THE ESM CORNER

MEET PREETI RAJAK: THE FIRST WOMAN SUBEDAR OF THE INDIAN ARMY

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Preeti Rajak

has created history by becoming the first woman Subedar of the Indian Army. She is also a silver medalist in trap shooting, a sport where shooters use shotguns to hit clay discs that fly in different directions and speeds.

Preeti Rajak is the daughter of a dry cleaner from Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh. She started shooting at the age of 14 and has won several national and international medals. She joined the Indian Army in December 2022 as a meritorious sportswoman in the Corps of Military Police (CMP). She was the first woman shooter to be enrolled in the Army as a Havildar.

She represented India at the Asian Games in China in October 2023, where she won the silver medal in the women’s team trap shooting event along with Rajeshwari Kumari and Manisha Keer. She is currently ranked 6th in India in the trap women’s event and is training at the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) in preparation for the Paris Olympic Games.

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She was promoted from Havildar to Subedar on Saturday by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for her outstanding performance in sports. This is a rare honour, as soldiers usually have to clear several tests and wait for 18-20 years to become Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs).

Subedar Preeti Rajak at pipping ceremony at Infantry School Mhow

Lieutenant General Gajendra Joshi, Commandant Infantry School, presided over the pipping ceremony. The Army also congratulated Preeti Rajak for her promotion and wished her success in her future endeavours.

Preeti Rajak is also pursuing her graduation from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). She is an example of how women can balance their education and career with their passion and talent. She is a role model for many young women who dream of joining the Army and pursuing their passion in sports.

Currently, only the Corps of Military Police allows women to become sepoys in the Indian Army. Other arms and services do not have women in other ranks. Women Agniveers keen to join the Army can enrol to join the CMP, which is the only arm that allows women to become sepoys. The Army hopes that more women will join the CMP and follow in the footsteps of Preeti Rajak.

In another event, Jitu Rai is a shooter who has won many awards for India, including the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award. He joined the Army as a sepoy in 2006 and rose to the rank of Subedar Major. On Saturday, the Army promoted him to Honorary Captain for his meritorious service. He is one of the most successful shooters in India and participated in the Rio Olympics in 2016.

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