Woman jumper ignored

BASE jumping, literally meaning jumping from bridges, antennas, spans and earth, is considered one of the world’s most dangerous sports and is banned in many countries.

Unaware that an Army officer had jumped from the 450-foot high Pitampura TV tower in Delhi on Friday, Sardana, a trained mountaineer and skydiver, told media persons at a pre-arranged media conference here that she had sought permission to BASE jump from the tower but it was not granted.

In fact, one of the senior government functionaries she sought permission from turned her away wondering if she had a death-wish or was wanting to commit suicide.

“He asked me to concentrate my energies on managing home and hearth,” says Archana. Explaining her protracted campaign in seeking Central and state governments’ permission to allow her to skydive and BASE jump in India, Archana has sought help from social organisations for her cause.

“I want to dedicate my jumps to a noble cause—Save the Girl Child—for spreading awareness among masses to refrain from the practice of female foeticide,” she says, flanked by her father-in-law S N Sardana and mother-in-law Nirmal Sardana who are fully supportive of their daughter-in-law’s penchant for adventure.

Archana’s husband is a Commander in the Indian Navy. Archana has an advanced training in skydiving from the Perris Valley Skydiving School in California, USA. She has so far completed 238 jumps and has an advanced licence from the US Parachute Association. She recently completed 25 jumps from a 400-foot high bridge in Utah, USA. Earlier, this month, she did 12 BASE jumps from the Towers Menara Alor Setar and Menara Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

“Lack of funds and official support are the only hindrances in my mission. I hope to reach out to the masses in India by performing jumps,” she says.

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