Grits, guts, and glory: New book shines spotlight on career options in the Indian Army
Do you have it in you? In Shoot, Dive, Fly, Rachna Bisht Rawat introduces career aspirants to the many adventurous job options the Indian Army has to offer.
The Indian Army, with its motto of “Service before Self”, remains one of the few institutions that millions of Indians continue to repose their faith in. The army is a service of devotion, honour and prestige, but despite that is plagued by a shortage of officers and jawans.
Rachna Bisht Rawat aims to change that with her book, Shoot. Dive. Fly, which introduces teenagers to the armed forces and what it is like to have a career in the forces. Her book, a fascinating glimpse into the life of the armed forces, is a collection of 21 stories of adventure and the thrill that a career in uniform offers. Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has written the foreword.
Rachna, who hails from an Army background, says, “One tends to think of the Army as just fighting battles. However, the role of the army is much wider. There are cyber warriors, white hat hackers, helicopter pilots, skydivers. The army promotes adventure in a big way. And you can get paid to do things you may like, such as skydiving, instead of paying to do them.”
Shoot. Dive. Fly is not an ordinary career guide; it puts out inspiring stories of real-life heroes in the Indian Army. The army officers speak candidly about their perilous missions and struggle to survive, providing inspiration to the youth and those seeking career options.
“Most people are unaware of the opportunities that the army offers. Currently, the army is short of 7,000 officers,”
However, Rachna doesn’t claim to be a defence expert or a military historian.
“I am a storyteller. Moreover, the army needs story writers because its whole ethos is based on selfless service and modesty. So no soldier is ever going to talk about how brave he was. They will always need someone else to do that. That’s the role I have been playing. I tell stories about these brave men that they will not tell the world themselves,” she says.
Rachna has authored two more books on the Indian Army -The Brave and 1965, which were both published by Penguin. The two books were about the unbelievable courage of men in uniform on the battlefield, the men who put their lives on the line of fire for their country.
In Shoot. Dive. Fly, Rachna says courage is a common thread that runs across all 21 stories, but not just in war-time situations.
Written in easy language that would engage teenagers, all stories begin an interesting incident of adventure. For instance, one story begins when a helicopter pilot on a rescue mission in the Siachen can’t land because of the snow cover. The helicopter is low on fuel, 10 mountaineers are stranded, and the officer must give the mission his all. The story then moves on from the incident to the officer’s life and goes on to speak about this as a career option.
The other incredible stories include those of a Kashmir expert who killed militants, the most highly decorated serving officer in the Indian Army who went on a suicidal mission to destroy a militant camp in the Northeast, mountaineers who summited Everest more than once, lady officers and a cyber warrior.
The book busts myths relating to age, gender and disability, and showcases the vast variety of jobs available in the army.
But above all, the tone and tenor, provide plentiful inspiration and multiply our respect for the olive-green uniform. Shoot. Dive. Fly also features a section on army institutions and information on how to join the army.
“It’s your chance to be a soldier, an adventurer, and a hero.”