• A cradle of leadership which rocks hard
Rashtriya Indian Military College
Courtesy : Defence PRO Lucknow

By Sangeeta Saxena

New Delhi. 13 March 2022. Hundred years and journey which makes the nation proud. 6 Service Chiefs, 41 Army Commanders, 163 Lt. Generals and equivalent and thousands of officers and brave hearts who have been at the forefront of the role of keeping the nation secure. Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), Dehradun, is completing a well batted century since its glorious inception on13 March 1922.

Be it saving Kashmir or defending Mumbai RIMCOLLIANS have always been at the forefront. From Major Somnath Sharma, first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra for the Battle of Badgam this journey of valour has been a source of motivation to generations of soldiers in India. A journey which started from Sandhurst has and continues to forge ahead with élan as a feeder of bravery to National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and the Naval Academy , Ezhimala. An institution with is not an organisation alone, inculcates into the young boys joining the school a feeling of pride and virtues of ethics and morality.

Rashtriya Indian Military College
Courtesy : PRO Defence Lucknow

RIMCOLLIANS as they call themselves, are alumni of RIMC, established in 1922 as the Royal Indian Military College, whose umbilical cords with the alma-mater are life long attached strongly and the school is a cradle of soldiers traditionally immersed in the nation-building process with their leadership role in military services from World War II to the Balakot Operations and in the various other professions in the different walks of life. RIMC alumni’s journey started from Sandhurst and continues to flourish at Khadakwasla & Ezhimala. The receptacle of exceptional Tri Services officers upholding the virtues of ethics and morality. What started as a process of Indianisation of the Officer cadre within the country, is now one of the greatest treasure of stories of leadership at its ultimate and camaraderie at its best.

The Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), is an Inter Service Category ‘A’ establishment, administered through the Army Training Command (ARTRAC) under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Christened the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College, it was inaugurated on 13 March 1922 by His Royal Highness, Prince Edward VIII, the Prince of Wales. It was then located on the premises of the erstwhile Imperial Cadet Corps (also called Rajwada Camp), set amidst 138 acres of lush green countryside, adjacent to Garhi Village in Dehradun Cantonment.

first thirty-seven Cadets, the Prince of Wales
Courtesy : Defence PRO Lucknow

During his Address to the first thirty-seven Cadets, the Prince of Wales said, “It is the first few blows on the anvil of the life that give the human weapon the set and temper that carry him through life’s battles”. The Prince also made reference to the old Indian tradition of ‘Guru and Chela’. This relationship of mutual love and reverence has formed the rock bed of RIMC ethos. RIMC has a long history and rich heritage. Over the years the College has produced many leaders of the society, both military as well as civil. These include four Chiefs of Army Staff and two Chiefs of the Air staff in India; one Commander-in-Chief of the Army and two Chiefs of the Air Staff in Pakistan; scores of officers of General/Flag/Air rank, Commanding Operational Commands, Fleets, Corps , Wings and Divisions and other distinguished appointments on both the sides of the border. Besides, many high ranking civilian dignitaries like Governors, Ambassadors, Ministers and Captains of industry have passed through the hallowed portals of the RIMC. Portraits of such luminaries adorn our walls at strategic places as inspiring beacons for young students of the day.

Royal Military College
Courtesy : RIMC

The purpose of this Institution was to provide Indian Boys with suitable education and training to ensure a high pass-rate for the Indians being sent to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, as part of the Indianisation programme of the Officer cadre of the Indian Army. RIMC was not, in fact, a College, but a pre-Sandhurst institution run along the lines of an English Public School. The British believed that to become an Army Officer, if an education in Britain was impossible, a Public School education in India was an absolute necessity. The British believed that a Public School education was particularly necessary for Indian Boys, whose upbringing made them suitable for the rigours and discipline of army life. Hence, with this vision to lay the foundation for the selected young men, the College makes an endeavour to groom young cadets to become selected military leaders of tomorrow. In keeping with this, it fulfils its role of a feeder institution to NDA, NAVAC, and also enable Cadets to apply for CME & Technical entry (CTW) and any other schemes from where Cadets can join the Defence Services.

RIMC centenary celebrations
Courtesy : Vivekanand Institute of Professional Studies

The book ‘Bal- Vivek’, authored by cadets will also be unveiled at the RIMC centenary celebrations. A historical compendium, piloted by former CISC, Air Marshal PP Reddy (Retired) & Professor Sidharth Mishra, titled ‘Valour and Wisdom’ will also be released. Prof Sidharth Mishra presented a collection of camphor series books to Lt Gen CP Mohanti, VCOAS in presence of Lt Gen ADS Bhinder & Lt Gen NK Khanduri and all four are RIMCOLLIANS. A postal stamp & first day cover will be released during the centenary celebrations.

The government order appointed a military commandant of the rank of Lt Colonel, a civilian Headmaster, senior or junior British Masters and Indian Masters. The first commandant was Lt Col H.L. Haughton of the Sikh Regiment who took charge of the College on 22 February 1922. JGC Scott was appointed headmaster and the first group of British masters were JM Allen, CA Phillips and Kitter-master. The First Adjutant & Quarter Master was Risaldar (Honorary Captain) Sardar Khan of 20 Lancers. The first mess contractors were MS Hazir and Co and the mess staff consisted mostly of Goans. Later the mess was taken over by the Army Service Corps. 

Hira Lal Atal was the first Cadet Captain and later as Adjutant General of the Indian Union, He was responsible for designing India’s highest award for bravery in combat, the Param Vir Chakra, of which the first recipient was another Old Boy of the College Maj Somnath Sharma. Among the early cadets were K.S. Thimayya, Asghar Khan and others, who had illustrious military careers.

Rashtriya Indian Military College
Courtesy : PRO Defence Lucknow

The school is spread over 54 hectares(139 acres) and has an enrollment of 250 cadets. A Hawker Hunter jet aircraft gifted to the College by The Air Chief Marshal N.C. Suri is placed in front of the Cadet Mess. Also a Sea Harrier presented to RIMC by the Navy stands in proud resplendence in front of the Thimayya auditorium.

RIMC has a 1:14 teacher student ratio. Candidates for the school are selected from all over India through a national level competitive exam, the RIMC Entrance Exam that is held twice a year in each state. Successful candidates in the entrance exam have to go through a medical fitness test to be admitted to the school. Every year about 50 students are selected in two intakes from all over India and admitted into Standard VIII at the RIMC.

A journey which each Indian proud and every RIMCOLLIAN ecstatic. 100 years and still going strong on the best traditions of the Indian Armed Forces. A century well played. ADU joins the nation in wishing RIMC a happy 100th birthday.