Rajgarh (Madhya Pradesh): Sandhya Bhilala, the daughter of a farm labourer, could not control her emotions when residents of her native village gave her a rousing welcome with garlands and drum beats as she returned clad in the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) uniform.
It was a moment of pride and happiness for Bhilala (27), who earlier used to help her father in his farm work and also took tuition classes to pay for her own studies.
People are now not only hailing her determination to join the armed force, but her feat has also brought more respect for her family in their small village in Madhya Pradesh.
Bhilala says girls should never give up and continue to fight to achieve the target they set for themselves.
She went for the SSB training after selection in April this year and returned to her native Pipaliya Rasoda village in Madhya Pradesh's Rajgarh district on Saturday after a long gap.
After her return to the village from Rajasthan, the woman, clad in uniform, was garlanded and welcomed with drum beats by locals. The villagers also seated her on a horse while greeting her, eye witnesses said.
A video of the warm reception accorded to her was widely circulated on social media. One of the clips also showed her dancing with villagers.
An overwhelmed Bhilala said it was an emotional moment for her when the villagers welcomed her.
Before being selected for the SSB, the woman used to help her father Devchand Bhilala in the farm work and later also took tuition classes to pay for her post-graduation course in Hindi literature, her younger brother Umesh Bhilala said.
Sandhya Bhilala said it would not have been possible for her to achieve the target without her parent's support.
While appealing to women to join the armed forces, she said, "Girls should never give up, and continue to fight to achieve the target set by them." Her brother said their family was proud of her.
"From the beginning, my sister had a passion to join the armed forces. She worked very hard and achieved her goal. Now, the people have started respecting us," he said.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)