Who’s Arati Saha, and why Google dedicated a doodle to her?
We all love Google doodles, but while they are fun they are also informative. This week Google dedicated its doodle to swimmer Arati Saha on her 80th birth anniversary. Saha was the first woman to be awarded the Padma Shri in 1960, but this is not the only thing she was first in.
Born on September 24, 1940 in Calcutta, Saha learned to swim on the banks of the Hooghly river. She was trained by none other than Sachin Nag, who also was one of the best swimmers in India.
Saha was only 5 when she won her first gold medal. By 11, she had broken several swimming records. At 12, Saha joined India’s first team to participate in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. She was one of the only four women to make the team.
At 18, she attempted to cross the English Channel. Though she failed the first time, she managed to complete the journey, and became the first Asian woman to do so. By that time, Saha was a household name in India, especially Kolkata. The Google doodle was illustrated by Kolkata-based artist Lavanya Naidu.