Mitali Madhumita is a serving Indian Army officer. In 2010, she received a Sena Medal for bravery when she was posted in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Mitali Madhumita was born in 1976 (age 46 years; as of 2022) in Rourkela, Odisha. Mitali Madhumita completed her 11th standard from SG Women’s College at Rourkela in 1992. In 1993, she passed her 12th standard at Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar College with physics, chemistry, maths, and biology as her subjects. In 1996, Mitali Madhumita earned her bachelor’s degree in Arts (English Honours) from the same college. From 1996 to 1998, she pursued MA in Linguistics and English Literature (British and Commonwealth) at Ravenshaw College, Utkal University. After completing her formal education, Mitali Madhumita appeared for the all-India Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE), and after clearing the examinations, in 1999, she joined the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai. From 2006 to 2008, while serving in the Indian Army, she pursued a post-graduate diploma course in Human Rights from the Indian Institute of Human Rights. Mitali Madhumita’s LinkedIn
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Mitali Madhumita belongs to an Odia family.
Parents & Siblings
Her mother, Anjali Dass, is a retired Economics lecturer. Mitali Madhumita is the eldest among her three sisters.
Wife & Children
Her marital status is not known.
From 1996 to 1998, Mitali Madhumita worked as a teacher at the Kalinga Academy, where she taught English to those who aspired to join the defence services as an officer. In 1988, she worked as a manager in a real estate company named Versatile Construction Pvt. Ltd.
After completing her training from OTA, in 2000, she was commissioned in the Army Education Corps (AEC) as a Lieutenant. In 2004, she was posted to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) at Wellington as an Instructor, where she taught English to the officers from non-English speaking friendly countries. In 2007, Mitali Madhumita was given a staff appointment, and she was posted to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). She served in the MoD till the end of 2008. In 2009, Mitali Madhumita was selected by the Indian Army to lead a team under the aegis of the United Nations (UN) and the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Kabul, Afghanistan. There, she served as an Instructor at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defence and taught English to the non-English speaking Afghan National Army (ANA) officers. In 2010, she was awarded a gallantry award for her actions when the Indian embassy in Afghanistan was attacked by several heavily armed terrorists. In 2013, Mitali Madhumita was posted at the Central Command of the Indian Army at Lucknow. After her posting at Lucknow, Mitali Madhumita was posted as a principal at Sainik School Ambikapur, Chattisgarh.
Supreme Court’s verdict regarding her permanent commission
Those officers who are commissioned in the Indian Army from the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) are given a short service commission, and after completing some years of service they are offered a chance to convert their short service commission into a permanent commission. In 2009, before getting posted to Afghanistan as an instructor, Mitali Madhumita declined the offer of getting a permanent commission in the Indian Army due to marital and other issues at home. In 2010, after receiving a gallantry award for her bravery, Mitali changed her decision and decided to opt for a permanent commission. However, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) rejected her application and denied her a permanent commission. In 2014, Mitali Madhumita appealed against the MoD’s decision in the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). The AFT, in 2015, gave its decision in favour of Mitali and asked the MoD to reinstate and grant the officer a permanent commission. However, in 2015, the MoD appealed against the AFT’s decision in the Supreme Court, stating that “granting her a permanent commission would interfere with the MoD’s cadre management and would jeopardise the policies related to granting a permanent commission to short-service commissioned officers.” A senior Indian Army officer, who was then serving with the MoD, said in an interview,
The board which decides whether a Short Service Commission (SSC) officer can be given PC has already met. It is totally irrelevant whether and how Lt Col Mitali Madhunita saved so many lives in Afghanistan, or what award she has got.”
In 2016, the Supreme Court rejected the MoD’s plea and asked the MoD to adhere to the instructions of the AFT. NDTV The apex court also asked the MoD not to retire Mitali; as she was slated to retire in 2015. The court also asked the Indian Army to let Mitali Madhumita continue her service. The apex court in its judgement said,
Clearly, misogyny rules in the country’s defence forces. If the Indian army is supposed to protect the country from the enemy it can not treat one of its own so shabbily for the sake of a cussed, bureaucratic rule, perhaps it needs to look within. Lt Col Madhumita’s case has been fought by the military secretary (legal branch) for the last several years, even though her case has been recommended by the entire chain of command, including the Commander of South Western Command, Lt Gen Arun Kumar Sahni. India Today
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- While serving in the National Cadet Corps (NCC), Mitali Madhumita won a gold medal in the all-India Aero Modelling competition.
- In 2011, for her exemplary service, Mitali Madhumita was awarded a General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C) commendation card.
On 26 February 2010, when Mitali Madhumita was posted as an instructor in Kabul, several heavily armed terrorists attacked the Indian embassy, where Mitali and her team were stationed. Soon after the attack, Mitali rushed out of her guest house and ran to the embassy, which was two kilometres away from the guest house. Upon reaching the embassy, she found out that the building was heavily damaged and there were many people trapped under the rubble. Without thinking about her safety, Mitali, by herself, managed to evacuate nineteen people to safety, including seven civilians. She also organised a speedy evacuation of the injured people and stayed at the embassy amidst heavy gunfire till everyone was evacuated. For her bravery, Mitali was recommended by the Indian Army for a Sena Medal (Gallantry), which she received in August 2010. While narrating the incident, Mitali, in an interview, said,
There was cross-firing all around me and the militants were throwing Chinese incendiary grenades. I could not see the militants but they were hiding somewhere around me. I searched through the debris and before long started pulling out the dead bodies and those who were badly wounded. The embassy was bombed by extremists of the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba-terror groups, US intelligence would learn later, that they were sent by the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, to target the Indians who lived in Afghanistan.”
Note: Several sources claim Mitali Madhumita to be the first woman officer of the Indian Armed Forces to have received a gallantry award. However, she is the second woman officer to receive a gallantry medal as the first woman officer to have received a Sena Medal (SM) for gallantry was Captain (Dr) C. R. Leena Dadhwal. She received the Sena Medal for gallantry in 1995. Indian Army Day Parade 1995
As a colonel, Mitali Madhumita draws a salary of Rs 1,30,600 + other allowances (as of August 2022). DNA India
- In an interview, Mitali Madhumita’s mother claimed that she wanted her daughter to become a lecturer like her and take up a job in a university. She further said,
I wanted her to be a lecturer and she was in the education core, but her bravery saved so many lives. I am so proud of her.”
- Mitali Madhumita, as an officer of the Indian Army, has done many military courses such as Advanced Graphical Information Course (A-GIC), ADP (SAP), and Computers from Army Education Corps Training College and Centre.
- In July 2022, it was announced by Sony TV that Mitali Madhumita would make an appearance in the Independence day special episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) along with the Kargil War veteran, Major DP Singh.