Banaras Hindu University has recently introduced a postgraduate programme titled ‘MA in Hindu Studies’ that will have 40 students in its first batch this year. The topics included in the programme include the idea of women in the military, making of war strategy and its implementation, formation of soldiers, the art of wars and their formats. This is a commendable move by BHU to induct topics like the idea of women in the military, as women have always played a great role in war strategies in India’s rich history.
The programme has been introduced with the combined effort of several departments at BHU like the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Department of Sanskrit, Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology and the Bharat Adhyayan Kendra (BAK),
Officials asserted that it will be the first full-fledged master’s course in Hindu studies in the country. They said that the idea of introducing ‘military’ in the programme is to ‘uncover’ the references of ‘defence studies’ in Vedic literature to solve India’s present challenges.
Referring to the introduction of the topic on ‘women military’, the official said, “We have a great history of participation of women in the military. For example, Rani Ahilyabai Holkar and Rani Laxmibai. Both have fought in the battlefields. Presently, women are part of our defence services. Students should know the origin of the concept of women in the military.”
Women’s Inclusion into the NDA
On September 8, 2021, after many petitions and pending pleas in courts, the Centre told the Supreme Court about its decision to allow the induction of women into the Armed Forces through the National Defence Academy (NDA). The apex court had also asked the Centre to issue an affidavit in this regard, by September 22.
The Supreme Court remarked, “We are extremely glad to know that the armed forces themselves took the decision to induct women into the NDA. We know that reforms cannot happen in a day… The government will place timelines of the process and the course of action.”
Rani Laxmibai to Lakshmi Sehgal – fearless Women freedom Fighters of India
From Rani Laxmibai who fought in the Independence Movement of 1857 to Capt Laxmi Sehgal, the first lady in India to lead the Rani Jhansi Regiment, India has witnessed multiple women warriors who have contributed a lot for the nation. Here are some of them:
- The Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmi Bai: The queen of Maratha and the first freedom fighter of India who fought in the Independence Movement of 1857, she is always remembered for fighting against the British rule. The British considered her a force to reckon with.
- Madam Bhikaiji Cama: A Parsi social worker, an active freedom fighter and a philanthropist, she voiced for human rights and equality between men and women. She was designated as an Indian ambassador to Germany in 1907.
- Capt Laxmi Sehgal: A doctor as well as a social activist, she was the first lady in India to lead an all-women regiment, the Rani Jhansi Regiment. Till her end time, she looked after untouchables and patients. Thereafter, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan for her dedication to society.
- Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay: She was a social reformer and a dedicated freedom fighter. The first woman to be arrested by the British for her active role in politics, she participated in the Salt Satyagraha. She not only worked for the improvement of the conditions of women in India but also promoted theater and handicrafts in post-independent India.
Despite the huge list of women warriors in history of India, there is almost negligible awareness about those who contributed for the nation in several ways. Thus, with the induction of such a topic into their programme, BHU has once again showed its true nationalism.