Nurturing the younger lot for a career in the armed forces, Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun has been the grooming center for attaining echelon in the Defence Services for many decades. After the First World War the need for a college was felt to train the Indian boys for absorption in the commissioned ranks of the Indian Army. Accordingly, the Government of India established the Royal Military College on 22 February 1922 at Dehradun. On 13 March 1922 the then Prince of Wales inaugurated this institution, which was named the Prince of Wales’ Royal Indian Military College. In January 1950 the name of the College was changed to Prince of Wales Military College and to Sainik School on 1 December 1955. The College finally acquired its present name Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) on 1 October 1959. The Ministry of Defence through Directorate General of Military Training, Army Headquarters, administers the College.
Before the establishment of the Indian Military Academy in 1932, the cadets from the RIMC used to enter the Military Colleges in United Kingdom.
The object of RIMC is to obtain suitable candidates for admission to the National Defence Academy (NDA) and to train them in such a way that they may compete for entry into the NDA. RIMC cadets cannot, however, be admitted directly into the NDA. Like other candidates they are required to qualify the UPSC competitive examination and the Service Selection Board interviews for entry into the NDA.
The admission to RIMC is biannual. To be eligible for entry, the candidates (boys only) should not be less than 11 ½ years of age but must not have attained the age of 13 years. Admissions are made to class I (equivalent to class VIII) only, on the basis of their performance in an All India Entrance Examination held twice a year in English, Mathematics and General Knowledge followed by a viva-voce.
The medium of instruction at the College is English. The classes range from standard VIII to XII. The unique feature of the College curriculum is that it is the only institution in the country, which has a total of four Board examinations every year. Class X and XII Board examinations are held in May and November every year.
Military training forms an integral part of the curriculum. There is a distinct accent on games, sports and on every kind of healthy adventurous activity and training, which would help in fostering a disciplined, rugged and well-integrated personality. A wide range of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities is organized for the enrichment of the social and cultural life of the cadets.
There were 37 cadets on the College rolls to begin with. Due to growing demand for admission to the College this was raised to 200 in 1965 and 220 in 1974. At present the strength of the College is around 250.
Intake of College is 25 to 30 students per term and there are two terms per year. Each state has its quota of 1 to 2 students (minimum 1 and maximum 2) with no reservation of any kind. Financial assistance in the form of scholarship from the Central/State governments is granted to the deserving candidates on the recommendation of the Commandant. The Government provides a subsidy of about Rs one lakh per student per year.
RIMC boys have been performing exceedingly well in mountaineering. In 1994, four RIMC cadets and three Old Boys climbed the 6,830 meters Kedar Dome peak which has been acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as an outstanding feat by boys of 14-17 age group. In 1996, RIMC cadets successfully climbed Mt Thelu and Mt Koteshwar both above 6,000 meters within a span of five days. A cadet Julfikar Hasan successfully climbed Mt Gangotri-I at the age of 13 years only. Mountaineering Expeditions to Mt Black Peak (6,387 m, June 2000), Jogin-III (6,116 m, June 2002) and Gangotri-I(6,672m, June 2003) were successfully accomplished.
The students are encouraged to pursue adventure sports like trekking, long distance cycling, skiing, and white water rafting and parasailing. Training cruises on board Indian Naval Ships to Andamans or Lakshadweep Islands is almost a regular feature in January every year.
Rimcollians as RIMC alumni are called have won various awards for gallantry and distinguished service. Rimcollian General K.S.Thimmaya was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan. RIMC has produced three Arjun Award winners – Brigadier D.K.Khullar (mountaineering), Colonel K.S.Rao (sailing) and Brigadier R. K.Manchanda (squash).
The first Indian officer to win the Victoria Cross was Rimcollian 2nd Lieutenant P.S.Bhagat who later rose to the rank of Lieutenant General. Major Som Nath Sharma (posthumously) who won the Param Vir Chakra was also a Rimcollian. So far, five Rimcollians have won the Padma Bhushan and one Padma Shri. Apart from this the Rimcollians have won one Maha Vir Chakra, 15 Vir Chakra and hundreds of other gallantry awards and commendations.
RIMC’s crowning glory is that it has given five Chief’s of Staff - four to the Indian Army namely General K.S.Thimayya, General G.G.Bewoor, General V. N. Sharma and General K.Padmanabhan and the fifth was the Chief of Air Staff – Air Chief Marshal, N. C. Suri.
The achievements of the Rimcollians across the border have also been equally impressive. Rimcollians in Pakistan include two former Air Chiefs - Air Marshal, Nur Khan and Air Marshal, Asghar Khan, one former Army Chief Lt General, Gul Hassan Khan, the Foreign Minister Sahabzada Yakub Khan, the former Interior Minister Nasrullah Babar and the former Foreign Secretary, Sharayar Mohammad Khan.
Nestled in the foothills of the Shivalik ranges in the sylvan surroundings of the Doon valley, the RIMC has a sprawling campus of 138 acres. The campus has quite a few heritage buildings in Tudor style, some nearly a hundred years old. Besides, it has playfields, courts, swimming pools, riding school, Indoor shooting range and all facilities for co-curricular activity. Future plans of the RIMC include modernization of sports and curricular activities with a thrust on academics, plans for an Olympic size swimming pool, open-air theatre, an auditorium and sports complex for yoga classes, basketball and other indoor games.
As a result of the operation green campaign launched by RIMC for storage of the rainy water flowing in a nearby stream, a beautiful lake has recently come up in its vicinity. In an area exceeding more than an acre, the lake is being used for fisheries and also for boating purpose. Captivating to the eyes, the lake has been attracting birds of different species including migratory birds from Siberia during monsoon.
RIMC is truly a mini-India reflecting a student population from every state and from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
*Information Officer, PIB, Dehradun