A famous man once said “Sky is the limit for imagination”.
And a little girl of a police officer believed in it. She dreamt of what others couldn’t think about, in the age when girls were attracted towards glittery dolls and dresses. This girl wanted a uniform; she wanted to serve the nation, to join the Indian army. But at that time her dream was simply not possible. Not only society would not have accepted this but there was no way for a woman to join the Indian army back then.
But this girl was not ready to give up, not yet. This gutsy girl wrote a letter to the then chief of Indian army to allow women to serve the nation by joining the army. To her surprise she got a positive response. The gates of one of the largest and most prestigious service in the world opened its gates for women.
After completing her degree in law, she went to join the Indian army. She became the first woman to do so. She went to join the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai. She was cadet 001; Priya Jhingan, the first woman officer of the Indian army.
The training there was no piece of cake. There were no privileges for women in this male dominated academy. The excuse of being a woman was useless here. All cadets were treated equally, man and woman alike. They had to go through the same training program and share the same pool. This tough training schedule made her a strong army woman. The first army “woman”.
While Priya’s story is inspiring but the battle for women rights in the army is still not over. The Indian army hasn’t open combat roles for women yet. Although there is a positive atmosphere for doing this soon the problems for women joining the army are far more than just this.
There is a social stigma surrounding women that they are not capable of doing combat roles. Families do not want their daughters to join the army as they think that it is a job for men and women are not physically fit to do this job.
What we need to do as an educated society is to open up, to remove this discrimination and let women serve the nation alongside man. They are ready to bring the fight to the doorstep of the enemy. What they only need is the support of their friends, family and the entire nation.
More power to them.