Modern warfare is set to change from being manpower heavy to technologically bound, says Major General Ashok Sharma (Retired). “Thus, even if the number of girls in the merit list increases, positions on offer might not change anytime soon,” he says.
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Brigadier Amardeep Singh (Retired), says, “In wartime, the Army needs manpower to capture and defend the ground in a physical mode. Thus, the amount of manpower required by the Army will always be high. This may be one of the reasons girls are being included. While the passion of girls is commendable, employing it to good use within the Forces is yet to be seen.”
Zeal for the nation
Shanan Dhaka, 19, comes from a family that has served in the Armed Forces for three generations. Getting the opportunity to become a part of the first batch of girl cadets in National Defence Academy (NDA), Shanan decided to follow in her family’s footsteps. In the NDA merit list, Shanan has got All India Rank (AIR) overall of 10 while she is AIR 1 among girls.
Her zeal to work in her best capacity for the nation’s well-being is echoed by Divyanshi Singh, 19, AIR 40 (overall) and AIR 5 (girls) as well as Kanishka Gupta, 17, AIR 157 (overall) and AIR 17 (girls). The girls are currently awaiting the final word on their acceptance from NDA.
Explaining the numbers, Shishir Dixit, managing director, Centurion Defence Academy, Lucknow, says, “This year, NDA has 419 seats, of which 400 are for boys and 19 are for girls. The final merit list features 462 names, including 411 boys and 51 girls. The medical tests for all cadets have been done and the final shortlisted candidates will receive their joining letters from NDA subject to their medical fitness and merit order soon.”
Prepared for everything
Dismissing skepticism about the mental and physical strength of women to endure the tough life at NDA, Shanan says, “I may not be traditionally physically fit right now, but I am prepared to face the NDA training requirements.” Observing the lives of her grandfather (retired subedar), father (retired havildar) and sister (student of MNS), has prepared her.
Divyanshi, hailing from an Army family from a small town in Bihar, says, “There is no point in getting anxious by anticipating the situations. The fact that we are in the merit list proves our ability and right to be a part of the Armed Forces.” Her father is a serving senior non-commissioned officer (SNCO) in the Indian Air Force.
Jhansi girl Kanishka is a XII appearing student who comes from a small business family and would be the first one to join the Armed Forces. “I have opted to become part of the Army because this is an unfamiliar path for girls,” she says.
- My mantra is ‘Yeh dil maange more’ and aim is to become the first female General of the Army – Shanan Dhaka, AIR 10
- Initially, I was not physically very fit, but my experience as a kabaddi player has helped me prepare -Divyanshi Singh, AIR 40
- Disbelief in girls’ mental and physical ability to be a part of the Armed Forces is unfounded as we are prepared to face any roadblocks and challenges thrown our way – Kanishka Gupta, AIR 157