Kanika Rane, wife of martyr Major Kaustubh Rane has become an inspirational woman. She has decided to join the Indian Army. Just one year ago, her husband Major Kaustubh Rane was martyred in an encounter with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly, prior to this, late Colonel Santosh Mahadik’s wife Swati Mahadik, Major Prasad Mahadik’s wife Gauri Mahadik and many other brave women of Maharashtra have also joined the Army. The list of widows of martyrs of the state is long who joined the Army and set an example for other women.
Kanika is ready to fulfill the dream of her husband. She appeared for the exam to join the Army as an officer and with her grit and determination, she cleared it. Now, she will go to Chennai for her training in October. After her husband’s death, Kanika wished to join the Army to keep the memories of her husband’s valour alive. Not only this, but she also wants to don the uniform for her three-year-old son. She wants her son to grow up in an Army atmosphere and feel proud that his father made for the country. Kanika said that her husband was very lively and had an amiable nature. He could never see her cry. She said that she is fulfilling her husband’s dream by joining the army.
An Indian Army officer on the condition of anonymity said, “There are many ladies who have joined the forces after their partners martyred in battle. And they have such amazing spirit and enthusiasm for the forces as they have seen life from both the sides, they are trained with us, equally furious and hardworking, seeing them fills everyone with more pride.”
It is remarkable that Major Kaustubh Rane was a resident of Sheetal Nagar, Mira Road. Major Rane is survived by a three-year-old son Agastya, wife Kanika Rane and parents Prakash Rane and Jyoti Rane, who live in Hiral Sagar building in Sheetal Nagar. On August 7, 2018, he had led an Army team which laid a siege in Gurez area of North Kashmir during the night. While his team managed to foil the infiltration and gunned down two of the eight terrorists, Major Rane along with three soldiers was killed during the operation.
Astik, a resident of Mira Road said, “On August 9, 2018, thousands of people gathered in Mira Road to pay their last respects to Major Kaustubh Rane who was killed in Jammu and Kashmir. With tears in eyes, we bid adieu to Kaustubh Rane. Today, we feel proud to know it that his wife Kanika Rane is going to join the Army. She will definitely inspire crores of girls and women to exhibit courage in difficult and critical time.”
Major Kaustubh Rane was the single son of his parents. Kaustubh Rane’s family, originally hails from Vaibhavwadi in Sindhudurg district. His father Prakash Rane is a retired government employee and mother Jyoti Rane a retired deputy principal of a prominent school. They have been residing in Mira Road for the past 30 years. Kaustubh Rane’s early education took place in Mira-Bhayander, Mumbai, and Pune. He always dreamed of joining the armed forces. He had completed his military training from Pune and was commissioned as an officer from the elite Officers Training Academy, Chennai, in 2011. He got a promotion and became major in 2018. He was felicitated with the Sena Gallantry Medal by President Ram Nath Kovind on January 26, 2018.
Kundan Deshmukh, a Mira Road resident said, “Kanika Rane has taken a right step to join Army. She can become an inspiration for the youth to join armed forces. It can instill discipline among the youth. More and more youth must come forward to join the Indian army.”
As per reports, people believe that since India is not currently at war, no jawans and officers are martyred. But the truth is that the Indian army is always involved in special operations to tackle various insurgencies. Every year, Indian armed forces have fresh casualties, and more women faced with great tragedy like Kanika Rane, Gauri Mahadik, Swati Mahadik and others. Despite being at peace, India has the largest number of war widows in the world. They say that the government assistance they have received is not enough to live a dignified life. According to data from District Sainik Welfare offices (DSW), at least 90 per cent of army widows live in rural areas, and are either illiterate or have minimal levels of education. This limits their employment opportunities, and in some cases, leaves them vulnerable to losing their monthly pensions to unscrupulous in-laws.
Besides Maharashtra, there are many examples where wives of martyrs joined the armed forces and inspired the entire nation not to hesitate in sacrificing themselves for the sake of mother India.