It is reported that our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, wanted the theme of the 2015 Republic Day Parade to be “Nari Shakti” or “Womens’ Power.” Accordingly we saw in New Delhi yesterday for the first time an unprecedented number of young women from the Defence Services march past in this event. There were, again for the first time, all-women contingents from the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. These were commanded by Capt. Divya Ajith, Squadron Leader Sneha Shekawat and Lieut. Commander Sandhya Chauhan respectively.
Barriers are being broken and women are being given roles and responsibilities that many would not have thought possible even a decade ago. Earlier, the entire country was proud of Wing Commander Puja Thakur who commanded the Inter-Services Guard of Honour for visiting US President Barack Obama at Rashtrapati Bhavan on February 25. This was the first time a lady officer has commanded an Inter-Services Guard of Honour for such a prestigious event.
I mention the above in the context of my book, “Lucky For Some, 13” written in 2010 and published in 2012. The main character there is Major Mohini Mair. When I thought about the story, I was well aware that certain things I had written were in the realms of fiction. For example, Mohini is commissioned in to the Indian Army after passing out from the Officers Training Academy. I wrote ” she was selected to have the honour of carrying the Indian tricolour in the final parade. It was the first time in the history of the OTA that this task was given to a lady.” I had wanted her to win the coveted Sword of Honour but I must confess that even I balked at the possibility. I am thrilled to find out that in real life, Captain Divya Ajith was the first ever lady to win the Sword of Honour in her batch at the Officers Training Academy.
In my novel, Mohini becomes an officer in the prestigious National Security Guards (NSG), again a first. Although by and large ladies in real life might not face the adventures she did in my story, I won’t be surprised when a day may come when many, like my Mohini Nair, will take up leadership positions and roles not considered possible for them even five years ago!