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19 years old girl topped the NDA entrance exam, 1st women’s batch

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Jun 23, 2022 5:00 PM

Read Time: 2 minute

Shanan Dhaka, a resident of Rohtak in Haryana, ranked first among female candidates in the National Defence Academy entrance examination (NDA). It will be the first time that the NDA will admit women cadets to the institute.

She stood 10th in overall rankings in the NDA entrance exam result that was declared on 14 June.

As per a report, the NDA course will have 19 girl cadets which include 10 for the Army, six for the Air Force and three for the Navy. The academy has said the three-year training will be conducted in a “gender neutral” manner.

Who is Shanan Dhaka?

19 years old Shanan has studied in the Army Public Schools at Roorkee, Jaipur and Chandimandir (Panchkula). She enrolled for an undergraduate course at Lady Shri Ram College for Women in Delhi, in 2021. 

Upon hearing about the opportunity for women at NDA, she decided to apply.
She was inspired by her grandfather, Chanderbhan Dhaka, who was a Subedar, and her father, Vijay Kumar Dhaka, who retired as a Naib Subedar from the Army Service Corps.

“Growing up in cantonment areas, I saw the respect being accorded to Army officers. Plus the trust everybody has in Army personnel really motivated me to join the service. It’s an opportunity to serve the nation with unparalleled pride and honour,” she stated.

Shanan's elder sister is in the military nursing service while her younger sibling is in Class 5.

How did she prepare for the exam?

Getting in was not an easy task. Women made up 1,77,654 of the total 5,75,856 applicants. The exam was held on November 14, 2021, and women were only allowed after the Centre received a Supreme Court directive in September.

Shanan dedicated 40 days to studying for the entrance exam. She was currently living in Zirakpur, Punjab, and would study for five hours every day during that time. Her preparation included completing previous years' entrance examination papers.

The report said that for the Services Selection Board, she was mentored by Colonel Ashokan, a veteran at his Olive Greens institute, for two weeks. She also received tips from Suman Singh, a retired army officer and principal of APS Chandimandir, for the interview.

Also Read: The Defense Ministry is revising its plan to boost infrastructure development in defense services

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