Alumni of Law Faculty serving in the Judge Advocate General Branch of the Indian Army

This story is about AMU Alumni who is serving in the Judge Advocate General Branch of the Indian Army and is presently holding the Rank of Major.

1. “Army is the most secular institution of the country” was one of the two statements made by Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah, AVSM, SM, VSM, the then Vice Chancellor of AMU, during his speech in the Union Hall in May 2012 that stimulated me to consider joining Army as a career option. The other statement that ‘there can be no discrimination against the educated’ gave the necessary impetus towards achieving this goal. Being charged and motivated about this relatively different career choice for an AMU Law Student, the next obvious question that popped was ‘How?’.
2. After about an hour of research at a dingy cyber cafe in Champion Market, I was armed with a pen drive full of information about the ways to join Indian Army. As the time elapsed, the narrative of considering Army as a career choice gained some popularity as motivational talks by retired Army officers were organised on the instructions of Gen Shah. The Residential Coaching Academy (RCA) added the words “Armed Forces” to the list of exams for which free coaching was to be offered by the Academy for the selected students. Soon after regular classes on Service Selection Boards (SSB), a new term in the campus, were organised under the aegis of RCA which were thronged by quite a few students of Law Faculty. However, for reasons I can’t recall, I never attended these classes nor was fascinated towards them. Probably one of the reasons that I find appropriate to ascribe for the repulsiveness towards these classes was the impression that was created in my mind after my research at Champion Market that SSB is a personality test and personality is a trait that cannot be changed altogether albeit can be ameliorated a little.
3. With time I came to know about the concept of and accordingly started working on ‘Officer Like Qualities’ (OLQs) that are indispensable to become an Army Officer. An hour from my 6 hours routine library time was now to be religiously dedicated towards enriching the qualities. As soon as I stepped in my final year, I zeroed on two entries that I was to apply for at the fag end of my course: UPSC CDSE Entry and JAG Spl Entry. By that time, three of my seniors from Law Faculty had already joined OTA, Chennai after securing a birth in the competitive JAG Spl Entry.
4. I appeared for the CDS Examination conducted by UPSC in Feb 2014 in Delhi being the nearest and accessible centre and by the end of the examination was sure about qualifying the same. After having obtained a provisional degree that certified the completion of Five Year Integrated Law Course, I applied for JAG Spl Entry as this is the only entry where one needs to have a degree in Law in order to apply for the same.
5. Somewhere in Nov 2014, I received a call letter for SSB Interview for both the entries and my SSB Interviews for JAG Spl Entry and CDS Entry for OTA were scheduled a week apart in Dec 2014 at Bhopal and Allahabad respectively. After weighing in all the options I decided to appear at Bhopal with a thought in mind that in case I fail, I shall travel to and appear at Allahabad straight away. However, as luck would have it, I was screened in along with 19 others and was retained for further testing. On the final day when the results were announced, I couldn’t believe my ears as I was the only one who was recommended.
6. Basking in the ecstasy of success, I decided not to appear in the SSB Interview at Allahabad without caring for the fact that medical and merit list were the last two hurdles that I had to cross before I could join the Officers Training Academy, Chennai. But, the confidence that had settled in gave me the boost that I would definitely make it to the Academy and make my University and specially the Vice Chancellor proud. And as they say, what followed next is nothing but the journey that continues unabated due to the precious learning at the best citadel of learning.

*The name and other details of the author cannot be disclosed due to security reasons.

September 6, 2020

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