It was a dazzling display of ‘Nari Shakti’ during the Republic Day parade on 26 January 2019 as an all-women contingent of the Assam Rifles created history by marching down the Rajpath while a woman officer performed a bike stunt as part of the daredevils for the first time.
Sporting their tilted hat, the women in uniform marched past the saluting dais and onward towards the horizon, leaving the crowd ecstatic. Darshana Chawla, in mid-70s, who came to watch the parade for the first time along with her daughter and grandson, was pleased to see women power on display.
Besides, contingents of the Navy, Army Service Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals (transportable satellite terminal) were all led by women officers. Maj Khushboo Kanwar, 30, who led the contingent of the 183-year-old Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force in the country, was brimming with pride.
Her daughter Swati Chawla was cheering when Capt Shikha Surabhi from the Corps of Signals performed the standing salute to the President while riding a bike. She became the first woman to perform bike stunts, alongside her male teammates as part of daredevils, a major attraction every Republic Day.
India celebrated its 70th Republic Day with a grand display of its military might and rich cultural diversity as the ceremonial parade rolled down the majestic Rajpath here in the presence of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as the chief guest.
Also in a first, Shankhnaad, a military tune composed by an Indian classical music exponent based on a poem penned by a Mahar Regiment veteran, was also played during the parade. The tune was composed by Tanuja Nafde, a vocalist.