News of a suicide triggers off a feeling of intrigue as to the circumstances, first and foremost, followed by sadness at the finality of the act which negated hope. It is the strongest of all statements made by a human being expressing disgust, hopelessness and defeat. Silently.
When the suicide happens to be of a woman army oficer,(not the first in recet times) Susmita Chakraborty all the above emotions get amplified. The fact that she had opted for a career so pre-dominantly male in its intrinsic nature and majority enrollments, automatically empowered her with qualities deserving of applause. As also telling of being a determined, spirited go getter, having crossed the hurdles, broken centuries old shackles of tradition, customs and norms.
Ergo that such a person had to succumb to feelings of ineptitude in dealing with the cards fate seemed to have dealt, is a hundredfold tragic.It seemed as if she had to bow down , finally to the fact that she was born a woman!
This observation is not born of bias, any more than disgust. Its birthplace was the assertion by an army officer Vice Chief of Army Staff S. Pattabhiraman’s reported statement that the ‘Army can do without women’.
While giving him the benefit of the doubt, that his observation had more to do with the rigours the job entails and less to do with the obvious inferences of a prejudice against women, yet, one cannot help but assert that the army had a duty towards ensuring that new women recruits ought to have been accorded a ‘Special job orientation’ programme, in addition to counselling sessions that could alleviate such occurrences, in an effort to pre-empt their decision in recruiting women officers.
Had the Army betrayed her? According to news coverage on various channels, she was deeply disgruntled by the fact that she was put in fields which were contrary to her interest, not at par with her professional skills, which resulted in humiliation and demeaning, apparently. Her job entailed organising parties and looking after supplies. She had expressed her resentment at various junctures to the officers and her family. Resigning would have meant paying back a ‘surety’ which had been signed and which would have meant selling her parents home. Staying on was ‘suicidal’ for her. Literally.
Sadly, as in most cases, it is the starkness of an innocents death that finally shakes the powers who be out of their stupor of indifference into initiating preventive measures. In this case Sushmita had to die in order to make the Army awaken as to their inherent faulty structure.
Incidents of the kind could result in two totally diverse repurcussions. First, women candidates, may get inhibited at the ‘fear of the unknown’, fresh from initiatives to take on newer avenues , underlined by this suicide. Families and dear ones will sow further seeds of disapproval and disgust at the recriminations of a decision to venture into a field pre-dominantly male, alien and unwelcoming.
One cannot say with certainty that there is an absence of male prejudice towards women who do attempt to take on careers that epitomised male strength and stamina. That there is no male reservation to womens inclusion in this final male bastion, whereby their pride and ego receive a perceived ‘blow’ which states insiduously’whatever you can do I can do’..am intentionally not including ‘better’ to express unbias, would be erroneous. Merely playing the role of interlocutor.
The second option could in fact be the reverse,and get the future women cadets mentally prepared to expect the worst and give their best. It could serve as a lesson in gaging what not to do or expect in tandem with gearing them up attitudinally to combat the enemy within, before comabatting the enemy without.
Whatever the future course of action undertaken by either the army or women, one cannot deny the shattering of dreams and disillusionment of a young brave woman officer, who had crossed the threshold of the safety of her home to serve the nation ‘tangibly’ and all she was accorded in return was a relegating to the background jobs .A lowering of her self esteem to such an extent that she found it umworthy to live.
The least we can do is not exhibit indifference at the death of a young life snuffed out in its prime.
Update: Reacting to the discriminatory statements against women in the army, of Vice Chief of Army Staff S. Pattabhiraman’s, BJP spokesperson Sushma Swaraj has demanded his suspension. The National Commision for Women has openly criticised his remarks..
Update: There was a growing suspicion that ‘arranging parties’insiduously meant more than an innocent connotation, else why would Susmita have objected so strongly. A M.Sc (chemistry) had been compelled to metamorph into an ‘event personnel’. Why the need to enroll in the army, had this been her goal? Clearly ‘job dissatisfaction’ and gender insensitivity, at more levels than one, was at stake here.
Update: Damage control exercises underway by the army. Latest statement
Women have done us proud: Army Chief
Teethwal (LoC), June 23 (UNI): Army Chief General J J Singh on Thursday said women have an important role to play in defence services and are a source of inspiration for others to join the armed forces.
“Women have done the Indian Army proud. They have always played an important role in the Army and other defence services. They will continue to play a vital role,” Gen Singh told journalists here after inagurating the Teethwal model village.
He said the women have always been given challenging assignments and never let the Army down.
“We give women tough assignments and they have always proved their mettle and done exceedingly well. In fact, it has been proved time and again that the women are a source of inspiration for others to join the armed forces,” the Army Chief added.
Gen Singh said women personnel have scaled heights in Army and other fields.
Cross linked at DesiPundit
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