For Major Sneha Chaudhary, the armed forces have been an integral part of her life since childhood but little she did know that she would end up donning the Army fatigue one day.
“We have been given a chance to sacrifice ourselves for the nation. The set of ethics, morals, and ethos that has been laid down by the armed forces has become an integral part of my life,” the 28-year-old officer told indianexpress.com.
Currently posted in the Madras Sappers MEG and Centre in Bengaluru, Chaudhary takes us to her favourite flashback with a smile. “Coincidentally, I have now been commissioned to MEG & Centre in Ulsoor in the city where I began my schooling. Although I travelled across the country later in accordance with my father’s posting to study in different Kendriya Vidyalayas, this one has always been special,” she says.
A qualified mechanical engineer who graduated from ITS Engineering College in Greater Noida, Chaudhary began her career in the armed forces in 2014 at Akhnoor in Jammu as a platoon commander. “Being posted near the Line of Control (where India shares a boundary with Pakistan) was a great experience. Getting to see, live and work at the border, which I had only seen in movies till then was really empowering and encouraging,” she says.
Chaudhary has also served as an Assistant Garrison Engineer in Yol, situated southwest of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh before she moved to Bengaluru.
She is also known for being a fervent basketball player, having represented her home state Rajasthan at the national level.
“While my priority remains serving the nation in whatever capacity I am directed to, serving as the Lieutenant-General in the Indian Army is something that I look up to,” she says, referring to the recent posting of Major General Madhuri Kanitkar, who was recently elevated to the rank of Lieutenant-General on Saturday.
The officer, who was in the team that took part in rescue operations at flood-hit Belagavi during August 2019, emphasises that life is equally challenging for both men and women in the Army.
“Lady officers have been given equal opportunity to be on field even in border areas and to take part in various operations. While we are entrusted with similar responsibilities as our male counterparts, providing the best service becomes the top priority at an individual level and at the team level cutting across gender,” she explains.
Major Chaudhary was also effusive in her praise for the recent Supreme Court order that brought women officers in 10 streams of the Army on par with their male counterparts in all respects. “It is a giant leap towards gender equality,” she says.
“We are ready to face any challenges coming forward promptly,” she adds.
While Chaudhary has her father MWO Narendra Pal Singh and husband Captain Suyash Malik serving the armed forces, Lieutenant Shalu Sehgal, who works as a legal officer with the Corps of Military Police in Bengaluru, is the first person from her family to join the armed forces.
Next in line – the story of a woman law graduate from Amritsar in uniform.
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