Women, Army and permanent commision

In light of a Sify post and a long followed story by me and many brother and sister officers, or to put it in better perspective, ‘Fellow Officers’, I came across this news item. As sourced from IANSW. Last Updated: Mon, Aug 02, 2010 18:20 hrs, The government on monday told the apex court bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra  that it would consider giving permanent commission within two months to women serving as short service commission officers in the legal and education branches of the Indian Army. After recording the undertaking by Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, the court restrained the contempt proceedings against the defence ministry arising out of a Delhi High Court verdict directing the grant of permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. The solicitor general told the court that the government was inclined to consider granting permanent commission to women officers but it would only be applicable to future appointments. When the court asked why the same could not be extended to the existing officers, Subramanium told the court that even this could be considered. At this, Justice Panchal told the solicitor general: 'Give the benefit (of permanent commission) and then we (court) will examine it (petition)'. At very outset of the hearing, Justice Misra asked: 'If you can't give permanent commission then why you take them under the short service commission?'
My take on this issue comes from conviction, experience and a feeling for our young girls who are joining armed forces. To start with it is worth mentioning that the issue is not about women being short service officers but that of exploitation and abuse of an important part of society over gender bias. As often qouted the root of  this chaos does not lie in troops but officers. It is them who are responsible and accountable for setting a work culture conducive for an army free of gender bias. If the cops can do it so can the faujis. Why are they shying away from this task ?  Let's not forget that the troops in provincial constabulary and all state police forces come from similar background and stock as army and there are any number of IPS and other state cadre women officers who have been working with these men and commanded them. I have had the honour of serving both in the army and police and know verily that any doubts about the women's ability to command a body of troops is absolutely misconceived. The ability to command depends on OLQ's and not on gender of a commander. This should be beyond debate as even dacoits have transgressed the gender bias by having gang leaders like Putli Bai, Phoolan Devi. Munni Bai, Seema Parihar and many others (About 30 by last count). Any number of women police officers are commanding police forces as ADGP's, IG's, DIG's and other ranks. CRPF has women officers as well as troops in their 'Rapid action force' RAF. What is the big deal in their commanding non combatant troops in army? Do you think Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi, Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar and Razia sultan who commanded men in battles were men dressed in skirts? They were real women. Even Pakistan has women fighter pilots. It is surprising that Indian army is unable to fulfil the aspirations of it's women citizens even 60 years after independence. Its tragic to see officers who have served the army for 14 years left to fend for themselves on the civy street, just because they are women. It is worth mentioning here that by the time an army officer has put in 15 years of service her children are in higher classes at school or have just about started their college education. If let down at this stage, the difficulties she may face on the civy street could be astounding. It would be counter productive to army's pride and image. Why not give these ladies an opportunity to serve for another 5 years and give them a dignified exit and a well deserved security in form of retirement benifits. What is so special about men who hang their spurs after 20 years where as  women officers are being asked to leave after 15 years. Many of us go by the cliche logic that creating facilities for women is a problem. Does that mean for 15 years the army can look after their adm needs and after that it becomes difficult. Cut that crap out please. My advice is, stop accepting kickbacks in arms deals and class 3 and 4 recruitment's and many other scams that plague the army today and spend that money on uplifting standards of army. It is surprising that lady officers who can serve the toughest tenures as young officers are considered unfit when they are more experienced and seasoned. Why don't you just own up that many commanding officers challenge the male officers in their team by citing examples of efficient and well meaning lady officers. If  inclusion of efficient lady officers is going to give a tough time to 'Maqraa Party', so be it as it is in the larger good of our armed forces. I appreciate our honourable courts and learned Judges for passing the judgements in favour of permanent commission for women and hope our parliamentarians can take necessary action in case an act needs to be passed. I wonder why the army has decided to give permanent commission in Law and education branches but left out, Ordnance, ASC, Int Corps, Mil Police, Army Postal Services. The fact is that in any corps where a woman can be commissioned, she must have a minimum right to pensionable service. Almost all officers of my batch have commanded their units. As per them this issue of not granting permanent commission to women is a complex tragedy not being addressed in time. As per their observation, many lady officers have excellent  OLQs and professional competence. COs dont give them a 9 pointer as on every CO's mind remains the fact that a lady officer  will hang her spurs maximum in 10 to 15 years where as her male coleague is here to stay. This creates an atmosphere of a battle lost, even before being given an equal opportunity to women officers. 
Women are soldiering the armies of  Republic of Korea, South Africa, Eritrea, Libya,  Canada,  United States,  Australia, Israel, Nepal,  New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Denmark, Finland,  France,  Germany,  Ireland,  Norway,  Poland,  Russia,  Serbia,  Sweden,  Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, China, and many more. It is noteworthy here that armies of Australia, New Zeland, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Israel, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland permit women to fill active combat roles. Fighter pilot women officers are the order of the day in almost all these countries and many more including Pakistan. The question is why the women officers are being denied their constitutional right in the largest democracy of the world? Why one of the greatest armies on earth is shying away from taking this responsibility ?
Indian lady officers are well deserving and should be made a permanent feature of Indian army. This requires a  clear and honest political will, administrative maturity and prudence. Today our politicians are weak willed and are overwhelmed by their children's survival struggles. Had there been a leader of Priyadarshni's stature alive today, this problem would have been sorted out long back. With a leader like her around, women in army would already have found a right and dignified place. It is time for the top brass of army to pragmatically brood over the issue and restore the pride of our democratic nation by giving it's 50% women population a just stake in the nation's armed forces. If an IAS officer can be posted as a Brigadier or a Major General in the army postal services why are we denying this to girls who chose to serve India by donning the OG's. Let us be clear on this that we are not doing charity by commissioning these brave and talented young girls ? If so, stop doing it. Stop spoiling many young lives by motivating them to join army in name of pride and integrity if we dont have the courage or the acumen to ensure a dignified place for deserving women warriors who chose to join army not as an makeshift arrangement but a passion and a career. Even the paramilitary forces seem to be doing a better job.  
Balwant Gurunay.
 Picture Gallery
Roza Shanina, a Soviet sniper during World War II is credited with 54 confirmed kills. About 400,000 Soviet women served in front-line duty units during the war.
'Warrior queen of Jhansi'
'Joan of Arc'

Four F-15 American pilots from the 3d Wing walk to their respective jets at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Sgt. Theresa Lynn Flannery during an attack in April 2004 near Najaf, Iraq, as other soldiers used a wall for cover.
Kellie McCoy, a soldier who led a platoon of combat engineers. She also earned a Bronze Star.
Divya Ajithkumar of Chennai made all women proud by being the parade commander. She is the first lady cadet to receive the "sword of Honour" from Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh.
Debbie Phua became the first woman to win the Sword of Honour in the Singapore Armed Forces.
Wing Commander Waqar Ahmed and Flying Officer Fatima Tariq in a FT-7 PAF fighter trainer aircraft of Pakistan Air Force . 
'Pride Of A Nation'

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