On the occasion of India's 72nd Independence Day, Republic TV broadcast a special show - 'Heroes of India', which celebrated unsung heroes, who sacrificed for the country.
One of the several phenomenal guests on the show was Captain Shalini Singh. She joined Indian Army in 2002, less than a year after the demise of her husband Major Avinash Singh Bhadauria, who was martyred during an encounter with terrorists.
Speaking to Republic TV, Shalini spoke about her life, which includes her becoming an Army officer, recovering from a life-threatening injury and much more.
"For me, I am very sad today also because I always feel, I lost my husband (Avinash Singh) 17 years back, and he was not the first martyr, and as I speak, we still have lost our brave men a couple of days back," said Captain Shalini Singh.
Captain Singh, in the exclusive interview, also lamented the fact that the country "is not learning from the men it is losing."
"I don't know what freedom we talk about, what are we learning from the people we are losing, the families which are getting disturbed. We harp on the words freedom, independence, 26 January, 15 August. We talk about how nationalists we are, and then we are just back to square one. We are not learning from the men we are losing, or the families who are staying behind for the survival," she said.
Shalini further divulged into why she chose to join Army, months after her husband was martyred.
"When I lost my husband, when I came to know that he is martyred, I was a student, a normal housewife doing my daily chores. I never ever thought, you keep listening of these things happening, but till the time they don't hit you, you don't understand what is the impact of those things," said Captain Shalini Singh.
"I somehow felt that my husband has done something so brave, I was not that brave. I was emotionally, physically, mentally very very weak, and lived in a very pampered atmosphere, not knowing I could be pushed or thrown in to these events in life," she said, adding:
"After his demise, these things came to me that I cannot be so weak and give up because people are saying 'What will I do?'. So, the best was how can I be in uniform? Few of his mates informed me that there is an option, but the road is very very tough."
"But I thought that my husband fought terrorists, which was not easy. His parents lost a son, which was not easy. So nothing is easy in life, so let me walk this path. If I will get the uniform, I will be in one way devoting my life to him," said the braveheart.
Capain Shalini Sinh married Major Avinash Singh Bhadauria in 1997, and gave birth to their son, Dhruv in 1999. But, Shalini's life was hit with a tragedy in 2001. Avinash, posted with 8 Rashtriya Rifles in Doda, Kashmir, was martyred after he succumbed to gunshots during an encounter with terrorists.
It came as a major shock to Shalini, who became a widow at the age of 23 with a two-year-old son. Though, the devastating incident didn't stop Shalini, who quit her MBA and started her journey towards joining the army.
Shalini joined the Indian Army in March 2002, spending six months in the Officers Training Academy (OTA). Following the completion of her six-month training, she became a Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army.
After serving the nation for five years, she quit from Army in order to spend time with her son. Though, her life post service wasn't that smooth. In 2009, Shalini suffered a serious accident, which resulted in 17 fractures, as well as a broken leg. But the brave lady didn't let any of this affect her. She won Mrs India Queen of Substance title in 2017.