Inspired by Mai Bhago – a Sikh woman warrior who had fought against Mughals in the 17th century, the country’s first preparatory institute for girls wishing to join Army – The Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute has been set up in Mohali (MBAFPI). To ensure the empowerment of women in the armed forces, the parliamentary committee on defense in the 15th Lok Sabha recommended the opening of preparatory institutions in the country.
Ensuing the mega hit of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute at Mohali for boys, the Shiromani Akali Dal – BJP led state government decided to set up The Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute, in about a six – acre area in Sector – 66, Mohali for the preparation of the girls who intend to join the army.
In the Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute, an entrance test is held in which 25 young girls from the state shall be inducted as cadets in the institute for three years, after their completion of class 12th, out of a pool of approximately 1,600 applicants. The preparatory institute comprises of highly trained and educated professionals who prepare the girls for armed forces, in terms of the written tests, in contrast to the interviews for being selected as a Commissioned Officer in the Defence Services. Spread over a six – acre campus, the Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute provides residential accommodation, along with various modern facilities which include multi – gym, swimming, sports fields, shooting, communication skills development, NCC, personality development and Professional preparation and training for the interview of Service Selection Board (SSB).
In contrast to the three year under – graduate programme for pursuing academic courses, the Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute, has been successfully incubating the determined students with professional skills and training in order to achieve the zenith of becoming officers in the Navy, Air force and Army. The chief minister of the state, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal claimed that, “It is a momentous occasion for all of us to have this premium institute to train our girls to join defence services as their promising career”.
Needless to say, the Shiromani Akali Dal – BJP led state government has been conducive to the needs of the women, which is clearly evident by the setting up of the Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute which not only enhances the financial status and security of the girls, but also adds confidence to their personality. Despite doubts, the setting up of the preparatory institute is a positive and progressive initiative towards a more egalitarian society for the women, which shall promise them economic and social freedom in the state of Punjab.