Passing Out Parade 2017 at OTA Chennai was special not because India got 322 motivated young officers including 266 gentlemen cadets and 31 lady cadets but also witnessed three extraordinary women Swati Mahadik, Nidhi Dubey and Namita Pant who showed exemplary courage and stood against all the odds to epitomize the womanhood and inspire generations. They have truly set an example and we bow before them and salute their spirits. They showed the real meaning of ‘Feminism‘ that it is just not talking about women rights from comfortable couches but actually proving the self.
Lieutenant Swati Mahadik
The whole world was stunned when pictures of this beautiful 39 year old woman adorning olive green uniform floated in social media and TV channels bombarded her with questions. The whole aura around her was extraordinary. Not only her parents,two children and her mother in law were present (whose adopted son martyred two years back) but she was cheered through out by the most bad asses of Indian Army. The men from 41 Rastriya Rifles and Para Commandos from 21 Para Special forces. She was even honored by a memento by 41 RR , after all she was the first lady or CO’s wife once to this unit, her husband commanded.
Lt Swati Mahadik is wife of Martyr Colonel Santosh Mahadik from 21 Para Special Forces and martyred in 2015. At the time of his martyrdom, he was commanding 41 Rastriya Rifles and leading from front as always. Colonel Santosh Mahadik was a highly decorated officer and was awarded ‘Sena Medal’ during Operation Rhino in North East. Leading from front and conducting operations by himself in spite of being the Commanding Officer was not new to him but that fateful day Colonel Santosh Mahadik succumbed to grievous injuries following a week-long deadly gun-battle with the terrorists, which took place in Manigah forest area at Jammu & Kashmir’s Kupwara district. It was exactly at the time when Aamir Khan gave a controversial statement about ‘his wife feeling unsafe in the country‘ it was compared a lot by the Veer Nari Mrs Swati Mahadik statement which she gave just after her husband demise that she wishes her children join Army.
Joining Army was not easy for a 37 year old widow of an Army officer with two children in a country like India and only an incredible woman can make it possible and you know what did she say on the day of Passing Out Parade “When you lose someone who is close to you it hurts. His first love was his uniform and his unit, so I just had to wear this. “On being asked how her husband must have felt she said “He was everything to me and my children. Since his death the training and my children filled everyday but his void can not be filled. He loved dancing. I am sure he would have danced after my graduation, we would all be dancing.”
Lieutenant Nidhi Dubey
It took 8 years to this veer nari prove her mantle. Lt. Nidhi Mishra Dubey was just 25 and pregnant by four months when her husband an Army Jawan Nayak Mukesh Kumar of Mahar Regiment died of a cardiac arrest. While Lt. Swati Mahadik was supported by her In Laws who were not even biological parents of her husband, Lt. Nidhi Dubey was torchured and abandoned by her in laws when she needed them the most.
She returned to her mother and suffered depression for several months and it was only after her son Suyash was born that she found her direction. She did MBA and taught in Army public School while her mother looked after her son. It did not end there,she attempted SSB or Service Selection Board for five times and failed. But she did not abandon her dreams and took up to heavy physical training, waking up at four in the morning and running for five km every day. During the daytime, Nidhi would teach in the Army School, Sagar, By night, she would study for the exams, And finally she cracked the SSB, joined Officer’s training Academy Chennai, adorned the olive green uniform and became a lady officer.
She Says “I joined Army because I wanted to show my son that what it’s like to be in Army. My family has been a pillar of support for me and now I wish my son joins Army one day too. “
When we have ministers and bureaucrats sons shooting people in open and eve teasing girls at night or Bollywood Celebrities Children sponsored by their superstar dads then we think of these rich and spoilt kids as exactly the kind of kids nobody wants their kids to be.And leave alone that, we live in a country where nepotism is greater then the country itself. Otherwise how do we explain Rahul Gandhi or Tejswi Yadav?So when you see a prominent politician daughter Namita Pant taking Country’s toughest training,lead an extremely disciplined life,taking orders, studying day and night,competing with others through her merit and eventually adorning the olive green uniform herself. You gasp in awe.
Namita Pant, daughter of BJP leader and finance & excise minister in Uttarakhand Prakash Pant chose to cross all the obstacles,fight her demon to make her father proud then living under the shadow of her big daddy. I am not sure but I guess she is the only full time serving Army officer whose father is a politician. Not just that ,she is a gold medalist in LLM, led the passing Out Parade 2017 at OTA Chennai and now she joins Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch as an Army Officer.More politician should promote such spirit in their children than promoting nepotism.