How Different is the Concept of Religion in the Indian Armed Forces

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One of the very first things cadets are familiarised with at the academy is the concept of “Sarvadharmasthal”. Before every single major event like the X-country or a sport event, cadets from all the squadron visit the Sarvadharmasthal which is around 3-4 kilometers from the squadrons. Hundreds of cadets can be seen on their bicycles in proper formations of 4 or 6 on the road that leads to the aforementioned location.

Sarvadharmasthal is a beautiful and pious place beside the academy with a temple, mosque, gurudwara, and a church all right next to each other. According to academy traditions only when you pray at all these 4 locations together is when your prayers are answered. I usually visited the temple, sat there for a few minutes and then headed to the church where I knelt down praying for success. It was the Gurudwara then which was my favourite because of the yummy food there. The mosque was usually calm and serene and ended our visit to the holy site.

It was usually a squadron affair for me where all 120 of us went together and offered our prayers. At times, on a Sunday I used to accompany my friend also as he visited the church and I visited all the 4 sites. This tradition goes on to the units when we become officers as well. Most of stations and units will have such a concept, even if a temple and a mosque is not next to each other, it will be inside the station for sure.

Even in the harshest of conditions like in Siachen or the North East, soldiers still have the same spirit. I remember my friend telling me when he was posted near Silchar, they had celebrated Diwali inside a church and Eid as well. The concept of celebrating all religions is more important. The army, the navy, and the Air Force stand on these virtues and probably that is the reason why the brotherhood inside the forces is very strong. No one is judged by their name or caste, they are judged by their efficiency and courage