Martyr’s widow prefers battlefield over banking job
Sangita Mall lost her husband Rifleman Shishir Mall of the 3/9 Gurkha Rifles-32 Rashtriya Rifles, who was martyred in Operation Rakshak in Baramulla, Kashmir, in 2015. He took out one terrorist and injured another before succumbing to his injuries. Sangita lost her father-in-law — a retired Subedar-Major (Honorary Lieutenant) — and then her husband within six months. The 29-year-old felt her world had come to an end. Then she fought back. And how.
Today, a little over two years of this double tragedy, this proud young woman from Dehradun has cleared the examination for a Short Service Commission (SSC) in the Army and will be reporting to the Officers Training Academy, Chennai, by March-end from where she will emerge on completion of the course as a Lieutenant, the first officer from a family of soldiers.
The pride in Sangita’s voice, who had been working as a PSU bank clerk after her husband’s martyrdom before which she had been a homemaker, was unmistakable when she told The Pioneer, “I wanted to carry forward the legacy of Armed services in our family; to be given an opportunity to do so as an officer is stupendous.”
As a young widow,Sangita has fought a long and lonely battle with herself. It is, after all, true that the tragedy of war is borne in the main by those left behind. “It took me over six months to accept the bitter truth that my husband was no more…but it was my upbringing in a soldier’s house that has made me tough and I battled through the negative emotions and gained my confidence again.” “The September 2017 investiture ceremony at Ranikhetwhere I went to receive the Sena Medal (posthumous) awarded to my late husband was the turning point of my life. Army personnel there encouraged me to join the Indian Army and with great guidance from the Veer Nari Welfare and Training organisation under its aegis I could crack the SSC. For me, it is a dream come true,” said Sangita. Her husband’s example, her father’s upbringing and her father-in-law’s encouragement, she said were her strengths. Their valour and a will to combat any circumstances of life be it in the battlefield, on the border or in life ensured Sangita dug deep to ensure her resolve did not falter. “I have experienced the worst period of my time after the death of my husband. Now, I am ready to face any situation,” she said, her voice still heavy with a sense of loss but with steely determination running through it.
“I had even stopped venturing out the house; for a while I just locked myself into my room. But my inner instinct always told me: ‘Stand up and fight.’ We women are strong. The stories of Lieutenants Nidhi Dubey and Swati Mahadikwho joined the Indian Army after their husbands were martyred really inspired me. I relatedwith them, their situation. So, I decided to challenge myself and give it my all to try and get selected for the SSC,” she added. Bravo.
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