In Conversation with Rinchen Dolma Kolto, (Major Retd.) First Lady officer from Ladakh

By Yangchen Dolma Leh, Sep 20, 2023
Leh :

Q. Briefly describe yourself. What inspired you to pursue a career in the Army, and how did you get started?
I am from Spituk and my home is near the Air Force station because of this I used to come across many officers wearing uniforms. It was very common to see men in uniforms but I saw women also which made my heart ponder upon why can’t I or any Ladakhi girl can join the Indian army. During the Kargil war in the year 1999, I saw both male and female pilots stationed at an air force station and all these inspired me to become one of them. It made me happy to see them in their uniforms and working for the nation. Since then I made my heart that I will join the Indian army no matter what. I participated in NCC during my school days and even during college and that’s how the opportunity to join the army came upon me. 

I got my call letter from the Indian army in the year 2010 did my training for one year and completed it in 2011. After that, I served for 10 years and took release because I felt that I needed to give time to my parents and have balance in life. 

Q. Could you share with us your experience as you are the first female Army Officer from the Leh region and the first female Skydiver from Ladakh

I believe in the, “If everyone else can do it, why can’t I”. The line motivates me to go on and achieve my goals. As I am interested in adventure activities, I decided to go skydiving and paratrooper. Skydiving was one such experience that made me feel alive and gave me a new perspective on life. Till today I have completed 54 solo jumps across various locations in India and Dubai.

Q. What advice would you give to girls in Ladakh who aspire to pursue a career in the Indian Army? How can they pursue it, and what are the potential opportunities available in this field?

We usually see people following a trend or doing the same thing that others do. If one person in a community pursues a career in a particular field, others will follow suit. It is always easy to say, I’ll do it. But are you truly interested and prepared for what the future may hold or if things don’t go as planned? What other options do you have? Just because everyone is doing, doesn’t mean we should also do the same. It is important to be well-prepared before taking any action.

Positive attitude, motivation, and support from parents are all essential components for a successful life. 

In the army, there is so much scope and they offer great opportunities and benefits. However, it can be stressful and challenging at times but in the end, the only thing that matters is how you handle and approach the situation. Without struggle, we cannot achieve anything worthwhile. In the army, it’s important to maintain a strong physical and mental state. And if you are so passionate and want to join the army there are different exams such as NDA, UPSC, and SSB.
Patience, hard work, maintaining balance, and setting limits are very crucial in life.

Q. Is it true that people from Ladakh are more resilient and capable of performing any tasks as we live at high altitudes, or is it just a myth? 

I agree with you, Ladakhi people are known for their strength and resilience. People often compliment me on my bravery and endurance when I participate in challenging activities like running and climbing. Their compliment motivates me a lot. And I think Ladakhi people are known for their exceptional lung capacity as we live at high altitudes. 

Q. Currently, drug addiction, and alcohol are significant issues in Ladakh. Do you believe that a parent’s contribution is essential to an individual’s success? Does the way a person is raised play a critical role in shaping them?

I think that drug addiction has always been an issue, but it has become more noticeable nowadays due to social media. I feel parents must be friendly with their children so that they can share everything with them. Parents can help their children to understand right from wrong. It’s important to have open communication with your children about any family problems. This way, children can learn how to handle and solve issues. Everyone is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses. Parents need to understand that children shouldn’t be pressured into studying if they don’t have an interest in it. Instead, they should be encouraged to pursue their passions. Encouraging children to pursue extracurricular activities is essential to help them develop new skills, build self-confidence, and broaden their horizons. 

Message to the readers

“Maintain a positive attitude, practice discipline, and stay physically active through exercise. Patience and hard work are both essential qualities for achieving success. These habits will help you lead a healthy and fulfilling life.”