A person's stature doesn't matter much in the Army, it takes "jigra" or courage, said Captain Tania Sher Gill, the tall woman officer who will lead a contingent at the Republic Day parade, told NDTV in an interview today.
Captain Sher Gill, a fourth generation officer in the family, says her affinity towards the Army developed at an early age.
"Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to join fauj (Army), I had always seen my father getting ready, wearing his uniform. So I always had it at the back of my mind that one day I will earn the uniform," she said.
This would be the second time in a row that a woman officer will lead the contingent. Captain Sher Gill says she is a "very small" part of the system that consists of several senior officers.
"We have all been training for few months now, and then when to comes down to the D-day, we have practiced so hard, and we are confident when we get down to the ground," she said.
Captain Sher Gill was the first woman ever to have led a contingent on the Army Day. She says leading contingents gives officers a sense of responsibility. "You feel alive, you feel grateful, you feel happy that you are down on the ground and leading the contingent".
She also shared what all commands she will be giving to the contingent at the Republic Day parade. "We say Signal contingent Daahine Dekh (Look right). And then you look towards the saluting dais, where the president of India will be seated. And when you go a few steps ahead, you say contingent saamne dekh (Look forward)."
On women's representation in the Army, Captain Sher Gill said admission in armed forces cannot be on the basis of a person's gender, religion, caste or where she is coming from. "It is on the basis of merit. If you are deserving, you are worthy, then you go ahead".