The first is Tanushree Pareek, Border Security Force’s (BSF) first woman field officer. A convocation ceremony was held at the BSF academy in Tekanpur, Gwalior, where a proud Tanushree was felicitated, inspiring many more women to follow her lead and join to secure our country’s borders. She began her 52-week training last year in the Assistant Commandant training programme with the 40th batch of the BSF academy. Tanushree is a resident of Rajasthan and she led the passing-out parade at the BSF academy as the first woman field officer. She was selected in the all-India exam conducted by UPSC in 2014 and she became the first woman officer to join the force. The Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh congratulated her as he put the rank stars on her shoulders and spoke about how she has set an example for women who aspire to do something for our country. When Tanushree visited Bikaner, her hometown, she was given a rousing welcome, with the streets being flooded with people, just to get a glimpse of a woman who chose to take the path less travelled and be an inspiration to many. In the 51-year history of the BSF, this is the first time a woman becomes a combat officer, a proud moment for India.
The second one is Kanchan Yadav, a CRPF official in Srinagar, who is popularly known as Lady Singham for her outstanding courage and discipline. She looks like the quintessential girl-next-door at first sight, but looks can be deceptive! The 28-year old was the only woman to be given the responsibility of handling law-and-order when the region suffered the latest bout of prolonged tension. She believes her nation’s security is her top priority and once she dons the uniform, she has a strong force that drives and guides her to tread the difficult path with utmost courage. She stood like a rock when protests erupted in Kashmir, and she guarded the region by being on high alert all day and night, without complaints, as serving the nation came first to her. She has tackled stone-pelting mobs and always stood her ground when faced with unstable and hazardous attacks. Kanchan’s family has always motivated her, many of whom have been in the defence. Since childhood she has been fascinated by the officer’s uniform. Her mother was her greatest inspiration as she too was posted in the defence services and taught her that women are no less than men. Her mother is the Assistant Commandant of CRPF and has been currently posted in Manipur on election duty. Her maternal grandfather retired after serving in the CRPF, and her father too retired from the Indian Air Force. Her husband is a navy officer who is posted in Kochi and both of them are dedicated to relentlessly serving our country.
The third is the unconventional village Dadwan, popularly known as the village of spies. It has a history of locals working for Indian intelligence agencies, where BSF and RAW had given them tasks of finding strategic information about the movements and whereabouts of the Pakistan army. And they received compensation for their work. The recruitment practice dates back to the 1950s where the Indian intelligence agencies offered work to unemployed villagers, many of which died in Pakistan prisons as they lived their lives trying to get as much information as possible for their handlers. Almost every home in Dadwan had a family member working for the intelligence agencies, but were never given recognition for their immense hard-work. One such popular unsung hero was Satpal, who worked as a low-level informant for the military intelligence. His body was brought back from Pakistan, covered with the Indian flag. His contribution to our country was immense but there is barely anyone who knows about his bravery and perseverance. There are many more such men who have been kept in Pakistan prisons and tortured by binding their limbs together, suspended against a wall, half-naked and repeatedly hit by a cane. Satpal too was brutally tortured before his untimely death, and could barely walk five feet without needing support. His death came as a shock to his family and they were not even given compensation by the government.
The fourth brave-heart is Major Rishi, who in spite of being severely injured, chose to save his team during a 16-hour gunfight in Jammu & Kashmir. Two terrorists were cornered in the Tral area of J&K and Major Rishi was the first to reach the spot. He took up the challenging task of volunteering to go inside the house and plant bombs to get the terrorists out. After a prolonged 16-hour long stressful gunfight, he was shot right in the face by the terrorist, but Rishi showed true grit and presence of mind, and was able to shoot his target, and save his entire team from the impending danger. The operation ended with the death of both the terrorists. The incident severed his nose and badly damaged his cheek bone and jaw. The officer is now recovering in an army hospital in Delhi, after coming out a valiant winner from the life-threatening mission. If sources are to be believed, Major Rishi has been instrumental in bringing stability and peace to J&K after the death of Burhan Wani. He is interacting with his family and friends with the help of notes, and will recuperate completely after a few more surgeries on his face.
Team Naam Shabana wishes to salute the spirit of these unconventional, nameless, faceless heroes who most people don’t know about, and the film is a tribute to their bravery and the innumerable hardships they face to protect our country. Naam Shabana’ brings back some of the much loved characters of Neeraj Pandey’s Baby, including Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher and Danny Denzongpa, and will introduce Manoj Bajpayee and Prithviraj Sukumaran in pivotal roles. The film is slated to release on March 31.