On this #WomensDay, the United Nations is emphasizing the need to #PressForProgress. But a woman from Mumbai has been doing just that as well as changing perspectives for the last two decades.
Seema Rao, India’s first-ever and only commando trainer as well as a 7th-degree black belt holder in military martial arts, has been training the Indian Armed Forces for more than 20 years without charging for her services. Being a master in Jeet Kune Do and trained to be a firefighter and scuba-diver, she has earned the titles like ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Iron Woman’, ‘Super Woman’ etc.
Daughter of a freedom fighter, Rao is a certified doctor in conventional medicine. Not only is she a combat shooting instructor, she was also once a Miss India World finalist.
How did her journey start as a trainer?
Inspired by her father’s freedom struggle stories, Seema was determined to serve the nation in whatsoever capacity. According to several reports, Seema met a senior police official a few years ago who was keen to explore Seema’s unarmed combat skills. He asked her to conduct a demo with his force and later, to train them as well.
Seema trains for free as she believes that ‘honour and duty come above money’. In an interview with the Hindustan Times, she said,
“There was a time when I went totally bankrupt. I had to sell my jewellery and dissolve the fixed deposits in order to run the livelihood. For me, money comes after duty and honour.”
Here are some of her achievements:
- World Peace Award by World Peace Congress, Malaysia, awarded by the Prime Minister of Malaysia for contribution to the country in 2008
- US President’s Volunteer Service Award
- Three Army Chief Citations
- Home Minister of India Letter of Commendation in 2009 placing on record the selfless National service in the field of close quarters battle training
- A 1000 felicitations from the Indian government.
Despite undergoing several injuries, Seema hasn’t given up on her daily routine and continues to train the forces.