“We are not yet ready for that (women in combat roles) as facilities have to be created within…women also need to be prepared for that kind of hardship.”
A Few days ago, the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, had made this statement that the Indian Army was not ready to accept women in Combat Roles. The moment he made this statement, the social media went crazy with their opinions, while some quoted Feminism and some quoted Chauvinism but ultimately nobody debated on the real reason. Typical Indian Debates !!
While to a certain extend I agree with the explanation given by the Chief, that we need to prepare infrastructure for women and also the Army needs some people in permanent positions considering the sensitivity of combat. It is important that we also consider the aspect, that combat training is an expensive program for the Government.
In recent days, we have seen how the Army jawans have selflessly, come down to our civilian world and helped them during difficult situations. Similarly, even during the war or similar tensed situations like a terror attack, there would be chances that a team has to go ahead and vacate the location first. Generally, such situations also arise in the interior regions of the Country, wherein a lot of women are still under Purdah. Having a Lady Combat officer would definitely make these evacuation operations more smoother.
These days criminals have no gender. Even women are involved in heinous crime such as Human Trafficking, Drug Peddling, Arms Trade and many others. Many a times, when these women are to be arrested but unfortunately most of them escape seeking refuge of Human Rights law and other technicalities. If a lady army officer is present in such scenario, this gives the criminals less chances of finding technical loop holes. Agreed that the Defence and Para Military forces are open to women, but until and unless we don’t make them more visible, the criminals will still easily escape.
One of the other reasons that the Army Chief gave for his statement was citing the sociological difference of acceptance. He said that it is normal for men from Tier 1 cities to accept woman as a collegue or as a superior but as army jawans come from villages, they would not be ready to take orders from a Lady senior officer. Having practised at an Original Side of the High Court, I can say I have personally experienced similar situation, when we had male juniors from rural areas, they would be uncomfortable in just listening to your opinion, forget about giving them orders. An eye contact was something they avoided and often spoke rudely to a woman because they felt women were inferior to them.
Doesn’t the entire country look upto the Indian Army for their discipline ? Isn’t it it high time that Army sets an example by helping break the sociological stereotype that has been in our country since ages.