June 24, 2006

Women army officers in India: a farce?

To mark International Women’s Day
The Indian Army went out of its way
To confer on her a rank
But now the army think-tank
Have arbitrarily gone and taken it away!

They had declared it an honor rare
And had given it to her midst fanfare
Now they confess an error
So they’re stripping the wearer
Her humiliation? The Army doesn’t care!

The Telegraph - New Delhi, June 23: Lieutenant Colonel Priyamvada Mardikar, the mascot of women in the Indian Army, has been asked by army headquarters to relinquish her rank. The officer was pipped (ceremonially conferred the rank) on International Women’s Day (March 8) last year. She is the only lady officer outside the medical corps to have achieved the distinction. In the hierarchical structure of the army, it is humiliating for an officer to be stripped of his/her rank. The treatment meted out to Mardikar — and put down to unresolved bureaucratic processes in army headquarters — can come to symbolise the level of professional frustration women in the army bear — a complaint voiced by the father of the late Lieutenant Susmita Chakraborthy, who shot herself last week. Read more about it here


  1. Anonymous9:18 AM

    Why the Indian Army? The corporate world, especially the public sector, abounds with instances of women especially in higher cadres,
    harrassed in all possible ways and forced to quit...Most women keep quiet to avoid further harrassment by way of non-settlement of their terminal benefits. Also, our judicial system does not inspire confidence as many cases are decided after the death of the petitioner...I'm sorry if I sound cynical.But it is a fact that even NCW takes up only those cases where media coverage is substantial both for the victim and the NCW..

  2. Reminds me of an episode in the BBC classic comedy series 'Yes Minister' which dealt with the resistance of the then Civil Service to have women in high ranks.

    What generated laughs some years back is now considered serious. Just a year ago, Neil French was eased out of his job at WPP for making similar remarks.

    We have come a long way Padmaja. But change is always slow and subtle unless you bring it about in a stroke with a coup d'etat...

  3. Anonymous6:02 AM

    See how women in the German army do: