What was even more impressive is that some of these women never thought of getting on a Bullet motorcycle, let alone performing stunts in front of the eyes of the entire nation.
It was a proud day for the country as an all-women contingent of the BSF dazzled spectators with jaw-dropping bike stunts during the Republic Day parade. The women who were selected from different parts of India showcased the unity and diversity of the country and that when to came to daredevilry, they were as equal to, if not better, than the men.
What was even more impressive is that some of these women never thought of getting on a Bullet motorcycle, let alone performing stunts in front of the eyes of the entire nation. 24-year-old Hansa Didwania was one of them. Didwania who was part of the 51-member team of the BSF, known as the Seema Bhawani, recounted the arduous practice hours that she and her team members had been putting in for the past one and a half years.
“We started our training from October 2016. Initially, I thought that we would not be ready for Republic Day because the bikes were too heavy. But gradually, we were taught the basics. For the next two months we only learned to ride the bike and slowly got control over it,” she said.
The initial training was imparted at BSF Polytechnic CSMT College, Tekanpur, Madhya Pradesh. The sessions started every day at 6 am and extended till 11 am.
“Our rigorous practice had to be stopped after 11 am because the bikes became hot. In the evening, we would again start our practice when the sun set and it became cooler,” she said.
The idea to start the Seema Bhawani came in 2015, the year which also marked the 50th anniversary of the BSF. It was then that the Director-General, BSF said that women constables of the Force should also perform the same stunts as the men’s group. Following this, 48 constables and three sub-inspectors were handpicked from the entire country to represent the force at the R-Day Parade.
The first performance of the troop was delivered on Women’s Day. This was followed by another short performance on December 1 celebrated as the BSF Raising Day. Fourteen formations, including shoulder riding, horse riding, peacock, mini lotus, seven waves, Seema prehari, parallel bar, pyramid etc were mastered by these women constables during a short span of time.
Despite the glory and accolades that these women received, Didwania admitted there had been moments of doubt of performing at the parade, especially when a woman colleague had been severely injured during practice.
“Our morale was down but our officers motivated us and also our parents have been supportive...It was their belief that we could reach here today,” she added.
The second part of the training started at Dwarka where there was a lot of open space for them to practice. It was on January 7-8 that the first practice was conducted at Rajpath.
“We travelled every day from Chhawla to Rajpath and underwent a rigorous training session. That’s how we got our confidence. When we performed the stunts on January 23 during the dress rehearsals, we knew that we have arrived,” she said with the glow still visible on her face.
But despite these accolades, these women are not done yet. After Friday’s performance, Didwania, who performed the motorcycle PT stunt alone on the Bullet motorcycle with an altogether different attire than the others, now wants to compete with the men’s team.
“We have created history. The response that we have got is overwhelming and we now want to conduct events throughout the country. We have shown that women are no less than men,” she said.