A proud Cadet Ashok Sai tells TNM that he hopes to climb to the highest possible ranks of the Indian Air Force in the future.

Ashok Sai, who has cleared UPSC standing in his uniform with batch number and a red tieBy Arrangement
Features Human Interest Tuesday, November 02, 2021 - 16:30

For the first time since the inception of the institute, a cadet from the Telangana State Social Welfare Sainik School is set to join the Indian Air Force in the Officer cadre. Cadet P Ashok Sai successfully cleared the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) entrance examination, and also qualified in the interview conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB) of the Defence Ministry, to join the Air Force. 

The Social Welfare School in Karimnagar district’s Rukmapur was converted into a Sainik School in 2018, and is dedicated to training students from marginalised communities. Ronald Rose, the Secretary of the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society, said in a statement, “The Sainik Schools that function under the Ministry of Defence do not provide adequate representation to students from marginalised communities. Hence, the TSWREIS came up with the idea to start a Sainik School exclusively dedicated to students from these sections." In this regard, the social welfare school at Rukmapur was converted into a Sainik School in the academic year 2018-19, with the approval of the Telangana government. 

Since then, five cadets from the school were able to crack the written UPSC exam, but Cadet Ashok was the first to crack the SSB interview as well. 

Speaking to TNM, the 17-year-old says that it was his dream to join the military since he was in class nine. With the same intention, he secured his admission at the Sainik School in his intermediate, and began his preparations. "During my intermediate, we happened to see the Indian Air Force Academy passing out parade and it inspired me a lot. I always wanted to join the military, but after seeing the parade, I decided to join the Indian Air Force and climb to the highest possible rank in the future,” a proud Ashok says. 

Ashok Sai comes from a humble background – his mother works as a tailor, and his father is afflicted with paralysis. He also has two siblings. “I informed my parents as soon as I got the results. They only knew that I was writing an exam, but they had no idea as to what the National Defence Academy (NDA) was. They wholeheartedly supported me when I told them I want to join the Defence Services. They were a great support to me during the pandemic too,” he says. 

He further adds, “Our teachers and the Director of the Sainik School have always encouraged us to work hard instead of taking shortcuts. They taught us not to believe in luck, and instead work towards achieving our goals. Our day at the school starts at 4 am and ends at around 10.30 am. Apart from the written exam, we also have to be physically fit, so we have 2.5 hours of physical training every day in the morning and evening.”

Cadet Ashok says that he cracked the exam in his second attempt. "In the first attempt I couldn't qualify in the written test itself. But later on, I sat with my friends and teachers and sorted out where I was lacking and started preparing for that. We also had special training camps for the written test and interview as well. The interview went on for five days and there were several screening rounds. I could crack this because I had enough preparation," he says.

Commenting on the success of the young Cadet, Colonel Ravindra Reddy, Director of the Sainik School, says, “Cadet Ashok comes from a village and humble family background. He has worked hard to clear the exam and interview.” 

Colonel Reddy believes that Ashok Sai's achievement has fulfilled the purpose of starting a Sainik School for children from marginalised communities in Telangana, and he hopes that this will inspire achieve success in more students in the future. 

Secretary Ronald Rose expresses confidence that, with Cadet Ashok’s entry into the NDA, the Sainik School of Rukmapur will have more entrants into the academy in the future. 

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