CHENNAI: History was made at the hallowed Major Parameshwaran Drill Square at Officers Training Academy in St. Thomas Mount here on Saturday, when 40 women joined the Indian Army as Lieutenants after a passing-out parade.
Theirs was the first batch of cadets to undergo 11 months of rigorous training on a par with their male counterparts. When women cadets were first inducted in 1992, their training was for six months. For Shikha Bhaduri, one of the 40 trainees, it was a very special day. Not only was her dream of joining the armed forces fulfilled, but she also received the Gold Medal for standing First in Order of Merit, from President Pratibha Patil. At the Pipping Ceremony, when the piece of cloth covering the two stars (indicating her rank ) on her shoulder badge were removed, her senior officers and instructors at the OTA told her parents that they ought to be proud of their daughter.
Other recruits too said they were proud to be part of the first batch of women officers to be trained on a par with the men. “It was hard, but not impossible,” said Meera Rajan from Chennai, who received a medal for excellence in academics. Officers at the OTA said the Lady Cadets were put through all the rigorous training and they excelled in each and every discipline.
Corrections and Clarifications
The second paragraph of a report "40 women join Army as Lieutenants" (TamilNadu, March 22, 2009, page 1) said "Theirs was the first batch of cadets toundergo 11 months of rigorous training on a par with their malecounterparts. When women cadets were first inducted in 1992, their trainingwas for six months." Another report "President wants soldiers to be'technology efficient'" (March 22, 2009) said "This is the first time thatwomen were trained for nine months, on a par with men, ever since they wereinducted for training in 1992, an OTA officer said." The detail in thesecond report is right. Training of women cadets was, earlier, for sixmonths and has now been increased to nine months. The training period formale cadets has always been nine months.