A resident of Rohtak district in Haryana, Shanan Dhaka, has bagged the first rank among women candidates in the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance examination. In the all-India merit list released on June 14, 2022, Dhaka has secured the 10th position. This year for the first time in history, the NDA has admitted women cadets to the institute.
The NDA course will host 19 women cadets, of which ten are for the Army, six are for Air Force, and three are reserved for the Indian Navy. The three-year-long training session for all the candidates is expected to be conducted soon in a gender-neutral manner. Upon clearing the exam, Dhaka said, "I took inspiration to join the armed forces from my grandfather, Chanderbhan Dhaka, who was a Subedar, and my father, Vijay Kumar Dhaka, who retired as a Naib Subedar from the Army Service Corps," reported The Indian Express.
Know About Shanan Dhaka
The 19-year-old girl has completed her studies at the Army Public Schools at Roorkee, Panchkula, and Jaipur. Earlier this year, Dhaka enrolled on an undergraduate-level course at Lady Shri Ram College for Women in New Delhi, where she heard about the opportunity for women in the NDA exam and "decided to apply at once."
"Growing up in cantonment areas, I saw the respect being accorded to Army officers. Plus, the trust everybody has in Army personnel motivated me to join the service. It's an opportunity to serve the nation with unparalleled pride and honour," she added.
The decision to include women in the NDA entrance exam was rolled out after the Supreme Court directed the central government. For Dhaka, getting in was not easier as out of nearly five lakh candidates who applied for the exam, 1.77 lakh were women.
Guidance From Elders
Currently residing in Punjab's Zirakpur, Dhaka dedicatedly prepared for 40 days and invested five hours per day on studies. Before the interview process, the APS Chandimandir principal, Suman Singh, gave her tips and said, "Be honest and enjoy the process." After Dhaka cracked the exam, the retired army officer, Suman Singh, said, "This is an extraordinary achievement. She has always been a self-motivated and hard-working kid."
She has one younger sister and an elder sister in class 5 and military nursing service, respectively. She mentioned that her parents always supported the three daughters and never tried to clip the wings. Her father, who works in a security agency, said, "She has made each of us proud, especially her grandfather, who started the tradition of serving the nation."