Two years after her husband Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal died in a gun battle with Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists in Kashmir’s Pulwama, Nitika Kaul on Saturday joined the Indian Army. The chief of the army’s Northern Command Lieutenant General YK Joshi piped stars on Kaul’s shoulders during a ceremony at the Officers Training Academy in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai.
“#MajVibhutiShankarDhoundiyal, made the Supreme Sacrifice at #Pulwama in 2019, was awarded SC (P). Today his wife @Nitikakaul dons #IndianArmy uniform; paying him a befitting tribute. A proud moment for her as Lt Gen Y K Joshi, #ArmyCdrNC himself pips the Stars on her shoulders!” PRO Udhampur said in a tweeted and shared a video.
Kaul, who is from Kashmir, cleared the Short Service Commission (SSC) examination as well as the interview in 2020 and said it was her way of paying a “real tribute” to the officer and feeling close to him. Kaul’s move to join the army has been praised by several, who called it a befitting tribute to her late husband and a “truly inspirational story”.
Also read: Army officer died fighting terrorists last year. Now, 28-yr-old wife signs up
“I took my own time to recover from the major loss and the decision to sit for the Short Service Commission examination happened gradually. Just filling the form in September last year was a big decision. But I had decided that I want to walk on a similar path like my husband,” Kaul said explaining her decision to join the army.
The gunbattle which claimed Major Dhoundiyal’s life took place about 15km away from the spot where 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) died in a suicide attack on a convoy by JeM’s Adil Ahmed Dar on February 14, 2019. Major Dhoundiyal was awarded Shaurya Chakra for his sacrifice for the nation.
They were married in April 2019 and Major Dhoundiyal planned to celebrate their first wedding anniversary at home.
Fifteen days after Major Dhoundiyal’s death, Kaul resumed her job and said she wanted to stand up on her feet again. It was not easy to get back to normal life after her husband’s death, Kaul said, adding that she “drowned herself in work, hoping the pain will ease…”
“I went back to work around 15 days after my husband’s death because I wanted to keep myself busy. It is natural to have a breakdown but we needed to accept the situation. I had to find positivity in my daily routine and stand up on my feet once again,” she added.