Women as tough as men in military roles

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Women in Army
Women in Army (File Pic)

Almost eight decades before the Supreme Court of India (SC) ruled that women could serve as army commanders and granted permanent commission (PC), Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had already settled the debate on their combat capabilities, bringing them on par with the men of the Azad Hind Fauj .

“I also want a unit of brave Indian women to form a ‘death- defying regiment, which will wield the sword which the brave Rani of Jhansi wielded in India’s First War of Independence in 1857,” Bose thundered during his speech ‘Why I left Home and Homeland’ in Singapore on July 9, 1943.

The Rani Jhansi Regiment, the Azad Hind Fauj’s all-women combat regiment, led by Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, was born a few days later. Decades down the line, India still denies combat roles to the 3,500-plus women in the military. But things have started to change with women joining the Indian Air Force and the Navy in combat roles and getting Permanent Commission.

After the SC ruling, the Army granted Permanent Commission to 147 additional women officers this year, taking the total to 424. On January 15, 2020, Captain Tania Shergill became the first woman Parade Adjutant to lead an all-male contingent on the Army Day. On January 26, 2019, Lieutenant Bhavana Kasturi became the first officer to lead an all-male contingent.

( This article is a tribute to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose , a Legendary thinker and a real Hero of freedom movement in India. Today is his death anniversary. Popular as Netaji , Shri Bose died in an air accident on 18 th August 1945 )