Republic Day 2023: Women riders debut on BSF camel contingent
While a total of 24 women underwent training to ride on camels, 12 women hailing from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, were chosen for the parade.
India witnessed women riders in the camel contingent of the Rajasthan Frontier of the Border Security Force for the first time on Thursday during the 74th Republic Day parade.
While a total of 24 women underwent training to ride on camels, 12 women hailing from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, were chosen for the parade. They were also part of the BSF Raising Day Parade at Amritsar earlier.
The ‘mahila praharis’ squad, comprising Sonal, Nisha, Bhagwati, Ambika, Kusum, Priyanka, Kaushalya, Kajal, Bhawna and Hina, marched from Vijay Chowk to the Red Fort through Kartavya Path during the parade. This year’s parade consisted of 16 marching contingents from the armed forces, Central Para Military Forces, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps, NSS and 19 military pipes and drums bands.
The women riders sported special ceremonial uniforms symbolising Indian craft forms. Designed by Raghavendra Rathore, it included the iconic Jodhpuri bandhgala, the classic long tunic. “The textured fabric with hand-crafted zardosi work for various trims from Benaras is completed in the 400 years-old Danka technique,” ANI quoted BSF, adding that the uniform is styled with the “Pagh - a turban inspired by the heritage Pagh of the Mewar region of Rajasthan."
The BSF camel contingent, which usually comprises 90 camels -- 54 with troops and the rest with band personnel, has been participating in the Republic Day parade since 1976. The contingent is also part of the Beating the Retreat ceremony held annually on January 29, which will have 3-D anamorphic projections for the first time.
The BSF is the only force in the country to deploy camels for operational and ceremonial duties. The BSF, with nearly 8,000 women personnel, also has an all women daredevil motorcycle team called Seema Bhawaniis.
Among the many other firsts in the 74th Republic Day celebrations, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi became the first Egyptian leader to be invited as the chief guest for the event. He is also the first chief guest since 2020 post Covid-19. Rajpath, since being renamed as Kartavya Path last year, saw tanks, guns and soldiers, for the first time. Also, all official invites were sent online marking another first.
British guns were used to accord the 21-gun salute to the President of India before 2023. Under ‘Make in India’ scheme, indigenously-made 105 mm field guns have replaced the vintage artillery of 25-powder guns.