Hold Fast to Dreams
By Ashutosh Vasistha
Misogyny in our thoughts and attitude towards women deprives a competent section of the society to have adequate opportunity in contributing towards the prosperity of our nation by participating in combat roles. At last we blame our culture and customs, because of which a woman cannot be deployed at the borders to defend our country, but actually, the problem is in people professing, and propagating those customs as it cannot be traced anywhere in our culture which can prove this point.
On the other hand, history is in itself a proof that our brave women freedom fighters like Rani Lakshmi Bai have contributed equally as men against the struggle for independence. So, alleging traditions, customs, and culture for not providing an opportunity to women in combats is absolutely absurd. It is nowhere written that women are weak and cannot tolerate that pain or pressure, hence denying them opportunities on these grounds is totally invalid. They are appointed as officers but in non-combat posts, hence we have developed this presumption about them without even giving a single opportunity to prove themselves.
Article 14-18 of the Indian Constitution clearly provides that state shall not discriminate between individuals on the basis of caste, creed, gender, religion, and place of birth in providing an opportunity in public employment. Hence, these actions are clearly against the basic objectives of our Constitution enshrined in its Preamble i.e. equality, freedom, liberty, etc. We all are the creation of same God and he has given all of us same brain, abilities, strength, and body then without even giving a chance to the other genders for combat we cannot carry on this unjustifiable presumption in this century where women are ahead of other genders almost in all the professions.
There can be certain pre-requisite conditions for women before entering in this field and they must fulfill all those qualifications in order to perform roles in the combat. Certain physical tests can be included as per the requirements on the field and candidates must pass those tests in order to get deployed. Certain terms and conditions could be imposed on them which they have to comply with in order to get the opportunity in this particular area. But at least a chance must be given to prove their worthiness, skills, and talent which could help in bringing prosperity and innovation in this field. The doors of this noble profession must be unobstructed for them and a clear procedure must be established for the same.
Pranab Mukherjee, former Indian President clearly said while addressing both the Houses of Parliament that the government is planning to include women in the combat roles, but except the inclusion of women as a fighter pilot in Indian Air Forces no further proceedings in this respect has taken place. It is really disgusting to find this that in spite of proving their worthiness in every profession, the government is not showing its concern towards the interest of a large section of society.
Recently in Balakot Strike by Indian Air Force there was a women fighter pilot in the squad who had finished her task and accomplished the project of the team as a whole. If they are proving themselves in Air Forces then they must be given an opportunity in military forces as well as their presence in air forces is itself a proof that they can survive in adverse conditions also. We are underestimating them and denying this truth by some baseless claims. They are ahead of us in every aspect of life and then to are not provided with adequate opportunities.
The United States, Germany, Britain, and many other countries have already allowed women to enter into this profession and are of the view that let them accept the challenges the way they are. It is really important for India to adopt these changes in the army personnel and make the Indian Army as one of the strongest and bravest armies in the world. We can be a role model for other countries by removing all the kinds of gender barriers from this profession, and let others follow our standards. It is not like this that western countries are bit open and we are not hence we cannot include them in our combats, but the thing is that we have adapted towards new and positive changes taking place all around the globe.
Recently, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat in a press conference said that Indian Army is not ready to include women in combat roles and to support this statement he contended that firstly, women have the responsibility of raising kids and they will not be able to fulfill these obligations if they are deployed in combat roles. Secondly, he added that most of the soldiers are from the village and rural background and they may not accept women leading them. These pathetic expressions were of our Army Chief, it is totally disappointing to hear these statements from the topmost ranking official of Indian Army. He denied the inclusion of women because they have the responsibility of raising kids this offensive statement is totally unjustifiable as just because they are more sensitive and connected with their children it does not mean that all their freedoms will be restricted and now they have a sole duty of raising their kids. It is totally senseless to deny this opportunity because of their kids as firstly it means that ladies working in other professions are not taking care of their children and secondly that women who don’t have kids are eligible to participate in combat roles.
It is really a point of concern that according to Chief soldiers will get offended if a female officer will lead them. Such patriarchal thinking is very lethal for our country and it is totally false as soldiers are concerned only about commands or orders and the origin of commands is not a point of concern for them. For instance, our Defense Minister is Mrs. Nirmala Sitaraman, so according to him whatever the directions he receives from her are totally immaterial as they cannot accept a woman leading them. The main problem is the narrow mindsets which our society is still caring with it, and just because they cannot accept this truth and they try to blame our culture and traditions for the same which is totally unjustifiable.