In 2011, Arunima Sinha, a national level volleyball player, was pushed from a running train by thugs for refusing to hand over the gold chain she was wearing. She was travelling from Lucknow to Delhi on the Padmawati Express to get her date of birth included on a certificate. According to her, some hoodlums jumped onto the train and began robbing passengers.
Arunima, who was trying to protect herself and the co-passengers, was pushed off the train and fell on a parallel railway track. Unfortunately, there was another train passing on the parallel track and it ran over one of Arunima’s legs. As a result, the leg had to be amputated. Subsequently, the Indian Railways offered her a job.
She was then brought to the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, where she spent 4 months. A private company provided her a prosthetic leg. It was after this incident, when she was recovering, that Arunima decided to become a mountaineer and scale the highest peaks in the world.
Arunima displayed immense self-belief and determination and refused to give up. She got in touch with Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest in 1984 to train under her after making up her mind to be a mountaineer.
And since then she hasn’t had to look back. Despite being an amputee, Arunima fueled her desire to conquer the highest peaks in the world with hard work and steady focus, turning into a hugely inspirational figure. In 2013, Sinha became the world’s first female amputee to climb Mount Everest. She stood on top of the world, defying all conceivable odds, and achieved what was unthinkable to many. For her record, she was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour, in 2015.
Apart from Everest, Arunima has also scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, Kosciuszko in Australia, Aconcagua in Argentina and Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) in Indonesia before this.
In 2015 Arunima was conferred the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in India. In the same year she also received the Tenzing Norgay National adventure award.
She has inspired millions of girls by her sheer grit and determination. In 2019, The 31-year-old became the first female amputee to climb Mount Vinson, the highest peak of Antarctica.