New Delhi: The 75th Independence Day of Independence will be celebrated on 15th August. The whole country will celebrate it as the nectar festival of freedom. On this occasion, we will tell you about 10 such brave women of the Indian Armed Force, whose stories not only inspire half the population but the people of the entire country. These women have left an invaluable mark in the service of the country by stepping along with their male companions. We have also seen the stories of some of these women on the screen of 70MM.
It was a thing of the past when women joined the Indian Armed Forces to serve the country in very small quantities. Now, breaking all the shackles, women are making their mark in the Army, Air Force and Navy. Come, let us tell you about 10 such brave women of the country on the elixir of freedom.
1. Punita Arora
Lieutenant General Punita Arora is the first woman in India to become a lieutenant of the Indian Armed Forces and the first Vice Admiral of the Indian Navy. Born in a Punjabi family, when Punita Arora was 12 years old, her family moved to India after Partition and settled in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. After studying at Sophia School in Saharanpur till 8th standard, she took admission in Guru Nanak Girls Inter College. In 11th, he chose science subject as a career. After this he took admission in the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune in 1963.
Punita Arora was awarded 15 medals in the Indian Armed Forces. He was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal in 2002 for his efficient and timely assistance to the victims of the Kaluchak massacre. After this he was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal in 2006.
2. Padmavati Bandopadhyay
Dr Padma Bandyopadhyay is the first woman Air Vice Marshal of India. She is the first Indian woman to conduct scientific research at the North Pole. Another achievement of her is that she is also the first woman officer to complete the Defense Services Staff College course. In 1973 he received the Vishisht Seva Medal and in 1991 he received the AFHA Award. Padmavati was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in the field of medicine in 2020.
Padmavati Bandopadhyay joined the IAF in 1968 and completed her Defense Service Staff College course in 1978, becoming the first woman officer to do so. He was awarded the ‘Vishisht Seva Medal’, along with promotion to the rank of Air Vice Marshal, for his meritorious service during the Indo-Pak conflict of 1971.
3. Mithali Madhumita
Mithali Madhumita is a popular name of the Indian Army. In the year 2010, Mithali became the first woman officer in India, where she was awarded the Gallantry Award for her bravery. In fact, on 26 February 2010, Lieutenant Colonel Mithali Madhumita was awarded the Sena Medal for courage shown during the attack on the Indian Embassy by terrorists in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Lt Col Madhumita went inside the Indian embassy and rescued injured civilians and military personnel from the rubble. However, this attack was extremely fatal, in which 19 people lost their lives. However, Madhumita saved 17 lives in the attack on the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan.
4. Divya Ajith Kumar
At the age of 21, Divya Ajith Kumar defeated 244 fellow cadets (both male and female) to win the best all-round cadet award and received the coveted Sword of Honour. It is the highest award given to a cadet of Officers Training Academy.
Captain Divya Ajit Kumar is an officer of the Indian Army AAD. She passed out from OTA (Officer Training Academy) Chennai. She led the all-women teams of 154 women officers and cadets during the Republic Day 2015 parade, where the then US President Barack Obama was also present. Captain Divya Ajith Kumar was born in a Tamil family in Chennai. He is the first army officer of his generation in his house. His schooling was completed in Chennai and completed his further education from Stella Maris College, Chennai. She joined the NCC (National Cadet Corps), which inspired her to join the Indian Army.
5. Nivedita Choudhury
Flight Lieutenant Nivedita Choudhary became the first woman in the Indian Air Force (IAF) to scale Mount Everest and the first woman from Rajasthan to achieve the feat. Nivedita Chaudhary, a resident of Mukundgarh in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan, had joined the squadron at Agra in October 2009.
When she reached college after completing her studies as an NCC cadet in school, Nivedita joined the NCC there and took admission in the Air Wing. After passing out from college, he got selected in the Air Force in the very first attempt.
6. Priya Semwal
Naik Amit Sharma, husband of Priya Semwal, who joined the armed forces as an officer, was martyred in Operation Orchid in Arunachal Pradesh on 20 June 2012. After the martyrdom of her husband, she decided to join the army. As a young officer in 2014, he was inducted into the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) of the Army.
Major Priya Semwal from Dehradun has been a part of the first sailing expedition of women officers of the Army from Chennai to Visakhapatnam. Major Priya had earlier also been a part of Army Sailing Expedition between Haldia in West Bengal to Porbandar, Gujarat. Then the 50-member crew had covered 3500 nautical miles on the sea in 45 days.
7. Sofia Qureshi
Lieutenant Colonel Sofia Qureshi of the Corps of Signals created history in the year 2016 by leading a 40-member contingent in a training program of the Indian Army. Sophia, who hails from Gujarat, is a post graduate in Biochemistry.
Sofia joined the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Congo in 2006. She was also involved in Peacekeeping Operations. His grandfather was also in the army. Sofia joined the army in 1999 under the Short Service Commission. At that time he was only 17 years old. He is married to an army officer posted in the Mechanized Infantry.
8. Gunjan Saxena
Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena is an Indian Air Force officer and former helicopter pilot. She joined the IAF in 1994 and is a veteran of the 1999 Kargil War. She is one of the two women Air Force officers to be a part of the Kargil War. One of their main roles during the Kargil War was to evacuate the wounded from Kargil, transport supplies and assist in surveillance.
Gunjan became a part of the operation to evacuate over 900 injured and dead soldiers from Kargil. He ended his career as a helicopter pilot in 2004 after serving as a pilot for eight years. Gunjan Saxena also became the first woman to be awarded the Shaurya Veer Award. Saxena was born in an army family. His father Lt Col Anoop Kumar Saxena and brother Lt Col Anshuman, both served in the Indian Army. Saxena did her graduation in Physics from Delhi University’s Hansraj College. The 2020 Bollywood film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is inspired by her life.
9. Shanti Tigga
Shanti Tigga was the first woman to make way for women in the defense sector. She was 35 years old when she joined the army and was also the mother of two children. Her husband had also died. Shanti Tigga was married at the age of just 17. Shanti Tigga of Jalpaiguri, West Bengal lived in the village. Shanti Tigga’s husband passed away in 2005, he used to work in the Railways. After the death of her husband, Shanti Tigga got her job.
After joining the Railways in 2005, he thought of joining the Army. Shanti did exceptionally well in all the physical tests. He took 5 seconds less than the male participants to complete the 1.5 kilometer race. He completed the 50 meters race in just 12 seconds. After passing all the tests, Shanti Tigga joined the 969 Railway Engineer Regiment of Territorial Army in 2011. Exactly 2 years after this, he died in 2013.
10. Avani Chaturvedi
Avani Chaturvedi is the first woman officer of India, who made a record of flying a fighter jet. Avani Chaturvedi took off from Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat and was successful in the first attempt itself. By flying a single MiG-21 Bison aircraft, she showed that it is not difficult for women to achieve the biggest target. Avni, who did her B.Tech from Rajasthan Banasthali University, decided to join the army after working for 6 months and was successful in it.