Women arenít suitable for the Army

I refer to the editorial ďGenerally speakingĒ (Oct 19) and Lt-Gen Raj Kadyanís article ďWomen officers in the Army: Interest of the Force is paramountĒ (Oct 18). I have had the privilege to serve in the National Security Guards and later in the Army with women officers. I am a strong supporter of womenís empowerment and I denounce gender discrimination in any form. However, I feel that women are not suitable for combat job in the Army.

The Army demands a very high standard of physical fitness, living under adverse conditions of weather and inhospitable terrain. One has to work under stress and threat to life in field and operational areas. Biologically, women are weak and cannot come close to men where stressful physical work is concerned.

There are multiple avenues open for women to take up jobs for a living but definitely not the armed forces. The western model of aping women being enrolled in the Army does not suit Indian conditions, simply because we are not westerners. There are instances when the commanding officers have earned the wrath of superior officers for not handling the women officers well.



I support Lt-Gen Kadyanís view that traditionally and rightly armed forces have been the male preserve and it should remain so. The example of Dr Kiran Bedi does not hold much ground because the Army and the police are two different services with varying job requirements and working conditions.

Col. B.K. GOPAL (retd), Panchkula


The essence of Lt-Gen Raj Kadyanís article is that in the Army, everyone looks at the other as his/her own family member. The joint family system may have vanished from our country but not in the Army. The writer has rightly sympathised with the case of the woman candidate who refused to be examined by a male gynaecologist as she perceived invasion on her privacy. But it must be understood that Army officers do not command files and papers but human minds.

Women officers, though commissioned in logistic services and supporting arms, will have to proceed to forward areas to ensure proper logistic support to the fighting troops. Senior officers may not be sending them to real forward areas, but their physical movements cannot be restricted.

Col JASWANT SINGH CHANDEL (retd), Kalol (Bilaspur)


As the medical fitness standards are very stringent for the armed forces, a thorough examination of candidates by various specialists is conducted in accordance with well laid down rules. Male doctors and assistants work in various capacities in the hospitals and they cannot be replaced with lady doctors and workers. Precautions are taken to ensure against any misconduct on the part of the examining personnel.

In this context, I am reminded of our gynaecology teacher, Dr Clara Phillips at Amritsar Medical College. During our training at her Outpatient department, all students were taught through practical examination of female patients. If any patient objected to being examined by a male student, Dr Phillips will straightaway tell her to leave her hospital. For female patientsí information, a board at the OPD prominently indicated that male doctors would examine them.

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula

Divali with a difference

Divali used to be celebrated as the Festival of Lights to shove away the darkness from our lives to enlighten our knowledge. But lately, it has become more an exhibition of oneís affluence and the capacity to spend money on firecrackers. Wastage of funds apart, itís the damage caused by environmental pollution (air and noise) that is irreparable. The various gases produced during the burning of crackers are injurious to the health of all living beings. The pollutants also bring acid rain and accidental fires take their own toll in terms of life and property.

We ape the West in observing New-Year eve, Valentineís Day or April Fools Day, but we ought to learn from Americans. In the US, most functions are celebrated collectively. On July 4, for instance, fireworks are organised in an open place like stadium, park or beach, that too, by professional workers for two to three hours. The whole community turns out to witness the display. Itís more like a picnic. People take their food and snacks along. Itís all fun, frolic and socialising for a few hours.

If we follow this custom, the money spent on crackers and fireworks will come down by nearly 90 per cent. Pollution and health hazards can also be checked. It will also promote a sense of unity amongst the people. Why not give it a try this time? Letís celebrate Divali with a difference.

ARJUN SINGH DEOL & KOMAL DEOL, students, Mullanpur (Ludhiana)

Forgotten martyr

The Himachal Pradesh Government seems to have forgotten the sacrifices of the martyr, Bawa Singh, a native of Barot village in Fatehpur tehsil of Kangra district. He laid down his life for the nation while trying to flush out the terrorists from Amritsarís Golden Temple during the Operation Bluestar in 1984.

The martyrís family, in a memorandum to the state government on March 27, 2000, had appealed to the government to renaming Barotís Government Middle School after him (Bawa Singh). They also sought the schoolís upgradation. The villagers of Barot will be grateful if the government accepts this demand as it would be an eloquent tribute to the martyr.


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