Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fallen jawan’s wife turns lieutenant

It is a very creditable feat indeed and full credit to the Commanding Officer, 14 Rajput Regiment,  Colonel Arun Agarwal as well, for motivating and inspiring the lady to take such a bold and courageous step/decision. India certainly needs such soldiers/citizens and not black sheep, the Indian bureaucracy has, who has no other aim except to harass the brave Indian soldiers to the maximum extent it can, at every possible step. 

Priya Semwal who was commissioned as an officer into the Corps of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) of the Army, with her daughter Khwahish, after the ceremonial passing out parade at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai. Photo: M. Prabhu

Priya Semwal is one of the 62 women who were commissioned into the Indian Army as short service officers at the ceremonial passing out parade at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai.

Scripting history, 26-year-old Priya Semwal, who lost her husband in a counter-insurgency operation two years back, was on Saturday inducted into the technical wing of the Armed Force as a young officer.

From a college-going woman married to an Army jawan in 2006 to an officer commissioned into the Corps of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) of the Army today, Ms. Semwal’s life has come a full circle.

Ms. Semwal is one of the 62 women, besides the 194 men, who were commissioned into the Indian Army as short service officers at the ceremonial passing out parade at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai.

The mother of the then four-year-old Khwahish Sharma, Ms. Semwal’s future looked bleak when she heard the death of her husband Naik Amit Sharma serving with the 14 Rajput regiment in a counter-insurgency operation near hilly Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh in 2012.

“Her husband was serving in my unit. In that operation, he lost his life while others suffered injuries. When I learnt Amit had encouraged her to complete degree and then PG, I thought she should become an officer,” said Colonel Arun Agarwal, Commanding Officer, 14 Rajput Regiment.

Mr. Agarwal’s word of advice, however, was not received readily. “Her brother initially asked what was I saying. She had just lost her husband and they wondered how I could have asked them then. But, eventually they all agreed,” said the Colonel, who came all the way from the border to witness Ms. Semwal become an officer.

“She (Priya Semwal) was qualified and I felt that she will do it. Initially, she had some apprehensions but once she was convinced, there was no turning back. Probably, this is the first time an Army jawan’s wife has become an officer in India,” the Colonel said.

There might be instances where wives of Army officers would have joined the force after their death, but this is probably the first time, the wife of a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) has become an officer, he pointed out.
While Khwahish was clinging to her mother, whom everyone was taking photographs with and talking to, Ms. Semwal recalled how the Colonel’s advice motivated her. “Initially, I did not know what to do. I had a daughter studying... Later, I realised it would be only right to follow my husband into the forces,” said Ms. Semwal, smartly dressed in the Army uniform.

While Priya Semwal was only a first-year undergraduate student when she got married in 2006, she had completed post graduation in Mathematics and a Bachelor’s degree in teaching and employed in a coaching institute at her native Dehradun, when her husband was killed.

She would also earn a B Tech degree while being in Corps of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME). Standing at a distance, the officer’s mother Vaishaka Semwal, was short of words, seeing her daughter become a symbol of hope and inspiration to many.

“Though there was hesitation initially, she wanted to face it and become an officer and we supported her. We are very proud of it now,” the officer’s brother Pravesh Semwal said.

A student at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School at Dehradun, Khwahish, however, does not want to part with her mother, saying she missed her for many months during training. “I want her to join the Army too. She is very small now,” Ms. Semwal said, caressing her daughter’s head.

But, when asked whether she would remain with her grandmother, as her mother proceeded to Leh in Kashmir this April where she has been posted, little Khwahish dressed in a red frock said, “Nahi (No)” and clung to her mother again.

Another News item on Priya Semwal by courtesy of Free Press http://freepressjournal.in/slain-jawans-wife-becomes-lieutenant-in-army/ 

Slain Jawan’s wife becomes Lieutenant in Army

Chennai :  Barely two years after an Army jawan Amit Sharma was killed in an ambush in Arunachal Pradesh, his young widow, Priya Semwal, aged 26, became a source of inspiration for many on Saturday when she passed out of the Officers Training Academic in Chennai and was commissioned into the Indian Army as a Lieutenant.
It was quite a spectacle to see Priya Semwal inducted into the Army as a short service officer even as her six-year-old daughter Khwaish Sharma watched with glee and pride as cameramen focused their lens on them to record a story of courage and determination worthy of emulation.

Priya was in first year college when she married Amit Sharma, a Naik with the 14-Rajput regiment, in 2006. However just six years later, Amit was killed while taking part in a counter-insurgency operation in Tawang in  Arunachal Pradesh.
However, encouraging words from Amit’s commanding officer Colonel Arun Agarwal to face life with confidence changed her life. The Colonel, who learned that his slain soldier had motivated Priya to complete her degree and then pursue post-graduation, he thought “she should become an officer.” And she did on when along with 61 women and 194 men she passed out of the OTA on Saturday as Colonel Arun watched with a sense of satisfaction.
It was not an easy decision for Priya as her family members were not sure if she should join the Army. They were shocked. “But eventually they all agreed,” said Colonel Arun adding, that “she too had apprehensions but once she took the decision she did not want to look back.”
According to him, probably this was the first time an Army jawan’s wife has become an officer in the country. “There could be case of wives of Army officers who had joined the force after their husband’s death but this is probably the first time, the wife of a Non-Commissioned Officer has become an officer,” Priya’s mentor said.

Recalling her tough journey to success, Priya said, she was not sure how to proceed with life after her husband’s death.But Colonel Arun kept encouraging her. “I had a daughter in school when my husband died. But Colonel Arun kept on motivating me before I realised that it would be only right for me to follow my husband into the Armed forces,” she said as her daughter hugged her. It was after her marriage that Priya had completed under-graduation and pursued a post-graduate course in MSc Mathematics besides obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in teaching. “I was employed at a coaching institute in Dehradun, my hometown, when Amit was killed,” she said. In her new role as Lieutenant, Priya would serve in the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME) Regimen where she will also earn a BTech degree. And her brother, Pravesh Semwal, who was initially doubtful if she would make it, humbly admitted, “Initially we were hesitant to let her take the plunge but later we backed her. Today, we are very proud.” Among those who watched the ‘historic’ commissioning of a widow as an officer, was Priya’s mother Vaishaka Semwal, who will take care of little Khwaish, while the Lieutenant proceeds to Leh in Kashmir next month to take charge of her first posting.


  1. Colonel Anand, It was a treat to read your interesting and incisive blog. An excellent effort by a Veteran. My congratulations to you. I am ex-Army officer soon launching a monthly English magazine called FAUJI INDIA - connecting veterans and serving soldiers of India. Would like to connect with you for contributions. Plz get in touch at faujimagazine@gmail.com....Prasoon Kumar

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