Daughter plans to pay back to the soil

iY.S.Rana | March 09, 2019 02:42 PM

CHANDIGARH: “I will like to go back to my native place after retirement and plan to start an academy where girls will be trained and encouraged to join Armed forces. Poor girls will be trained free-of-cost,” said Neelam Thakur, Lt.Col. presently posted at NCC Headquarters in Chandigarh.

She grew up in small village Bachheri in Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh and is no different to many other villages in the State that are plagued with problems of poverty, unemployment, and civic amenities except one thing—it is known for Neelam Thakur who preferred to wear olive green as a career at a time when girls were not open to Join Armed forces. While talking to Neelam Thakur, she said that when she decided to take the road less travelled by women, orthodox dismissed her as a risk taker.

She further said that generally, when one saw olive green, it was a space where men were in charge. It was a uphill struggle in a male dominated field. Belonging to Army family that takes the legacy for the past four generation found Army environment as the most secure career when she was a child as she always ready to accept challenge and adventure.

She did her schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Nagpur, Kerala and graduated from Nagpur University. She has been a brilliant student through out her academics. She has many honours to her credit. When she has decided to take road less travelled by women cynics of the area dismissed her as a risk taker. She was commissioned in the Army in March, 2004 and with her sheer hard work she rose to the rank of Lt. Col.

Besides, Neelam Thakur has also served in Congo in the UN Peace Keeping Force for two years. “I learn a lot there and it has provided me a boost in my career,” said she. She was of the opinion that at the societal level, balancing home and work seem to be a difficult task for women due to domestic duties obligations. Especially, girls were not encouraged to join Armed Forces in the past, but she also admitted that country has made a radical move towards gender parity in one of the world mostly dominated by male professions—the Armed Forces. Earlier, women hailing from different background and religions in the country have to overcome huge odds to flourish.

Spread of education has brought woman in competition with man but the main determining factors that hinder a woman’s professional growth over men are that traditional masculine traits. But she finds the Army career development activities with respect, discipline and recognition.

In near future, Indian Army will be on track to see increase in the percentage of women’s enrolment and now even parents are encouraging girls to join Army. “Military service, as Neelam, has explained, is as much a career choice as it is a way to keep a long tradition alive. “Whatever be the difficulty, you have put your life in the line to protect the country,” she adds.
Col Neelam also admitted more is done much is needed to be done. Women have succeeded in breaking glass ceiling but still remain within walls.

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