Major Divya Ajith Kumar is an officer of the Indian Army of Army Air Defence. She passed out from OTA, Chennai. She is the first woman to write her name in a fresh page of Indian Army history by becoming the first Lady Cadet to be conferred by the Army with the coveted Sword of Honour.
Being born to a Chennai Tamil family of a non-defence background, Major Divya had made an impressive career choice and a very admirable track record. Her education includes that she did her schooling at Good Shepherd Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai. Her higher education was at Stella Maris College in the same city.
But how did she gain interest in the Armed Forces? It was due to her induction and active participation in NCC during her college life. As a cadet, she excelled in all the activities of NCC so much, that she was selected to represent her Directorate at the Republic Day Camp of 2008. There, for her impeccable work in showcasing sound drill and leadership, she was chosen to be the All-India NCC Girls Contingent Commander where she proudly swayed her glorious presence on the Rajpath. You can speak to many NCC cadets out there you know. Getting into Republic Day Camp is itself tuff. More tuff is to get into the drill contingent representing NCC at national level. Even more tough is to lead that contingent. But you will be surprised if I say that she not only became the Contingent Commander but also bagged the award of “All India Best Parade Commander” of the day. Even more impressive part is that she also won “All India Best Girl Cadet” recognition. This beautiful and dedicated journey in the NCC paved the way for a strong foundation in her selection to get into Indian Armed Forces.
Later, after her graduation, she cleared the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission and was even recommended at subsequent SSB in 2009. She was commissioned into Corps of Army Air Defence on September 2010 after her training at OTA Chennai. There, she bagged this prestigious honour to be the first female cadet able to receive the Sword of Honour – something that is first in India’s defence history.
Not only that, she even topped the Young Officers’ Course of the Army Air Defence College in 2011 was awarded Silver Gun Trophy. Just five years after her commission, she was selected to lead 154 membered first all-women contingent of the Indian Army on Republic Day (26 January 2015) where former US President Barack Obama was present as the Chief Guest. This is an immensely proud moment for every one of us.
Later, she served as an Instructor at OTA Chennai and has even participated in UN Mission to South Sudan as a part of India’s contribution among the troops. She gave an impressive speech at the radio station of the South Sudan region where people were incredibly happy to meet her.
Major Divya not only spends time in her main Fauji job but also actively takes part in various sports such as Basketball and Discus throw. She is also an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer and Percussionist. She, at times, visits schools and colleges to motivate youth in joining the Indian Armed Forces.
When asked “What kind of discrimination did you face as a female officer in Indian Army?” – she calmly replied “I don’t consider them as a sort of discrimination. I took them as a challenge and if as a girl, I can do it, every other girl can do it. Just following the dreams is what that matters.”
When Major Divya’s mother was asked by an interviewer about how she felt about her daughter – she replied “Definitely I am proud. Since childhood, she has a habit of taking up things, sticking to them in an incredibly determined way and giving her best as much as she can. This made her come up all this way.” Every Indian citizen watching this felt enormously proud of the moment.
It has been ten years that she bagged the recognition, but we still speak about her. Not that its late but few gems are worth remembering. India is proud of officers like Major Divya Ajith Kumar. Every female defence aspirant must learn such brave and exquisite qualities from her and make your life less ordinary.