3 minute readVideo: Military cadet gets beating

The video you’ve just watched was apparently filmed at one of India’s military academies. Neither the date of the video clip nor the identities of either the cadet getting beaten with a hockey stick or his senior are known to us.

There are many who have vouchsafed to us that this kind of behavior is routine at the academies and is an essential part of inculcating discipline in cadets and recruits. After all, kambal parade is a thing in the Indian armed forces. Clearly, the senior had no problem being filmed administering the punishment.

Others have said that discipline is one thing, but were disgusted by the treatment meted out to the cadet. It is also important to take note of reports of ragging at military academies, which are alleged to have even resulted in suicide by cadets who were victims.

Here’s what Major Navdeep Singh, a practising lawyer specialising in military affairs, had to say after watching the clip:

More than shocking, the clip is heartbreaking. It does not reflect the ethos of our Army and I hope it is untrue.

While it is correct that some sort of harmless ragging has been a part of the culture of military academies all over the world, the same has been associated more with inculcating mental toughness and not with insult or physical injury as seems to be the case in the instant video clip. It is hoped and prayed that in case authentic the incident is an aberration and the military would have taken action against the perpetrator by now.

One should also be extra careful to curb such tendency since if a person can physically and ruthlessly assault his or her peer or junior, the tendency well has a chance of playing itself in the situation of operations, combat or while dealing with others who are at disadvantageous positions.

It must be always kept in mind that the professional Indian Army is a ‘defence service’ and plays the role of protector rather than an offender or aggressor.

It must also be kept in mind that though military personnel are supposed to be mentally and physically tough, they are human beings after all and besides slighting the self-esteem of an individual, such incidents, if true, can also lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which may negatively manifest in other situations.

We’d like to know what you think.

Do you think corporal punishment is okay as a part of inculcating discipline in cadets in the armed forces?

Is there anything wrong with this, keeping in mind the inherently physical nature of the nature of service in the armed forces? Would you agree it toughens up cadets who could reasonably expect to face far worse in the field?

If so, do you think there should be an administrative process before resorting to it? Should there be an approved method of administering corporal punishment? And what kind of infractions would justify such punishment?

Does this behavior inspire confidence in seniors or camaraderie among the ranks?

There are also women cadets joining up increasingly. Would you have have a problem with any one of them being subject to similar punishment?

If you don’t think this is the correct way to discipline cadets, tell us why.

Do you think this is nothing more than ‘boys’ hostel bullying’, ragging or hazing? If so, does it have a place in military training? Or is this abuse of authority?

Do let us know what you think by responding in the comments below, Twitter @StratPost or on Facebook.

More information on the video clip would also be welcome.

  25 comments for “3 minute readVideo: Military cadet gets beating

  1. Indiaaaa
    October 11, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    OTA CHENNAI

  2. Bhuvanesh R
    September 13, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    this is not a ragging, its molding the GCs into a great officer

  3. SurenderaVikramSingh
    October 29, 2014 at 8:21 am

    harjan71 view reminds me
    of the laughable adventures of Don Quixote, the self-styled knight who took upon
    himself to live “idiotism”  and since then there have been many  – harjan74 eccentric response does  again reminds me of the
    legendary “Don Q” – “a three liner” judgment from harjan71, must compel readers to reassess his
    view “land of spineless toothless piss in pants sissies”
    What he
    brings with him to a claim for a country of millions as “cowards” can be attributed
    to him alone, perhaps harjan71 see himself as the “macho-hero” combine, wip in
    hand chasing spineless cowards to churn out “rambos”. It is time the nation awarded
    such thinkers  — that for all the cruelty and hardship the
    nation endures – “This country remains a land of spineless toothless piss in
    pants sissies”
    harjan71 seems to have little or no respect for his himself, leave aside the nation?
    If beating a young lad turns him on – “to justify fear as a means to churn out “soldiers”
    then he surely needs to do some soul searching”  a defeated mind alone can live an ideology harjan71 agrees to.
    The physical harassment
    of such deplorable acts is not the issue; the perpetrators to the act can also be
    forgiven “for being barely out of their shorts” but the streak in them which
    follows harjan71 comments must be snubbed, lest they develop hardened
    convictions to live with such behaviour
    Such acts scars the
    essence of  a young impression-less minds, not only a cadet but also  many others who are forced
    to live such ordeals. we can’t encourage individual freewill scarred forever and tied
    to a pole analogous to how much freedom the rope allows, a young lad could just
    fall apart ….! and for the ageing parents it’s a feeling of helpless  to a trauma they have to live with –“ children beaten like animals”.
    Churning out leaders of
    men/women in war castigated, beaten to be turned into a dumbs more out of fear
    or retribution may stall the very pleasant feeling of beginning of a career.  Issue like this needs more social attention and serious accountability from people responsible to run training academies.
    Harjan71 would do well
    to apologize for condemning the youth of this nation as “cowards and spineless
    sissies” and withdraw his comment, else there may be consequences.

  4. hrajan71
    October 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    When will we stop crying like women and act like men?
    A few slaps on the bum with a hockey stick is unbearable?
    This kind of pathetic cowardice is what has led to our country becoming a land of spineless toothless piss in pants sissies.

    I will say well done to both cadets and to raise it several notches.

  5. S Sankaranarayanan
    October 9, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    dir4media
    dear sir,
             For my surprise, there are number of activities as narrated by some of the cadets which degrades the dignity of a cadet in many ways in the Academy .  On further, inquiry, it was revealed that the man handling is very common in the academy and seniors treat the juniors in the most undignified ways.
          Other than the above incidence, there are more such things which are matter of concern. These are:
     The Usthads /drill/Pt instructors also seems to be indulging in undignified acts of man handling cadets using sticks or cane. The same Usthads will have to serve under this cadets once they become officers
    The DSs are resorting to primitive method of treating the cadets which needs corrective action. Use of some kind of corporal punishments and harassment as a tool also needs to be corrected.
    This is not an isolated case as we came to understand later.  There is a tradition of seniors manhandling and making the juniors undergo some of the punishments which even one can’t think of giving to your worst enemy.
    When corporal punishments are banned even in schools, one cannot think of making the cadets  to undergo such punishments in the Academy where they are being trained to lead the men in war. The mindset of the DS must change and they need to re orient first and stop using these kinds of punishments as tool to subjugate the cadets.  The senior cadet imitate the DS in intimidating their juniors and subjugate them to menial things. The primitive techniques and traditions if followed now also should be discontinued forthwith.
     When a visitor interacts with the cadets, they may not  carry any good impression of the atmosphere in the academy as shown in various “Join Army “advertisement films or posters, rather they would carry a scary feeling which when passed on to other citizens  will become an adverse publicity to the army. 
    No class one services such as IAS/IPS/IFS or IDSE etc of this nation treats their trainees in this manner and no seniors in this kind of organization subjugate their subordinate trainees in this fashion. 
    The Academy needs to look in to these aspects, introspect and change the very mind set of the persons responsible for the training. Cadets are forced to lead a life of submissive, not to raise voice, accept all sorts of treatments and complete the training under undue stress.  A cadet who objects to these kinds of actions are understandably singled out.

    To summarize the whole thing, the following points need  attention:
    a)    Man-handling of cadets in all Military academy s  in any form needs to be prevented and award stringent punishment to persons indulging in these kind of act.
    b)    Menial and undignified method of punishments which are presently practiced by DSs and senior cadets needs to be stopped with immediate effect. 
    c.   Usthads need to be given proper counseling as to how to conduct themselves during the course of training the GCs/LCs. Proper orientation training to be given to these instructors and periodic feedback through GCs/LCs may be obtained. (A monthly or quarterly feedback on these instructors can be obtained to evaluate the quality of instructors.  Any offender needs to be punished and posted out immediately to drive home the point.  There should be periodical classes/ lectures given to Usthads and told about the dos and don’ts – may be once in a month/quarter)
    d.    Similarly the DS needs to be trained and periodic feedback through GCs/LCs can be obtained to evaluate the quality of DS.  They also needs to be   told about the dos and don’ts (proper training capsule for the newly posted officers as DS to be given).
    e.    An independent monitoring team reporting directly to DCCI can be put in place with the responsibilities of checking these aspects.
    f.     Thrust should be on the scientific way of training the cadets, and not to drain their entire energy by way of various unauthorized/un scheduled punishment extending to late night up to two or three o clock in the night. ( in our good old days no seniors were permitted to punish any juniors beyond 10 PM and defaulter were taken to task by awarding  restrictions or relegation. Only in rare occasions the DS would undertake punishments of cadets in the nights). A cruel punishment schedule puts the cadets under psychological stress digressing from the actual training A cadet cannot be doing punishments all the time and also do the scheduled training simultaneously which will compromise the quality of the actual training, if the Cadet ends up sleeping.    Academy should permit only authorized time tested training programs to be implemented and the so called punishments of any form should be done away with proper corrective training  (in the format of Restrictions/route march etc under proper supervision).
    g.     Professional help such as Gym instructors can be obtained to train the week Cadets who are unable to pass certain PT test.
    h.    Training can be scientifically designed to suit the roles they would play as an Army officer.
    j.      Cadets should be educated about their  rights in the Academy so as to  ensure that he/she can object to any undignified treatment once he/she knows his/her rights. 
     I am sure, the Academy is designed for these purposes only, but some where some thing is getting missed out.  When checks and balances are diluted then there are chances that the very purpose is defeated or only partially achieved.  Cadets coming from various walks of life bring in their bad part of training from schools and try the same with fellow cadets if unchecked.  Further, Cadets here are quite matured and are graduates or technical graduates coming from some of the finest institutions. Hence, they cannot be treated in this manner for choosing Army as their profession.
     What I have stated is my inference based on the interaction I have had from cadets. There may be an element of exaggeration by the cadets who have narrated to me, since I am not witness to these actions. However, to know the clear picture, appropriate authorities can institute an independent inquiry  for finding out the facts and take remedial actions.  
         Academy may bring in army veterans, best think tanks, psychologist, technocrats and so on  to have a re look at the training capsule and if required modify the same to suit to the needs of the 21st  century  Modern Indian Army which is the need of the hour. What we show in various advertisements to lure the youngsters to join army should be true in the Academy itself. The life of a cadet should be made comfortable without compromising the standard of the training in the Academy so as to build robust leaders.

  6. mandy_sehgal
    October 8, 2014 at 8:21 am

    It is very sad that such isolated incidents still continue in the academies. I remember we often got punished in the academy as a group for our acts of omission/commission but the aim probably was to build physical strength and mental resilience. There was no such case of individual being singled out and humiliated. The senior needs to be taken to task.

  7. S Sankaranarayanan
    October 5, 2014 at 8:12 am

    @commandersaini StratPost
    Not Acceptable. You do not prepare a cadet like this. This is inhuman

  8. S Sankaranarayanan
    October 4, 2014 at 8:39 am

    @vikramwkarve StratPost SaurabhJoshi

  9. Ashok Datta
    October 2, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Sad wish it is not true. But it looks correct. Appear to be of NDA NOT SURE. It must be investigated and put the cadet brought to books. Punishment for improvement is ok not to give injury

  10. Capital
    October 2, 2014 at 8:49 am

    How does one know this clip is not from the police academies or from Pakistan’s academies–their culture is so much like ours? or it could be a clip made to malign the defence forces training institutions–anybody could be made to wear a battle fatigue dress nowadays.

  11. Nixon F
    October 2, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Clearly, from the views posted here, even looking from the law and human rights angle, there is a discrepancy between what the ‘senior’ thinks is ‘grooming’ and what the others in this forum think is grooming. Sadly speaking, this debate has not been settled as yet; and though Maj Gen Shokin ADG of Public information has said what he has said in unequivocal terms, there are many doubters out there who think that such behavior is normal. 

    I can say from what ever little experience i have with the National Defence Academy, that quiet a few of the youngsters at that academy at least in the decade after 1996 when i served there, believed in such ideas about toughening… 
    I would not have evidence to present if one asked, but i have known credible stories of cadets who have had their legs broken by seniors with hockey sticks, i have seen cadets being pulled up for ‘unnatural acts’, I have witnessed divisional officers use a stick on the backside of cadets during camps (i would not remember who) but sure enough i have witnessed, I have seen etched on desks cadets having written that living in NDA is like living in Hell, I have heard cadets describe to me about bathroom sessions in which a cadet is made to roll between hot and cold showers alternatively at odd times in the night, I have heard of instances of deaths of cadets during ‘grudges’ when juniors have the opportunity to take out grudges on seniors a few days before they pass out of the academy. Ear drums busted because a cadet was slapped by a Div Officer. A majority of cadets losing their sense of idealism and enthusiasm a few months after they land up at the NDA.

    Are these aberrations or then are they the norm? Is it just the normal expected thing in a group of youngsters of that age? 
    while dealing with the cadets one, as a civilian, has always witnessed this thing about the pride of the cadet in having been through the NDA… So what have they done here that they believe in an elevated status? … They have not faced a single enemy, not fought a war, not lead any real soldiers, they are not soldiers yet… Just played games, fired rifles, learned the theories, visited some military formations, done parades… what else…? 
    Is it all about a halo in having obeyed orders of fanatical seniors? Is it all about surviving at the NDA despite the onslaught of the ‘toughening’ from seniors? Is it about having been put into situations where a senior has unlimited power over you and you have unlimited power over your junior? 

    somewhere there is a hint that this pride of having passed through the academy is more about having to face some real trying situations created by seniors and nothing else. And this seems to be an universal phenomenon in military academies; this is evident from the findings in the Australian Defence Academy where it was discovered that at one stage the alumnus used to take ‘pride’ in having had to pass through a barbaric ‘baptism ritual’–the more barbaric the better…! 

    I for one do not believe that the situation at the NDA has gone anywhere close to what had evolved in the Australian Academy (which resulted in a thorough review of the academy and revolutionary changes in its structure), but there is a need none the less to assess as to whether these notions of ‘toughening’ is apt… Even one of the comments in this page seems to defend it that they will learn to ‘survive’ torture if the would ever get caught as POWs in the enemy camp. They will be able to take anything into their stride in the future–that is the belief… 

    i wonder what we are losing out in this process… do they flower to their highest potential or do they get stunted if they get entangled in its toughening? Will these acts of toughening induce wrong habits, attitudes, leadership styles, etc. that will not be suitable for a leader of men…? Possible….

    I honestly do not have the answers… sometimes we do say the seniors (commandant, dy commandant, etc.) know better and let things be as they are… eventually getting ‘acclimatized’ to the situation… So much so that we forget that anything is wrong about it…But we need to get this resolved once and for  all… legal experts, psychologists, trainers, leadership experts, etc….

    One serious study in this direction, about ‘training’ (and selection) of officers, has been done through the books titled “Victory India” 1 and 2, where over 50 experts have spoken… The findings of that study is not sympathetic to this ‘torture’ idea of grooming … There is a call for change… Comments by other readers also point to the fact that this kind of behavior was not the norm and should not be acceptable at all… A time for review is imminent… exemplary punishment is good if one odd guy is caught… but i guess a lot of mind cleaning and concept thrashing-out is due soon if concrete results through synchronized action must be achieved… 

    Nixon Fernando

  12. dir4media
    October 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    This video depicting
    manhandling of a cadet in an Army training institution has come to our notice
    and we have  taken suo-moto cognizance of
    it. We are presently examining the footage to identify its vintage and the
    persons involved. Once identified, an enquiry will be instituted and exemplary
    punishment awarded to the defaulter(s).
    It is
    clarified that any form of corporal punishment or ragging is unacceptable in
    any Army training institution and we have 
    a zero tolerance policy towards such behaviour, in keeping with the
    Hon’ble Supreme Court’s order banning ragging. Several advisories have been
    issued to the environment from time to time prohibiting such activity.
    It is
    reiterated that strict instructions are already in place prohibiting such
    activity and any violation of these will not be condoned by the Army.
    -Maj Gen Shokin Chauhan  Additional Director General of  Public Information

  13. ashokcarrol
    September 30, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    the son of a bitch using the hockey stick is invariably a sadist from a sanik school and must be thrown out of the academy .

  14. mbahree
    September 30, 2014 at 10:26 am

    StratPost SaurabhJoshi this is disgusting!

  15. mahavirtewari
    September 30, 2014 at 8:51 am

    StratPost GulPanag our time too specially gti used to misbehave out of jealous

  16. krnbrar
    September 30, 2014 at 8:49 am

    StratPost GulPanag this is so not done, this is barbaric not disciplinary..

  17. commandersaini
    September 30, 2014 at 8:10 am

    StratPost How douprepare them to undergo extreme torcher if caputerd by ene

  18. YoginderSharma
    September 30, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Unacceptable and unauthorised behaviour . Uncalled for and illegal. In the 50s cadets were withdrawn for much less and in 70s/80s this was unthinkable. Ragging-yes but ruffian -ism never! Hands off stress-builders can be as effective for unfreezing civ attitudes-there are better mil ways for toughening. If happening now it is unbelievably .rotten

  19. InvictusJo
    September 30, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Ragging has its uses in the academies but this is not OK, it could lead to worse.

  20. YoginderSharma
    September 30, 2014 at 6:56 am
  21. AToolFoo
    September 29, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    StratPost SaurabhJoshi an officer once told me if you don’t get screwed in the academy then where else do you?

  22. manaman_chhina
    September 29, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    StratPost what a shame. Identify the culprit and punish him.

  23. vikramwkarve
    September 29, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    StratPost SaurabhJoshi – No. Such brutal practices need to be stopped

So what do you think?