The Indian Army remains one of the greatest pillars of India, on whose shoulders lie the distinct responsibility to protect the sovereignty and integrity of our great nation at all times. This responsibility is further shouldered by the leaders of Indian Army, when they pass out from the Indian Military Academy, during which the rank of a Lieutenant is bestowed upon them by their Supreme Commander, The President of India.
Twice every year during the summer and winter seasons, the Indian Military Academy located in Dehradun, churns out the ‘boys’ who had joined them some time ago, into fine officers of the Indian Army.
The Indian Military Academy was established in 1932 and since then has seen almost 63,000 officers pass out, including a remarkable 2600 officers from friendly foreign countries. In today’s passing out parade, 425 officers including 84 from 9 foreign countries will pass out from the Academy.
The passing out parade is the culmination of a ‘tapasya’ for the cadets who had joined the Academy. The tapasya starts from a burning desire right from the early childhood, to don the uniform and serve the country. Then, it involves a fiercely competitive examination, a rather ruthless interviewing board in the form of the Services Selection Board (SSB) and finally a thorough medical examination. After this, based on his merit alone, the candidate finally gets an opportunity to become a cadet in the Indian Military Academy. Similar is the process for the various other armed forces Academies in India.
A trainee in the Indian Military Academy is referred to as a Gentleman Cadet, as he is expected to be a gentleman and an officer. The training in the Academy is extremely tough and is both physically and mentally challenging. The vision is ‘the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war’. A key aspect of the training is overall personality development of the cadets. The values of character, camaraderie, commitment and compassion, are given special focus apart from all vital aspects of leadership. One of the everlasting impacts of the training is the strong bonds of friendship between the cadets, fondly called as ‘course-mates’.
Finally, after the rigorous training involving their blood and sweat, the Gentleman cadet passes out from the Indian Military Academy as officers. The grand ceremonial parade culminates by marching into the legendary Chetwode building and the final step in the parade ground is inscribed as “Antim Pag”, meaning the “Final step”. The final step of the long training course. Since June 2020, another step after this has been included known as the “Pahla Kadam”, known as the “First Step”. The first step in the long journey as a Commissioned Officer of the Indian Army. After this, the rank epaulettes of a Lieutenant are put on both shoulders by the parents of the cadet and he formally becomes an officer. The grand finale of the passing out parade is an oath taking ceremony, in which all the passing out officers take the oath owing allegiance to the Indian constitution.
As the newly commissioned officers of the Indian Army, move out of the Academy and look back and see the Chetwode building, they remember the famous Chetwode motto taught to them, “The safety, honour and welfare of your country comes first, always and every time; The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next; Your own ease, comfort and safety comes last, always and every time.”