The Soldiers Who Know No Fear
The Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun
It is the evening before the passing out parade at the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun, and for the Gentleman Cadets standing in the red carpeted corridor of the fabled Chetwode building at the IMA, the feeling of the big day tomorrow hasn't quite sunk in.
Saturday's parade of the 118 Regular Course marks the end of a year's military training (for some cadets, it is one-and-half years). After the ceremony, the cadets will be commissioned as lieutenants and the Indian Army will have 594 new officers inducted into its ranks.
More importantly, when these young men cross the threshold with the words 'Antim Pag' (final steps) inscribed on the gates of the Chetwode building they will step out as leaders of men and as junior officers which forms the strength of the Indian Army.
"This cane signifies power and authority," explains one Gentlemen Cadet when asked about the cane with a brass knob that he is carrying. "We are supposed to carry it with us with this uniform."
His first posting as a lieutenant of the Indian Army will be on the Siachen Glacier, one of the toughest postings for Indian soldiers. Seeing the civilian draw a breath, he laughs. "You have to do a tenure in Siachen once. There couldn't be a better way to begin."
Reportage: Archana Masih. Photographs: Jewella C Miranda