‘Agnipath Has Burnt Down My Dreams, Career Preparation’

Anshu Mishra, who was preparing hard to join Indian Army, says the Govt decision on Tour of Duty has destroyed the ambitions of millions of youth. His views:

Wake up at 3.30 every morning. Hit the ground for training around 4.30 AM. Run for around 45 minutes. Exercise for another hour. Attend coaching classes and prepare for the written exam during the day. Repeat the running and exercise routine in the evening. Do it every day, without fail. No Sunday, no rest, no break.

This is not the Army training session, but a usual day of an army aspirant like me. I have been following this routine for the last four years and I am not the only one to do so. There are lakhs of such aspirants all across the country who also follow the same routine every day.

Joining the army and donning the uniform is a passion. There are people in the Indian Army from my family, relatives and friends. Since I turned 18, I have been training hard to join the force. I have also appeared in physical tests during the recruitment drive of the Army. Sadly, I missed being qualified twice in the running test by a whisker. I am 21 years and 9 months old now and I had committed to myself to pass the physical test of Army this time. The government’s Tour of Duty (TOD) or Agnipath announcement consigned all my dreams to flames.

Even If I pass the physical, medical and written test this year, I will be out of the Army after four years. Imagine the irony: I trained for four year to get a job that will retire me after four years! All the effort, practice and commitment have blown up in my face. What will I do after the completion of my four-year tenure in the Army? Back to square one. Does the country have that many private jobs?

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Most Army aspirants come from humble backgrounds. We also have a lot of pressure from the family to start earning. I recently moved from Bihar to Chhattisgarh in search of a job. Along with my army preparation, I was also doing a job of data operator at a private company there. Last month, I quit the job and came back to my hometown so that I could fully focus on my preparation. Now, this Agnipath decision of the government has burnt down all my dreams. Swaha!

Many students are protesting on the streets and venting out their frustration, but a majority of the aspirants are still in total shock. Our brains are numb. We don’t know what to do, how to react.

I think this is the worst decision of the Modi government and they will have to roll it back. The model of other countries can’t be copied and pasted in India. This policy might have serious repercussions in future. I read some posts on social media that raise concerns about the military-trained youth and unemployment will be a lethal combination. Such a posse of men will be susceptible to and can be recruited by criminal gangs for unlawful activities. Those concerns are right. In search of gainful employment, some youths can take the wrong path.

As told to Md Tausif Alam

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