It’s been nine months since Swati Mahadik’s husband Colonel Santosh Mahadik was martyred in an encounter during a search operation in Kupwara, Jammu & Kashmir. In this time, the grief-stricken widow did more than mourn. In tribute to her hero husband, she set out to join the army herself, and now, having successfully cleared the SSB (Service Selection Board) exam, the 37-year-old will join the Officers Training Academy in Chennai, where she will train for 11 months before joining the service.
“There was no emotion, no happiness or sadness. Just numbness. It seemed routine, even though I had worked so hard for it in the last few months. I guess because there was no one to celebrate the news with,” Mahadik told India Times about clearing the SSB.
Mahadik, a graduate from the University of Pune, had decided to join the army on the day of her husband’s funeral. Emotionally shattered, she kept her calm by swearing to serve the Indian Army the way her husband had. Her decision was partly based on the way the defence force had taken care of her family after Col Mahadik’s death. Even so, she said, she had been selected for the service purely on merit. “The only concession the Army gives for widows of martyrs is age concession and that’s all I got. After that, all candidates are on par, whether in the written exam or the interview or the fitness tests.”
November 17, 18 and 19 2015 were the most painful days of Mahadik’s life. On November 17, 2015, Col Santosh Mahadik, commanding officer of the 41 Rashtriya Rifles, headed an operation to search for three terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba. When the terrorists opened fire on the search party in Kupwara, he was hit and later succumbed to his injuries.
Feature Image Credit: ssbcrack.com
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