Jyoti Nainwal’s mother wanted her to be a paragon, notwithstanding the emotional distress, to set an example for her children to scale greater heights, rather than encourage them by citing examples from the lives of other people who succeeded, despite all odds.
A Dehradun based homemaker and hailing from a humble background, Nainwal’s life and the world had all along revolved around her loving soldier husband and children, nine-year-old daughter Lavanya and seven-year-old son Reyansh, besides the extended family.
When her husband died in 2018 after getting critically wounded in an encounter - Op Rakshak - with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, her life just tumbled over.
While the conservative world expected her only to bring up her children and make them succeed in their lives, her mother wanted her to lead from the front.
Quoting her mother, Nainiwal said, “Beta (child), take this situation as an opportunity. Don’t raise them by giving others’ examples, but set yourself as an example in front of them and make them feel proud. Teach them to sail through the ups and downs of life.” Such motivating words, the rock-solid support of her brother, the Mahar regiment and her husband’s words that she should try to join the Army, “if anything happened to me” led her to resolve that she should serve the armed forces. It was not, however, an easy task as she had to surmount several challenges.
“Brigadier Cheema and Col MP Singh took the responsibility to be my mentors. They both played a huge role in getting me prepared for the Service Selection Board. My English was not that good as all my life I was only involved in household responsibilities,” she said.
Eventually, Jyoti Nainwal made it through sheer determination and with the guidance of Army veterans.
The 33-year old was among the 29 women cadets of the SSC (W)-26 and a total of 124 gentlemen cadets of the SSC-112 Courses to get commissioned on November 20 at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) here.
As many as 16 gentlemen cadets and nine women cadets from friendly foreign countries also completed their training.
Naik Deepak Kumar sustained a gunshot wound on April 11, 2018, in an encounter with terrorists and he was shifted to the Army’s RR Hospital in Delhi.
Nainwal’s first visit to a metropolis, the national capital, turned out to be to the hospital to take care of her wounded husband. He was bedridden due to a spinal injury and had lost sensation in his limbs.
“I successfully pretended to be strong in front of doctors, so they allowed me to stay with him and look after him,” she said.
Kumar was later shifted to another facility in Pune.
He was hospitalized for 40 days and died on May 20, 2018.
Kumar was recruited into the Mahar regiment in 2003, an infantry regiment knew for its fearless soldiers and innumerable battle honors. His last posting was with 1 Rashtriya Rifles battalion, deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.