Good, bad and unexpected of Military life.
The Indian Military Academy, Dehradun (also known as IMA) is the officer training Academy of the Indian Army. IMA was established in 1932.
The academy is located in the foothills of the Himalayas, about 8 km west of Dehradun in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. The campus is on National Highway 72, which separates the North and South Campus. The campus of the academy originally spanned 206 acres which was transferred to the academy along with existing buildings from the Railway Staff College. The academy area is 1,400 acres (5.7 km2).
Built in 1930, the Chetwode Hall on the Drill Square houses the administrative headquarters of the IMA and is also the hub of academic training. It has lecture halls, computer labs and a cafe. On the opposite side of the Drill Square is the Khetarpal Auditorium. Inaugurated in 1982, it has a seating capacity of over 2000.
A newer wing of the Chetwode Hall, added in 1938, houses the Central Library. It has over 100,000 volumes and subscriptions to hundreds of periodicals from across the world, besides multimedia sections. In addition, there are two branch libraries closer to the cadet barracks across the campus.
The IMA Museum on the campus displays artifacts of historic importance. Among other war relics, it displays the pistol of Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi of the Pakistan Army which he surrendered to Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora after signing the Instrument of Surrender to end the [liberation War of 1971]].
The Commandant’s residence is a handsome colonial structure with a landscaped 6 acre garden. It offers a panoramic view of the Tons River silhouetted by the Himalayas.
In the earlier years, cadets were accommodated in GC Quarters, consisting of the Kingsley and Collins Blocks. With the growth of the IMA to five battalions of cadets, some battalions are accommodated in barracks in the South and East Campus.
The IMA helipad is located in the Tons Valley in the northwest of the campus.
A trainee on admission to the IMA is referred to as a Gentleman Cadet. One reason for this is that the academy expects its graduates to uphold the highest moral and ethical values. Inscribed in the oak panelling at the Eastern entrance of the Chetwode Hall is the academy’s credo, excerpted from the speech of Field Marshal Chetwode at the inauguration of the academy in 1932:
The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time.
The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.
Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.
The freshman GCs hail from diverse backgrounds with multifarious habits and grooming. The Academy plays a vital role in moulding those differences and helps them anchor into a common bonding. Doing things together bring a sense of fellow feeling.
No GC gets preferential treatment, all are allowed to shape up together; together they break bread, together they play and together they receive the same kind of training. This bonding helps them to develop values such as camaraderie, espirit de corps and oneness that go a long way to give a separate identity to the corps of officers in the Army.
It is simply that the future officers are made to acquire the finer graces of life and living which invests them with a personal dignity and a sense of appreciation for those finer pursuits which distinguish man and civilization.
IMA encourages a Gentlemen Cadet to reflect on the greatness of India’s diversity, her secular foundation and to honour the traditions and customs of the Army. In a nutshell, IMA habitat helps him to become a rounded personality.
From grueling route-marches to photography, painting, seminars, term-papers, tours and sports, the training is an action filled scenario nurturing their mental and physical potential. Each and every GC is allowed equal space for growth within the given time frame. The pace of training at the Academy is fast and intense.
Therefore, it is no wonder that it becomes a test of one’s mettle and capabilities, and in psychological terms a foretaste of what the trainees would face in the battlefield where there is no room or no scope of explanation and rationalization for failures.
The completion of training is therefore, a sort of self-assessment which awakens and activates one’s self-esteem, sense of honour and dignity. A GC learns a great deal of values of life during his short stay in the Academy.