Journey to Republic day Camp at Delhi And Hosted by The President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan

What is meant to be, always finds a way! Due to my family background and huge inclination towards Indian Air Force I always wanted to join the Air wing of the National Cadet Corps but couldn’t get a seat as I was late by a couple of days, being punctual wasn’t something I was really good at. When the registrations for different clubs were going on I first wanted to join the literature club until one of my classmates who also happened to be a fellow Air Force brat planted the idea of joining the NCC, which is an Army wing, in our college. I went for its orientation seminar and physical test, I was dead sure that I’ll make it through as running 5km daily was in my routine but it required more than that, I did not walk straight for the next few days after frog jumps, duck walks and what not, in the end, I finally made it but was kept in reserve as I was late in submitting my application yet once again! With great difficulty, I somehow made it to the final 24 from the initial 107.

One after another NCC classes passed by with full josh and there was this one name I always got to hear but never really saw him until he was back from the Inter-Group Competitions at Mysore. I never really thought that someday I would be doing my Republic Day Camp(RDC) with this senior, Mayank Kumar Chaubey. This tall gentleman was then in 2nd year Mechanical, happened to be my branch senior too, he was someone from whom I learned about the prestigious RDC. Everyone of us, at least for once, have desired to represent our country in something or the other and so did I, with time I learnt that NCC has a Youth Exchange Programme(YEP) through which handful of filtered cadets represent India in the friendly foreign countries as Indian Ambassadors at a very formative age. Mayank was the person who told me that I must compete for the best cadet in order to have a dead sure chance for YEP, he was the one who not just believed but predicted that I’ll win the best cadet and go for YEP too.

For those who do not know, there is a series of tests for YEP which includes a written exam, a drill test, a group discussion and an interview with officers of Air Vice Marshal and equivalent ranks at Delhi and you must be a part of RDC. Although the path demanded the best out of me, I believed on the faith shown by Mayank and decided to try my hand in RDC.

RDC is an extremely long journey of four months which includes three selection camps, one Inter-Group Competition(IGC), three elimination camps and finally one month in January. Trust me when I say this, it literally squeezes gallons of sweat and blood out of you, before leaving for Delhi I and Mayank had lost 12 and 15 kilos respectively.

It all started in October with pre-IGCs, early morning while others went for PT I used to go for firing as a part of best cadet training, right after breakfast drill practice used to start and lasted till lunch thereafter we practiced for various competitions like group song, group dance, ballet(theme dance), nation integration awareness presentation(NIAP), interviews, group discussions etc. upto 3 am. IGC is supposedly the biggest hurdle in the quest of RDC as it’s the major filtration camp. Mayank did exceptionally well in Flag Area, flag area is the pictorial representation(on a huge piece of ground with marble chips) of a theme displayed by each team, it depicts the imaginative power and skills of the cadet. While Mayank was the main maker in Flag Area competition, I was the main briefer. At the end, we both crossed this herculean camp and I could successfully bag a gold medal in the Best Cadet competition.

Soon pre-RDC camps started where filtered cadets from the entire Karnataka and Goa had gathered, the strength was 175 which were to be brought down to the final 106 before we left for Delhi. New sets of camps, a new beginning. The final practices for drill competitions, cultural competitions, NIAP, Flag Area and YEP started with full josh and swing. Each cadet was chosen hence the competition was stiff, the army officers always inspected around with a notepad in their hands to note down the weak chest numbers. The training and elimination were extremely rigorous, everywhere cadets tanned and dripped in their sweat could be found but none were ready to give up. As a result, by the end of December 2016, we had a solid contingent ready to take on the competitors at the national level in Delhi, ready.

28th Dec, 2016 was the evening the final 106 boarded their train for Delhi with their contingent commander of the rank Lt. Colonel. A warm send-off was given by the parents with confident yet emotional eyes, the tears of happiness were clearly visible in our mothers’ eyes as they rolled down. The Karnataka and Goa Contingent(popularly known as KarGos) were received in Delhi on 30th evening. The prestigious camp kicked off with the most important written exam of YEP at the national level. Although my preparation was robust, yet I was nervous as this was the day I had drained my sweat and blood in the past recent months. The written exam was followed by a drill test, a group discussion and an interview with high-rank officers. I knew that I did well yet I was highly strung, later the results were out and I not just cleared the exams but also stood 2nd in the merit list. The very same evening another good news about Mayank was being chanted everywhere, he was selected in the prestigious Guard of Honour team which would give arms salute to the VVIPs like the Vice President, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Navy Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Defence Minister and the Prime Minister. Only a handful was selected from the lot 2700. The next day I got selected as the VIP commentator for all the VIPs and only 5 were selected from the same lot. The camp was officially inaugurated by the Honorable Vice President Dr.Hamid Ansari, Mayank’s contingent saluted him on his arrival and I hosted his program. He then witnessed a cultural program and had tea with us, similarly Chief of all three armed forces and the defence minister visited us on different dates and the same drill was followed. We also did an excellent job in the Flag Area competition and bagged the first position at the national level. We didn’t realize and soon the Republic Day arrived, the day for which each of us waited eagerly with extreme josh and excitement. The all boys NCC contingent were followed by an all girls NCC band and finally an all girls NCC contingent, smartly marching down the royal Rajpath like well-oiled machines. We were also the few chosen ones who were selected to meet the President of India Dr. Pranab Mukherjee in the Rashtrapati Bhavan where we had a group photograph and tea with his Excellency. The Republic Day was followed by the Prime Minister’s rally, the same drill was followed and Mayank holds the proud privilege of giving and receiving a salute from the PM. At the rally, KarGos received the runners up trophy from the Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

We received a grand reception at the Bangalore railway station by senior officers, media, authentic band, and parents. The band marched ahead of us we followed them with all our trophies held high. Everyone around had gathered to watch the stupendous scene, we felt as if we were having a victory march at the station. All the parents were eagerly waiting to meet their proud wards there, among the crowd I saw my parents standing with a bouquet in their hand and waving at me, NCC cadets and Cpt Rajesh N of our college had also come, seeing your collegemates and guide after such a long journey was truly heart touching. The next day we had a felicitation ceremony where I and Mayank were the handful cadets who received the Deputy Director General’s(head of Kar&Goa) commendation certificate, also our names are forwarded for the Chief Minister’s commendation for the year 2018. This was followed by lunch with the CM of Karnataka at VidhanSauda and tea with the Governor of Karnataka at Raj Bhavan. On the last day of the entire RDC journey, as per the tradition, a majestic party was organized for the proud parents at the Christ University. At this event, for the first time because of the performance of the cadets, we received the prestigious best institution award.

The major credit of both mine and Mayank’s success goes to NMIT, it was the unconditional support extended by the director, principal, Capt Rajesh N, HOD and faculty members of the Mechanical Department, that we both were able to achieve such a herculean feat and could make our parents, friends, and college proud.

From the bottom of our heart, we both express our profound gratitude to NMIT.

-Aman Kumar Ranjan
4th Sem, Mechanical Dept

Cdt Sunil Kumar L – State RDC 2017, Bangalore

State RD Camp was a Special Training camp organized to train the selected cadets of Bangalore-A group for the Republic day Parade held at Maneskshaw Parade Ground. I Cdt. Sunil Kumar was one of the selected 6 SD Cadets from NMIT. On the bright afternoon of 11th Jan about 60 SD's and 60 SW's from various regiments were present at Jalahalli Air Force Station for the preliminary selections of LRDC contingent. After a thorough selection process by the PI staffs and the drill ustads 40 SD's and 40 SW's were selected for the 10 day training camp. The selected cadets were given instructions about their complete schedule for the day and stay in the barracks for the next 10 days. The camp senior JUO Sukshith was responsible for passing the orders from Army officers and PI staffs. From 12th Jan we began our training. On an ordinary day training consisted of waking up and reporting for PT at 0545 hrs followed by breakfast at 0800 hrs. We were to report for drill practice at 0930 hrs sporting the NCC uniform for rifle drill practice. The drill parade questioned the discipline, stamina and co-ordination of the contingent. We would then break for lunch at 1300 hrs and followed by evening drill parade at 1500 hrs.This continued without changes till the last day when a final of 30 SD's and SW's were chosen as the marching contingent with 10 substitute cadets I was fortunately one among them. We were certainly lucky to have Army officer Major Raghavendra C mentoring us and guiding us in the best way throughout the training camp.

The Camp Commander was Commanding Officer of 1KAR Signal Regiment Colonel Bhupesh Kumar who personally handled the selection process and motivated the cadets to improve their performance day by day. The Group Commander Col. Chandrashekhar visited us more than once for the quality inspection and motivation .One of the best part about this camp was the food given to us, It was hands down the best food ever given at a NCC camp, The AirForce mess personnel delivered us delicious food and snacks everyday which met the best standards of nutritious food required for the rigorous training. Apart from perfecting our rifle drill we had theory classes and weapon training classes which prepared all the cadets for their upcoming B & Certificate Examination. Just like every other NCC camp cadets from various colleges had a great chance of meeting new people which paved way for new friendship and acquaintances. The camp ended with a cultural program where we had a number of singing and dancing competitions and a valedictory ceremony. But that was not all we had to report to Manekshaw Parade Ground for our rehearsals. On the Republic day the NCC Contingent marched at Manekshaw parade ground along with the Army, Air Force, Police and other homegaurds. Our performance was applauded by The CM of Karnataka and other defense officials as the cadets upheld the motto of NCC "UNITY AND DISCIPLINE" throughout the parade.

CDT Sunil Kumar