Written by Maheep Dhanoa
The Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute (AFPI) in Mohali held a ceremony to honour its 20 newly-commissioned officers and cadets selected for National Defence Academy. The ceremony included dance, songs and an excerpt from Gurbani where the young cadets cast a spell on the room with the words, “Nishchay Kar Apni Jeet Karoon (I will ensure my win)’’. They also sang a song written by the director, “We are proud young men from the land of five rivers”.
“I might forget my name, but not the memories,” said one of the officers during a brief speech, while another spoke of the times he was reprimanded for sleeping too much and how he learned from those mistakes.
All of their speeches had the common theme of the friendships they forged and how the institute groomed them for what was to come next.
“AFPI is perhaps the only reason why I’ve become an officer. So whatever I am today, it is only because of AFPI, the training that has been imparted here and the people who helped me, like Maj Gen BS Grewal (Director). This is the one day that we have always dreamed of, to come back as commissioned officers after 4 years of training, it is surely the best moment in our lives.” says Lt. Jasmeet Singh Mamra. He describe the institute “as heaven on earth, the best place one can come to.”
A proud parent of one of the officers said, “Aapne humare patthar ko taraash ke heera bana diya (You turned our stone into a diamond).’’
Cadet Govind Gupta, 16, who secured 4th rank in All India Merit List, said, “AFPI has transformed us and made us more confident; now we have views on everything. Initially, I was not very good at the interview part, but with coaching, I ended up doing well in both.” Recalling an incident that played a pivotal role in his progress, he replied, “I had once gotten late for the morning muster(first parade of the day). That was the day I realised that if you start the day in a shambles, you’ll keep getting late the whole day and time is very important.” Govind’s father is an engineer and mother a teacher in Patiala.
Cadet Kaushal Sharma, who secured 11th rank, says, “There are 46 boys in my batch and we are brothers.” Kaushal says he learnt not to sham when he walked instead of ran a 5 kilometre run, got caught and faced serious action. This youngster says he decided to join the army when he visited the Amritsar cantt, saw a tank and thought, “One day I will command that tank and the men under me as I don the uniform.”
Major Gen Grewal advised the young officers to first be good human beings because rank will come second. He said, “Bite the bullet as early as possible and volunteer for the hard work as there is no shortcut to success. Maintain the Afpian brotherhood and be responsible with your finances.”