The transition from being a graduate to being a professional is a common one. Most of us have been through this stage in our lives. But when you are taking the last step of being a trainee and tread on to becoming someone on whose command others may be willing to give up their lives that is something which is not for everyone. This belief of mine was reiterated when I was privileged to get a tour of The Indian Military Academy, one of the cradles of the Indian Army Officers. What a unique feeling it was. Certain things are best experienced, not explained.
There was nothing lavish about this place, yet it had an atmosphere that wouldn’t be found elsewhere. Every single thing about this place was disciplined Nothing out of place, including the trees, in a particular row, a particular way. Spick and span with the utmost decorum maintained.
Anticipation of the visit
When I was being driven through the gates of the Academy, I was thrilled with anticipation as to what all I will be able to see. To get a glimpse into the making of the Officers of Indian Army or to even be on such premises seemed like an honor to me. True to my awe for this fraternity, when I got out of the place, I got a subtle understanding of how these men turn out to be what they are
While being driven around the premises, we were shown the places where the Gentleman Cadets (GCs) do their physical training. One look at that ground and listening to the description about the kinds of exercises that these cadets are made to do would make a civilian like me be stuck with wonder. I was trying to imagine a few cadets do the exercises and the thought itself was daunting. And to think that such exercises are a part of their regular schedule every day for at least a year or a year and a half, only adds to the respect.
Our guide there was telling us about how the Cadets were made to perfect their movements for a parade and the measures undertaken for that. We were left speechless, just by hearing him talk about it. The aspect about physical training and mental preparedness of the officers is something that is well known. Anybody who likes to read about our Armed Forces personnel would be aware of all the training sessions and routines. So while I was aware of a bit of the training, to be able to actually see those grounds and those obstacles in person made it seem challenging to me, which of course is not how it is for the cadets in uniform. These were the men who ran 16kms just like that.
An observation I made while I was there was that in the course of their training these cadets knowingly or unknowingly ( I am unsure) get immune to all kinds of reactions to things around them; be it humiliation, maybe not so pleasant living conditions (definitely not at the Academy) or even the grandeur or luxury of a place or a person. Maybe I would be right in saying that all that matters to them is discipline and protection from danger (nation first, the comrades next and finally the self). Probably this is how it is with all the Nations and all Military, but I cannot help mentioning this as they are awe inspiring. What is tough or adventurous for us, they do it routinely. Impossible……. Well, that word doesn’t even exist for them.
A look at the War Memorial within the Indian Military Academy and the names therein is a testimony to the fact of how well the Chetwood Motto is ingrained in these men and how they will not only live up to their Dharma but will also die for it.
True to their Motto
I for one would be exceptionally proud and consider it as an accomplishment if I had to be a part of the Indian Military Academy for an entire year doing all that is being taught there and being commissioned into the Indian Army. But for the officers there, it is all about Veerta aur Vivek (Valor and Wisdom). So they just believe in acting with valor yet be humble about it and let their acts of bravery do the talking.
Honor and Pride
I haven’t been to the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy yet, but I am sure the feeling of a visit there too will be one of awe and honor. I can go on and on about the Indian Military Academy and describe the entire premises because the memory is still fresh in my mind even after almost 4 months, but it doesn’t seem like a sensible thing to do . As for its officers, well one just needs to read the blogs of any of the Veterans or the Officers or listen to them talk about our Indian Army. Nothing that I write will match that pride.
So for now, I will end this on a piece of imagination. Picture this, sitting in the audience, with the MiG aircraft roaring over the academy for the final ceremonial salute of the cadets, each of the cadet walking past the door sill which says ‘Through these portals have walked the finest men’ or being able to witness the ‘Antim Pag’ or ‘Passing out Parade’ of one of your own and at the end being able to pip the first rank on the shoulders of your ward and getting the first salute in return; what an honor and what pride! Some of us can only try and visualize the entire event while some of them are the chosen ones to be the recipient of the shining brass star being pinned on their shoulders.
More power to all the officers of our Armed Forces and a big salute to all our brave hearts Killed in Action and to their families. As they say, ‘Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.’