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Born to Conquer the Peaks

The first woman in India to climb the Mount Everest thrice – she did this the first time by selling her ancestral land to arrange for the funds- Ms Anita Kundu is in no mood to stop. She has now set her aim on conquering the 14 tallest mountains of the world!

Life was full of struggles for this police officer in Haryana. However, her passion to become a mountaineer and conquer the highest peaks of the world made her shine not only in India but all over the world. The person in context is none other than the prestigious Tenzin Norgay award winner Ms Anita Kundu.

The passion she carries for mountaineering is unstoppable. Perhaps mainly because of this burning desire that she became the first women in India to climb the Mount Everest, Earth’s highest peak above sea level, from both Nepal and China sides.

Climbing Mt Everest was just the start of Ms. Kundu’s mountaineering career. She had bigger plans to make the country proud by conquering all the highest mountain peaks in the world. Currently, the officer is out on an expedition to conquer the fourth highest peak in the world, which is Mount Lhotse, whose summit is located on the border between Tibet and the Khumbu region of Nepal.

EARLY LIFE AND STRUGGLES

Coming from a small village named Faridpur in Hisar district of Haryana, Ms. Kundu was raised in a farmer’s family. “If we talk about two decades back, people in villages of Haryana were very conservative and did not give equal opportunities to girls than what boys used to get. However, Anita’s father was just opposite to that narrow-minded mentality and wanted her to become an international boxer,” said Ramesh Kumar a companion of Ms. Anita Kundu.

Since the time she became 11 years old, her father used to take her to the field early morning, where he used to work, and tried to engage her in fitness activities like running, exercise and some farming activities. Things were the same for almost two years but suddenly she lost her poor father in a tragic accident.

Daughter of a farmer, making the country proud

Mr. Ramesh said, “It was a turnaround for Anita as many responsibilities came in her way, she being  the eldest sibling in the family. Her relatives started forcing her to get married as according to them it would give ease to the family at such an uncertain time. However, Anita was not willing to do so. She told them that her father had surely died but her dreams are still alive.”

A young Anita continued her studies, while simultaneously bearing the responsibility of the farm, her siblings and the family. She supported her family by selling milk with her mother as also by other farming activities. After completing her 12th class, she appeared for the Haryana police exam and cleared it.

LOVE FOR THE MOUNTAINS

Mr. Ramesh said, “During her training for the police, Anita visited some places located at the mountains. At that time, she was introduced to rock climbing which intrigued and fascinated her. She requested her mentor about mountaineering but he refused saying that it was a tough job and only some men are able to do it. This statement struck her hard and she wanted to prove the mentor wrong by attempting it for herself. The desire soon became a passion for her.”

Love for the mountains

Ms Anita then wrote a letter to the then Haryana DGP Mr. Ranjiv Dalal, requesting him to help her get training in rock climbing and mountaineering. Mr. Dalal agreed and transferred her to the ITBP, where she started pursuing her passion. By 2011, she completed all her basic and advanced training courses and was ready for an expedition.

ONE TARGET AFTER ANOTHER

In 2011, Anita’s journey of climbing the peaks started. The first one to be conquered by her was Mount Satopanth, one of the prominent peaks of the Garhwal range on Himalaya, in July of 2011. In October, she climbed Mount Cokstate and Island peak in 2013, before taking on the biggest of them all : Mount Everest.

Falling short of money, she requested the government and other sources to fund her for an expedition to Mount Everest from Nepal, but she did not receive any positive lead. Mr. Ramesh said, “Her passion was so strong that she sold her land in the village and used that money to go for the expedition.”

Ms. Anita Kundu at Mount Everest base camp

On 18 May 2013, she climbed the Mount Everest from Nepal and planned to conquer it from the China side to become the first women in India to do so. In April 2015, she went for the expedition from China, however, it failed due to an earthquake which took many lives and injured many climbers. In 2017, she went again and conquered the Mt. Everest from China.

This was not it for the passionate Anita, as fresh target came in front of her. She planned to conquer the tallest summits of all the seven continents of the world. From 2018 to 2019, she conquered all the seven peaks successfully.

Ms. Anita Kundu while climbing the tallest mountain peak in Antarctica, Vinson Massif

The expedition for seven continents has been sponsored by the Security and Intelligence Services (SIS). Mr. Ravindra Kishore Sinha, who is the founder of SIS, has adopted Ms. Kundu as her daughter and is the only one who takes care of her apart from her mother.

Ms Anita Kundu with the founder of SIS, Mr. Ravindra Kishore Sinha

In 2019, she again tried her hands to climb the Mt. Everest and successfully reached the summit for the third time. Around the same time, she was also awarded the prestigious Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2019 by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.

She has now set a new target of climbing the 14 tallest mountain peaks of the world and place India’s flag at all these points.

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