In an inspiring example of grit and courage, the wife of Colonel Santosh Mahadik, who was killed fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir nearly two years back, today joined the army as an officer after 11 months of gruelling training.
38-year-old Swati Mahadik, a mother of two, was commissioned in the Army in the rank of Lieutenant and will be posted with the Army Ordnance Corps in Pune. Her husband Col Mahadik, a recipient of the Sena medal for gallantry, was killed in an anti-terror operation in Kupwara in north Kashmir in November 2015.
"I wanted to be close to him by joining the Army. Uniform was his first love and that is why I have decided to join the army so that I can wear the uniform.
"I want to give a way of life to my children which he would have given to them," Swati told PTI.
Mahadik, 39, was an officer from the Army's elite 21 Para Special forces and according to his colleagues, he was known for always leading from the front. Following her husband's footstep, Swati had joined the Army's Officers Training Academy (OTA) in October last year.
Swati's children -- 12-year-old daughter Kartikee and 7- year-old son Swaraj -- were present at the ceremony where she was commissioned into the army.
Col Mahadik was critically injured during the operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara and later succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. He was awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry during Operation Rhino in the North-East in 2003.
Another woman -- Nidhi Dubey -- was also commissioned as an officer today. Nidhi had also lost her husband who was a Naik in the Army. Like Swati, Nidhi was also commissioned as Lieutenant.