Archery, an Olympic sport with tribal origins, is being introduced as part of training of probationary officers of civil services, in a novel attempt that could help build “patience, focus and concentration” among “young administrators…starting a career in public service at a time when aspirations of people and expectations from public servants has increased tremendously.”
Probationary officers undergoing training since August at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie, will be taught the nuances of the sport by Gujarat’s own Archery national champion Dinesh Bhil from Chhota Udepur, at a three-day workshop from November 13 to 15 there.
Bhil, who has now dedicated his life to training tribal youths in the sport, runs an archery academy in Naswadi taluka of Chhota Udepur. He left on Tuesday from Chhota Udepur to Mussoorie to conduct the special archery course for 370 officer trainees.
“Archery is known to build concentration, focus and also patience,” Bhil said, speaking to The Indian Express. “More than physical strength, it is the mind that needs to be strong. Anyone who plays the sport will need to master the technique of control and coordination. It will be a useful exercise for the officers,” he added, saying he was honoured to be invited to train the officers.
Seeking the champion archer’s services, course coordinator of the ongoing training programme of the civil service officers, NK Sudhanshu, wrote to the Director General of the Sports Authority of Gujarat, under whom Bhil works as a trainer for archery. “The administrators need to have empathy, sensitivity, focus and balance to live up to expectations (of the public). Officer trainees need to acquire leadership skills to respond to challenging situations in their career,” Sudhanshu said, in his letter stating that a three-day hands-on training session in Archery, being planned for the officer trainees of the 94th Foundation Course, would help instill these qualities.
The LBSNAA decided to include the archery course in its training, after the civil services trainees expressed interest in the sport during their brief stay at the Statue of Unity in Kevadia Colony in Narmada district in October this year, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed them during the ‘Aarambh’ programme.
Chhota Udepur Collector Sujal Mayatra said the LBSNAA officials and trainee officers interacted with Bhil and got a taste of archery at the time. “The trainee officers attended a cultural programme at a village in Chhota Udepur during their stay in Kevadia Colony in the neighbouring district of Narmada,” Mayatra told this newspaper. “Dinesh Bhil, being a popular figure in the tribal community due to his achievements as an archer, was also part of the event and we showcased archery at the event too.” Watching the sport showcased, the officers became “extremely interested in learning the skill”, so the LBSNAA decided to include it in their training this time, the collector said. “It will allow officers to get a new perspective, try something new. Usually, the lectures are extremely academic in nature, but including a sport will pave way for more creative ways to conduct this programme for sure. It is an advantage for the trainees now, which we did not have as trainees earlier” Mayatra added.