23 May The Saga of Lt. General Punita Arora
First woman Lieutenant General of Indian Armed Forces & first female Vice Admiral of Indian Navy! It sounds very impressive as ranks in the fourth largest Armed Forces in the world; more so hues that decorate a woman who has achieved the glory and stars.
She has been awarded various medals in her 36 years of career. Notable among them are the Vashisht Seva Medal for providing efficient and timely help to victims of the Kaluchak, Jammu massacre happened on 14th May 2002 and the Sena Medal for providing gynae-endoscopy and assisted reproductive techniques for infertile and childless couples in military hospitals.
She mentioned, “I never felt that I am a woman and I’ve reached this position, so I’ve done something very great.”
She was born into a Punjabi family of Lahore on 31st May 1946, just a year before partition. But soon after the partition of India on 1947, the family of Punita Arora had to depart for India when she was only a year old. She got admission in Government medical college, Saharanpur. Then she completed her Post Graduation from Armed Forces Medical College, Pune.
Her professional life started when she was 21. She did her internship at Ambala, Haryana.
She married a doctor who was posted at the base hospital in Srinagar. When the India-Pakistan war broke in 1971 she came scenic city to deliver her first baby.
Lt. General Arora is a gynecologist, her husband Brigadier P N Arora served the army as a dermatologist. Son Squadron Leader Sandeep Arora is also a dermatologist posted at the Air Force base hospital in New Delhi. His wife too is a doctor. Daughter Sabina was in the army but left after a six-and-a-half year tenure to pursue a post-graduate degree in Connecticut.
She always believed in the strength of the family. Family is a circle of strength and love…Our family with every birth and every union the circle grows, our family is a circle of strength every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.
She adds “Our family system is so beautiful. If we disintegrate like nuclear families we are losing a lot. Today what I am I wouldn’t be without the support of my family.”
“You won’t forget a woman like her, easily anyway.