A large crowd of women from across rural Maharashtra recently milled inside the Army Institute of Physical Training (AIPT) in Hadapsar — on the first day of women’s recruitment rally for the posts of soldiers on general duty.
Each aspirant was there for a different reason — love for the services, a disciplined life, a stable job, better salaries and respect in society, reported The Times Of India.
The daughter of a retired soldier, Laxmi Khate wants to do what her father could not. “He opted for voluntary retirement and did not complete his full service for medical reasons. I want to join the army and fulfil his dreams,” she said.
In her SSC exams, Laxmi scored 88 percent. She is studying for a bachelor’s degree in science. However, she says she is cut out for the army.
Over the last three months, Ashwini Kekan from Beed district prepared all by herself for the rally. She stood first in the 1.6km running event and completed the mandatory high and long jumps comfortably. “A soldier gets immense, unmatched respect. I want to earn that respect by joining the army,” she said. She added that her father, a labourer, had encouraged her to apply for the recruitment.
“During the run, I did not think about my feet. My aim was to complete 1.6km in seven minutes and cross the first hurdle in the rally,” said Priyanka Jaygude from Wai in Satara district, who ran barefoot.
“I travelled over 450km to participate in the recruitment rally. I could not push myself after the third round because of my hamstring injury. Had I practised enough, I would have finished in style,” said a determined and brave Swati Dhaykar from Jalgaon district, who could not succeed in the ground events.
“My father retired as a soldier after 30 years’ service. I want to carry forward his legacy. I had gone to the Jabalpur rally, but could not clear the written examination. I am now prepared and confident of clearing the exam,” said Anita Bhosale, who has a first class degree in business administration and had secured 93% in her SSC board exams.
Only those with valid admit cards can participate in the rally, said the rules. “A total of 236 women aspirants took part on the first day. We expect a similar number on Wednesday,” a senior army officer in the recruitment process said.