OneIndia Exclusive: Lt Cdr Priya and team ready to steal the show at Rajpath
As reported in these columns earlier, Obama will also witness history being created in Delhi today. For the first time ever the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy will be fielding an all-women marching contingents.
By doing so, the Indian government hopes to send across a strong message to a nation which still gives secondary treatment to women, leave alone the increasing number of atrocities that's being reported from all across on a regular basis.
While the gesture could be symbolic at this juncture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image managers must be credited for launching the Naari Shakti idea, set to surely capture the imagination of millions of women across India.
Opportunity to display women power
In an interaction with OneIndia, on the eve of R-Day, Lt Cdr Priya Jeyakumar thanked PM Modi for the Naari Shakri idea, which has already inspired many.
"I thank our PM and his team for the great idea. As a nation that's progressing towards becoming a developed nation, we must not forget the contribution of the women. This is a great reminder to showcase the power of Indian women," says Lt Cdr Priya, the Contingent Commander of Indian Navy's all-women marching unit.
With a Masters in Computer Applications, Lt Cdr Priya joined the Indian Navy five years back, after getting inspired by her father.
"My father retired from the Directorate of Naval Armament as a Deputy General Manager. My husband too is a naval aviator and I think it's in me to be part of the armed forces. It's a great honour for me to lead the contingent," says Priya.
Terming it as a ‘golden opportunity' to lead a contingent at Rajpath, Priya said that the rigorous training in the last month has moulded her as a better officer. "The conditions in Delhi were tough, but our training procedures are such that we are capable of getting accustomed to any situation," she said.
Will put the best foot forward
Patting her team members, Priya said everyone wanted to put their best foot forward to make the occasion memorable forever.
"The entire Navy's expectation is on us. We have to bring the best out of us while marching on R-Day. Everyone is touched and moved by the opportunity we got. We are all now focused towards the goal," Priya said.
Echoing the same views of Sub Lt Chippy, who was featured on OneIndia during a run-up to R-Day earlier, Priya too felt the strong bonding developed in the last one month will be missed.
"Many of us will not meet again. Some might be retiring, some get posted out. However, we are all thrilled and are dreaming of the morning of January 26," Lt Cdr Priya concluded.
There are 148 women in the naval contingent with Lt Cdr Priya leading (Commander), followed by three platoon commanders and 144 in marching members.
"When we depart on Monday evening, we want to carry back souveniers from Rajpath in the form of the memories of our performance that will stay with us forever," Lt Cdr Priya added.
(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)