Our women break yet another glass ceiling
Paradoxical as it has always been, the status of women in Indian society has see-sawed between the determined assault of patriarchy on the one hand and an equally resolute attitude to break free from entrenched gender prejudices which have kept their potential under-utilised over centuries
Paradoxical as it has always been, the status of women in Indian society has see-sawed between the determined assault of patriarchy on the one hand and an equally resolute attitude to break free from entrenched gender prejudices which have kept their potential under-utilised over centuries.
According to a news report which was featured extensively in the media, a maiden contingent of 34 Central Reserve Police Force women personnel was recently inducted into its specialised jungle warfare commando force CoBRA, which will soon be deployed in the anti-Naxal operations grid of the country. It had been an all-male affair for this unit till now.
The Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) was raised under the CRPF in 2009 for undertaking intelligence-based jungle warfare operations. The majority of CoBRA teams, whose commandos are expected to have tough mental and physical attributes, are deployed in various Maoist violence affected states while a few are based in the northeastern states for undertaking counter-insurgency operations.
CRPF Director General A P Maheshwari lauded the women, saying they are an inspiration for numerous young girls who aspire to do good for themselves and the country. He said these combatants have proved that power is not in the muscles but in the head. According to him, he considers it the failure of leadership if someone says that one cannot do a work that is being done by the other. He rightly commented tha it is the Force's responsibility to ensure that every effort is made to bring all the personnel to the same level of efficiency.
The D-G urged the women personnel to "make their place" in the families of those youth who have gone astray or away from the national mainstream and help in bringing them back. He said the new age warfare is asymmetric, proxy, radicalisation-based, cyber-centric and has "shifted" from the geographical to the human terrain.
Progressive views indeed suiting the modern times when boundaries have blurred and wars are being waged over battlefields and cyberspace. On similar lines, on Republic Day, we saw a lady officer - Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth, the first woman in India to qualify for combat mission in a fighter jet, becoming the first woman fighter pilot to participate in the Republic Day fly-past joining her fellow male fighter pilots.
Indian military history also boasts of a fair share of women soldiers, Razia Sultan and the Rani of Jhansi being the most famous. Women were also a part of the Indian National Army raised by Subhash Chandra Bose to fight the British. Post- independence, women have for long been serving the Indian Army in the Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service. In all these branches they have played a commendable role and have risen to high ranks within their cadre. From being ace home makers to turning out at their fiery best to safeguard the nation, it needs no further mention that we cannot get anyone better than our women.