Women play key role in Indian Navy traditions: official (Lead)

New Delhi, Nov 30 (Inditop.com) Women may not be allowed on board its warships but they do play an important role in Indian Navy traditions for it is always a woman who customarily launches a ship, says an official ahead of Navy Day Dec 4.

“It may sound strange but even though we consider all our warships to be feminine, women are not allowed on board except for occasions like Families’ Day, when naval officers are allowed to bring along their spouses,” an Indian Navy official told Inditop.

“Women are the most respected in the Indian Navy. In fact, all women are saluted when they embark a ship. This custom is applicable to women irrespective of their status or that of their husbands,” the official adds.

Also the launching and naming of the ship is traditionally done by a lady, normally the wife of the chief guest. The most recent example of this was the launching and naming of the Indian Navy’s first nuclear submarine by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur earlier this year.

According to naval traditions, at the commencement of the naming and launching ceremony, the woman names the ship with customary words: “I have great pleasure in naming this ship Indian Naval Ship Sindhughosh (or as the case may be). May good fortune attend her and all those who sail her.”

Thereafter she applies ‘kumkum’ (vermilion) on the stem of the ship, folds her hands in a silent prayer, and then breaks the coconut on the bows of the ship.

“And with the splash of coconut water, the ship begins to slide down. Even if an Indian warship is commissioned in a foreign port, it is customary that the ship is named at the commissioning ceremony itself,” the official adds.