Shanti Tigga was the first female combat soldier in the Indian Army. Women are allowed in the armed forces but only as officers in the non-combat units. Shati was the first woman to break that barrier. What is even more remarkable is that she achieved this feat when she was 35 and had two children. While most women are told to leave their jobs after they give birth to children, Shanti Tigga defeated all her other male counterparts during their physical tests. She completed the 50 m run in 12 seconds during her tests. On her 1.5 km run, she outran all of her other male counterparts to complete it with 5 seconds to spare till they caught up. Moreover, the firing instructors were so impressed with her skills in handling guns, that she earned the highest position of marksman. She was also awarded the title of best trainee.

Shanti did not even know that there had been no female jawan before her. She had joined Railways in 2005, on compensatory ground after her husband passed away (she had later remarried). Later, she learnt about TA Railways and volunteered for it. At that time, she was not aware of the fact that no woman had ever joined the Army as personnel below officer rank (PROB). But that was hardly a deterrent for her. She said that she always dreamt of joining the army and making her family proud.

Shanti passed away at the age of 37 in May 2013 under mysterious circumstances. She was, at that point, a jawan with the 969 Railway Engineer Regiment of the Territorial Army and posted as a points-man at Chalsa station in the district. She was allegedly kidnapped after her duties in the evening of May 9, 2013. She was found blindfold and tied to a post near the railway tracks the next morning. Shanti, however, said she was not physically harmed by the kidnappers. After the kidnapping, she was hospitalized at Alipurduar Railway Hospital. On May 13, 2013, she was found hanging with a 'gamchha' (traditional cotton towel) tied around her throat inside the cabin of the hospital. Her family members alleged that she was murdered. Some say she committed suicide because she had been accused of taking money from people in lieu of getting them jobs.

Not matter what, she would always be remembered as a woman carrying valour beyond compare.

Source: Google search.

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