“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve
Our country is blessed with many extra-ordinary super souls who are not only gallant, selfless but determined and inspiring too. These brave hearts are the Real Heroes of the nation and through the platform of Gigglers, we would like to share their stories with our readers. The idea is to acknowledge such “Unsung Heroes”.
One of such is Dr Tessy Thomas, also known as “Missile woman of India” and ‘Agniputri” (daughter of Fire). We all know the “Missile man of India”- Dr APJ Abdul Kalam but not many know the contributions of the female counterpart. Known for not just her deadly projectile mission, but her never say NO attitude, hard work and perseverance, this 55-year-old is a role model for many.
Born in Alappuzha Kerala, Dr Thomas had many career options including IAS but still, she decided to enter the male bastion. She grew up near Thumba Rocket Launching Station and says her fascination with rockets and missiles began then. She was stimulated even by the wonderment of aircraft flying. With her fondness of Maths, Aviation Science and her Mother as her role model, her zeal to do achieve something worth has surely made her incredible and memorable.
She is a born intellectual and has a lot of degrees in her kitty- B.Tech from Government Engineering College, Thrissur, M.Tech in Guided Missile from Institute of Armament Technology (now DIAT) Pune. She also pursued MBA in Operations Management and PhD in guidance missile under DRDO.
Launched Agni-IV as Project Director –
Her professional journey of 30 years as a meticulous ardent scientist with DRDO (Defence Research & Development Organisation) proves that she is surely a “superwoman made of steel”. The first woman scientist to head a missile project in India and to hold the prestigious position of the Project Director for Agni-IV, a long-range-nuclear-ballistic missile. “Missile Woman” was appointed for the memorable project by “Missile Man” himself. Moreover, at present, she holds the position of Director-General, Aeronautical Systems of DRDO.
Awarded With Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for her Enormous Success –
The journey to the enormous success of Agni launch wasn’t an easy one. Thomas along with her team faced a lot of troubles and hindrances. But with her “never give up” attitude, she kept on pushing her team to bounce back, continued working and reworking on the issues and eventually were victorious. For her contribution to making India self-reliant in the field of Missile technology, Dr Thomas is the recipient of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award.
A Wonder Woman –
An inspiration for many, especially working women- Thomas has efficiently walked on the tightrope balancing career as well as home front. She is married to an Indian Navy commander and blessed with a son, Tejas. A scientist, a team leader, a wife, a mother, an idol – so many roles yet Dr Thomas has managed to play all with proficiency and perseverance.
Such unsung uncelebrated heroes without concerning about appreciation, continue to strive to make the world a better place! It high time we give them their due regard.
Share her story!