Capt. Shikha Surabhi was 15 years old when her fascination for bikes began. In 2019, holding the designation of Captain in the Indian Army, she joined the Army’s Corps of Signals Daredevils Motorcycle Display team at the Republic Day Parade 2019. Capt. Shikha performing stunts on a bullet is a visual that people talk about to this day, and why won’t they? At 28, she was, after all, the first woman to make it to the daredevils squad. And this part is just a fraction of the inspirational path that the Software Engineer turned Army Officer carved out for herself.
Shikha Surabhi Journey
Officer Shikha’s passion for sports from the early childhood played an instrumental role in her entry into the Indian Army. Growing up in Bihar and Jharkhand with a sports teacher mother, she tried several sports and it was her participation in Judo and Karate that pushed her to tap into her adventurous streak. While her parents helped her navigate her options, they also made her independent enough to be her own person and choose for herself.
Having pursued her engineering in Jaipur, she used the University Entry Scheme to enter the Indian Army and became an officer in 2013. Her love for bike riding was reignited when, as part of the Indian Army squad during her postings, she saw several male officers riding one.
“Growing up learning these forms of martial arts taught me that I have to be independent. Then one day when I was around 15, my parents gave me the keys to the bike and asked me to learn to bike also. But when I got into Army, I picked up the Bullet because I saw a lot of male officers riding one. I felt that I wanted to learn it too after which I have done a biking trip to Leh and Ladakh. Then I was also posted in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh where I explored all the local areas on the bike and that made me more confident in riding,” she tells SheThePeople.
The officer, who was first commissioned in 2015, believes it’s her commanding officers who showed faith in her when she decided to try for the daredevils squad.
“They accepted me and gave me a chance to me and this serves as a motivation for young girls and women officers too.”
Capt. Surabhi’s endeavours as an officer not just inspired her juniors but also senior women officers who decided to try the same adventure as well. When we asked her how she feels when she is called an inspiration, she responded, “A young girl came up once and said she wants to become like me, and that means so much to me.”
Nothing above the country
Officer Surabhi’s dedication to the armed forces stems from her undying love for India. She believes keeping the nation above everything is what matters at the end of the day for her and gets her going. “Serve the nation. Die for the nation. And I can say that if someone asks me to do something for the nation, then I will be the first person to die for the country.”
Whether it’s leadership training or varied practices, she has never bowed out from anything at the academy. Forging a courageous path on her own, she did not let gender come in the way of pursuing and achieving anything. “At the academy, they teach us leadership, team-spirit among other things, and the standards society sets for women are no more obstacles there.”
Capt. Surabhi, just like several brave women army officers, did not work towards shattering any glass ceiling, she went beyond one. Her journey, her passion and her glory serve as a reminder that if we provide equal opportunities for women in our country, they can pursue anything, anywhere.
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