On 26 July 2019, India celebrated 20 years of Operation Vijay to commemorate the sacrifice and victory of all the soldiers and officers in the Kargil War. Along with the names of the brave soldiers and martyrs respectfully inscribed at memorials, the survival and success stories of their widows should also be heard. The widows of war overcome the emotional trauma of losing their husband in a brutal war with the enemies and share their valour and bravery in surviving the world alone with heads held high.

Kargil war widow, Usha, was also left alone with five daughters to raise in a society where widowhood is a curse and daughters are a burden and symbol of toxic fragility. However, the stereotypes of the orthodox society could not stop Usha and her daughters to acquire a respectable identity and position in society.

Story of a winner

Kargil war widow, Usha, was also left alone with five daughters to raise in a society where widowhood is a curse and daughters are a burden and symbol of toxic fragility. However, the stereotypes of the orthodox society could not stop Usha and her daughters to acquire a respectable identity and position in society. The story of Usha raising her daughters against the conventions of society gives an important message of women empowerment and freedom from enslaving taboos on widowhood.

Usha is a widow of Subedar Krishant Narayan Ghadge, a Junior Commissioned Officer with 110 Engineer Regiment of Bombay Engineering Group. He reported for duty in Operation Vijay on June 2, 1999. Within a couple of weeks, his health deteriorated due to complications after an improper acclimatization process. On June 18, 1999, he lost his battle with life at Command Hospital in Chandi Mandir, Haryana. He left behind his widow Usha, weeping but prepared to fight a long battle on her own.

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Importance of education

Usha herself studied up to standard XI, and therefore understands the importance of education for women to succeed in life. After the death of Ghadge, Usha left the Lalgun Village and started living in Satara city where her daughters could pursue a good higher education. Even though Usha was not supported by her in-laws to move to a city with young daughters alone, she managed to educate all her daughters on her own.

Today, her eldest daughter Ashwini is a lawyer, while the immediate next daughter, Vaishali, has completed her MBA and works as a Flight Attendant in Air India. The next three daughters – Shobha, Snehal and Shital – finished an MBA, MSC in Botany and an M. Com respectively.

Today, her eldest daughter Ashwini is a lawyer, while the immediate next daughter, Vaishali, has completed her MBA and works as a Flight Attendant in Air India. The next three daughters – Shobha, Snehal and Shital – have completed an MBA, MSC in Botany and M. Com respectively.  Recently in February Usha’s youngest daughter also got married.  Besides, Usha now resides a well-built bungalow in Satara, supported by her daughters.

Life lessons from a winner

The growth in the lives of Usha and her daughters is not the effort and struggles of Usha alone. The daughters’ dedication and will to achieve something in life paid off their widowed mother’s sacrifices and struggles. No more is Usha enslaved in the barriers of widowhood since she decided to educate her daughters and take them out of the darkness of disadvantaged women. The daughters themselves were never a burden on Usha; their intelligence and dedication made their own and Usha’a dreams come true. This shows how the education of women in India is a powerful weapon to break through the enslaving Patriarchy in society.

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Image credit: TOI

Rudrani Kumari is an intern at SheThePeople.TV

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