news Monday, July 13, 2015 - 05:30
The Indian Army has recently released an important new policy. No, not a military doctrine, but a very detailed screening process for permanent body tattoos of army-applicants. Usually for Service Selection Board (SSB) aspirants, a tattoo would be least of their concerns, but not anymore. A tattoo in the wrong place or of the wrong size can get them barred from entry into service. Chances are that you will be marching out the same gate from which you came, as the Indian Army has pretty specific specifications for the kind of tattoos they would like their prospective soldiers to adorn. But if you have a tattoo, what is the procedure to be followed? According to the army’s recently released tattoo policy which came into effect from May 11, 2015, body inscriptions are only permitted on the forearms, and only those from the tribal community will be allowed to sport full-blown tattoos. But be not disheartened, those who decided to add a bit of colour to their lives after going heavy on the bottle or because their most-special football club was crowned world-beaters, the army has a special little space on the forearm for you. The picture here mentions where the Army would preferably like you to station your tattoo, which is in the 20-inch space along the length of the underside of your forearm or below the knuckles on the backside of your palm. That is about it. You are sorted if your tattoo lies there by a twist of fate. But wait. Before you sneer at the guy who is dejected and has been rejected for plastering a pair of wings on the back of his neck, you have a bit of soul-searching to do. Is your tattoo offensive? Does it have “lewd or offensive content or indecent figures”? Is it “indecent, sexist or racist”? If you check either of those boxes then you might want to fly off with the guy with the wings, because you are being offensive. You’re not offensive? Well, since you’ve made it this far, you’re looking forward to the physical tests and the real deal. But just a second sir, fill out the paperwork please. You will need: A self-certified certificate declaring all your ‘inkings’.  If you are adventurous, fill a form for every tattoo you have. And do not blame your mother for not packing the essentials in your backpack. A camera and measuring tape will be needed as you need to mention the size, language and the significance of the tattoo, and take a picture of every tattoo for the record. One of the reasons why the Army has been so picky with permanent body tattoos is a fear of the spread of HIV infection. “Deadly virus can be spread with the use of unhygienic needles used by untrained tattoo artists,” an army officer was quoted by The New Indian Express as saying. In 2011, the Army had turned many hopefuls away after a blanket ban on tattoos and the following year, an army Colonel told the HT that HIV tests are too expensive and that the army could not afford to splurge there.