Women make their families proud as they march out of the Indian Naval Academy as officers

What makes the likes of Brahmjot Kaur tick? She holds a B.Tech degree in Electronics and Communications and could have opted for a job in the private sector. Yet, it was that attraction for the uniform that prevailed. On Saturday, she was one of 30 women who marched out of the Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala, Kerala, as a sub lieutenant of the Indian Navy.

“It is great that the number of women opting for the Navy as a career is going up. As it is, the Navy has the largest percentage (6.2 per cent) of women officers among the three armed forces in the country. In the batch that passed out on Saturday, there were 210 men and 30 women. That means that this batch had 12.5 per cent women. We also have women pilots serving on ships now,” a senior naval officer said.

While Brahmjot is from the Naval Armament Inspectorate Cadre (NAIC), there are other women in her batch who will go on to become logistics officers, law officers, observers and naval constructors after further training at other bases. The last 5-odd months at Ezhimala have been gruelling, Brahmjot says but she is ready for more.

“The uniform is part of my life now. Just as it is for other members of my family. However, I am proud of becoming the first member of the family to have joined the Navy,” this third generation officer said.

Her grandfather is Wing Commander Swarn Singh Birdi (retd) and her father is Group Captain Simranpal Singh Birdi. Her maternal grandfather is Lt Col K.S. Cheema (retd).

Unlike her, there have been other cadets who did not have anybody in their families to inspire them. “I had always wanted to do something different in life. Though my family has never had anybody serving in the armed forces, my parents are proud of me today. Maybe, I shall be able to inspire future generations – particularly women – to join the defence services,” another young officer from the batch said.

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