New Delhi: Climbing atop Mt. Everest is every mountaineer's dream. This tall, lofty peak has captured the fascination of countless climbers, ever since it was first conquered in 1953.
And, for a group of three climbers from Jharkhand, it held a special place in their hearts. Conquering Mt Everest was their mission; it was their dream. And what more could they ask for than having India's first woman to conquer Mt Everest, Ms Bachendri Pal, as their mentor, counsellor, trainer and partner in mission? Thus, a determined Binita Soren, Meghlal Mahato and Rajendra Singh Pal set off for their most daring expedition to date - to conquer the peak of all peaks, Mt Everest.
The expedition started on March 25, 2012 from Jiri, Nepal. After an arduous journey of two months, on the morning of May 26, 2012, Binita, Meghlal and Rajendra scaled the peak.
"It was unbelievable. It was all so exciting. I still can't believe we did it", a beaming Binita said. "It was not easy at all. The weather was changing by the minute. A lot of people were attempting to scale Mt Everest around the same time. We were holding on to our hopes and wanted to make a dash for the peak from Camp Col. Then, fortunately, the weather Gods showered their kindness and we were able to successfully conquer Mt Everest".
As for Meghlal, this expedition held a different meaning. "Life has been full of struggles so far. Coming from a rural background and from the weaker section of society, Binita and I have had a lot to surmount before this dream could become a reality. Mt Everest has taken me from where I belong to the top of the world". He added: "After conquering the peak, the first thing that came to my mind was my family and God almighty. The next thing I could think of was to thank Ms Pal, our mentor. Without these forces and support behind us, I don't think we would have come this far".
Rajendra is the brother of Ms Bachendri Pal, and for him this expedition was akin to retracing the path of his sister's journey way back in 1984, when she became the first Indian woman and only the 5th woman in the world to conquer Mt Everest. It had taken him a patient wait of 29 years to repeat that feat. And so, this achievement means a lot to him. "As a Manager in Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF), I have undergone extensive training in mountaineering, including finer aspects like search and rescue, as well as alpine mountaineering. Despite scaling several peaks during my career, this was one challenge I was eagerly waiting for. It was worth the wait".
Tata Steel, through TSAF, had sponsored Rs 75 lakh for the expedition. The Company’s support to the expedition was part of its overall focus on facilitating the full realisation of the latent potential among the youth in Jharkhand.
Over the years, Tata Steel has contributed to the betterment of communities and has always held the view that the best way to empower weaker sections in society was by empowering the youth. For over 100 years of its existence, the community has been the center of all its initiatives. It is among the few corporates in the world that has promoted adventure as a means of empowerment. The Company has lent its support and sponsored many activities and expeditions towards this end.
Congratulating the three mountaineers from TSAF who conquered Mt Everest, Mr H M Nerurkar, Managing Director, Tata Steel said: “Tata Steel will continue to support adventure sports and such sporting activity that help in promoting self-confidence and leadership qualities among the youth and facilitates their empowerment on the long term. These three mountaineers are role models for others who wish to emulate their feat”.