Men have been accommodated in the army since the beginning of wars being acknowledged for their valour and physical strength. Besides, women have also started engaging in the military to serve their countries and make it proud.
Below here is a list of brave women who challenged the society by refusing to wear the white mourning cloth upon losing their husbands in their service to the nation. They decided put on the army uniform to continue their legacy and rise above social the constructs of being dejected widows.
These wives joined the Indian army services to pay a tribute to their martyred husbands and their sacrifice for the nation.
Nikita Kaul Dhoundiyal
After losing her husband, Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, in the Pulwama attacks in 2019, Nikita filled the SSC examination form to join Indian army as an officer. She cleared her SSC examination and interview in 2020 and quit her MNC job to start her Officers Training Academy in Chennai. She donned her army uniform as Lieutenant Nikita Kaul Dhoundiyal on May 29, 2021.
She was married to Major Dhoundiyal for nine months but stated “two years” during her interview. “Vibhu is not here physically but that doesn’t mean our marriage has ended,” she said.
Married in 2015, Garima Abrol lost her husband Squadron Leader Samir Abrol in February 2019 when he was flying an upgraded two-seater IAF Mirage 2000 TI aircraft in Bengaluru. She passed Services Selection Board (SSB) in Varanasi in 2019. She joined the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a Flying Officer in December 2019 after graduating from Air Force Academy.
Martyr wives join army. Meet the bravehearts
Swati Mahadik, the wife of Colonel Santosh Mahadik joined the Indian army in 2017 after she lost her husband back in 2015 to a terrorist attack in Kupwara region of Kashmir. Lieutenant Swati Mahadik followed her husband’s dream instead of her own dream of being with her children. Colonel Mahadik told his wife not to mourn and wear the white cloth if he is martyred but instead encouraged to serve the country in the olive green uniform.
Windowed at 23, Shalini Singh is the wife of martyred Major Avinash Singh Bhadauria. Shalini left her postgraduation and applied for the SSB interview. Three months after Major’s death, she was called for an interview which she excelled. On September 7, 2002, within one year of her husband’s demise, Shalini joined the army as a Commissioned Officer.
She later dropped out of army to take care of her son and completed her MBA to work in Multinational company.
Sushmita Pandey lost her husband in a landslide during Operation Rhino in 2016. Her husband, Major Neeraj Pandey served in Indian Army’s Corps of Signals and was a dedicated officer. After almost two years of his demise, Sushmita joined the Indian army as a Lieutenant in the same corps her husband had served.
Major Amit Deswal was martyred in counter insurgency back in 2016, leaving behind his wife Neeta and a 3-year-old son. She was adamant to carry forward his legacy and excelled the SSB interview and her training. She came out as a Lieutenant in March 2018 to fulfil her husband’s dream.
“Initially, I was not sure about how to proceed with life after Amit’s death, but the Army has taken care of me and my son like family. This is why I have decided to join the Army. It would be a tribute to my husband,” Neeta said in an interview with IndiaTimes.
Kanika’s husband, Major Kaustubh Rane was killed in an encounter with the terrorists in 2018. Kanika joined the Indian army in 2020 commissioned as Lieutenant Kanika Rane as a tribute to her husband’s sacrifice. She excelled the SSB examination in 2019 and finally completed her training at Chennai in November 2020.
Neeru and army officer Raveendersingh Sambyal had been married for around three years when the rifleman died due to injuries in 2015. She joined the army as Lieutenant in 2018 and named three pillars of her support: Her husband’s sacrifice, their daughter Sanidhaya, and the support her husband’s unit has given her. She appreciated her husband’s unit 2 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles unit for being very supportive and helpful throughout her journey.
Widow of Major, Gauri Mahadik Joined The Indian Army As Lieutenant
Gauri Mahadik joined the Indian army in March 2020 after clearing her training in Chennai in the non-technical category of war widows. Gauri was earlier a company secretary and law graduate. She left her job to prepare for the SSB exam and join the army to honour her husband Major Prasad Mahadik who died in 2017. She could not clear the exam in her first attempt due to lack of preparing but topped the widow category in her second attempt.
Nidhi Mishra Dubey
Nidhi was pregnant when her husband Mukesh Dubey, a Naik in the Mahar Regiment died of cardiac arrest. She failed the SSB exam five times before finally making it through. She wanted to join the army to show her son what it means to serve the country. She joined the force in 2017 as a lieutenant alongside Swati Mahadik.
A part of Gorkha Rifles, Shishir Mall married Sangeeta who was a teacher back in 2013. He died in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015. Along with her husband, she also lost her child in a miscarriage. She was inspired to join the army when she attended an investiture ceremony in 2016 where Shishir was awarded Sena Medal. She became a part of the force in 2019.
Priya lost her husband, Naik Amit Sharma in 2012 in a counter insurgency operation. Worried about her daughter’s future, she decided to join the army on the advice of Colonel Arun Agarwal, the commanding officer of Amit’s unit. She is reportedly the first Army Jawan’s wife to become a commissioned officer in the force. She worked hard to clear CDS and SSB exams and excelled her training to become a lieutenant in 2014.