of heavy vehicles, paramedics, town planning and rescue techniques, water supply and applied psychology among others.
Harshini dreamt of becoming a woman in uniform and aspired to join the armed forces but destiny turned her into a fire fighter. At the age of 26, she joined the fire and emergency services. After passing a course she was designated as a fire engineer at the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC). She did study fire engineering course at the National Fire Service College located in Nagpur. She became the first Indian woman to enrol herself into the course in the year 2002. She was the first woman ever to crack the exam and get through. Since it was residential in nature but special arrangements were made for her to go back home after classes.
For someone who has breached a male bastion, Harshini studied in an all girls college in Nagpur. She was also an NCC cadet and she drew her inspiration for the uniform from there. "I don't think there is anything 'manly' or 'womanly' about a job. I am fortunate to have hit the number one spot, but frankly, all I am interested in is the fact that I am doing something I love," she tells the media in many of her interviews. The bike lover even has a facebook fan page.