Team India’s performance in Australia may have dashed fans’ hopes, but skipper MS Dhoni, in his smart avatar in uniform, gave more than what the Territorial Army (TA) had been hoping for.
The city-based TA Group Headquarters revealed that ‘Lt Col MS Dhoni’s photograph in the rank of a lieutenant colonel yielded an overwhelming response to call for entries to the TA, from across the command area.
The TA Group HQ, Southern Command, which held its Preliminary Interview Board (PIB) written test recently received 6,966 applications of which 2,900 finally appeared. Both numbers are almost 1.5 times of what was seen the previous exam. And while the TA Group HQ has been systematically carrying out awareness programmes such as performance of the TA band in the Southern Command area and showing a movie about TA at various locations, credit is being given to mainly Dhoni, besides shooter Abhinav Bindra who have done the job of TA brand ambassadors. Both were given the rank of honorary Lt Colonels in November.
Talking to The Indian Express, Brigadier I P S Gill, Commander, TA Group HQ, Southern Command, said, “Both Dhoni and Bindra are icons and act as brand ambassadors for TA. Besides, we also held a number of events to create awareness about TA. The concept of TA is unique and it is important to reach out to people in as many ways as possible. Any gainfully employed individual in the specified age group, if spared by his employer for at least two months a year, is eligible for the TA.”
In a bid to reach out to people and make it convenient for aspirants to attend the PIB, the group headquarters had also, for the first time, organised the PIB at four locations in the Southern Command area. The Southern Command has 18 units of TA. “We are the only group HQ that, for the first time, held PIB at four locations within the Southern Command area, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Jaipur. While the Pune centre recorded maximum participation with 1,230 aspirants, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur recorded, 860, 209 and 598 respectively, besides three branch commission officers,” added Gill.
This is also the first time that TA has been working closely with Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR), a DRDO unit that forms an integral part of Services Selection Board in the Regular Army. “The selected candidates from PIB will go through DIPR psychologists