Our armed forces our something which we are all proud of. From guarding the borders to protecting against intruders to safeguarding the citizens during times of war or natural disasters, the army does it all. A few decades back, the army was inaccessible for women. It was only after 1992 that women were allowed to join the army. Back then, there was a huge gap in the ratio of men to women, whether it’s the army, navy or air-force. But with passing years, the mentality changed and India got incredible female officers.
More women started to join the army and have become so significant now that they have become its leading face, it’s pillar of pride. Even on the Republic Day of India, the army march is now headed by women, which is indicative of the scale of women empowerment in the nation. In continuation with this, President Pranab Mukherjee last year announced that women will be allowed to take up combat roles in all sections of the Indian armed forces. Many of these women have served at many significant positions in all the three sections of the army. Let’s take a look at 8 of these incredible female officers in the armed forces which are making the nation proud.
1. Sophia Qureshi
A Lieutenant colonel and the first woman officer to lead an Indian Army contingent at a multi-national military exercise, Sophia Qureshi is the first and only woman leader amongst 18 participating contingents in the largest ever foreign military exercise “Exercise Force 18” hosted by India.
2. Gunjan Saxena
Known as the Kargil girl, Gunjan created history when she flew her plane into the combat zone. This female air-force pilot flew her Cheetah helicopter to rescue injured soldiers in the combat zone during the Kargil war. She picked up the dead and the wounded while escaping Pakistani gunfire and missiles from below which itself requires great determination, courage and extra-ordinary piloting skills.
3. Priya Semwal
Priya was the wife of a martyred Indian Army Jawan who died during a counter-insurgency operation near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh in 2012. Left broken by it, the 26 year then mother of a 4 year old girl decided to join the army to pay tribute to his husband and his love for the motherland.
4. Nivedita Choudhary
Flight Lt Nivedita Choudhary became the first woman from the Indian Air Force (IAF) to scale world’s highest peak Mount Everest. Co-incidentally she also became the first woman from Rajasthan to achieve this feat. “The one hour I spent on world’s highest point etched my name in history. It will always be the best moment of my life,” she says with a smile.