This women contingent will showcase 16 types of stunts
As India celebrates its 69th Republic Day this year, 113 women from the Border Security Force or BSF will roar across the Rajpath, performing breathtaking stunts on motorcycles.
The members of this special women bikers' squad have been specially chosen by BSF trainers and are aged between 25-30 years. They have been drawn from various combat ranks of the force.
The group led by Sub-Inspector Stanzin Noryang, 28, from Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region, would be a first all-women contingent from any force to perform biking stunts at the annual event that displays a mix of India's military might and cultural prowess.
Interestingly, Ms Noryang till a while ago did not know how to even ride a cycle. "I took it as a challenge and now am confident and don't feel scared," she told NDTV.
According to her, most of the women in the group did not know how to handle bikes. "It's all luck by chance we were chosen and here we are," she smilingly adds.
The women squad has been named Seema Bhavani or the border braves. "Like a Durga they guard our borders and that is why we have named them Seema Bavani," explains their instructor, Deputy Commandant Ramesh Chandra.
"Their selection was done on a mission mode project, keeping in view our country's 'unity in diversity'. As many as 15 of the 113 daredevil women team members are married and some of them are mothers of one or two children. But their courage to volunteer for their selection in the team was admirable. They knew it was a very difficult mission," Mr Chandra said.
In the team, 20 are from Punjab, 15 from West Bengal. 10 are from Madhya Pradesh, nine from Maharashtra, eight from Uttar Pradesh, seven each from Assam and Bihar, six from Odisha, five each from Rajasthan, Manipur and Gujarat, three each from Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh, two each from Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Kerala, one each from Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh.
The women followed a rigorous training regime every day. They would start their bikes at 8 a.m. and keep riding and learning stunts till 1 p.m. They would reassemble again at 3.30 p.m. and continue till 5.30 p.m. everyday under the guidance of "special instructors".
"Fitness is the key. Our regime our diet has been regulated," explains Kalyani, who is a commando.
This women contingent will showcase 16 types of stunts, including "Pyramid", "Fish Riding", "Shaktiman", "Bull Fighting" and "Seema Prahari".
Most of them have suffered injuries while performing stunts but none gave up the courage. "I broke my jaw, my elbows and even ankle," says one biker showing her wounds.
"We know it's a very important responsibility which has been given to us. But when we are on bikes we forget everything," says second-in-command of the group RP Khinchi.
According to her, they all say their prayers before getting on top of the bikes. "We have our codes we try to communicate to each other through them so that we don't falter," she adds.
The idea was the brainchild of BSF Director General KK Sharma who wanted to replace men daredevils with women bikers, Deputy Inspector General Pushpendra Rathore said. Me Rathore is in charge of the team that has been camping in Delhi since December.
The team was rehearsing on Rajpath, days before the January 26 event which will be attended by President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 10 leaders of ASEAN countries, who will be the guests of honour for this Republic Day parade.