“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.”
These golden words, etched in oak panelling at the eastern entrance of the famous Chetwode Hall in the Indian Military Academy (IMA), speak volumes about the pain one has to bear and sacrifices one has to make to serve the nation at the highest level. Excerpted from the speech of Field Marshal Chetwode, they are now the credo of the academy.
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas across an area of 1400 acres in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, the IMA serves as a premier institution for the training of officers to be inducted into the Indian Army. Every year, the academy takes in gentleman cadets and turn them into India’s best, ready to serve the country at any expense.
Check out sone of the most fascinating facts about the prestigious academy which shapes the guardians of India.
1. After almost a decade of continuous persuading by the Indian leaders, the IMA was established by the British Indian government in 1932.
Set up under the chairmanship of Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode, the ‘Indian Military College Committee’ recommended the establishment of an Indian Military Academy in Dehradun.
2. The 40 cadets who passed out as part of the first batch of the IMA in 1934 are now known as ‘Pioneers’.
While the cadets started training on 1 October 1932, the academy was formally inaugurated on 10 December 1932, at the end of the first term by Field Marshal Chetwode.
3. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, General Muhammad Musa and Lieutenant General Smith Dun are three Pioneers who became the army chiefs of India, Pakistan and Burma (now Myanmar) respectively.
Field Marshal Manekshaw became the 8th Chief of the Indian Army in 1969 and led India to victory against Pakistan in the 1971 war.
4. Due to the outbreak of the second Wold war in the early 1940s, the training period at the academy was reduced from two and a half years to six months.
3887 officers were commissioned between August 1941 and January 1946. The academy returned to its original two and a half year training course after the war.
5. The IMA has trained over 60,000 cadets since 1932 who have been commissioned in armies all over the world.
Other than India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Britain, the academy has trained officers of countries like Afghanistan, Malaysia and Nigeria and many more.
6. IMA alumni have led and fought in every single war in the history of independent India.
Six alumni of the academy have earned the ‘Param Vir Chakra’, India’s highest military honour.
7. The IMA War Memorial is a site inside the IMA campus that pays homage to the fallen soldiers in the course of action.
The memorial is a bronze statue of a gentleman cadet holding a sword in his hands.
8. The motto of the academy is ‘Veerta aur Vivek’, translating to ‘Valour and Wisdom’.
9. During the passing out parade (POP) of the academy, gentleman cadets are commissioned into the army and a ‘sword of honour’ is presented to the best gentleman cadet of the batch.
The POP is a grand ceremony in which the gentleman cadets take the sacred oath to serve the nation and get formally inducted into service.
10. Parts of the 2004 Bollywood film ‘Lakshya’ starring Hrithik Roshan were shot in the IMA campus.
Lucky are those who get a chance to be a part of such an iconic institution and lucky are we, that we are protected by the bravest of individuals trained from such fine institutions.