BHOPAL/INDORE: Less than two months after the Supreme Court opened the elite National Defence Academy to girls, the first batch of women candidates appeared for the written part of the entrance exam, conducted by UPSC, on Sunday.
Josh was high. And if you stood outside any of the exam centres, one thing was conspicuous by its near absence — parents chaperoning the girls. In fact, many of those TOI spoke to laughed and said their parents had no clue they were trying out for NDA. Others said they didn’t need to convince their parents — they were quite thrilled to hear their daughter wanted to be in uniform.
The turnout was impressive — around 75% of the girls who had registered showed up for the test. Those who qualify will head for a five-day SSB — one of the most gruelling and unforgettable ‘interviews’ in the country. Many of them had set off from far-off districts in the wee hours to be on time for 8.30am muster. In Indore, Class 12 student Divya Patel, who had come from Pithampur, looked around and said: “It feels good to be here, like being part of history. I’m hoping I’ll get through, but even otherwise I can say I was among the first.”
Some of the candidates were from military backgrounds, but most — over 60% — aim to be first-time faujis in their families.
The candidates felt that they didn’t get enough time to prepare for the test. “We didn’t know if girls would be allowed from this year or the next,” said Bhaskar. It was on September 22 that Supreme Court rejected the government’s request to defer the exam till next year. “We gave hope to the girls. We cannot deny them that hope now,” the SC said.




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