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Monday, 27 February 2017

12 Fearless Women Of The Indian Armed Forces Who Inspired A Generation Of Soldiers

Indian Military Veterans
12 Fearless Women Of The Indian Armed Forces Who Inspired A Generation Of Soldiers
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25th February 2017

“Service before self”
This is the motto of the Indian Armed Forces and something every woman understands deeply. Sacrifice and service before self is something that is quite innate to women in general – be it mothers or sisters or up until now, wives.
Then it is not a surprise that they have excelled in the armed forces – a profession that is largely dominated by men. Women have broken the glass ceiling way back in the 70s. And since then there’s no looking back for them. They have excelled in all three services – Army, Navy and Air Force. And that is why they inspire a whole generation of women to give up a simple life and aspire for a life that is extraordinary every day.
Let’s take a look at some of the first women who shattered the stereotypes and etched a name for themselves in the pantheon of bravery.
1. Punita Arora – the first woman to become a Lt General AND Vice Admiral
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Fondly called ‘General in a Sari’ she was one of the officers who inspired other women to join the Indian Army. She graduated from AFMC, Pune and still remains one of the most iconic women officers the Indian Armed Forces has ever had.
2. Captain Divya Ajith Kumar – the first woman to lead an all-woman contingent in the Republic Day parade
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And if you thought this is special, she has more feathers in her cap. She was also named the best NCC cadet in the Republic Day Parade in 2008.
She also created history by becoming the first woman in the army to receive the ‘Sword of Honour’.
And that’s not all, she is an accomplished Bharatnatyam dancer, a percussionist and loves to play basketball. Keep a look out for her in the newspapers because she is going places with a personality like this!
3. Padmavathy Bandopadhyay – the first woman Air Vice Marshal of the Indian Air Forces
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She is to Air Force what General Punita Arora is to the Army. She joined the Air Force way back in 1968 when women were still thinking of getting jobs. Her list of achievements is nothing short of inspiring. She is first the woman to become a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Society of India and is also the first woman from India to conduct an experiment on the North Pole.
She was also awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal for her services during the war of 1971.

4. Flight Lt. Harita Kaur Deol – India’s first female pilot in Indian Air Forces
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Harita Kaur became one of the first women to be inducted into the Air Force as a pilot. She flew many missions and did something no other Indian woman had done before – she flew an Air Force plane solo.
She was inducted into the IAF back in 1993 and today, she would have been one of the top officers; but she passed away tragically in an air crash near Nellore in 1995.
5. Lieutenant Ganeve Lalji – first woman officer to become an aide-de-camp to an Army Commander
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Lieutenant Ganeve Lalji was commissioned into Military Intelligence Corps and is a third-generation Army Officer. She became the first female aide-de-camp in the Indian Army. Aide-de-camps are personal assistants to the General officers in the Indian Army. And in her case, she was assisting the then Central Army Commander Lt Gen Rajan Bakshi.
The selection procedure of an ADC is extremely tough. You have to prove your motivation and aspiration to assist the top commanders in the Indian Army.
She definitely proved her mettle.
6. Lieutenant Colonel Sophia Qureshi – first woman officer to lead India to a multi-national military exercise
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When India participates in an international military exercise, the reputation of the Indian Army is at stake. And that is why the commanders of the Indian contingent are selected based on their sheer leadership skills. And that is what makes Col. Sophia Qureshi so special. She led a 40-member Indian Army contingent at the ASEAN Plus multinational field training exercise.
Back then it was the largest military exercise of its kind with countries like China, USA, Russia, Japan and South Korea participating.
The whopper – she was the only woman contingent commander among all the participating countries!
7. Indian Army All Women Expedition team to Mt Everest
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Climbing Mount Everest is tough, even brutal. And in these women’s cases even horrific. Because on their way to the top, they encountered four dead bodies. They were among the people who had left just one day before them.
They trained hard in Siachen and Manali for one year before taking up the heroic expedition. India cheered their achievement when they accomplished what seemed impossible.
8. Mitali Madhumita – first woman officer to receive the Sena Medal
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Gallantry awards are extremely coveted by the Indian Armed Forces. You get one if you die fighting or do something so exceptional that would even impress the battle hardened soldier.
Mitali Madhumita saved 19 people from a terrorist attack in Afghanistan. She was posted in the Indian Embassy in Kabul when the terrorist attack happened. She valiantly saved 19 people risking her own life.
In addition to giving her a Sena Medal, she was also one of the few hundred women at the time who was offered a permanent commission in the Indian Army.
9. Flight Officer Gunjan Saxena and Flight Lieutenant Srividya Rajan – first women pilots to fly into a combat zone during the Kargil War
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They flew armorless Cheetah helicopters into the combat zone, providing assistance to the forces fighting on the ground. One of their main roles was to evacuate casualties from the war zone.
That meant she had to fly very close to the place where actual fighting was going on. As a good pilot pair, both the women pilots ended up saving lives of many injured soldiers, even when Pakistani soldiers loved to fire at helicopters.
10. Wing Commander Puja Thakur – first woman to lead the guard of Honor when President Obama visited India
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“I AM PROBABLY THE FIRST WOMAN TO COMMAND A JOINT SERVICES GUARD OF HONOUR, SO I AM PROUD AND HONOURED.”
And like her other counterpart, she too was offered the choice of permanent commission by the Indian Air Force.
11. Lt. Anjana Bhaduria – first woman officer to receive a gold medal in Indian Army
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She was one of the first women to be inducted into the Indian Army and she excelled as a cadet during her training. That’s why she passed with a gold medal, effectively topping her batch.
When she got the news that she was selected for the Indian Army, her brother straight up refused to allow her to join. But her commitment to the country was far more intense and that is what made her excel.
12. Priya Jhingan – first ever lady cadet to join the Indian Army
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Although the Air Force and the Navy were recruiting women as officers, the Indian Army was a bit late in realizing their potential. Priya Jhingan became the first woman to join as a cadet in the Indian Army back in 1992. Back then she was so desperate to join the Indian Army that she actually wrote a letter to the Chief of Staff back then asking whether she can join.
And you know what, she did get a reply back! The reply letter remains one of her most valued possessions. She retired in 2002 after 10 years of meritorious service.
These women proved that when it comes to serving the country, they are not far behind in excelling.
Thank you for your services, officers! You have made the country proud with your achievements.
  
"To fight the darkness do not draw your sword, light a candle"   
"You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets"
 
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