How “Army Wives” Are Seen As Free Labour.

The Indian Army is one of those untouchable bastions that cannot be criticized because, “Siachen me humare jawaan ladh rahe hai, but it has a long history of treating women like they’re entitled to our labour. AWWA, an NGO that officially is to have no bearing on the functioning of the army is used to pressure women into participating in norms and traditions like they’re law. How long as we expected to bear that with silence?

Written by Aarushi Ahluwalia

When I married an officer of the Indian Army, I thought nothing of it. The way I saw it, I met a man I really liked, we had twelve beers together and promptly fell in love. A few months later, he told me that he would soon be posted out of Delhi, and would have to move to another part of the country. Given that my job involved a lot of travel and a lot of working from home/trains, and very little office time, I decided to move with him and just travel to Delhi a couple of times each month. We were not married at the time, so we rented an apartment outside the cantonement, got a cat and resolved to live happily ever after. I didn’t envision that we would ever need to get married, since we already had a lease, joint expenses, pets and even a child (his son from a previous marriage). Marriage seemed redundant at that point, nor was it something I had ever planned on doing in my life, but three years after we moved in together, we did get married.

We married for a purely administrative reason. My husband is employed by the Indian Armed Forces, and he was going to get a field posting, which meant that if I were to reside with him inside a cantonement, I had to be his wife. Notwithstanding the staggering amount of control the government can exert upon a person’s decision to marry, I was okay with doing it. I do love my partner dearly, and signing some papers didn’t really mean anything to me; it had no bearing on my life whatsoever, nothing was going to change. In some ways, I was right, nothing really changed in my relationship with my family, nor was my identity influenced by the fact that I took out an ad in two papers and went to court one day (and then again one month later because the Special Marriage Act will not be denied its theatre). In some other ways, though, I was wrong. Marriage may not have changed who I am to myself, and my people, but unbeknownst to me I became, overnight, an army wife.

That term in itself is so problematic, and I refuse to use it to refer to any women who are married to army officers, at least until my husband is also referred to a “journalist husband”, but people call me that all the time, and no matter how often I check them, they see it as a childish tantrum that I will grow out of eventually. It’s not a tantrum, and there is nothing childish about it, the army denies that it has a culture sexism and sexual harassment, but it exists, and it begins with erasure. The first thing I noticed in the social environment of the army is that I have no name. I’m either “ma’am” or Mrs. “Insert Husband’s Name”. I’m supposed to think this is not a big deal, but let me tell you what happened at a Father’s Day celebration that I helped the neighborhood kids to put on one March. The children had just finished their performance and one of their fathers came to thank me for helping them. He called me Mrs. “My Husband’s Name”. I corrected him, I hadn’t changed my name after I got married, nor is my first name expected to be my husband’s name. I explained as much.

“It doesn’t matter what you say,” he said, laughing, “I’ve been in this organisation for 25-years, this is our tradition.”

“Be that as it may,” I told him because I talk like a textbook, “It is my name and your traditions don’t get to decide my name.”

Past this point in the conversation, he only addressed my husband, explaining to him that “young wives” take time to learn the ways of the organisation, and soon I would understand that my name is just Ma’am. By that point, I had already been dubbed a “problematic” woman, and I was used to this kind of discourse. The attempts to bring me in line started almost as soon as we married and I was presented with a saree, some sindoor and red bangles as a present (with no concern to the fact that I am not Hindu), and the advice to read a manual called “Married To The Olive Greens” that contains within it “guidelines” on how to behave as an army wife. Unfortunately for them, I actually read it (and they could have used a proof-reader), and then the proceeded to do as much research as I could about AWWA.

AWWA, or the Army Wives Welfare Organisation, is often called “the invisible hand” of the army, a fitting moniker, given that women are invisible to the army unless employed by it, but it is not a part of the structure of the Indian Army. In fact, in 2009, the CIC (Central Information Commission) ruled that AWWA is an NGO, and has no bearing on the running, nor is any way a part of the Indian Army. Their headquarters were shifted out of the army headquarters in Delhi, and moved to an AWWA hostel, and they clarified that they function only at the Corps level, and at lower levels, an offshoot, the Family Welfare Organisation (FWO) takes rein. Participation in AWWA or welfare activities is, on paper, purely voluntary and also on paper, has no bearing on your partner’s career. When in doubt, I believe the papers over what human beings tell me any day.

Because in reality, I was told that participation in welfare activities was mandatory, and if I didn’t do it “it would impact my husband’s career”. Welfare is a charitable word to describe the actual ongoings, because in the past three years, in the name of welfare, all I have seen is women forced to dress up in sarees, perform dances and songs, play tambola, make jewellery out of vegetables as “skill building,” conduct various festival themed prayers and one bizarre fashion show meets presentation about panchtatva that I am still recovering from. To me, this is a very accurate portrait of what the army thinks women are — creatures that like to play dress up, drink tea over gossip and engage themselves with “womanly” subjects like god, jewellery, children and housework. Not to mention that the women this “welfare” is done for are easily as qualified as any of the officer’s wives, and are just as uninterested in this theatre as the rest of us. They just cannot say it. Hell, we are not supposed to say it either. Knuckle under and pretend the social environment of the army is amazing, that’s the order of the day.

But I cannot.

When I first got married, I was asked to participate in one of these meets. They asked if there was a specific topic I would be interested in teaching, and being the eager community-builder that I am, I was happy to have a talk on women’s rights and raising children in a violent, misogynistic world. The day of the presentation I cane straight from a meeting, I was wearing a suit (as in trousers, a coat and a shirt), I thought nothing of it since the invitation said “formals” and I don’t own clothes more formal than that. I made my presentation, and it went well. The next day my husband was called into a meeting to discuss why I wasn’t in a saree. Let that sink in for a moment. The conclusion from a women’s rights seminar was that the presenter should have worn a specific garment that has been normatively mandated for women. So severe is this need to dress women as they should be dressed, that once when approached to teach yoga (because I have a long-standing practice), the question they felt really needed to be asked was: “But how will women do yoga in sarees?” That was the big concern, and the reason they decided they shouldn’t do this. They couldn’t fathom what else a woman could possibly wear.

The social backlash and conditioning is intense. Women aren’t supposed to go to the bar and ask for a drink, lest they be judged by the “senior” ladies. If they must drink, it must be brought to them by a man, and it best be wine because that is the only lady-approved drink. Men and women must socialize in separate circles, even when at the same party, and a woman engaging in conversation with a man immediately gets the reputation of being loose (and that will later be used in a case against her character should she raise complaints about someone else’s behaviour). I have personally been asked by a man twice my age who has no business in my social life, why I went out alone at night and came back at 2 AM and how my husband was okay with it. He then asked my husband when I told him his question was inappropriate.

Even if I ignore all of the social aspects of this, and chalk them up to “tradition” gone bad, there are two things I cannot ignore. Part of the worst of it is still the expectation of free labour on part of the women married to army officers and jawans. You are expected to participate in and arrange activities mandated by AWWA, and refusal to do so is met with orders being sent to you through your husband as if you are an employee of both, your partner, and the Indian Army. I am being asked to teach English lessons, and while I am perfectly capable of doing so and fairly inclined towards social service, I cannot do it for a photo-op nor can I do it for an organisation that makes a habit of soliciting free labour. This is not about me as a person, it is about the fact that if you have the money to build fountains, buy plaques six times a year, have regular fashion shows, you also have the money to hire actual teachers. The exploitation of women in the form of free labour is rampant across fields from domestic work to agriculture to labour, and yes, to the Indian army. The idea that I must possess a kindness and generosity that is lacking in men, that makes me more amenable to social work, that I must have the time to do because women don’t actually have jobs, is at its heart, a sinister notion perpetuated by people who on Facebook celebrate the strength and power of their daughters on Women’s Day. The just aren’t prepared for women to whom feminism and women’s liberty is not as much hobby or hashtag as it is a daily reality. They aren’t prepared for women who have jobs, and cannot be available to them as dolls who play dress-up in fluent English.

I suffer for it, and that’s okay, because when I decided to fight for my rights, I knew it was war and in war, you get hurt, but you don’t back down. So, i’m used to the idea that I am “modern” which means immoral, the idea that I am “problematic” which means I will call a spade a spade out loud, I’m used to the idea that I am “weird” which means that I refuse to let go of my childish ideas of equality and just while away my time on social media calling women goddesses. I’m used to all that, but the other thing I won’t get used to, is men in the army sexually harassing me. Of course the army would never agree with this, after all they are bastion of chivalry and respecting women, and they would rather draw attention to my drinking, smoking, friendships with men and low cut dresses. I have no problem admitting I do all of those things, that doesn’t change the fact that in three years I have accumulated a dozen stories of sexual harassment, and the bulk of them are about “senior” officers in the organisation. In fact, I only have two stories involving a jawan, and usually the argument they make for keeping women out of the troops is that the jawans cannot handle it. I call bullshit, it’s them, the men in ranks, who cannot handle a woman who takes charge so they use every tool available to them to keep us behaving in a way that is amenable to the organisation.

Well, no. I won’t. I won’t do it, and if I have to be the one to suffer backlash and only gain silent support from other women who are scared to speak out loud. It’s not their fault, you cannot survive speaking out against the army because “Siachen me humare jawan khade hain” and while I have nothing but respect for the martyrdom and work of our soldiers that cannot be a reason to hold others in silence. I will not rest in silence. I have no traditions, but what I do have, is an iron-clad armour of principles, and an understanding that in the wars you do not win, you die. I am fine with that. I know the intensity of the beast I am fighting, the army is just one part of the patriarchy.

…..

If you are interested in constructive solutions, I have written a follow-up post based on the immense feedback I got on this one here.

Published by thejadedpamphleteer

Women's rights activist. Journalist. Writer. Pamphleteer. Cat obsessed.

192 thoughts on “How “Army Wives” Are Seen As Free Labour.

  1. i think the issues flagge are quiet pertinent nd relvant. Thank u Arushi for hitting the nail on the head. whether the conditioned and masochistic trend of organization understands it or not is not the point. as is visible quietba few no of us here agree with u. Its a new genr and hence there has to be new ways of life. the so called traditions were made in a time when feminism existed only in Jane austens novels perhaps. but its a new genr now nd we have to be abreast with nd embrace the feminist outlook especially in a time when we are now inducting women in NDA and so many wives ar so profesionally qualified and are walking well matched paces with thier husbands. This or the new genr Offrs can bank on choosing partners who are having no profesional aspiration and identity of thier own. but where will the future of the org head in that case. its a question to ponder

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    1. I mean i:m not even talking about sexism against female officers yet, but hey, I have time to write that down too. Or we can commit to genuine systemic change and get over ourselves. Thanks for the support!

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  2. And next time you don’t like being called an armywife…just stop for a moment and think why you would say No to a paid holiday ( an LTC in army lingo), deny the 50% discount on air and train tickets. Why you would not like free treatment for a dreadful costly disease. Insist on paying the hospital bill in full. Why you would not like free tickets at museums, consolidated education for children, free bread, butter, eggs and cheese, dirtcheap movie tickets.

    It’s always Rights vs Duties madam.

    Why do you think the army spouses have these advantages?

    You need to learn a few life lessons that will make you a better person in general if not fit for the army life.

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    1. I don’t need your “perks”. I’m happy to pay for my flights, and always do. I am happy to take vacations on my dime, and I do. I don’t work for the organisation, they don’t need to give me perks. I get that you’re pissed off and you hate women like me, but right now, you’ve let your hate blind you to facts. I cannot help you. You question my personhood, you don’t even know me, and here’s the thing, I have nothing to hide. Go around in your army circle and ask people about me, see if anyone who actually knows me believes in your views of me. Unless you’re someone who knows me, hiding under a pen name, attacking me for telling the truth.

      But don’t worry, the values I was taught in life, I will still support you. You have the right to your views, and even to hate me. I don’t have to stoop to your level though, and I won’t, because I:m a hot-headed millennial.

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      1. I seriously feel bad for wasting so much time on this stupid article. You are a true journo.
        And I am Nikita Singh. Not hiding behind a pen name. Just wanted to make a mark there.
        Useless talking to you as expected.

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    2. Are you seriously criticizing her views on exploitation, based on the fact that an organization offers benefits to the spouse of the employee?

      Maybe you haven’t seen the world outside the Army. But all half decent jobs extend benefits to the spouse without expecting free labor in return.

      This is the stupidest argument I’ve read against her well written thoughts.

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  3. A friend of mine lost her husband during covid 2nd wave at a young age of 40. She begged the IT giant for which her husband was working for 15 yrs to help her with a small job or some kind of monetary help but why would the company help her? The guy is gone.

    A young officer collegue of my husband lost his life at 32….his wife was given all kind of support possible and the Indian army ( the seniors) helped her out to clear the SSB and she is an officer herslf today earning the same amount as her late husband. Do you have a match? Anywhere near?

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    1. What exactly is your point? Because the army supports widows, there can be nothing wrong with it? Is this your point? Or is your point that everything outside the army is garbage and therefore the army is beyond reproach? What is your point exactly?

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    2. I don’t know why are you comparing person of army vs civil industry. All industries have their own support eystem and job is not a responsibility of husbands organization. If the lady wouldn’t have cleared ssb and physical test then she wouldn’t have been earning. I think its purely your capability and skill based what job u do after death of hubby. Today educated ladies don’t need job from army after husbands death. They need respect while husband is alive cause…then as it is they are living a life of dead. Husband alive or not…officer wife lives a dead life under the bullying of senior ladies having no sense of leadership and management and falling prey to their enviousness, jealousy and anger

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  4. The biggest myth busted:
    In 20 yrs of my husband’s service, I have never faced this situation or heard it from anyone ( senior ladies included) that you do this or participate in ladies meet otherwise it will reflect negatively on your husband’s career. It’s an anecdote that needs to be forgotten like a tale of the olden times. If your husband is good enough, sincere and morally upright , no one can or will stop him from rising. My husband always told me ” Never think, you are doing it for me. Do it if you have time or You enjoy or if you feel like.
    Army is the only place where seniors take pride if their juniors who served under them excel unlike the civil world where people will pull you at every step.
    I also have one or two bitter experiences with senior ladies on participating in the meets but I choose to remember those who never bothered me when I was expecting, who covered me in those times and who never pushed me when I had small children, who gave me tasks I could easily do from home. I choose to remember those who cared to ask for my food cravings and send me those dishes. And those who travelled 40 kms from the unit to our brigade just to see my well being when I was full term pregnant…and those who came to gift a silvercoin to my newborn and bless him….and those who send me blankets and gas stove and crockery when I packed my stuff and the move got delayed.
    Take a few things with a pinch of salt. Count your blessings.

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    1. I don’t know, i have worked in the “civil” world my entire life, no one ever treat d me the way you imagine it works. Also you’re just trolling at this point, may I suggest you contact me with your real name and stand behind your views as the principled human being you say you are?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, you have few good experiences to bank on. Some don’t even have those. I was told to attend parties when my new born was 10 days old and I had a c section. I was told that in pregnancy when I bleeded in 6th mo th…I was given bed rest till last month…so they allowed me to not to work for AWWA all the while in pregnancy now they cannot afford to make me rest. They asked me to work else husband will be sent on TD which they did and I handled my new born alone without maid or bhaiya and without my inlaws or parents….for 3 months. Then my husband came and took me and my new born to parents place. We both never thought they would take away our entire support system just because i said my stitches are yet not healed and I cannot come to parties or fwo.

      I have scars too deep to be healed. No amout of healing is working. Unfortunately I have never seen a single senior lady supporting.

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  5. About Mrs X:
    You are called Mrs So and So because No.1. you are here because of your husband. It is his rank, his appointment. It should not get on to your head by any chance. You do not hold that rank or appointment. After coming to the Army I learned the actual meaning of ” Better half”. You are actually his better half….while he is bound by duty 24×7 , you are there to support, organize and manage the household, children and unit affairs pertaining to ladies. And it requires a ” lady” to do this job.
    A hot headed millenial who does not believe in absolutely anything can not do it.
    Reason No.2 : unlike the small, selfish corporate world , Indian army is huge…and huge means HUGE. Every unit has hundreds of men and their families. And we believe in real welfare of the families. Dancing and singing is just one lighter part of it….which is otherwise interpreted. So for the ease of management and paperwork, we address a lady by her husband’s name. If the SM informs me that “Sarita is admitted in the MH for chestpain” and ” Sarita is going through labour in the hospital ” And ” Uma is covid positive”
    ” Rashmi is on famliy way and gone for regular checkup” ……
    Imagine my state as a CO’s wife. There is a high probability that we have atleat 3 Saritas and 4 Umas and 2 Rashmis in the unit if total family members are 70-80.
    You need to read and understand about Part 2 orders and documentation of the Army wivesafter a soldier’s death, Veer naris, NOK and other things to understand these issues better. It is all a complete package.

    About Tolerance:
    I am sure you would have seen a bad bollywood movie atleast once in your lifetime that too in a PVR for a fat amount ( atleast for army officers…thanks to our inbuilt theatres). But you don’t even remember it. I am really amazed how you repent that skit on the welfare meet till now. Little bit of tolerance costs us nothing.

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    1. You are extremely intolerant, and the embodiment of everything that is wrong with this organisation. So one is not a lady unless they manage a household? Hot-headed millennials cannot do it because we are not.. ladies? Dude, for your sake, stop. You are not looking good here.

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    2. Who says we are here because of husbands rank and his position. In arranged marriage you must be thinking of boys position rank and all..but in love marriage a girl loves a guy thats it. They don’t even ponder upon what is his position rank or facilities for that matter. Girl takes pride in her career while boy takes in his. So saying you are here because of him is like saying our mother is where she is because of father. Isn’t it universal fact that spouses stay together wherever they are because they were meant to stay together? Then why consider wife as tag along lady.
      We didn’t ask our husbands to choose this profession because we wanted facility. He chose his profession then we got married. So saying that we are here because of him is utterly obnoxious.

      We are here because our heart is here and he is also with us because his heart is with us. Love is the only reason why wives are with husband. Atleast some respectful women who take pride in their own achievements and don’t see their husbands identity as their own

      And all the part 2 orders u mentioned. Darling go and tell it to OR wives. Officer wives can be counted on finger and yes there are no 3 Anjalis or 3 shwetas or 3 Nidhis in officer wives. You can call each other by name.

      You being a CO wife doesn’t give you right to show that you are more cultured and finished then those who are not.

      We can also say that you are CO’S wife because he worked hard and you did nothing. You didn’t even work or study leadership skills and peoples management. Damn you didn’t even learn nor mal human etiquette of respecting human beings let alone junior officer wives.

      So stop showing off your principles of I remember only good and nothing bad. This statement itself shows how you remember bad incidents too and you brush it under the carpet to show your grace and elegance. Internally you are equally shattered and hurt due to lack of identity. You know you are no more that wife of so and so. And yes that hurts

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  6. About wedded to the olive green:
    It is just a protocol ought to be followed. It depends how you percieve it. Nobody will force it on you. It has made many olive green ladies the most elegant and graceful. No suitclad corporate lady can beat the charm and elegance of a saree draped armywife.( my personal view but believed by many).
    First you have to accept that you are a part of this organization, only then will you understand the grace, charm and beauty of being an armywife. Acceptance is the key.
    You can not be too calculative and objective here. It’s about adjustments, inclusions, warmth, accomodating, accepting, sacrificing, supporting and welcomming.
    Politics, bitching, back biting etc are a part of each and every profession. So pls do not link them to Army per se. Corporates, media houses and other professions are worse as far as the place and safety of women is concerned.

    Actually your articles are so hateful and shallow that they don’t deserve any comments because they show ur intolerance for anything that does not give you money, pleasure, recognition etc…. but there should be someone to show you the mirror that girl….you are not the only one. It’s being said by many before this. But either they realize their mistakes late in life or start enjoying the army life sooner or later.
    Do not attempt to belittle the sanctity of the Indian Army. You don’t belong here.

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    1. Madam if my articles deserve no comments then why are you spamming me? Like seriously. Also shallow and hateful? Like, my key principle is tolerance, in life and in my writing. Nuance and genuine though, not reactive emotional vitriol. I would suggest, looking in a mirror.

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  7. I read your other article in which you say how u want to refuse to be an army wife but it seems you deleted that one. Anyways your articles are really shortsighted and misleading and do not deserve a read or reaction but it feels bad if a person has a 360° view of a simple thing and more than that it worries me if your kind of people mislead the next generation. We are a deep rooted organization who believe in grooming not creating misconceptions.
    So here is my pointwise analysis of every problem mentioned by you….
    Just because you are a misfit, don’t debunk or let down the whole army fraternity.
    We are a deep rooted traditionally inclined system and our structure very much matches the structure of an Indian family.
    Looking at your background with all due respect it seems being rebel is your very nature.

    About Compassion and warmth:
    I’ll tell you a small incident so that you can understand that there is a sunny side too…. once my son got pneumonia and was admitted in the MH. My husband was very busy and we could not communicate with each other about this…it was 12 yrs back in remote northeast. But I could convey it to one of the officer in the unit and I immediately got the vehicle and a man to help me commute safely to the hospital. All the unit ladies got together and came to visit us in the hospital before my husband could come. They sat with me, morally supported me, fed me, gave me a break by sitting with my son who was admitted.When my hubby reached home he got so many tiffins for lunch that he got confused what’s going on…Even after the discharge, tiffins kept pouring in…I could not even talk or thank them….seriously speaking din’t even know who all were sending what….but that’s the way we care for each other. You go to the civil world and people will shut doors on you. Even if you are found dead , your neighbour will not know. Your problem is just your problem.

    About Identity Crisis:
    I belong to central India and in our traditional Rajput families a girl when gets married into a family is given a new name( surname change is common)…..
    Many old grannies, Tais and kakis don’t even call the daughter in law by name. They would address ” So and So ki dulhan” or ” So and So ki bahu” even after 10 yrs of your marriage. That’s not identity crisis….That’s love.
    There are senior ladies at home also and if you believe in familial structure, you have to obey them sometimes to maintain peace at home. It does not take away anything from your reputed “own self”.
    It’s called inclusion….you have to be little accomodating in life. It makes you more sensible and makes life uncomplicated.
    And just because you have a tough one does not mean, all mother in laws are cruel!
    There is a certain heirarchy at home also specially in joint family structures but do we fight them all the time or just accept that each member of the family, with age and experience has his/ her own place.

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    1. Yeah change my name, that’s love, and I am the one that is short-sighted? I didn’t delete any writing, you can find it easily on my website, i stand behind all my work, because principles. I shit on no PEOPLE, only regressive, ideologies, that’s very different from your values and the values of your community where malice is allowed if you don’t like someone or their opinion. By your comments, you and your fraternity, have really showed your moral standing and ugly insides.

      Also, please, I am from the “civil” world. There are helpful people everywhere. To this day I am yet to live in a neighbour where I didn’t help my neighbours and they didn’t help me. Get over yourselves.

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      1. I think the person who really need to get over herself is you …you are so uneducated, ( mere degrees Don’t make you educated, your deeds does) and if you had so much problem with the army ..why the hell you married one ? You were happy na ,staying in live in ? Why you wanted to stay in cantt ,when your husband went on field duty ? I will tell you ,why ..because your hypocrite soul wanted all the advantages which comes with being an army wife , and clearly you have a problem with people giving you respect ( being called ma’am is a sign of respect, ) which you are never going to understand, please get over your self pity …

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      2. No, I didn’t need any of the perks. I love my partner, I didn’t want to be away from him, so I married him. Will you shit on me now for being in love? You guys can keep attacking me, but really it’s your malice that’s showing. Your inability to digest anyone who has a different experience with and view of the army is really what this whole post is about, so I suppose, thank you for coming in here and proving my point.

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    2. I think the person who really need to get over herself is you …you are so uneducated, ( mere degrees Don’t make you educated, your deeds does) and if you had so much problem with the army ..why the hell you married one ? You were happy na ,staying in live in ? Why you wanted to stay in cantt ,when your husband went on field duty ? I will tell you ,why ..because your hypocrite soul wanted all the advantages which comes with being an army wife , and clearly you have a problem with people giving you respect ( being called ma’am is a sign of respect, ) which you are never going to understand, please get over your self pity …

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    3. Which civil world are you referring to when u said they wont find even if u r dead. I am from civil background and when my daughter was sick, our neighbour in absence of my father had taken me and my daughter to hospital. My neighbours in Denmark got me food every single day when I came back from. Office.
      I was fed by my colleagues from office for 3 months when my ankle was sprained and I couldn’t recover.
      I was helped by so called civilian doctor by a visit at home when I had severe headache.
      So I dont know if you have good relations in civil world or not but we do have good relations outside and they are really helpful plus they don’t belittle us and body shame us. Also don’t expect us to dance in their baraat or work in their functions. We have a freedom outside. Freedom of speech and action which is absent in Army because of your biased views.
      You are from rajput family so tolerance is natural and we the ones who tolerated yelling of senior offr wife.. cried alot in washroom…went through panic attacks and didn’t tell husband because he had his exams…supported him in his all exams by quietly tolerating insults of senior wives…are intolerant????
      We lived on border in 1 Barack room…along with new born with no support of bhaiya or maid are intolerant???

      Grow up lady. Come out of bubble and see the world. May be then your virtues will have 360 degree view

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  8. Arushi,

    You’ve got it absolutely bang on. My wife experienced something very similar to you when she married me. The fact that she was (and is) an accomplished woman in her own right, is at the very top of her game in her field and did not sit idly at home was for some reason, inconceivable. I also love how the “ladies” organizing them are experts in whatever they are organizing. I remember an activity when the “senior most” wife was “presiding” over a meet which had involved medical examinations. Everyone was supposed to show the results to her and get comments on what corrective action to take! That too, when a qualified doctor was present in the house!! I’ll never forget the one time my wife asked, what was the need to make candles at a family welfare meet, when you could quite literally buy them from absolutely anywhere?

    Anyway, kudos to you for saying it as it is. More power to you.

    Best Wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well everyone has an opinion and so does you.
      Regarding free labour, unit is a family n everyone needs to work together to create something. Officers alone can’t do that’s why we come in the picture. Army has its own tradition and most of the things you have mentioned is not true. Like we are not offered drinks, well we can have any drink we like and an officer is addressed to do that for you..not to demean you as a woman but it happens in the royal society as well. No queen n princess walks to get her things. Everything is brought to her.

      Next thing, wearing saree, fir school me uniform bhi band kr do. Evry place has its own decorum. One needs to understand that.

      Taking part in unit activities you are always asked if you can contribute something. No one is keeping any sword on your neck.

      You must have had bad experience but that cannot be a generalized.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. School children and army wives are the same thing to you? Like, you don’t see the issue here? I don’t work for the army, school children are enrolled in their school. This is not the same thing. Seriously, aap log school me analytical thinking nahi karte the kya?

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  9. Whatever you have written arushi is total crap , no one forces anyone to do activities and welfare ,we do it by our own choice, I have always felt respected,loved,pampered by the army ,I have met senior ladies who have been an absolute darlings , being feminist is right but being seudo feminist is just wrong , Army wives is an emotion ,it’s what we are ,you are married to an army officer ..you are an Army wife ..aren’t you ? And there are ladies who are very highly educated and they are content and happy here, And mind you , We ladies are each other’s support, when husband goes on field .. how much frustrated are you ? To demean a organization who gives their ladies utmost respect…you won’t understand,

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    1. I’m happy that you have always felt loved, pampered and respected, i haven’t. Nor have the hundreds of women who have shared here and reached out to me. I will respect your experience, and allow you the right to your views based on it, but you cannot give us that. Who is the pseudo-feminist here?

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      1. Have to agree with all the points, especially as I have seen these organisations from both the sides..as an officer and an officer’s wife. Except of course I was never presented with saree and sindoor and didn’t have to stick to wine. But that did raise some eyebrows 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Aarushi…so aptly put…i too had similar experiences…had to leave a 3 month old baby back home for attending parties…and no marks for guessing..my husband didn’t get promoted…Thank God we are coming out…What a harrowing experience… Service to Nation should not look like this as if it’s a punishment…And Thank God that I had a highly supportive parents and husband and I’m from a upper middle classs family… really pity those ladies who come from lower strata of society and have no option but to just play along…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah they love to pretend that we must do all of this because the soldiers, the soldiers, the soldiers… Unfortunately, we have all seen how soldiers are actually treated by senior members of the organisation. I have personally had a soldier cry in front of me because the officer whose buddy he was shook him, grabbed him and shook him, while in the middle of a fight with his wife, and then the soldier was reprimanded. What about his family? Do they get to complain? The hypocrisy, the convenience of this argument is foul, you fire on the backs of soldiers, just so you can continue to shoot down anyone who can criticises you.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Your husband wasnt promoted not because of you, it was because of his own incompetence. And if you thought that you attending “parties” will get your husband a promotion then it’s good that your husband wasnt promoted , coz god only knows that how low his thinking could’ve taken him. Secondly your upper middle class status isn’t able to hide your poor mentality. The awwa exists to help women rights. How many cases have you addressed of the wives of troops under your husbands command , wherein they were denied ther marital rights. So just because you are too uppity up , doesn’t mean the organisation is wrong

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There can not be smoke without fire..isn’t it? The very fact that many ladies are speaking up means there is a problem…and accept it at the first place…what do you know about what I went through? Now coming to welfare of wives of troops..yes of course, that was one of the primary reasons why someone thought of starting this thing…I have never contested it’s requirement or existence…but it’s the implementation part, that everyone is talking about friend… you seem to be confused and in denial mode 😀…my point is that something that was started as welfare measure must remain like that…and not a career impediment…!!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Aarushi…so well aptly put…I too had such similar experiences…was supposed to attend parties leaving a 3 month old baby at home….and no marks for guessing…my husband was not promoted… feeling I wasted my 12 years but thank God we are coming out…what a harrowing experience…Service to Nation should not look like this…as if it’s a punishment…Thank God I had highly supportive parents and my husband… we are from a upper middle family..those ladies from lower strata of society just have no other way out….pity them..

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  12. Good blog. Aptly summarized about Army. I must say, me and my spouse were lucky being in blues due to not so stiff culture in Airforce. In fact I had a luxury of responsible and rational wives of my seniors barring a couple of them. But I must say part of your ordeal is common to blues and whites too. Let’s hope for the best that this institution grows and adapt to changing times and requirements. Regards

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “Be the Change You wish to See in the World”
    Mahatma Gandhi

    First of all compliments for ur writing, your professional acumen and natural flair for writing is apparent in your flow of thoughts.

    I agree with many points and the org needs to evolve and its evolving also, however a lot is required.

    A general has put in around 30 yrs of service and his wife might be around 25 yrs married to him now, so when she joined her husband and learnt the ways, means and ethos of org and now when she expects similar things, there is a generational gap in thought process (Also take into account the tremendous progress and modernisation happened in our country after 1991). So expectations and environment aspirations are at logger heads though covertly only as career of husband may get on stake in this extremely steep pyramidal org structure.

    However, the new generation have realised this core issue and working towards improving the org with open mind and reshaping the working culture of family welfare centres
    with basic premise that welfare is command responsibility and not ladies responsibility
    and basic agenda and noble thought for which fwc had been set up should be met.

    We(‘I’) are improving our system from our posn wherever we are with a belief that something worthwhile as commanders we can give to our families is a Happy Environment.

    And I am sure you must also be contributing to the benefit of the org(families/humans) in whatever way you can from wherever you can.

    Change begins with us and we are changing as per changed socio-economic milieu though might be slowly compared to corporate world 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Aarushi Ji,
    Well made points, keep hustling and writing more such content, it’s good for the organization. The Indian military specially the Indian Army is afflicted with a lot of colonial diseases and also in their perpetuation to a variety of colonial problems which the Officers especially the higher ranks are unwilling to address because of again the traditions and also because they are not high enough in the priorities and everyone is afraid of rocking the boat. The failure to solve these problems and have a cultural evolution has led the grievances now coming out, whether it’s the sophisticated blogs like yours or through other social media.

    People like you are needed and it is a blessing in my opinion as it will be voices like yours which will eventually lead to change. It won’t happen in a year or 2 years but definitely there will be substantial progress in the coming 15 years as the old generations give way to the 90s officers. Bash on regardless for the Army needs sane voices like yours which will steer it towardsa a pragmatic and more egalitarian and decolonial outlook. And when history is written I for one will remember that Arushi Ahluwalia was one of the voices who was at the forefront of it.

    Just one thing, don’t give in to the pressure and maintain balance like you have in this article and write keeping in mind the changes the organization can tolerate at this point in history and leave the rest for the next generation otherwise there is a tendency to reject everything all at once by slow to move organisation’s like the Military.
    Jai Hind Jai Bharat.

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    1. Sir/ Madam…no change will take place in the next 15 years…the current selection system ensures only ladies who have worked like free labour are promoted…so she will also ensure that only the husband’s of those free labour are promoted irrespective of his competency…this is a first person’s account having gone through it personally…I’m happy I’m junking this archaic culture after a painful 12 years…

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  15. Sir, in 2004 I had taken up the matter of AWWA up to CIC. Lots of persuasion and pressure was put on me to withdraw the petition. AWWA was started in 1966 by Gen J N Chaudhuri. It was registered as a society under the Society Registration Act of Delhi for the welfare of the troops. It was only up to the level of Command headquarters. Later on to accommodate wife of Chief of Army Staff’s wife it was created at Army headquarters. My cross examination was based on the following points:
    1. If it is a private Society, how come it’s office is located on South Block? No answer.
    2. How come a serving officer is appointed as a SO of a private society. CIC questioned the Maj General how can you send the serving official to private society.? No Answer.
    3. What is the source of funding? No answer. It was clear that CSD gives the portion of profit to AWWA in addition to other unofficial transfers.
    4.When asked about the number of Presidents this association had? Answer was President at every level up to Division level. ?
    5. What was the status? Answer was it is a voluntary organization.?
    CIC was shocked to listen to all these justifications and passed an order that it is a private body and has got nothing to do with Indian Army .

    The name was changed to Family welfare centre but later on with the passage of time it was renamed as AWWA.
    The purpose is to accommodate the senior officers wives. To ensure that as officials of AWWA they can travel in service aircraft’s or lower formations can bear their expenses.
    This organisation is looking after the matrimonial disputes. It is shocking that a delicate issue of family matters is handled by totally unqualified and unprofessional Lady Presidents of AWWA. ninety percent cases they spoil it to such a level that neither the divorce is given nor the couple stays happily. It is more like telling a Langari to fire the T72 gun.
    If AWWA officials were not treated as officials of Indian Army, In reality that is the actual legal status, Mrs Rawat wife of CDS could have survived.
    The aim and purpose of this organisation but the Cestoda interest of few have changed it into an organisation. Which has created a parallel hierarchy in the Army. It has sealed the career of number of officers. It is surprising that when the young wives are professionals and highly competent and educated, it is unfortunate that they have to take care of these self styled Presidents who have no legal basis as per the Army Law. This organisation should be banned in principle to protect the professionalism of the Indian Army.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Here to attest that I have had the same experiences.

    – Being called Mrs.xyz even as my voice goes hoarse explaining the difference between Mrs.,Ms., and Miss a million times.
    – CO’s wife sternly threatening with “there will be consequences” for those who do not “volunteer” or adhere to the strict mandates of contribution and dress code.
    – Sexual harassment.
    – Being judged for smoking, drinking whisky and being the “intelligent/troublesome” one.
    List goes on.

    Kudos! Very well written. Thank you for speaking up.

    To all the people, mostly men, out here invalidating her experience, stop looking at it as a personal attack or an attack on the services. There are problems to be addressed here. Here’s a voice telling you these problems exist. Not that you didn’t already know. You’re just not prepared for a wave of women currently playing ostrich realizing what’s happening is wrong. Or to have the public learn about the services in its entirety. Flaws and all. And the experiences of the women it so benevolently claims to ‘respect’.

    Phbbbbbt.

    There will be more and more voices speaking up.

    Change is inevitable.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Well being a serving officer’s wife and a business woman I do relate to the writer. However I have experienced both dumb and good for nothing gossip gangs of senior officer’s wives who thinks there is no world beyond these ladies meets and mess parties and tremendously talented & productive senior officer’s wife. So, generalising all senior officers’ wives is unfair. But I strongly feel it is inappropriate and unethical to use defence resources for meets of such NGOs just because it is formed by officers’ wives. These organisations definitely lacks a lot in terms of functionality and has huge scope of rectification.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Well being an officer’s wife and a business woman I do relate to the writer. However I have experienced both dumb and good for nothing gossip gangs of senior officer’s wives who thinks there is no world beyond these ladies meets and mess parties and tremendously talented & productive senior officer’s wife. So, generalising all senior officers’ wives is unfair. But I strongly feel it is inappropriate and unethical to use defence resources for meets of such NGOs just because it is formed by officers’ wives. These organisations definitely lacks a lot in terms of functionality and has huge scope of rectification.

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  19. Let me start with a disclaimer. Having first worn the olive greens almost 25 years back (I will count my military school upbringing, s’il vous plaît) and growing up believing in the romance of the military, it was a very difficult read. It’s never easy to listen to criticism of an organisation you love.

    But it is the love that helps you recognise that it isn’t the entirety of the organisation being criticised. That there is a lot within that needs to improve. Our obsession with traditions might be cute/sweet on some levels, but ‘first, do no harm’. It can’t be at the expense of internalising a culture of patriarchy.

    So traditions need to evolve, to grow with the times, to realise how blinded we were to those within our midst whom we reduced to “& Mrs”-es and snatched away their identity. All we need is a little empathy to recognise how we have been ignoring all that was brought out.

    Maybe then we can be less belligerent in trying to defend the organisation; and recognise how much of the Chetwode Code and the spirit of the fauj is being diluted by behaving like sycophants and chasing our careers (while ignoring the pursuit of all that is true and right).

    Thank you Ms. Aarushi Ahluwalia. More power to you and others who aren’t scared to call a spade a spade, and thank you for teaching us how to be better and more woke.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. We have always been wary of discussing problems:-
    1. Whether it is a “point” given by a jawan in sainik sammelan; or
    2. An adverse feedback given by a student officer after a course; or
    3. A spouse highlighting issues faced in the organisation.

    People try to brush off issues with “you do not understand” or “you are not mature enough” or worse yet : “these are our traditions”

    To such people I would like to say – the very fact that so many people are talking about it, means that THERE IS A PROBLEM. Denying the same will never solve it, only increase it further.

    It is high time to introspect and change our mindset in sync with modern social structures and sensibilities.
    Oh, and please stop judging the likes of Ms Ahluwalia, for God’s sake.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A mild rebuttal

    When you consider that article from a soldier’s perspective, and clearly it would be difficult for me to do otherwise, it’s an oddity.
    The writer knows her Wren & Martin and is in a position of power and yet, presents one extreme end of the spectrum. How I wish that she paid heed to that old soldier, referred in her article, before picking up the powerful pen!

    Consider this.

    Soldiers are just about the hardiest bunch of humans on Earth, but among the least ambitious. We will be happy enough in Jabalpur, but thrive in environments which other humans despise. On blowy mountaintops, desert wastelands and humid rainforests. And like most things that thrive in harsh environments, we are not ambitious. Atleast when compared to journos!

    Other humans are inclined to feel that life must have a point. There should be plans and aspirations and desires and that, humans should take constant advantages of all the intoxicating existence we have been endowed with. Always a bang for the buck. Every ounce of work should be measurable, accountable and paid for.

    Our minds don’t work that way.
    Memsaab doesn’t like to be called ma’am, has a different notion of ‘formal dress’, enjoys her drink, wants to be paid for AWWA activities- these are non-issues which confuses the soldier.

    Here’s a simple equation of work expected from Hubby.
    Officers serve soldiers and hubby is an officer = Hubby serves soldiers.

    Yes, I agree. That this rebuttal is an over simplification. But that exactly my point. “Keep it simple stupid” – for the sake of your Hubby’s command. Wood for forest?

    And really if you want to dig deeper, the answers to your questions have been attempted by writers far more gifted, endowed and recognized. Time to read some.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely agree with you, this environment has given us a Vikram Batra, a Manekshaw…gratitude is forgotten when it comes to social events like AWWA and mess functions? The army doesn’t require AWWA to run it, it runs on traditions and a way of life you’re groomed for.

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  22. Hello Mrs Aarushi, I am an air force officer and I think the root cause of this problem is the way people in army think about career progression. I have seen that army officers are too much bothered about their career progression and they are ready to go to any extent to impress their seniors. So one odd officer who is not like others is seen as problematic. That problem is not there in air force because everybody is problematic. By problematic i mean, they don’t give undue respect to seniors in IAF. There is no herd mentality in IAF. Nobody can ask my wife to attend any function or participate in any funny event or dress up in a funny manner or even address her the way she doesn’t want to be addressed. This is all possible because we Air force officers don’t let it happen. No matter what seniors say, we say that sorry sir my wife don’t want to attend AFWWA meet or wife is not available for some stupid picnic. It’s OKAY in air force. Even our wives wear anything they want to wear. They do whatever they want to or don’t do what they don’t want to do because we husband stand up for it, fight for it even at the cost of being called a black sheep. There are no binding rules for any lady in IAF as they are not part of organisation. Infact we call our ladies by their first names only depending upon their comfort level.

    The point i want to bring out is that, AFWWA is also doing welfare but not at the cost of taking away Liberty of people. So it all depends upon how we as officers stand up against the ill practices of welfare organisation and make the best utilisation of it.

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    1. Thank you for reading. I am really not aware of the social environment of the air force so I cannot comment about that, would really like to avoid putting my foot in my mouth.

      And I see your point, but may i share what’s a little problematic about it? Not about you, but the idea itself, it’s a bit condescending that I cannot stand up for myself and require a man to cover for me. I don’t deny that is exactly the right solution right now because a lot of women, a lot, friends of mine and older women, don’t resist because of their husbands and if their husbands supported them, they wouldn’t have to do any of this, and they wouldn’t do it either, but they don’t, because as you aptly pointed out, career progression, but a woman should be able to say no by herself, and not have to face repercussions for it. That’s what consent culture is really about. I have a very supportive partner, he doesn’t speak for me, and he would never ask me to do anything I don’t want to do and he always ensures that any conversation about me happens with me, but I had to ensure that it was visible that it was me fighting for myself, that’s where true agency comes from, and I wish more women could do that. I don’t begrudge them, because I am incredibly privileged to be able to speak this way, I just envision a world where this is possible.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very nice idea Mrs Aarushi, but to begin with we can expect the husbands to stand up for their wives and i hope eventually there will be a world which you envisioned and now I also envision.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. My experiences are similar to that of Aarushi’s. And yes my partner works for the Air Force. It may not be as hardlined as the Army, but the Air force too shares the flaws.

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  23. This is brilliantly written. Each word. More power to the author!
    I have seen this org for decades and it just got bad to worse with years. No woman with an iota of self respect can survive the utter BS of AWWA.
    They need to get rid of AWWA before these women train their men in “chuglis”. Men in uniform sitting in their office and discussing whose wife did what/wore what in last night’s party is shameful. They need to include an additional course in all the academies, teaching them to focus on their job and not micromanage the women “stuck” with army. Or a course on how to face an enraged woman, even gods won’t save your ranks and your stars from that.

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    1. Thanks for saying it buddy. I mean, a whole bunch of people are telling me about the vitriol so called “senior officers” are saying about me in their WhatsApp groups, and somehow they do not see that by doing it, they’re proving exactly what I am alleging. Is this what the army is now? Just gossip and woman-shaming. On the plus side literally hundreds of army women have reached out in support, that’s wonderful, and I am eternally grateful.

      Thank you for your support.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it is pretty much that, gossips and judging a “lady”. They do not understand calling someone “ma’am” doesn’t mean you respect them. It’s a vibe, you can’t fake it. And you know the worst part? It’s when the CO calls your husband to their office, lecture them how “his” woman should behave, and then your husband comes home to tell you about it (my boss would never discuss my husband at a work meeting btw, that’s creepy in corporate world!) And then your husband tells you that there’s a party at the same CO’s place, where we “have to” go and behave as if nothing happened! Be presentable and lively. The amount of negativity, fake greetings and smiles, judging, gossips, unthinkable. The Chinese must be thinking this is Indian army’s superpower lol. How will we defeat them at the time of a war? Chugli kar kar k 😂

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  24. Hi, Interesting article, fairly accurate but at times appeared to be leaning towards Army bashing in general.
    You raised many points, some fairly accurate but some were probably based on episodic events which do not hold good as the standard norm across the org.
    Let’s take the aspect of how to address a lady. Referring to a lady by using the (presumably) acquired family name is a global norm. However, the armed forces traditionally give the prerogative of how to be addressed, to the lady herself. If she wants to be addressed by her first name, she can say so and the same is generally accepted. However, suo motto, a gentleman does not take the liberty of calling a lady by her first name as it reflects a degree of familiarity that some ladies may not be comfortable with. Please understand that we have people joining this melting pot from all walks and strata of society.
    As regards financial remuneration for services offered in thewelfare associations. Again in most cases (at least based on my recent experiences), this is happening, albeit on a notional level. This is largely because, the org is not a “for profit” enterprise. In fact, in many places, the org offers the Spouses a platform to establish their own Startup. There are many success stories who owe their achievements to the opportunities that they got through these welfare associations.
    Yes, there are as many examples of the type you described but while analyzing any org, one should not broad brush everyone with the same yardstick. There are numerous examples, where marriages have been saved due timely counselling, relationships have been built and tragedies have been surmounted due to a supportive environment.
    While I’ll not aim to counter each and every point you raised (as I said, I agree with many) but I’ll conclude by saying that probably you have had a raw deal and unfortunately, because of the experience, you have such a negative opinion.
    The welfare associations may not be the most democratic or efficient organizations but for the work that they do, they are very much needed.

    Similarly, the armed forces project a way of life……not everything is perfect and YES, there is a fair scope for improvement……but still its a great organization, where ladies are very much respected and accepted in the way they are. As in any joint family, there are some norms and expectations ; well one needs to first understand their rationale and then abide by them. That’s how communities flourish, not by following the “my way or the highway” style…..

    My two Anna bit…..

    Warm regards

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not have a “negative” opinion. See, if you had a good experience and you share you opinion, is that an opinion or a positive opinion? I shared my experience, personal, for sure, but I investigate every woman i meet with regard to her experience, and a lot of mine is the norm. The sheer apathy in the social rungs of the army is astounding. While I agree that some of the things are episodic and maybe not the norm, the refusal to admit the lived experience of one woman over the opinion of a man is rampant. My opinion is evidence based. And finally, exactly one person has ever respected my wish to call me by my name, you are definitely wrong about this.

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  25. Hi Aarushi
    First of all compliments on writing such a beautiful article.. I can very well feel your anger on system .. I have been a part of it .. tried , complained to the highest level and in the end failed 😞
    May god give u more power to fight against such self loved empty vessels .. In army more than these officers their wives are problematic .. reason they themselves have never achieved any identity of their own and they can’t accept an outgoing independent women ..
    Don’t know from where such thing started and where it will end !!!!

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  26. On lighter side.. In one welfare/AWWA event in a station things went all wrong. Pathetic organization by the unit responsible for that event. The GOC’s wife admonished the JCO in charge of that unit n said “Bhagwaan bharose chal rahi hai aapki unit. Bata dena exact yahi words CO saab ko ki GOC madam me bola hai” ..

    The JCO didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news but also knew he had to tell the CO the message. So he told the CO afterwards “Saab GOC saab ki madam ne bola hai aap bhagwan hain. Aapke kripa se unit chal rahi hai”..

    Next evening in a Mess party the GOC’s wife asked the said CO “Did your JCO tell you something” .. he said “yes ma’am thankyou” thankfully nothing more was spoken on the issue and apart from the said GOC’s wife n CO the entire station knew what had actually transpired.

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  27. Dear Aarushi Ahluwalia,

    I’m a middle rung officer in this great organisation called Army. Your comments are hard hitting and uncomfortable to hear. But only the one who wears the shoe knows where it pinches.

    I for one will keep the issues raised by you in mind, in whatever way one can, to change how we do things.

    BTW, your fluid writing style and expressions were thoroughly enjoyable! Compliments.

    Cheers and best wishes.

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  28. But why on earth would they call you Mrs Husband’s Name? Is your husband Major/Colonel Husband’s Name? I have heard of a Captain Francis Younghusband, way back in 19th century.

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  29. I retired in 2018 but not sure how much AWWA has changed over time. The intentions of the organisation look good.The strength of AWWA will remain in its purity as an NGO
    governed by independent charter of norms rules and culture.
    frequent influence by local commanders may usurp the very need of AWWA.
    long term vision, progresive mindset and strong decentralisation are the need for its position.
    I have several points to accept some to deny
    here (I have experience of running computer based training for ladies and families which was forward looking years back)…
    I wish and pray this organisation grows to keep men and women in uniform and thier families United..in the world which is progresive..with each passing day.
    SOPs and norms need frequently be revised.
    feeling unfortunate also to read some comments.
    Jai hind

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  30. Very well written Mrs Aarushi. I must appreciate the efforts and thoughts which are actually true have been brought very specifically.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Dear Ms Aarushi Ahluwalia,

    1. Congratulations! U beautifully expressed d sad reality of the organisation. Treating a lady like an objectas if she doesn’t ve a voice or identity is no welfare. Presently, AWWA serves to just provides a red carpet treatment and sycophantic treatment for senior officers wives whose kids have grown up and have enough staff at home to look after them. They forget dat other ladies have young children to b fed, helped in home work and also who need attn of their mothers who r forced to attend d welfare(?) events putting on an artificial fake smile and dressed up in a Saree without caring whether d lady is comfortable or not.

    2. If d husband is working for d org does dat mean d lady be forced to participate in these nonsensical events? At one point we call it welfare and connect it to women empowerment and at d same time frown upon the ladies who want to pursue their career or studies.

    3. Totally agree with d point that we ve enough funds for beautification of gardens and roads with backlit poster boards which fade within 6 months and have recurring maintainence costs and at the same time dont want to spend to hire professional teachers.

    4. What welfare aims are achieved by making rangoli, organising fashion shows, hair styles, dressing up in monsoon theme, hawaaian or any other bullshit theme?

    5. Who said only saree is a national dress, whats wrong with salvar suits, lounge suits, churridars or plazzo? Let d voluntary participants wear wat they feel comfortable and confident in.

    6. Since it is an NGO and participation is voluntary then for God’s sake please don’t hold grudges against a lady who writes “not attending” in the circular.

    7. Finally, please stop treating senior offr’s wife as senior lady or first lady. Too much of flattering which serves no purpose.

    8. May good sense prevail and we evolve rather than continuing d things we disliked at some pt of time coz now it sounds logical as ur wife is now wearjng d crown of d so called senior lady or first lady.

    Warm Regards.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Being an Army Officer and having seen the crap first hand, I totally agree with the views of the author. While the COAS has officially filed an affidavit before court that AWWA is a NGO, yet Army Officers on active payroll are posted to the organization. I believe the purpose of all the welfare bullshit going around is to give ego ride to senior ladies. While I do not mean that all of them are egoistic, but one must see their behavior in general during such events. They behave more like Empress Victoria and less like a lady. It’s high time we completely stop this bullshit. Who needs to learn candle making and sewing in this Era of Amazon.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ohk Aarushi.
        Now suggest a new model if it’s easy to find and you are wise enough to understand the requirements of the organisation.
        I think your research will see some light..
        And you will be given enough popularity automatically and you will.not have to shout your name to prove..
        Let’s get the other colleagues of yours who are also in your party to help you in right direction than to be fence sitter and just contributing nthng..
        Wish you all the best..

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    1. So dear Sierra how did you contribute.
      Were you exceptional in any field to justify the job you did.
      Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you will write any stuff.
      Look inward buddy.
      Dnt be so disloyal to the organisation you someday were dyng to join. And may be your incompetence didn’t see you through so now let’s be critique. Typically disgruntled views.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Very well written Arushi ji, agree with you that the entire system requires a major overhaul, especially AWWA and many others.

    But slight disagreement on its root cause. In my opinion the root cause in all faultlines of this org is ITS CONTINUATION AND FURTHER PROMOTION OF THE COLONIAL MINDSET DEEPLY INGRAINED INTO US BY OUR COLONIAL MASTERS DECADES AGO. WE MIGHT HAVE GOT RID OF BRITISH PEOPLE BUT NOT THE MINDSET THEY IMPRINTED DEEP IN OUR CONCIOUS. This inherent colonialism in org is the cause behind existing and further deepening class divides – Offrs vs Jawans , Senior officers vs Junior officers, lady officers vs Men officers, Short service vs Permanent commission, Men vs Ladies , Offrs wives vs PBOR wives. I mean how many classes we have been divided into. These divides were just within org. If see our country today how many classes are we being divided into –
    Hindu vs Muslims
    Upper castes vs Lower castes
    Men vs women vs transgenders
    Regional classes
    Linguistic classes
    And so on and on and on.

    We need to de Clutter ourselves from this colonial hangovers. Which had very shrewdly successfully and smartly via education system, media, govt, beauracracy, armed forces.

    One of the many reasons why INA was not re instated in post independence Armed forces because it would have begun the end of gender based class distinction as in INA women and men were active shoulder to shoulder in combat as well as support elements, which was a serios no no in British Indian army and would have been a major blow to colonial conscious of then armed forces.

    So I am with you Arushi Ji, but I would rather suggest you to hit the root cause of the entire problem , rather than cutting just a branch of it.

    Having us bitterly divided on various classlines is the ultimate colonial objective. Let’s us unite and correct the entire basis of this faultlines rather fighting aloof battles on various fronts.

    A fellow Countrymen of yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would be looking forward to your opinion in this regard, and would love to be part of your course correction measures for this organization of ours.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t disagree that the colonial mindset has a lot to do with the practises of the army today, and it’s strange because this bastion of nationalism should have been the first to abandon the imperial ways. The first thing you have to do is eliminate tradition that no longer has a root for you, like English dinners or ceremonies. That being said we cannot fully exonerate ourselves, we have been independent for 75-years, we do have a part in perpetuating the divide between people. In terms of religion, I will say, I see less divide in the army that I do outside it, but in terms of gender, it’s very bad here.

        Here are some things you can actually do on a day-to-day basis:
        – Ask women what they do, who they are instead of who they are married to.
        – Stop mandating activities for women.
        – Eliminate dress codes for women who are not employed by the army.
        – Address women as they request, not as you want.
        – Stop the culture of hierarchy among women.
        – Use the resources of AWWA to support women who have been victims of domestic violence or abuse within the army, and stop denying that it happens.
        – Sensitize you service providers (like doctors) to gender bias (because I had a terrible experience with an army gynaecologist, I literally left his office crying).

        Liked by 1 person

  34. Dear Aarushi
    “ as u liked to be addressed”
    Most of the views given by you are biased in nature and narrates only one side of story.
    In which org sexual harassment don’t exist
    I think in army the rates are quite low.
    As far as women empowerment is concerned, wearing a lounge suit doesn’t empower a women.
    I agree with u that AWWA may not be able to do the job it is supposed to do but obviously funds earmarked for beautification of the cantonment can not be given for that, then u won’t like to stay inside them.
    Still 90 percent of the ladies or army wives comes from semi urban environment and may not like your ways of living life but u cannot impose your thoughts upon an organisation which has evolved itself over the years.
    Problems are many, but just deny everything good about and organisation and start bashing it with ur pseudo liberal ideas is not in order.
    Sorry to give my opinion in this way but let be tell u, now i have spent almost 22 years in army, felt the same anguish in my early days of service. Now I realize that i was not right, they were part of our growth in the family. And with all those minor problems which me and my wife faced in those days, we r very happy in this organisation where ladies are still respected.
    On the contrary you were never part of this organisation and never tried to make it yours, and that can be seen in y writing.

    Regards

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry sir but I think you didn’t get the point. It’s not about wearing saree or formal suit (not lounge suit) but about liberty and choice. And I don’t think she is imposing anything on anyone. She just wants liberty to live a life on her terms which she very well deserves. I respect you for your services given to the country. But saying something like ‘which organization doesn’t have sexual harrasment’ is horrible from your part.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. You have nailed it
      This person..Arushi ( as she desires to be called ) was never a fit
      Totally an out cast with her pseudo liberal views ..will never understand the ethos behind it all.
      ARMY Service is NOT a “regular job ”
      Per say …it’s a duty unto death
      It’s what the Chetwood Motto signifies
      She will NEVER understand how AWWA gets the ladies together – like no other organization does ..how the pains and strives of living in hard field stations become bearable with the ladies coming together and sharing a few lively activities.
      How the COs wife is like mother hen giving shelter and soothing balm to all lady wives of Officers and Jawans
      How it’s an extended family for all
      Irrelevant of caste creed or religious beliefs.
      How the ladies help out each other in times of dire need.
      It’s the regimental officers wives who are with you – when a jawans wife goes into labour and has a baby.
      It’s your brother officer who gives you blood when your Hb has dropped to 04
      It’s your this extended family that takes care of each and every need of yours in peace and in field areas
      And
      Even when your knight in shining armour is no more in this world
      But
      What will this pseudo liberal Arushi understand… had enough of her bitter natter.
      Tell her not to spoil and malign the very ethos of this beautiful service.
      No point reforming this self centred hot headed person Arushi.
      ( She doesn’t wish to be addressed as a lady ..so be it 👍)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you think you are insulting me by calling me by my name? So weird.

        And you’re right, i won’t understand, because our experiences are clearly different. The distinction between you and I, though, i won’t malign or demean or insult you.

        Like

      2. Well said. Being an army wife ….It’s a complete package. There are all kinds of things. When you retire you understand better that whatever good or bad you were exposed to had a learning….it makes you more mature and accomodating.

        It’s easy to be a rebel. If you keep yourself before the organisation, these thoughts will always lurk over your head.

        If you feel you are treated badly at AWWA meets, one day when you become a CO’s wife you forget all this because no other organisation in the world treats you like a queen like the army does. It is a complete package….goods and bads are individual experiences depending on time, situation and your own sensibility.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, trust me, i am accomodating. Unlike most of you, i do all my own housework, i cook my own food, i repair my own plumbing, i paint my own walls, I do my own taxes, i raise my own child, i do my own job, i drive myself, i contribute to society and community. Calling something out for being wrong is not rebellion, it’s standing up for the truth. Jisse Gandhi Ji, Satyagraha bolte the. Satyamev Jayate, Ma’am. Mujhe sach ke liye ladhne ki aadat hai.

        Liked by 2 people

  35. Very well written post !

    Ms Aarushi you have spoken what is never spoken or spoken in a hushed voice or in secrecy !!

    It’s high time that – Army needs to work on it’s so called traditions !!

    If people consider evolution a demon – let them succumb to their self created patriarchal system .

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Excellent article!!loved it.Have lived this so called “fraternity” for 25 years…the meets,the parties,the welfare is just a farce .. earlier may be 30-40 years maybe it was made for a social n welfare aspect..now it’s just a compulsion.people will put you down ,but nearly 80-85 % of us totally agree to what you have written,Sadly no one will admit till their husband hangs up their boots for the fear of repercussions or losing out the so called promotion..More power to you gal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your support, and for admitting it. Seriously. With all these men coming in to argue with me about my “biased” view I was starting to think I was going crazy. I know it’s hard to publically agree with this, and thousands of women agree with me privately. I tell their stories too. I will take the bullet for women who cannot, but for a second i thought I was standing alone. Thank you.

      Like

  37. Arushi! You have brought out things related to AWWA in a bold and fearless way. Being myself a part of this organization, I agree with you on most of the issues and things are changing. Let’s hope the good sense will prevail and we can make AWWA a better organization actually working for the lady wives to support them in present changing times. I appreciate your effort. Best wishes. Regards

    Like

  38. Agree on every single word written here. Army had practically put me into depression even when i gave 100% and groomed myself into Army ettiquettes. I was simple girl when i came into army as Army officer Wife. I was Successful, Educated and Happy person before I came here. As soon as I entered I was treated as some alien who is too educated to be in Army and I dont belong here. I was treated as if – Don’t try to show your intelligence even when I spoke normal things. They thought I was giving them insecurity. While I was just speaking my mind. Then came series of events wher CO wife caled on phone and yelled many times to make sure I attended all parties and AWWA functions. I was even yelled at in absence of my husband for not doing my due. When I decided that I am going to do exactly what they want me to do and I am going to do it oh so perfectly, then I was looked down upon as being too smart and being buttery. When I started dressing just the way they wanted me to, and started hosting functions , they put me down saying you are dark, you are not beautiful, you don’t deserve to be on stage and then said – you have done nothing in life by doing engineering – you are just making rotis and handling kids. My new profession of counseling and coaching was looked down upon by commanders wife and commented as time pass.
    I worked on my depression not once, not twice but total of 6 times in span of 12 years n Army. I was paying a huge price of self respect and freedom by being in an organisation who take advantage of a wife who is blindly in love with her husband. We both loved each other to the core, but finally we had to separate because of constant insults imparted on me by senior officer wives and then on my husband. Even when I did nothihng, I was a topic of gossp. When I did something, still there were jealous and free lot who gossiped.
    Women in army especially senior officer wives are too free to do all kinda politics. I have never seen them happy and content in their space. They are too free to call other ladies of same rank and gossip about junior wives. They also make sure that they will tell their husbands to shout on junior officer if his wife is too beautifully dressed, or too intelligent. In short a junior officer wife has to act dumb and a trophy wife with mouth shut and act like a doll, innocent enough to be groomed by senior lady, fuel her ego and say Yes for everything she says- go with her to salon, parlour, shopping, and visits everywhere like personal secretary then only they treat you well else they make your life miserable.
    Also, what to talk about children. They ask you to keep children in guestroom with bhaiya if they are small and create disturbance in visit of some core commander of GOC. The colonels are too much worried about getting promoted and dont want small children to create any problem in party or lunch that has been organised speciall yfor core commander and his wife. They gift them expensive gifts from unit fund and at the same time ask junior officers to bring wives and keep child in gues room with bhaiya. Our children keep on saying mumma mumma and our cries seeing them so far away from us. Also during ladies meet practice, children are handled by husbands but if we plan to work outside, then husbands are not allowed to handle children. They are expected to keep office as priority and let wife handle children alone. Then where does this Nation first principle go, when officers are handling their children, in absence of wife who is busy all month practicing for ladies meet.
    WHy ladies meet is serious because a colonels promostion is based on how good his wife organises ladies meet. And then in turn junior wives who have new babies get grilled. Now those wives who don’t enjoy husbands company much, or have in laws at home – they enjoy such practices. But those officer wives – who are happy being with husband – they are happily married – they are dying internally to spend time as a private family together. Its always like a sword hanging on top of someone asking to come here and there and you can’t even deny because if you deny then husband faces isolation or taunts from other officers. I sometimes feel – why did I waste so many years of my life. I do regret my stay in ARmy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Riddhi, for sharing your experience. I am sorry it was so stressful and difficult for you, and I know this is the case for many women. Hopefully by sharing your experience you are helping other women feel seen.

      Like

    2. Excellent mam. I must say here that your review is actually better than the original article – crisp, clear, to the point addressing the actual issues.
      I apologise to you on behalf of the organisation. But believe me it’s a wonderful organisation, with certain flaws and fallacies accumulated over a period of time. We need to address these negatives only and find means to rectify them. Moreover some very senior officer must take a stand to abolish such useless practices. Me and you talking here is not gonna do any good.
      Regards !

      Like

      1. Thank you for reading. Anyone who believes this is a condemnation of the organisation in general and as a whole has no understanding of nuance or analysis. This is not that. Men, officers, have a voice in the army at least, women, wives, only have a role that is prescribed to them. I find it telling that so many men are telling me that nothing is wrong and in the meanwhile dozens of women have reached out to me to share their own stories and appreciate their concerns being voice. The organisation may be great, but if it’s not great for us, can we see it that way?

        Ultimately, you and me talking, that’s where it starts. I am a journalist, i see the world around me, and I speak about it, that is my role here. I am not an officer of the army, I cannot make those decisions, but if you listen to what women are telling you, instead of trying to condemn women for speaking out (and seriously i have received disgusting messages and screenshots of personal conversations on army groups about myself), then aren’t you doing exactly what I am saying you do?

        Liked by 1 person

  39. One side story , Army is the Organisation which goes beyond limits to look after their men & families. Owing to our Cantonment culture & community living , some get togethers , social functions & skill building happen but not to force non volunteers or unavailable ones.
    A lady draws benefits of being any army wife incl schools, transport, accommodation, safety, respect , prompt grievance redressal other administrative support on just a call.
    Mention of Hindu rituals & sexual harassments are not digest-able & neither possible. One odd case if any can be sorted out without generalising the situation

    Like

    1. I’m sorry, it tells you nothing that a bunch of men are telling me about my experiences as a woman married to an army officer? You’re telling me sexual harassment doesn’t exist in the army on WHAT basis, has it happened to you? Where is all your chivalry now? If you met me at an army party you’d dismiss my opinions the same way?

      Also, benefits? I don’t need your transport, I’ve been driving myself for 12-years. Why do I need your schools? I am a grown woman, the schools are for children. Respect? Where? You can’t even show me respect right now. Accomodation? You provide that to people employed by you, and if I want to live in your accomodation I have to move wherever the army dictates. Stop pretending your organisation is so perfect, it’s not, but your attitude, this idea that nothing can ever be wrong with the army or said about it, that’s the reason why things won’t ever change. Okay?

      Like

    2. Transport for what? In present scenario, all are having there conveyance, and accommodation? Are you what out of your mind? Prompt redressal of grievances, have you ever raised a complaint with MES? You are way far from the reality, wake up my friend arvind tomar just wake up!

      Like

      1. Stop fooling her ! MES complaints and the pathetic maintenance of the accomodation , feels like living in a slum than a house. Places like Delhi have a waiting of 2 years.You must wake up from your world.

        Like

  40. Agreed to some extent but in my opinion it’s easiest thing to criticise any system because it there are no perfect systems. They are continuously evolving, I think it would be nice on someone’s part to understand it holistically and then try to help the system to evolve by constructive criticism.
    Moreover, the organisation plays a vital role when it comes to grievances of the ladies of the fallen heroes and their kids.
    I think you should have also gone through the similar American organization and the role played by them when their troops left for gulf war at a short notice. I appreciate your views but I think it’s not wise to comment on an organisation by just seeing one part of it. Moreover, i understand you wanna be known by your name rather than your husband but I think army is a way of life and there are some norms for which you are respected and given a JAI HIND and a salute by senior most gentleman.
    In my opinion the views appear vindictive in some aspect.
    I think you will find a place in the history if you take steps to improve the organisation rather than merely a critique.
    I think you have more to contribute and own the organisation.
    If Indian tradition of saree gives you nightmare and disturbs you then you should question the national dress too.
    I think Saree promotes belongingness to the ladies who are coming from lower strata of the society and that should give you happiness if you truly looking to help people and not tryng to showcase the edge you have due to monetary holdings.
    Warm regards

    Like

    1. Well, I am a woman, and I commented on the part of the organisation that impacts me, I am not a soldier and I cannot comment on that. I don’t “want” to be known by my name, i have the right to be known by my name. There is a huge difference, and I am well-aware no one in the army understands that.

      Like

      1. I expressed that I respect your opinion in first place.
        “Opening mouth by lady” is kind of being just feeling suppressed. Dear lady (since I dnt knw ur name) help the organisation by sharing the ways to improve please.

        Like

      2. First of all, i share those in EVERY single station where my husband is posted. My name is Aarushi Ahluwalia, since your network is army, go find out about me, and then let’s talk about who is actually doing something, and who is just yelling at women on the internet.

        Like

      3. I know you are well educated and groomed but will be wise if you help the system evolve. Nothing against you as such.
        And since you are also associated with many system share any system which doesn’t have flaws.. so why not get acts together to improve than to just be critique.
        All respect to you

        Like

      4. Once again, improving things is the first thing on my list, and I am actively involved in doing that (i gave you my name, I have nothing to hide, go find out, i don’t make tall claims, i put my money where my mouth is), but i don’t appreciate having my opinions called bias by a man who has zero experience at being a woman. Also “share any system that doesn’t have flaws” is a pathetic argument. There is human cost involved here, your “everyone has flaws” attitude is in direct contraindication to your “help the system evolve” argument. Cognitive dissonance is not something I can argue with, be clear with your own thoughts first.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. In my opinion, it is not ‘easiest to criticise a system’. Look at the backlash she is receiving for stating facts that everyone else just whispers in inner circles.

      Also, in my opinion, it is easier to attack the whistle-blower because they are a minority and the system rewards you for resisting change.

      Finally, in my opinion, men who have not lived a woman’s experience, look damn stupid telling us about our reality – as though women need to be told how to feel about something they have gone through by someone who has never been there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, all the people telling me that “it’s easy to talk” really should take a look at my inbox, my goodness, I had no idea that people in the army could be so hateful. People are trying to intimidate me and tell me that the army will take action against me, or my husband, and it’s like really? You deny what I say but you will do exactly what I say to shut me up? Theek. Sahi.

        Liked by 1 person

  41. The intention behind the AWWA was and is never wrong and is noble.. however over a period of time things have not changed as per the changing times… but I’m certain that the things are changing for good.. in the article the author has seen and discussed only one aspect of the functioning of the organisation… I don’t blame her because she might have not got exposed to others .. in a large number of cases wherein the organisation stands and goes out of the way in resolving so many issues which are concerned with women who are married to Army persons both officers and Jawans.. To some extent woman are married to army personnel may be highly educated.. but large percentage of women from rural background especially backward interior areas are not that educated and socially aware … the organisation stands with them in many ways…
    The aspects covered by the author are agreed to in principle.. but it would have been better a wider canvas could have been touched upon for readers to make a more informed decision…

    Like

    1. Alright Jayesh, allow me then to discuss more than the one aspect (and just to the be very clear, this post is about sexism in the army, not sexism in AWWA, that’s one aspect, but it’s okay, I don’t blame you, because you may not have been exposed to the others).

      Within its purview as an NGO, AWWA certainly does some good things, primarily support the widows of war veterans and run hostels. That’s a great thing, and I know people in the army are not conditioned to hear anything criticised without first blowing smoke up the recipient, but AWWA does this and that was not the point, it’s an NGO, it does what NGOs do, social service.

      The problem with AWWA is that it presents itself, and positions itself in such a way that it never has to inform people that it’s a volunteer organisation, with no jurisdiction over people and that it is has no bearing on the functioning of the army. When women are asked to participate in AWWA activities, it is demanded, and when we refuse, there is often pressure to make us agree, what NGO has the right to do that? Most of AWWA isn’t service, it’s power games and wasted resources. No one needs to play tambola once a month. No one believes learning how to make jewellery out of vegetables is “skill development” or welfare. You want to commit to welfare? Commit to welfare, you don’t get to be a tyrant though.

      Now, as for your assertion about rural women, uneducated woman and a small number of army wives being educated. Yawn. This argument is so unfounded, well, it is founded in the facts from 1970, and I suppose, it will be another 20-years before you make arguments that are relevant to 2022, but I don’t have that kind of time so let me apprise you. Most women married to both army officers and jawans have more degrees than the officers and jawans themselves. This idea that “rural” women are uneducated and thus somehow unfit for the army is nothing but an imperial bias. Besides it is not educated that you want women to be, you want that to be “polished” and use the right fork at the table, that’s not education, just some colonial nonsense that no one needs to care about. If you guys cared so much about women’s education, you’d institute measures to support army wives with careers instead of teaching women only that they must tie sarees well, decorate on festivals and compromise on their careers because they have to move all the time. What education is required for any of this? I’ve been working since I was 19-years old, and the army treats me like I’m a child who is acting out when I accuse them of sexism, and that includes your tone-deaf comment. Calling me ma’am is just a refusal to learn my name.

      All these ideas men have about what women really want, how about, you let the women decide what we want? I don’t blame you for not understanding, no amount of education can actually remove the effects of the patriarch, you kinda have to actually use your brain for that.

      Like

  42. An interesting and good read Ma’am.
    Comes out really strong though, but being a part of the organisation I can very well see that this is the harsh truth and the agony is justified.

    Unfortunately few senior ladies also willingly subscribe or rather get so much used to these circumstances that even though are in a position to change things, yet choose to continue with the same mindset.

    I personally feel that some of these deeply evolved traditions are good and helpful in a socially bound organisation. However, undoubtedly re-looking into them with serious introspection and thrashing out the baseless things is a must.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Traditions can be a great tool for community-building, but unfortunately the situation here is not exactly that, an imposition and the undermining of the role of women in society won’t help build community of any kind. Only resentment.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Totally agreed to the writer. This is happening and the reasons given by the senior alot to the juniors are we have done now it’s your turn. Why officer or jawan has to suffer when his wife is not taking part in AWWA functions and meetings. Even senior lot wife’s doesn’t like but they think if i have left job and taken participation in the Meeting then the junior lot wife’s will have to do the same. If you replies back and give a logical answer then officer’s career will spoil by the seniors. We should not encourage this AWWA and should stop this harrasment immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A very biased view lacking in substance and maturity.

      Her other articles are also similarly myopic.

      The ‘family’ of soldiers is a unique entity. Doing our little bit is no ‘free labour’.

      She is welcome to her ‘live in’ led thoughts, we are a happy traditional family with a rich heritage and a bond which abounds in friendliness, compassion and happiness.

      Like

  44. Very well written. Im part of this org and i must say, you’re right. This was needed to be said and it needs to have a louder voice so that a movement to abolish awwa can stir up.

    Liked by 1 person

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