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This Amazing Book Celebrates India’s Pioneering Women Engineers. About Time!

Authored by Dr Shantha Mohan and published in 2018, Roots and Wings is a book that chronicles the lives and careers of early women engineers of India.

There certainly exists a vast gender gap in the field of engineering, not just in India but across the globe.

It is not that women are not interested in the field. In fact, I’ve personally met several who were quite passionate about becoming engineers and went on to become successful ones too.

But not every girl in this country receives the motivation and opportunities that my friends did. Often, discouragement and the fear of society leads to dreams being nipped in the bud, which, sadly, explains the skewed gender ratio in technical fields.

Now, think of a time in India when the concept of a working woman in any field, let alone in the engineering sector, was inconceivable.

However, history is a witness to the fact that there have always been women who refused to be slowed down and soared free to chase their dreams.

Rajyalakshmi: The sole woman graduate from the Telecommunications Engineering Class of 1948. Image courtesy: Kambam Reddi.

Authored by Dr Shantha Mohan and published in 2018, Roots and Wings: Inspiring Stories of Indian Women in Engineering, is a book that chronicles 29 such women.

Interestingly, all of them had graduated from the College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG) in Chennai, between 1943 and 1971. For the uninitiated, CEG is the oldest engineering college in India.

From A Lalitha, who is celebrated as the first Indian woman engineer, to Mallika Chellappa who worked as a researcher for the prestigious defence development labs of the Indian government, the book offers its readers a glimpse into the lives and careers of these women as they pursued their chosen path.

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Dr Mohan is a renowned name in the field of software engineering and operations management expertise, and this is her first literary work.

“Overcoming several obstacles to their careers, these women managed to find a good balance between family and work. A few were, and are, also great community leaders. Their lives are models of courage, initiative, perseverance, innovation, entrepreneurship, resilience and flexibility,” shares the author to The Better India.

Making an excellent read for those interested in the history of pioneering Indian women, Roots and Wings isn’t a book that you just recommend to just women or girls.

Dr Shantha Mohan (right) with R Sulochana, one of the women engineers featured in Roots and Wings. Image courtesy: Srilatha Sekaripuram.

If you want to do anything new—break new ground, fight the odds or persevere to reach your goals—regardless of your gender, these are stories you must read for the requisite dose of inspiration.

What is more, all royalties from the sales of the book will be routed to Rotary Club Madras East (RCME) to support girls’ education in India.


You may also like: 7 Incredibly Smart Indian Women Scientists Who Make Us All Proud


Roots and Wings is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon as well as other online portals. You can purchase the book here.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.