The Army Physical Training Corps (APTC) celebrated its Platinum Jubilee and 6th Reunion at AIPT, Pune from 9- 11 Jan 2023 on completion of its 75 glorious years of service to the nation. During 3 days of celebrations serving and retired personnel of APTC enthusiastically and fondly interacted with each other to revive old memories and glorious past. Lt Gen Ravin Khosla, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (IS&C) who is also the Colonel Commandant of Army Physical Training Corps (APTC) was the chief guest for the occasion.
Approximately 500 veterans and serving personnel and families attended various functions held during 3 days celebrations. These included on 9th Jan - 'Entertainment Programme' on 11th Jan- 'Basketball Match' , 'Ladies Welfare Meet', 'PT Display '&' Reunion Barakhana 'for all ranks & families on 11th Jan- 'Religious Function',' Sainik Sammelan', 'Ladies Coffee Morning', 'Comdt's & SM's Lunch for Veterans' & 'Serving Officers & JCOs' & finally 'Platinum Jubilee Dinner for Officers and JCOs/NCOs at Officers and JCOs Mess' respectively.
During the Sainik Sammelan on 11th Jan the Colonel Commandant addressed Veterans and Serving personnel in this symbolic formal function. He also felicitated select APTC instructors with 'Achievers Awards' . The Army Physical Training Corps plays a very important role in conditioning the soldier of the Indian Army to perform at extreme levels of physical and mental robustness. The Corps has continually kept pace with the changing needs of the times by introducing new programmes and re-engineering the old ones. The Motto of the Corps "Sound Mind in a Healthy Body" encompasses both physical and mental health.
Army Institute of Physical Training (AIPT) erstwhile Army School of Physical Training (ASPT) located near Ram Tekadi, Pune, is the Alma Mater for physical training in the Army. All APTC and selected personnel from other arms and services of the Army receive basic and advance training at this institute. AIPT has also been training personnel from Indian Air Force, Para Military Forces and friendly foreign countries. The institute has select and highly qualified instructors with state of art infrastructure and fully geared to meet the personal, vocational and combat fitness training needs of the Indian Army.
BRIEF HISTORY OF APTC
The history of the Indian Army Physical Training Corps dates back to the British era. Prior to World War I, there were three separate schools of physical training located at Pune, Lucknow and Ambala. They imparted training to Indian and British Instructors. At that time, physical training in India was rudimentary in comparison to the methods of instruction prevalent at the Army Physical Training School at Aldershot, UK. With a view to modernise the training system in India, several officers of the Indian Army including Lt Col Bruce-Turnbull, D.S.O, MC, were sent to Aldershot to attend an advance course in physical training. While at Aldershot, Lt Col Bruce-Turnbull selected several Army Physical Training instructors from UK and brought them to India in March 1923. In the same year, Ambala was chosen as the location for a central Army Physical Training School with its summer HQ at Kasauli.
During World War II, a necessity was felt for creating a separate Corps for physical training. The Indian Army Physical Training Corps was formed on 01 July 1946, with a target strength of 307 instructors. These instructors were posted on proportional scale to all Regimental Centres and Schools of instruction. The emblem of the British Army Physical Training Corps with two changes, (viz, the British Crown being replaced by the Star of India and the word 'India' taking the place of the British motto) was accepted. Official orders for the raising of Corps were, however, issued on 11 January 1947 (before Independence). It came in the form of an Army Instruction (Al 7/1947). It stipulated that the Inspector of Physical Training (GHQ) would be the Commandant of the Indian Army Physical Training Corps (IAPTC) and that the Commandant of the Army School of Physical Training would be the Assistant Commandant of the IAPTC. Lt Col Mohinder Singh (later Maj Gen) was selected to raise the Corps which he did 'on a similar pattern to its counterpart in UK'.
During the Christmas of 1947, the School was moved to Poona from Ambala. It was initially housed at Wanworie, at Fergusson Road and then shifted to its present location in Eve's Estate in January 1951 spread over 64 acres. The Army Institute of Physical Training was renamed as Army Institute of Physical Training on 21 June 2005 vide AO 14/2005/GS.
Mission Victory India (MVI) is privileged to give a comprehensive coverage for APTC Platinum Jubilee & 6th Reunion Celebrations held at AIPT, Pune from 9-11 Jan 2023. To give life and personal touch to this coverage MVI sent a set of 6 Questions to a few selected/senior veterans who attended these celebrations.
Q. What in your opinion is the significance and benefits of such reunions and what was it like to attend this landmark Platinum Jubilee Celebrations after 2 years of Covid - 19 pandemic?
Brig. Sarvesh Dangwal, former Comdt AIPT & DDGPT: "Reliving the glorious years spent with colleagues and sharing our experiences, celebrating our similarities and remembering our differences and yes, it was a much-needed outing after being quarantined for years and beating it up on an occasion as momentous as the Platinum Jubilee."
Brig. V Chandrasekaran, VSM former Comdt AIPT & DDGPT: "Reunions help in informal exchange of views by a mixed group of serving and retired officers for the overall benefit of the Corps. Also helps in maintaining the regimental spirit. Also, it was a delightful occasion and a welcome change after 2 years of isolated life. Enjoyed a comfortable stay in AIPT."
Col. RS Cheema, ex-PTO NDA: "Reunions help in meeting and exchanging views, experiences between serving and retired personnel on professional matters to improve espirit de corps while it was a wonderful occasion after a long gap to meet officers ,JCOs NCOs& their families and refreshing old memories."
Q. How did you enjoy your stay at your Alma Mater and interaction with serving fraternity/veteran colleagues. Also, what was the driving force that brought you to this reunion?
Brig. Sarvesh Dangwal: "We were just too happy to be amongst our second family and it was nostalgic to live our years together in service. Stay and arrangements were par excellence while the love for the Red Stockings and all those who made the Corps what it is. It was a duty which had to be done."
Brig. V Chandrasekaran: "Thoroughly enjoyed recollecting old memories with erstwhile colleagues and updating the latest developments on PT/ Sports as well as Corps matters. On the other hand, the eagerness to meet and spend time with old colleagues and visit Alma matter was the main reasons for my participation."
Col. RS Cheema: "Enjoyed meeting, interacting, sharing experiences of past and present and meeting old and present lot in the scenic AIPT campus."
Q. What message would you like to give to the present serving generation of APTC and entire Army, especially the hierarchy, about the APTC and its future role and significance?
Brig. Sarvesh Dangwal: "Learn from the past, plan for the future and live in the present with a sense of commitment towards the Corps. Fitness sustains all aspects of training and hence ignore it at your own peril."
Brig. V Chandrasekaran: "As a specialist,keep enhancing and updating professional knowledge. and always remain ahead of others. Prove to be an asset to your Establishment wherever you are serving. It is Important to note that realisation and requirement of high standard of physical fitness of troops in the Army came after 1962 war. This led to laying more emphasis on physical training and revamping of the APTC. After 60 years, we seem to forget this aspect and utility of APTC."
Col. RS Cheema: "As a P & RT instructor keeps pace with the changes to enhance knowledge and prove to be an asset and example to the unit your are serving. After 1962 war sea change took place in the Army with laying of more emphasis on PT and revamping of the APTC."
Col. NP Sharma, former APTC instructor also noted that the platinum jubilee was a gathering of the young and old generation. Such gatherings are very necessary for promotion of espirit de corps. Everyone meets each other by forgetting difference of age and rank. It refreshed the memory of the pleasant past. I wish the APTC, specially the AIPT shoulders greater responsibility to become the hub of professional knowledge of both the body and mind and fulfil its motto of sound mind in a healthy body.
Brig. GS Sandhu, former COMDT, AIPT & DDGPT opines that reunions provide the opportunity to both serving and retired personnel to share their experiences and also views for the betterment of their Regts/Corps. It was a wonderful and historic occasion in form of Platinum Jubilee to share pleasantries after a stressful period of 2 years of Covid-19 pandemic that we all went through. He also said that it was like home coming to their Alma Mater, having nostalgic feeling where they spent the best years of their service life.
The Brig. also gave a message that the present serving generation of APTC and the serving Army fraternity, especially the hierarchy should always bear in mind the Corps Motto and continue working hard with utmost integrity and sincerity. Our Corps though small, is like a jewel in the crown of the Indian army, so ensure it keeps shining, be a role model to your subordinates.
Indian army needs to be always fighting fit and fit to fight. Army hierarchy should always remember the quote of Rudyard Kipling,
"Nations have passed away and left no traces, And History gives the naked cause of it. One single, simple reason in all cases; They fell because their peoples were not fit."
INTERACTION, NOSTALGIA AND LOOKING AHEAD
The Platinum Jubilee and 6th Reunion celebrations were conducted most effectively and efficiently by Brig. Arun Kumar Dey, Comdt AIPT, and his well knit team under able directions of Lt Gen. Ravin Khosla, Col. Comdt of APTC. Brig Satyavrat Sheoran ,Brig PT, coordinated the preparations and conduct of these celebrations.
Amongst the veterans who attended this mega event were ten former Comdt's of ASPT/AIPT Pune. The senior most being Brig GS Sandhu, VSM and Brig V Chandrasekaran, VSM who are well into their 80s but chose to travel from far off Chandigarh and Coimbatore (respectively) to visit their their alma mater and relive and revive their past amongst their close associates of yesteryears and also interact with instructors of the new generation. The photographs indicate the spirit and enthusiasm that prevailed during these three days of nostalgic and memorable celebrations that prevailed at AIPT, Pune after a long gap when the last Reunion was held in 2011 and Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 2007.