Donning the olive-green uniform, her name badge and stars pinned promptly, standing proudly in a field dominated by men, is Lt Shilpy Gargmukh–the first lady territorial army officer.
The territorial army is a part of the regular military force. According to their website, “its present role is to relieve the Regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities and maintenance of essential services in situations where life of the communities is affected or the security of the Country is threatened and to provide units for Regular Army as and when required.”
Ms Shilpy is a chemical engineer, currently posted at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Ankleshwar, Gujarat.
Her fascination for the army and the aspiration to join the military force began with her brothers.
Speaking to SSB Crack, she said that both her brothers have been serving in the armed forces and she will now serve the nation as a combat soldier too.
She further added that she was always fascinated by the olive- green uniform and is all set to embark on her new journey.
On October 2016, Lt Gargmukh was inducted as the first officer of the territorial army in a piping ceremony by Chairman of ONGC DK Sarraf and Major General Sanjay Soi.
DC Srivastava, the ED, Chief Security of the Corporation, said,
“ONGCian Mrs Shilpy Gragmukh succeeding to the status of a first lady officer in the Territorial Army is a matter of great honour.
Achievement of Mrs Gargmukh will serve as an example to all women employees and will embolden their spirits to join the Territorial Army.”
It was in 2016 that the centre had told the Delhi High Court that women too could join and serve in the territorial army. The recruitments, it informed, will be in its railway engineer regiments and that the women officers may also be considered for honourary commissions.
A few months after this landmark decision, Ms Gargmukh was commissioned as an officer. Following her, Supriya Choudhary from Rajasthan, became the second woman to join the territorial armed forces. You can read her inspirational story here.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)