It was much later we came to know the real rank and the difference between a JCO (Junior Commissioned Officers) and a NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) who were simply called 'Ustad Ji' or 'Sir Jee' by the Cadets all across the country, but that did not diminish the value of the 'Slog' they made us go thru while doing our compulsory NCC training ( wasn't ever named as compulsory Military training) and the feeling of Patriotism they would generate. They were deputed from Army, Air Force or Indian Navy to different Divisions of NCC in different states. We saw three Wars in School, Colleges in 1962, 1965 and 1971 and while they would teach us Combat, Leadership, Small Arms and Medium Arms training and the several tough drills including the Skills like mountaineering - they'd always tell us 'WAR IS BAD !'. Tough Minded Positive Thinkers were these Mentors. I'd any day salute them for what they taught us.
We learnt to Salute and the First Salute was to the Flag they'd say ! They explained to us the meaning and what each color of the Tri-Color Flag and the best and toughest lessons were when they would speak with almost Religious Fervour about the Ashoka Chakra within the Flag and the 24 Virtues each of the Spoke represented. Remembering them by rote and telling the meaning with an example was their pastime we learnt later - but the drill was extremely tough, the punishment severe ( Like holding Rifle or LMG above our head and doing 10 rounds of the ground 'On the Double' - which they would 'lovingly' watch from the corner of the eye while teaching the other Cadets. They were awesome !
Those small gifts of 'Brasso' or 'Blanko ( canvas belt polish) from the 'Ustaad Ji' on winning the Best Marksman Awards were most pleasurable moments.
Reflecting back - NCC laid the foundation course for our Leadership and the 24 Virtues that we learn are well imbibed by the serious Cadets who show their Leadership abilities in not just Services but also in the Corporate world - right upto the C Suite .
The Flag Day is celebrated on 7th of December and reminds us nostalgically about the hard 'grinding' we got ably supported by the mentors which is not easy to wipe away.
|December 7||Armed Forces Flag Day honours the soldiers, airmen and sailors of India.The Armed Forces Flag Day or the Flag Day of India is a day dedicated towards collection of funds from people of India for the welfare of the Indian Armed Forces personnel. It has been observed annually in India on December 7 since 1949. Over the years, it has become a tradition to commemorate this day as an honour to the soldiers, airmen and sailors of India.|