The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) continues to stun the world with its consistency in achieving seemingly impossible feats of engineering. It’s been a source of great national pride, and is very much the pinnacle of human endeavour, which is why it is a matter of great honour that Mariya Ratlami, is the first Dawoodi Bohra woman to be appointed as an ISRO scientist.
Mariya was inducted into ISRO after graduating from the prestigious IIST in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on a full scholarship. She was one of only 150 students selected for this coveted program, and one of just 80 to be recruited. She was always a brilliant student, and even rejected a seat at IIT to pursue her dream. Mariya is currently based at ISAC, Bangalore and is part of the team tasked with launching a GSAT-11, which is a 6 ton communications satellite which they hope will significantly benefit rural India’s telecommunication sector by boosting satellite based internet services.
She describes her experience at ISRO as “truly wonderful”, and particularly enjoys the work culture that is “devoid of office politics”. She loves her job, and the fact that she’s begun her career in such a prestigious institution is matter of great pride to her.
Despite her numerous personal achievements, Mariya is surprisingly down-to-earth. She attributes much of her success to her parents, saying “They’ve been supportive in all my endeavours, without ever letting me forget who I am, and where I’ve come from. My parents, especially my mother were very particular about my studies, but they made sure not to set unreasonably high expectations. I honestly believe that they didn’t push me into doing things I didn’t want helped me find my space, and excel at it.”
Mariya considers the role her community has played in her life as a force for good, saying “As a child I was never discriminated against for being a girl and the community was very supportive. Education is never an issue, in fact, while I was studying in Thiruvananthapuram, the only Bohra family in the whole town was extremely helpful and even hosted me on religious occasions. I was rewarded last Eid for getting admitted into ISRO, so if anything, the community has proven to be an immense source of strength and pride for me personally.”
Mariya has an inspiring message for young girls everywhere; she encourages them to follow their dreams because “even if you’re met with resistance in the beginning, persevere; the rewards are always worth the effort.”