Indian Military Academy, Dehradun is one of the prestigious military training academies of the Indian army and is known for creating men out of the boys, the men with a character to lead, the men with upright morale and the men who can face anything and everything bravely. The training here is divided into terms and is formulated to bring out the best in a gentleman cadet.
The training consists of academic education, weapon training, field exercises, drills and whatnot, but one thing which is not mentioned in the training protocol but has always been the integral and most important part of training is the punishment given in academies but we will not use the term punishment instead we will call it as ‘Ragda’, the process of building men while breaking the boys.
Ragda has always been a special memory for academy pass-out and a sense of terror for those in the academy, because ragda has no special schedule and pattern and neither a hierarchy, it can be given by everyone senior to you and at any point of time at any place.
Ragda has one more peculiarity, it’s not given to one person at a time, the whole of the batch gets ragda at the same time and of the same type, be it a mistake of anyone, everyone will be drenched in the soil, and this strengthens the bond among batchmates and a sense of collective responsibility.
If we are to classify the ragda procedure it can be done in three types:
So let’s understand each of them in detail:
UNOFFICIAL ‘PUNISHMENTS’ BY SENIORS:
These punishments are the gifts of seniors to their loved juniors and they are the most amazing and terrifying of all because of the uncertainty and spontaneity of time and spot.
So here elaborating a few of them in detail :
1.Swimming on the Rocks: Yes, it is what the name means, nothing surprising !! The gentlemen cadets are called in their IMA swimming costume and they are made to crawl on the gravel with arms locked behind, sounds amazing right and it can happen in between any activity or sports throughout the day.
2.Rogering Nite (Summers): A random combination of Front Rolls > Back Rolls > Side Rolls in sets of 10 each after consuming at least two bath mugs full of water post-dinner. The duration is around two or more than two hours. The venue for this amazing combo is the Billet compound and the reason for choosing it is the grass cover there which can easily soak up all the vomit thrown out by cadets. The costume for this ragda is the IMA swimming costume. The battle cry during this punishment is a surprise for the IMA aspirants, hope you reach there soon and shout it loud, it will be fun, and after this exercise the aroma between cadets is similar, a deadly combo of sweat and vomit, with least or no energy to clean up the mess.
3. Mussourie Nights (Winter): Yet again a random combination of Front Rolls > Back Rolls > Side Rolls after consuming at least two bath mugs full of water post-dinner and all this happening in winters of Dehradun.
Adding to all this everyone is soaked in water and has to stand at Savdhaan for few minutes and if you tremble you are gone. The fun part begins after this and each cadet is asked to count the total number of lights visible in Mussorie which is 16 km away. A person is arbitrarily picked out as the correct answer and is told to do the honour of pouring a mug full of water over the heads of the rest of the platoon.
4. Muster Bluster: The Muster call is made at 04:30 am and the reason quoted for this is even more amazing. The seniors believe that GCs would be sleepy after a long night Ragda session, so they are called early morning to put them through their paces so that they don’t get sluggish while going to the PT fall-in and remain active for the upcoming day.
5. BAJRI ORDER: This Ragda is of three types.
Type I: Single Pack: A Rucksack ‘A’ Scale is filled with gravel and cadets are asked to do a minimum of 30 min of Sitting on haunches followed with Stand Sit-Stand, Sit-Stand. The normal dress code includes dungarees and for special occasions, swimming trunks are also used.
Type II: The load is similar to Type I but the pattern changes here and it is scores of Sitting (on haunches) Stand Sit-Stand, Sit-Stand, Sit-Stand and the series goes on.
Type III: The load here is doubled and a cycle is held in bare hands and raised over the head. The command is to stand at attention or the more favourite Sit-Stand, Sit-Stand, Sit-Stand.
6. Endurance Run: Imagine a physical endurance run after you are filled, seems tough and this is what happens there in heaven. The dress for the run includes dungarees and ammunition boots.
7. Push Ups (Military Style ie. arms locked to the side of chest): The number ranges anything from 100 to 500 combined with continuous yelling by the seniors.
8.Sit Ups (Arms locked behind the head legs stretched out): The number can go up to Infinite ie. as many as can be squeezed into the night. The rightly said principle ‘Make the core stronger’.
Here comes the most inspiring and fearing characters of the academies, i.e. “The instructors A.k.a ustaads” with their famous quote: “Aisa foot flat karega ki aasman me dhuaan aur zameen pe chingari niklegi, mussorie me honeymoon manane walo ko pata chale ki academy me loha ban raha hai.”
The command comes for the continuous Tham Practice Carry On : (Tham Khaali Ek Do!, Tham Khaali Ek Do!!, Tham Khaali Ek Do!!!,) …short Left step, short Right step left foot stamp right foot stamp into Savdhan position then repeat and adding to the fun, you have to shout in your fullest voice, with your hands moving 180 degrees and if you feel low on motivation or tired then remember “Ustaad ki nazar sabpe hai”, look into those eyes and tiredness runs away.
In this punishment, cadets are told to keep their hands on their waist, go in a squat position and start hopping like a frog.
Continuous Flat Foot carry on! : The cadets have to keep their hands on their waist and jump up touch their knees to the rib cage and bring the feet crashing down on the tarmac. The sound should be THACK THACK THACK and not putterrr putter putterrr… otherwise, drill ustaad is there to add to the fun.
Gun Parikrama (Circumambulation of the gun): The rifle is held high above the heads and running begins from one corner of the drill square to the other corner where an obsolete 25 pounder gun (memorabilia) rests. The cadets have to cover this distance(approx 200 metres) and fall back into the squad in two minutes flat.
Small Arms / Grenade Firing Range – The cadets are made to limber up with tiger crawl.
PLATOON COMMANDER’S PENALTIES FOR APPOINTMENTS
Orders Parade: The cadets have to get into a push-up position on the left hand with a pen in the right, and write down the orders. No doubts are entertained during this period and if you got any put the pebbles in your mouth, that’s it.
OFFICIAL (PUBLISHED) PENALTIES:
These are punishments awarded by any officer who sees you default and is published in the official gazette of the IMA. An interesting fact here, Late FM Manekshaw still has some restrictions pending against his name in the drill instructors office in IMA.
Extra Drills: The cadets are ordered to dress up in Drill Formals “Hackle Order” and report to the drill square where they have to do the drill practice, including haunching, squats, and Kadam thaap.
Restrictions: During this period the liberty of a cadet to go out in the city on weekends is prohibited and he is made to report to the drill square for Extra Drills.
Relegation: If the number of restrictions is so much that the number of days is not enough to complete them then a cadet is sent for the relegation, a cadet can also be relegated to doing something really stupid like losing a magazine of a rifle or peer manhandling etc.
These are some of the procedures followed in the making of steel in the academy, and we hope that you reach there as soon as possible and have the first-hand experience of all the fun along with your friends.