Ladies 'First', Truly- II
a. Major Mitali Madhusmita created history by becoming the first ever woman officer to win a Sena medal for gallantry. In February 2011, she made not only womenfolk, but the Indian army as well as the entire nation proud of her when Lt General SK Singh, pinned the medal on her. Having completed her masters in English literature, she chose to join the Army and has been an NCC cadet during her college years. The exemplary courage, grit and valour displayed by this officer after the terror attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul on 26 February, 2010, that took the lives of 19 people, including 7 Indians won her the medal. Mitali rushed to the attack site and did her best in saving the lives of the wounded victims. Impressed with her valour beyond the call of duty, Lt Gen Singh awarded her this prestigious medal, a symbol of gallantry.
b. In December 2011, veteran traveller Felicity Aston became the first woman to ski across Antarctica, and that too, alone. She had been skiing for 20 days and covered more than 100 miles. The British adventurer had reported that the emotional toll was stronger than the physical exhaustion. She knew that once the plane left her on the tougher side of Antarctica, she was all by herself and was entirely responsible for herself. However, she overpowered her vulnerability, braved the odds, confronted adverse circumstances and finally achieved this feat. This 34-year woman from Kent, after pulling two sledges for 59 days across 1,084 miles of ice and snow, reached her much-awaited destination and have been reported saying that she undertook this expedition to find out her own limits and to see if she could do it.
c. Japanese mountaineer Tamae Watanabe, 73, set a world record in May 2012 by becoming the oldest woman to scale Mount Everest, the tallest mountain of the world. She had done it once in 2002 when she was 63, and now, she has outdone herself. Having completed her journey of 29,035 feet once again, with four other team members, her achievement was confirmed by China Tibet Mountaineering Association’s Ang Tshering. Ever since the mid-70s, she has climbed some of the most famous mountains of the world, including about 5 of the 14 peaks that are more than 26,246 feet high. Her conquests include Mount McKinley in Alaska, the Eiger in Switzerland and Lhotse, the fourth tallest mountain in the world, also located in Nepal. Ang Tshering said that though it had been a hard climb made even harder by the unfavourable weather, the team conquered the mission with its irrepressible zest.
d. Chennai girl Divya Ajith beat the 244 fellow gentlemen and women cadets, to win the Best All-Round Cadet Award and became the first woman to raise the ‘Sword of Honour’, the highest award given to a cadet of the Officers Training Academy. A regular BCom graduate and now an Academy Under Officer, she always knew that she had to take up something in the uniform. She is all set to salute her 11 months of training in her homeland, - the Officer Training Academy. Her parents vouch for her perseverance and dedication in whatever she sets her heart to, be it academics, drill, sports or endurance. Needless to say, being the first woman in the history of the Indian Army to be selected for the ‘Sword of Honour’ is no mean feat.