At this year’s Republic Day parade in New Delhi, the focus will shift towards celebrating ‘Nari Shakti’ (women power) and achievers at ‘Kartavya Path.’ The opening spectacle will feature a hundred talented women artists playing traditional Indian instruments. This marks departure from previous displays, which heavily emphasised military prowess, aligns with the themes of “Viksit Bharat” (Developed India) and “Bharat Loktantra Matrika” (India, mother of democracy). Notably, the emphasis on women empowerment and achievements takes precedence without diminishing the showcasing of military might.
Adding to the significance, two outstanding female officers from Kodagu will shine in the 2024 Republic Day Parade. Captain Sharanya Rao will lead the Army Wing of the Tri-Service Contingent of Women, marching proudly along the ‘Kartavya Path,’ while Punya Ponnamma will command the All-India NCC Women’s Contingent.
Sharanya Rao hails from Kukkloor village near Virajpet and is the daughter of Harish Rao, Manager of Bittangala Golf Club and Mythili Rao, a lecturer at SMS College. After completing her schooling at St. Anne’s School, she did her PUC in Cauvery College. She completed her Mechanical Engineering at Coorg Institute of Technology (CIT), Ponnampet and did her MSW in Alva’s College, Moodbidri. At present, she is serving as Captain in Kargil Sector, Jammu and Kashmir.
Capt. Sharanya Rao, an all-rounder who excelled in both academic and sports, was awarded Best Outgoing Student of CIT Award in 2018. She marked her academic excellence by being one amongst the University topper and her sports excellence by representing the University in handball and women’s hockey event.
“I am the Supernumerary Officer and will be leading the Army component of the Tri-Services contingent. It is a proud moment because, for the first time in history, a Tri-Services contingent would be marching,” she said.
Punya Ponnamma is from Madikeri and is the daughter of Circle Police Inspector Anoop Madappa and Vinita Dechamma, a lecturer at Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa College. As an NCC cadet, she has participated in several camps and displayed excellent performance. She is currently pursuing third year law studies at Christ University, Bengaluru.