Shanti Tigga Storms Into The Male Bastion Of Indian Army

The all male bastion of Indian Army has recently fallen, thanks to Shanti Tigga. She became the first women to qualify as a lady combatant (called Army Jawan in local parlance) in the 1.3 million strong Indian Armed Forces.

Belonging to Oraon Tribe Community, Sapper Shanti Tigga has come up a hard-way. Sharing her story of hardship, widowed-mother of 2 young children, 35 years old Shanti said, “I joined Railways in 2005 on compensatory ground after my husband passed away. I joined as points-man and was posted at Chalsa Railway Station in Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. Last year I learnt about Territorial Army (TA) Railways and I volunteered for it. At that time, while applying for the same I was not aware that no woman has ever joined the army as Personnel Below-The-Officer-Rank but that was hardly a disincentive for me. As I always dreamt of joining the army and wearing its olive-green uniform.”

Shanti Tigga’s much cherished dream had came true.

Driven by her dream and innate desire, Shanti performed superbly in the Indian Army’s Recruitment Training Camp (RTC), in fact she even outperformed her male colleagues in the demanding physical tests.

Detailing on her performance, the Officer-in-charge said, “She performed exceedingly well in all the physical tests. She took 5 seconds less than her male counterparts to complete 1.5-km run. She completed the 50 meter run in 12 seconds which is rated as excellent.”

Shanti Tigga earned the top-most position of marksman
Shanti Tigga earned the top-most position of marksman

Moreover during the RTC, she had impressed the firing instructors with her skills in handling guns and earning the top-most position of marksman.

When asked about her outstanding efforts, she modestly said, “Some of my relatives were in the armed forces and they always motivated me to become a part of the army. So I prepared really hard to clear the physical tests. I know I have made my family proud by becoming the first woman army jawan.”

“With her overall performance in the RTC including physical test, drill and firing, she was adjudged as the best trainee……Women are allowed to join the armed forces only as officers in the non-combat units. But Shanti has earned the distinction of being the first lady jawan in the 1.3 million strong defence forces with her excellent performance in RTC,” a senior army officer said.

The Indian Army is far from welcoming to women in undertaking the combat roles. About two decades ago, in 1992, women were first allowed to join the Regular Army, although they are still not allowed to join combat units, unlike the armies of many Western Countries. Instead, the women soldiers are only recruited in medical, engineering and other support divisions of the Army. So the reality is that Indian Army is still not to ready go whole hog in recruiting Lady Jawans in its combat-battalions.

Consequently, Shanti Tigga joined 969 Railway Engineer Regiment of the Territorial Army, the Territorial Army consists of volunteers, who assist the regular army but these volunteers do not get the combat duties. And it would be highly unusual, if Shanti Tigga is called for combat duties in the near future. But the times are changing, and one should not hazard the predictions in such cases, when one more male-citadel fell aside due to the efforts of Sapper Shanti Tigga.

Team Focus

Team Focus

We are bunch of commoners and our bloggers' e-magazine focuses on the AlterNative Voices from Jharkhand, India.
Team Focus
Team Focus

Written by

We are bunch of commoners and our bloggers' e-magazine focuses on the AlterNative Voices from Jharkhand, India.


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