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Google honours Arati Saha – first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel

Saha was the first woman to be awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in India, in 1960. Thursday’s illustration was drawn by Lavanya Naidu, an artist from Kolkata.

Born on September 24, 1940 in Kolkata (earstwhile Calcutta), Saha learnt to swim on the banks of the Hooghly river at the age of four.

She earned the distinction of being the first person from the Indian subcontinent to cross the English Channel at the 1958 Butlin International Cross Channel Swimming Race.

At the 1952 Summer Olympics, Saha represented India along with compatriot Dolly Nazir. She was one of the four women participants and the youngest member of the Indian contingent.

On August 4, 1994, she got admitted to a private nursing home in Kolkata with jaundice and encephalitis. After battling for 19 days, she passed away on August 23, 1994.

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