Displays by Army, Navy and Air Force teams will mark the three-day 50th anniversary celebrations of the Old Boys’ Association (OBA) of Sainik School, Kazhakuttam, which begins on the school campus later this week.
The event will kick off with a cultural and musical eve on Thursday, organised by alumni for the school cadets. The main events are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Displays by ‘Akash Ganga’ and ‘Sarang’ — IAF’s sky diving and helicopter aerobatics teams respectively — will be held on Friday afternoon.
They will be followed by an aero-modelling display by cadets of the National Defence Academy (NDA).
A motorcycle display and a dog show by Army teams are the other big attractions planned for Friday. Shashi Tharoor, MP, is the chief guest for the event.
Air Marshal B. Suresh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command, is the chief guest on Saturday. He will lay a wreath at the ‘Stupa of Remembrance’ to honour martyrs.
The ceremony will be followed by ‘Guruvandanam’, a commemorative meeting where former teachers will be honoured. In the afternoon, the old boys will take on school teams in cricket, basketball and volleyball. Curtains will fall on the anniversary celebrations with displays by the IAF’s continuity drill team and the IAF and naval bands. All events are planned on the sprawling, 225-acre campus of the school, OBA vice president Soni Somarajan says.
Established to mould officers for the armed forces, Sainik Schools were meant to act as feeder institutions to the National Defence Academy (NDA). The schools were, in fact, the brainchild of former Defence Minister V.K. Krishna Menon. The lone Sainik School in Kerala began functioning out of the Army camp at Pangode on January 20, 1962, with 120 cadets. Mr. Krishna Menon himself laid the foundation stone for the Kazhakuttam campus in February the same year. Two years later, the school moved to Kazhakuttam.
The OBA was founded in 1969, and owes much to late N. Balakrishnan Nair — 'NBN' as he was fondly known — a former master of the school.
To date, nearly 6,000 students have graduated from the school, of which nearly half are OBA members.
Today, the OBA has local chapters in various Indian cities as well as abroad. Annual reunions are held at the school in June or July.
Of the approximately 800 alumni who joined the defence services, 17 have attained the rank of Lieutenant General or its equivalent while 21 have become Major Generals or its equivalent in the Navy and IAF.
At present, one General Officer Commanding-in-Chief and two Flag Officers Commanding-in-Chief are school alumni.
At the 50th anniversary celebrations, tributes will be paid to alumni who made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.
Tributes to heroes
Lieutenant Colonel N.J. Nair — a recipient of both the Ashoka Chakra and the Kirti Chakra for valour — died fighting insurgents in the northeast; Lieutenant Radha Mohan Naresh made the supreme sacrifice in the 1971 war. Captain R. Harshan died fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.