A woman needs to be twice as good as a man to be recognised in this world. I have been doubly good compared to my competitors,” emphasises Ameeta Mehra, as we chat at her stud farm at Pataudi in Haryana (100 km from Delhi). The photo frames on the walls bear testimony to this 53-year-old master horse breeder’s journey. She gets up and walks to the walls frequently, to point out her milestones. We then proceed to the lawn and not afar the horses are being mustered. Soon, they begin rolling (a form of exercise). And both the horses and their handlers look quite delighted upon spotting her.
Mehra doesn’t recall any moment in her life without the horses being around. Her father Major PK Mehra was an international polo player in the army and an avid breeder. “Other people had pets like dogs and cats. I got on a horse at the age of two. My front garden had a Shetland pony and it had a little basket, so that I don’t fall. By eight, I was a show jumper. My life was always intertwined with horses,” she narrates.
She attended Loreto Convent in Delhi till class 10 and then moved to Modern School. Post this, she graduated from the prestigious Lady Shri Ram College. Interestingly, when she turned 16, Mehra wanted to have nothing to do with horses. She rebelled against her father, who insisted she try her hand at running the farm he had set up. “I wanted to become an educationist and study the Vedas,” she recalls.
Unable to make her see his way, Mehra’s father asked his daughter to make a choice — she had to either work on the farm or pursue social work and education. But, by then she had already joined Mirambika (Delhi-based free progress school) having followed Aurobindo and The Mother’s ideals. “I was the head of a UN youth international body also. I did a lot of social, philanthropic and spiritual studies at that time,” she explains. However, when quizzed by her father, Mehra evinced the desire to build a university focused on spiritual education.
When asked how she planned to do that on the salary of a teacher, the duo worked out a compromise. “My father said that if I joined th