Arunima has become the first female amputee to climb 5 Mountains of the World. She has previously set the records of being the first female amputee and the first Indian amputee to climb Mount Everest. She is currently on a goal of climbing 7 peaks of the world as part of her ‘Mission 7 Summits’ and has successfully completed the 5th summit of the mission by climbing Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, South America and unfurling the Indian Flag on the top of it. Her mission is to climb the highest peaks in all 7 continents and put the national flag of India atop each and previously has already done four peaks:
1. Everest in Asia,
2. Kilimanjaro in Africa,
3. Elbrus in Europe,
4. Kosizko, Australia.
Arunima hails from Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, India. Her father was an engineer in the army and her mother a supervisor with the health department. He passed away when Arunima was three. She has an elder sister and a younger brother. Upon her father’s death, her sister’s husband, whom they fondly call Bhai Sahib, became the family’s de facto patriarch. Arunima was naturally athletic as a child, though she never had any professional aspirations for the same. She had been cycling since childhood, loved playing football and was a national level volleyball player. But sports took a backseat when her job hunt started. She studied law after her post-graduation and had applied at the Paramilitary Force in the army, so that she could stay close to her beloved sports while earning a living at the same time. Despite many tries, she didn’t get through. The job search was not panning out as she expected and in 2011, she applied at CSIF. When she got the call letter, she saw that they had got her date of birth wrong. Determined not to lose out on a good opportunity due to this technical error, she decided to leave for Delhi immediately to get it rectified.
She had boarded the Padmavat Express train at Lucknow for Delhi on 11th April, 2011 for the same. Criminals getting on in general compartments in U.P. is, believe it or not, quite common. Being a single female traveller, they demanded she handed over her bag and gold chain. When she refused to do so, they started coming at her one at a time. She kicked, punched and fought. In a compartment full of people, no one came to the rescue of a girl being robbed and attacked. Since they couldn’t take her on one at a time, each grabbed a limb and hauled her out the train. She flew into an oncoming train and the force threw her onto the opposite tracks. What happened thereafter took a matter of seconds. Before she could move her left leg off the track, a train went over it. Much later, when Mahila Ayog demanded a report, it was discovered that 49 trains had passed over her as she lay wrecked and bleeding on the tracks. Rodents had feasted on her oozing wounds, scampering off when trains came. She kept screaming in pain before finally passing out.
She was rushed to the hospital, when discovered, with serious leg and pelvic injuries, and lost her leg after doctors amputated it to save her life. She was offered compensation of Rs. 25,000 (USD 370) by the Indian Sports Ministry. Following national outrage, the Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Ajay Maken announced an additional Rs. 200,000 (USD 3,000) compensation as medical relief, together with a recommendation for a job in the CISF. Indian Railways also offered her a job. On 18th April, 2011, she was brought to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for further treatment, spending four months at the Institute. While still being treated in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, she resolved to climb Mount Everest. She excelled in the basic mountaineering course from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi, and was encouraged by her elder brother Omprakash to climb Everest with a prosthetic leg, which was arranged by raising funds with the help of a swami of Ramakrishna Mission, Vadodara. She contacted Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, in 2011 and signed up for training under her at the Uttarkashi camp of the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) 2012. She climbed Island Peak (6150 metres) in 2012 as preparation for her ascent of Everest.
On 1 April 2013, Sinha and Susen Mahto, a TSAF instructor, who had together climbed Mount Chhamser Kangri (6622 metres) in 2012 under the guidance of Bachendri Pal started their ascent of Mount Everest. Her prosthetic limb had posed some unique problems. The ankle and heel would constantly swivel as she tried to climb, causing her to lose her grip often. Her right leg was held together by a steel rod. Any pressure sent up spasms of acute intense pain. Her Sherpa almost refused to accompany her, insisting that she was on a suicide mission. Every climber has to traverse four camps on route to the peak. Once you’ve reached camp four, there’s 3500 feet to the summit. This area is known as the death zone, notorious for the number of lives it has claimed. There were bodies of erstwhile climbers strewn all around. A Bangladeshi climber she had met earlier breathed his last right before her. Ignoring the cold fear in the pit of her stomach, she trudged on. After a hard toil of 17 hours, Sinha reached the summit of Mount Everest at 10:55 am on 21 May 2013, as part of the Tata Group-sponsored Eco Everest Expedition, becoming the first female amputee to scale Everest.
Arunima Sinha is now dedicated towards social welfare and she wants to open a free sports academy for the poor and differently-abled persons. She is donating all the financial aids she is getting through awards and seminars for the same cause. She has written a book "Born again on the mountain", launched by Prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, in December 2014. She was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2015.
Source: Wikipedia, Google search and Arunima’s own website (http://arunimasinha.com)