Can Indian women fight alongside their male counterparts? This question has been put forward by many defence experts & pundits, even historians, through ages. What do they forget is that Indian women have not only fought through ages but have even surpassed their male counterparts in lots of occasions. If anyone is still skeptical, the person must go through the pages of national freedom struggle. Copious numbers of relevant instances will be before him in flash.
Can the same vigor be shown by women in Indian army too? Will they be equally valiant in this case also? This subject is raising storm these days and Lieutenant Sushmita Chakravorty's self-annihilation in Udhampur has made the issue highly contentious. While a considerable section of the Indian Army prefers to play down the competence of women, charges of sexual discriminations and other kinds of harassments are brought forth by women. All these indicate that the situation remains exceedingly uncomfortable and canít generate the coveted frame of mind.
Are the Indian women a liability to the Army then? This canít also be accepted in any way and if there is any failure on their parts, the Indian Army has to be blamed on the whole. There is a growing need of change in attitude and the training modules of women in the Army. It has got to be mentioned, women in the Army are trained for 24 weeks only whereas gentlemen cadets are trained for 44 weeks at a stretch. What is more striking, both do deal with the same syllabus. This does take place since special considerations are made; physical standards are also brought down for women. All these lead to dissimilarities in assignments along with outlooks and certainly gender prejudice.
All these must be brought to an end and women cadets have got to be exposed to equivalent mental and physical hardships. They have to be made tough and prepared to confront any challenge. Only then women can be a force in Indian Army.