If you are nursing the dream of becoming a commando one day, then you need to get your body in shape right away. Inside Indian Army's Commando Wing (CW) at Belgaum, every solider who enrolls for the rigorous course, is constantly reminded of the need to be physically and psychologically fit. As the training gains momentum, a new reality dawns and the fight to survive for one more day takes hold. As days go by, the rules of the game change rapidly, with nothing known about the next moment.
The psychological strain is immense, by design. Lack of sleep and fatigue begin to play havoc with your senses.
Major Raviraj Nalawade, Head of Training Team at CW, was the man marked to give *Express *an insight into the unknown terrains of a commando's mind. After a two day sojourn of the training facilities at the CW, the welcome handshake with the Major was a reminder to what separates boys from the men of steel. “An individual who wants to stretch his limits; who is willing to undergo physical and mental hardship; ready to block out pain and allow the body to be controlled by the mind, can take a shot at becoming a commando.
The foremost quality of a commando is steadfast will power. The other defining traits in their order of importance being, moral and physical courage, psychological, emotional and physical fitness,” said Major Raviraj.
He added that a commando is a person with intense self-discipline. “Somebody who has to be supervised cannot become a commando. He has to think and then act like one. His firing skills should be second to none and the capability of handling of all kinds of weapons and explosives has to be top class. A commando also has to navigate without any technological gizmo,” the Major said.
A commando is not all brawn and no brain, as the popular opinion goes. He has to be tech-savvy and should be able use every latest gadget at his disposal to his benefit. He may have to direct laser guided bombs on to targets, that can otherwise not be destroyed by other explosives. He must be able to communicate with his headquarters and may have to send back live audio/video surveillance feeds of high-value targets.
“Another important aspect of a being a commando is the knowledge of medicine. He is trained in life saving procedures that he may have to perform on his colleagues or at times on himself during conflicts. He will have to be well read, understand foreign relations and government policies as well. A commando has to be aware of everything all the time and cannot be ignorant. He has to have the ability to win hearts and minds. A good commando also has to be compassionate too,” says Major Raviraj.
Finally, what everything boils down to is the will of a man to go on, and the capability to hang on for a moment longer. At the CW, a man who thinks of giving up is considered unfit to be welcomed in the brotherhood. “A commando is therefore a man who thinks, how he thinks and how long he keeps thinking,” signed-off the Major.
(To be continued)