Before getting further on Life at the Indian Military Academy, lets discuss what led to its formation. The Indian Military Academy, Dehradun is one of the premier Institutions of the Country training Gentlemen Cadets for commission in the Indian Army. The Academy is known for its glorious and colorful history. Its dynamic efficiency and valiant traditions are not only an integral part of the Nation’s proud heritage, but also forms an indispensable sheet anchor of independent India’s national security.
Through the portals of the Indian Military Academy with the Credo ‘Veerta Aura Vivek’ meaning Valour and Wisdom, pass out the future Army Officers of the Indian Army. The path of leadership of troops is paved with a challenging, exciting and an exacting service. The Military Academy is no soft option to glamour and heraldry. It is an austere Institution imparting rigorous training in leadership, self discipline and the art of war.
Till 1932, the Indian Officers were trained at the Royal Military Academy, Sand Hurst alongwith British officers. Founded in 1932 to fulfill the growing need for Indianisation of Indian Military Academy has grown from its first course of 40 Gentlemen Cadets to a planned capacity of 1200 Gentlemen Cadets. Its professional fame places it with the finest, though much older, military training institutions of the world. The outstanding records of its alumni on battlefields around the world are praiseworthy.
One of the interesting features in the development of Indian Military Academy is its expansion in January, 1949 into Armed Forces Academy with an addition of Joint Services Wing at Clement Town, Dehradun, where cadets of Army, Navy and Air Force were trained. On 1stJanuary, 1950, the Armed Forces Academy in Dehradun was renamed as National Deface Academy.
In 1954, the joint Services Wing of the National Defence Academy moved from Dehradun to Khadakvasla, Pune and Military Wing, which stayed back in Dehradun was renamed as Military College. In 1960, the military college was given its original name “Indian Military Academy”.
Aim of the Training
The training is aimed at the optimum development of intellectual, moral and physical qualities essential for leadership in the profession of arms.
Training at the Indian Military Academy thus inculcates those qualities of mind and heart, patriotism, character, dynamism, initiative and understanding that are the very basis of leadership in war as well as in peace. Cadets undergo training at the IMA for one year. An exception are trainees selected via the Combined Defence Services Exam of UPSC. These cadets who are graduates of a non-military college undergo training for one and a half years.
The Indian Military Academy is located at Premnagar on the out skirts of Dehradun, a town in Uttaranchal about 250 kms. from New Delhi. The Doon Valley lies between the Garhwal Himalayas and the Shivaliks. The average height of the valley is 600 meters above mean sea level.
The forested environment and rugged mountains in the vicinity form an ideal training ground for young Gentlemen Cadets. It is believed that Dronacharya had his Ashram nearby and used the ground for training his disciples in the art of welfare.
IMA Cadets are organized as a Regiment with four training battalions, of three or four companies each. There were fifteen companies in 2010. Battalions are named for generals of the Indian Army, while companies are named for battles of the Army. An exception is the Sinhagad Company that refers to an earlier battle between the Marathas and the Mughals.
- Cariappa Battalion: Kohima Company, Naushera Company, Poonch Company, Hajipir Company
- Thimayya Battalion: Alamein Company, Meiktila Company, Dograi Company
- Manekshaw Battalion: Imphal Company, Zojila Company, Jessore Company, Sangro Company
- Bhagat Battalion: Sinhgarh Company, Keren Company, Cassino Company, Basantar Company
A trainee on admission to the IMA is referred to as a Gentleman Cadet. One reason for this is that the academy expects its graduates to uphold the highest moral and ethical values. The freshman GCs hail from diverse backgrounds with multifarious habits and grooming. The Academy plays a vital role in moulding those differences and helps them anchor into a common bonding. Doing things together bring a sense of fellow feeling. No GC gets preferential treatment, all are allowed to shape up together; together they break bread, together they play and together they receive the same kind of training. This bonding helps them to develop values such as camaraderie, espirit de corps and oneness that go a long way to give a separate identity to the corps of officers in the Army.
It is simply that the future officers are made to acquire the finer graces of life and living which invests them with a personal dignity and a sense of appreciation for those finer pursuits which distinguish man and civilization. IMA encourages a Gentlemen Cadet to reflect on the greatness of India’s diversity, her secular foundation and to honour the traditions and customs of the Army. In a nutshell, IMA habitat helps him to become a rounded personality.
From grueling route-marches to photography, painting, seminars, term-papers, tours and sports, the training is an action filled scenario nurturing their mental and physical potential. Each and every GC is allowed equal space for growth within the given time frame. The pace of training at the Academy is fast and intense. Therefore, it is no wonder that it becomes a test of ones mettle and capabilities, and in psychological terms a foretaste of what the trainees would face in the battlefield where there is no room or no scope of explanation and rationalization for failures. The completion of training is therefore, a sort of self-assessment which awakens and activates ones self esteem, sense of honour and dignity. A GC learns a great deal of values of life during his short stay in the Academy.
The schedule of training at the Academy is well planned and organised. It is designed to bring about a qualitative change in the personality of trainees by making them aware of their latent potential to explore; helping them to mould their physical and mental attributes and sharpening the skills of various kinds in addition to grooming them as the future military leaders of the Indian Army. Physical Training, Drill, Weapon Training, Leadership Training and their practice is given the maximum thrust in the training curriculum. A raw young GC learns important lessons in theory and practice of military leadership from the qualified instructors posted to the Academy.
The curriculum aims at progressively exploring higher challenges for the GCs as they move from junior terms to senior terms. Thus, they learn to cope with the higher levels of stress and strain through the rigours of training. The Academy endeavours to constantly upgrade the curriculum to suit the emerging trends in soldiering by assimilating latest trends and techniques in military training. By the time a GC completes the training cycles, he finds in him a superlative confidence to deal with any kind of situation.
Clubs at IMA
More than 30 Clubs are organized at the IMA to impart all round training to the Gentlemen Cadets and aim not only at bringing up a soldier but also ensure grooming of good human being. There are several interesting hobby clubs. Indoor and outdoor, conducted twice a week under the guidance of officers. The clubs are always vibrant with varied activities through out the term. The GC office bearers manage the activities of club and the Officer in Charge provide guidance to make the most of available time and resources.
- Arts Club
- Music and Drama Club
- Camera Club
- Computer Club
- Journalism and Literary Club
- Workshop and soft Wood Carving Club
- Riding and polo Club
- Army Rifle Association (ARA) Club
- Aero-Sports Club
- Rock Climbing Club
- White Water Rafting Club
- Driving and Maintenance (D&M) Club
- Gardening Club
- Culinary Club
- Angling Club
- Wild Life Club
- Handicrafts Club
- Judo and Karate Club
Adventure at IMA
Adventure activities form a part of routine in the Indian Army. They inculcate a sense of purpose, determination, camaraderie and courage, all of which are hallmarks of a warrior. To imbibe the spirit of adventure in the Gentlemen Cadets (GCs), multifaceted activities covering a wide panorama of adventure sports are organised at Indian Military Academy (IMA). Expert coaching and latest equipment available in the world market is procured for conduct of adventure sports. Adventure training weeks are slated and GCs get an opportunity to kindle the spirit of adventure in them.
The GCs are sent on various hikes during the mid-term break which include treks to Joshimath, Hemkund Sahib, Badrinath, Pong Dam, Valley of Flowers, Kedarnath, Chakrata, Tiger Falls, Nainital, Yamnotri, Gangotri, Shimla, Varanasi and Kulu – Manali.