Living in a world where patriarchy is firmly embedded in society’s thoughts, culture, and behavior, it is not easy for any woman to get rid of the persistent influence of the notion that women are not made for combat roles. They have to overcome far too many gender preconceptions that stand in the way of their ambitions. But, as rightly said by Dr. Seema Rao, also known as India’s Wonder Women, “It’s not easy. It never is. But who likes it easy anyway. Bring it on!!” So, here we come stronger and zealous than ever.
THE TALE OF A COMMANDO TRAINER.
Dr. Seema Rao is the first and only female commando trainer who has dared to not just take a step in the male-dominated realm of the army but also to selflessly train the most elite units of the Indian Army for more than 20 years without any compensation. With her specialization in Close Quarter Battle (CBQ), she is also a leading expert in the field of warfare tactics. Seema is also a military shooting coach, a firefighter, a scuba diver, a finalist of Mrs. India World pageant, and an HMI medalist in rock climbing.
This extraordinarily talented lady is also one of only ten women in the world who are qualified in Jeet Kune Do, a unique martial art discipline developed by Bruce Lee in the 1960s.
With Dr. Seema Rao and her family, patriotism runs in their blood. She was born and brought up in the home of a freedom fighter, Professor Ramakant Sinari. Growing up in a country-loving environment and listening to the stories of intense struggle for independence, Seema discovered her ambition of serving her country and being a part of a greater cause.
As she grew into adulthood, she studied to become a qualified doctor and also earned her MBA degree in Crisis Management. After completing her education, she married Dr. Deepak Rao who was later awarded the prestigious rank of Major by the President of India.
THE COMMANDO’S WORK THROUGH THE YEARS.
In the course of her training career, Seema Rao along with her husband, Deepak Rao. By organizing and managing numerous training programs in unarmed and armed combat and shooting for the police, armed police, state police, para-military, armed forces, Special Forces, and the prestigious National Security Guard’s Black Cats Commandos. But training the officers hasn’t always been easy. Often, officers had been reluctant to learn combat techniques from a woman and often questioned Seema’s potential. She didn’t only have to discipline them and train them; she also had to gain their respect, confidence, and trust to believe in her ability to train.
The Raos feel an intense need for women to be able of defending themselves against the crimes that are inflicted on them. To fulfill their pursuit of a stronger woman community, they started a program, popularly known as the DARE (Defense Against Rape & Eve-teasing) program. This program trains women both mentally and physically. It teaches how to deal with the crimes inflicted on them like sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and rape.
The Raos have also founded the Unarmed Commando Combat Institution (UCCA), an elite military martial arts academy, to assist in the training of Indian forces and to provide training materials for the Forces. Civilians can also learn Jeet Kune Do and a range of other exotic martial arts at the Academy. For civilians, there is also an Unarmed Combat Blackbelt course.
Her journey in the combat field has been full of hurdles and severe multiple injuries. Due to her rigorous training sessions, Seema realized that it would be impossible to carry a pregnancy through all this. Therefore, she willingly decided to not have her child and instead made a decision of adopting a girl, who is 25 years old now. She also had to face several moments in her life when she felt devastated and lost. She had a catastrophic head injury that caused amnesia; all she could recall was her husband. When she fell on her back, she also suffered a vertebral fracture, which took her six months to recover from.
A PERFECT PARAGON FOR ALL WOMEN
Dr. Seema Rao exemplifies a woman’s emotional, mental, and physical strength. She demonstrates to women that no hurdle can prevent them from pursuing their aspirations, living their lives with power and panache whether it is a part of the army.
The society we live in encourages women to be physically strong but never stronger than men. As soon as a girl wishes to become stronger than a boy, society starts to frown upon her. Dr. Seema Rao and her 25-year-old daughter, Komal Rao have successfully broken this stereotype. Dr. Komal Rao just became the world’s first female fighter. She defeats a male opponent in a cage battle during a Mixed Martial Arts tournament.
Women in the army are exposed to a lot of questions, doubts, uncertainties, and are mostly seen as inferior and liabilities. So many responsibilities that are not offered to women officers like leading a male troop, being sent tonight duties, and being posted in counter-insurgency areas. The main reason for these differences is that most of the women have to quit their jobs so that they can start a marital life and have children, apparently because society believes women belong in the kitchen with children, and not in the field with guns and weapons.
For all the women out there, it’s time to believe strong is the new pretty and start acting on it because women are getting stronger, women are rising and women will shine.