A military academy set up here by a former commando trainer, who left his plum posting after being inspired by actor Nana Patekar’s 1991 film ‘Prahar’, has been working towards not only making soldiers out of children but also bringing them up as sensitive citizens.
Colonel Sunil Deshpande had served as a Commanding Officer of 2 Maratha Light Infantry Battalion and his last posting was at Commando Training Centre in Belgaum where Patekar underwent full-fledged training before actually performing on screen.
Drawing inspiration from the message in ‘Prahar’ that “the society must have a soldier’s mindset with a philanthropic attitude which will automatically make a nation strong,” Deshpande left his job and and set up the military training school for children in 2002.
The academy was founded with the motto of “Spreading soldierly conduct and heroic qualities like discipline, courage, patriotism, vigilance and service to mankind”.
Col Deshpande was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) for 1965 and 1971 wars. He sought pre-mature retirement in 1993 and established the ‘Prahar Jagriti Sanstha’ a year later before formally launching the school in 2002.
“The same year Prahar was taken over by CP and Berar Education Society. It has a residential school, jungle training and guidance camp for students interested in joining armed forces, besides outbound training workshops, firing range, regular horse riding facility and a 12-hour non-residential school from fifth standard onwards,” Deshpande told PTI.
It has also established an outdoor training facility on an area of 2.66 acres at Umrer near here where obstacle crossing and confidence building camps are carried out. Also, regular camps are organised here for about 150 children, he said.
“Every year, the academy sends children to various military establishments to gain first-hand experience of a disciplined life. It has so far visited various military establishments like the NDA, Army Sports Institute (Pune), CME Infantry School (Mhow) among others,” Deshpande added.
Early this month, a group of 30 students visited Army units in Jammu and Kashmir on ‘Sadbhawana’ Mission.