Meet Vinaya Damgude, who is joining the Air Force to continue her late husband's legacy

5th Jul 2016
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For 26-year-old Vinaya and her family, it’s a proud moment. Vinaya has cracked the Service Selection Board Examination (SSB) with flying colours. She is now, all set to undergo the strenuous 11-month training at the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad. A journalist by profession, what inspired her to change her profession was her husband’s accident, reported India Times.

Image: DNA
Image: DNA

Life was at its best for Vinaya, who married her childhood lover Shashikant Damgude in 2015. However, the future looked bleak when she heard the death of her Flight Lieutanant – husband in a road accident, only a few months after her marriage.

Refusing to bow down to the turn of the unfortunate events in her life, Vinaya decided to step into the shoes of her husband. “Shashikant loved challenges and he always encouraged me to challenge myself, and that is what I am doing by joining the IAF,” Vinaya told DNA.

“The preparation was pretty challenging — from elementary to complex Math and more. Everything had to be revised to crack the test,” Vinaya said. The exams were more a test of the person you are. So what was her strategy? “It’s the way one thinks, analyse a situation and react. So being yourself is the best you can do…and that is what I did,” she added. For her family and friends, Vinaya’s story is unparalleled.

“This is the biggest tribute she could pay to her husband and the greatest service she could render to our nation,” said her father Vasudeo Patil. Echoing the sentiments of her father was Vinaya’s mother-in-law, who supported her decision. “I am proud of her. She has shown courage and determination after the tragedy. We are sure she will succeed in her objective of making a name in the Air Force,” said Mangala Damgude.

A similar case is of Swati, the widow of Col. Santosh Mahadik who died while fighting the militants in Kupwara, Kashmir. She, like Vinaya too decided to serve the army like her brave husband. These are indeed stories of sheer courage and determination of how these army widows choose to continuing their late husbands’ legacies.

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