India First, Always: TN Policewoman N Maheshwari Leads I-Day Parade Within Day of Father’s Death

Gender

India First, Always: TN Policewoman N Maheshwari Leads I-Day Parade Within Day of Father’s Death

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

India’s Independence struggle 73 years ago achieved its success on the backs of contributions from brave female freedom fighters, from Rani Laxmibai to Sarojini Naidu. So, as we celebrated another Independence Day, it was very apt that women were once again in positions of prominence during the festivities. In Tamil Nadu, a female police inspector displayed a sense of self-sacrifice and loyalty akin to that displayed by the freedom fighters themselves, as she reported for duty leading the Independence Day parade less than 24 hours after her father passed away.

Meanwhile, a woman major from the Indian Army was the flag-bearing officer who assisted Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the flag unfurling ceremony at the Red Fort on 15 August.

In Tamil Nadu, N Maheshwari’s 83-year-old father passed away on August 14 due to an illness. The very next morning, the armed reserve police inspector led the Independence Day parade, presenting the guard of honour to the District Collector and Superintendent of Police. Despite her personal bereavement, she fulfilled her duty without complaint. Maheshwari’s selfless act earned her praise from Tamil Nadu’s Deputy Chief Minister, O Paneerselvam, on Twitter.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, Major Shweta Pandey was in service during the flag unfurling ceremony at the Red Fort. Though Pandey is not the first woman officer to be deployed in this role, it must have been a proud moment for her nonetheless. Pandey has also proudly carried the Indian tricolour during the Victory Day Parade in Moscow, an event that was attended by India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Independence Day was a good reminder that India is nothing without its women. Even the country’s embodiment, Bharat Mata, takes the form of a woman. The country could do with a lot more appreciation and recognition for them, and Independence Day parades are just the start.

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