Woman power at pass-out parade

Excitement was writ large on the faces of 580 members of the 1st women's battalion of Bihar Military Police at the passing out parade on Gandhi Maidan on Thursday.

For many present at the event, it was an emotional moment to see their daughters, sisters or daughters-in-law taking part in the proudest moment of their lives.

Surendra Prasad Singh and Chandrakala Devi had come from Begusarai's Gorgama village to see Arti Kumari, their daughter-in-law, in the parade. The couple did not get chairs to sit but they were not complaining a bit.

Kameshwar Rai came from Kaimur's Badhurpur village to see daughter-in-law Manita Sharma take part in the parade. "Some villagers tried to persuade me not to give permission to Manita for this job as my son, an armyman, lives far from us and Manita's job would take her far too. But neither my wife Premshila nor I are conservative. We are both educated. We know that jobs not only empower women but also help them take care of the family far better than a homemaker by contributing to expenses," said Rai.

Urmila Devi, mother of battalion member Kanchan Devi, said: "Samajh mein na awata kahan se e bharat mata ke beti hamar kokh se janam le li, hum to nirbal bani (I cannot understand how this daughter of India was born to me, I am a weak woman)."

The passouts were equally excited. Jayshri Rai from Buxar, who was commanding the women's battalion, said: "I want to do something for women's safety in the country."

Addressing the passouts, chief minister Nitish Kumar said: "When we decided to raise a women's battalion six years ago, many people had reservations about the idea. Today, all of them must have got their answers. The parade has proved that they have been trained very well."

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