Have you ever wondered why only strong men are seen dashing around and helping people during fires in movies or on television?
It’s possible that no one had ever before defied stereotypes. We at Fire Prevention and Consultancy Services are always on the lookout for people who are spreading awareness and preventing fire accidents. And we found, Harshini Kanhekar, India’s first woman firefighter. Her success inspires women to stand tall and thrive in this predominately male world. Harshini Kanhekar, the first woman firefighter in India became one of the latest to join the list of women being honored under the ‘Bharat Ki Lakshmi’ campaign.
The firefighters’ department was the only department with exclusively men employees until two decades ago. That altered once Harshini made the decision to don the gear—when she wanted to become a firefighter. Harshini Kanhekar plays with fire, lights fire, and is herself a fire. For the past 20 years, Harshini Kanhekar’s life has literally involved playing with fire.
She is a young woman from Nagpur who had her father’s unwavering support and the courage to overcome all obstacles in order to succeed in a male-dominated field. Harshini’s first task as a college student was a cylinder burst in Shirdi. She did such jobs while still a student, learning about life and firefighting at the same time. Before joining ONGC in 2006 (and later becoming the Sr. fire officer), she dealt with various fires in Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi, where her six-hour prime operation in a tin plant took place.
It goes without saying that Harshini is more than just a firefighter. If you are unaware of how firemen are required to carry out their duties away from their place of employment, this woman’s incredible life accomplishments can serve as a powerful example. She protected locals from animal attacks, building collapses, floods, and other hazards. Women across the country still look up to Harshini for inspiration. She does a commendable job of demonstrating that neither men nor women can have all the jobs in the world. As Harshini says “Don’t assume that any job is unfit for someone purely on the basis of gender. The women of today are flying fighter jets, fighting the fire, and doing the unthinkable. It doesn’t imply that we couldn’t do it ten years ago. Ability should only be judged on the basis of qualification and not gender.“
We salute your spirit Harshini!