Nitika Kaul Dhoundiyal, the wife of Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, who was killed in the line of duty fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, was commissioned as Lieutenant in the Army Ordnance Corps, at the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai.
Lt Kaul was among the 198 cadets of OTA to don the uniform on Saturday, May 29, after completing one year of training in Tamil Nadu.
Army's Northern Commander Lt. Gen. Y.K. Joshi pinned the stars onto her shoulders at a simple ceremony held at the academy and conveyed his best wishes.
The couple had completed ten months of marriage when Major Dhoundiyal was killed in action on February 18, 2019, during an encounter with Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Pulwama. At the time, Lt Kaul worked with a multinational corporation in New Delhi.
After losing her husband, the 28-year-old decided to commemorate her husband's sacrifice for the country. Seven months after his martyrdom, she cleared the written and the interview of the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and joined the academy in June 2020.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, the Lieutenant said that her family and in-law's support kept her going and achieve the goal. Lt Kaul says consistency is the key to achieve whatever one has aimed in life.
"I have made sure to give my 100 per cent in training, as I did in my corporate life earlier," she said.
Lt Kaul said that it is a physically and professionally challenging field, and the academy makes sure you overcome them, through the rigorous routine. One can acquire all the necessary attributes to become an officer, as long as one have the diligence and zeal. "I just kept working hard, because I believed the rest will follow," she added.
"When your 11 months of your hard work pays, the feeling is amazing. It did the justice.... Training is tough. You have to keep going; you can't quit. One must keep the fear of failing secondary. The primary goal should always be to try and work hard. Support of the family has been another most important factor in my life, especially of my mother-in-law. Whenever I had doubts, I got my family's back."
Lt Kaul said that the profession is not just about the physical aspect; it requires mental-emotional work as well. "The experience, the team spirit, the essence of sacrifice...you learn all of this," she added.
"Get up and again, do not give up a once. Look for something; keep looking. It's all about your will," Lt Kaul's message for all the women.
A resident of Dehradun, Major Dhoundiyal was commissioned in the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering and served with 55 Rashtriya Rifles. He was posthumously awarded the Shaurya Chakra in 2019 for his supreme sacrifice for the nation.