Nothing more satisfying than serving the motherland, donning the white uniform

Debkumar Bhadra

One of the memories of my childhood days leads me to an impressive collection of black and white photographs, a clutch of cups (those given in sports) and a good number of medallions occupying the walls and over a round teapoy placed in the front room of an official of Indian Navy named Sambhu Nath Ghosh in the neighbourhood. During our visit to his house, he would be seldom seen, but those photographs of him in dazzling white uniform would speak to us at length. In one of the photographs he was captured playing hockey and right above it was a pair of hockey sticks tucked on the walls; such lively and meticulously planned was the display.

Two and a half decades after Sambhu Nath Ghosh retired from Indian Navy, none other than his elder son Sudeeptho Ghosh emulated him by donning the coveted white uniform. Incidentally his second son Subham Ghosh is also an uniformed officer serving the islands as Sub Inspector under Andaman and Nicobar Police. Indeed a proud moment for a father and everyone else in the family and neighbourhood as well.

I recently caught up with Sudeeptho Ghosh, who just returned to the islands after being conferred with Gold Medal by Hon’ble Defence Minister Arun Jaitley for his outstanding academic performance; Topper in MTech (Technology Management). During the chat, Sudeeptho shared his feeling of joy and satisfaction serving the motherland as an officer in the Indian Coast Guard.

Born on 30 January, 1985 and brought up in rural South Andaman, Sudeeptho Ghosh completed his schooling from Carmel Senior Secondary School, Port Blair. Thereafter he joined PES College of Engineering, Mandya and acquired Degree of Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) in the Year 2006. He then joined Institute of Chartered Financial Analyst of India (ICFAI) Business School, Pune and completed MBA (Marketing) in the year 2008. Soon after he got campus selection and joined a corporate entity at Dubai. After a short stint of about two years with Al-Sayegh Brothers at Dubai, Sudeeptho switched to Siemens and returned to the country for posting in Mumbai. Then came the watershed moment of his life – he received a call for the Service Selection Board (SSB) interview.

Speaking about SSB where the selection procedure is spread over a period of over five daysm, he said basically SSB is designed to assess the intelligence, personality, compatibility and potential of a candidate for a challenging service in forces. It is true that mental construct holds prominence over ones physical built-up, but of course having a good physique is an added advantage. Debunking the general perception that one need to be super intelligent to pass the SSB, Sudeeptho says, one need not be highly intelligent but one should be strong, mature and possess a well developed personality. Quality that SSB looks for in a candidate include effective intelligence, sense of responsibility, initiative, judgement under stress, reasoning, organization and communication skills, determination, courage, self-confidence, decision making abilities, willingness to lead by example, compassion and feeling of loyalty to the nation.

For the right candidate, the SSB also lends its support. Narrating his personal experience, Sudeeptho recalls, after recommendation he appeared for the Medical Examination where to his horror, he was found overweight. Say it fate, that one of his fellow candidates, who had previous exposure, seeing the medical report gave him a piece of advice which helped Sudeeptho sail out of the debacle. He approached the board and the board was kind enough to give him a fortnight to shape up.

Sudeeptho took it as a challenge, trained hard to shed those extra kilos and ultimately came out victorious. Sheer determination, positive outlook and the blessings of his family earned him the honour of serving the motherland. He joined the Indian Coast Guard as Assistant Commandant and donned the coveted white uniform. He is only the second SSB qualified,Commissioned Officer from these islands. He dedicates his success in SSB to the inspiration and support he got from his father and others in the family. He has all the praise for his teachers and believes given the right orientation fellow islanders can crack the SSB. He says island students have tremendous potential but they need to be made aware of career avenues other than Engineering and Medical. Students need counselling at early stage of schooling so that when the time comes, they can choose an appropriate career path.

In his first assignment, Sudeeptho Ghosh was posted in (Indian Coast Guard Ship) ICGS Akka Devi. After decommissioning of Akka Devi, he served in ICGS Rajshree. After putting in four years of service, he was sponsored to undergo MTech in Technology Management at Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT), Pune. Sudeeptho excelled in his studies at DIAT and topped in his branch. He was thus conferred Gold Medal by Hon’ble Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in recognition of his outstanding academic performance.  Sudeeptho also got promotion to the post of Deputy Commandant in January  last year.

Recalling his service in the Andaman and Nicobar Region, he records his appreciation towards his superiors and colleagues for the tremendous support he got. Expressing satisfaction, he said apart from its regular duty of protecting Indian maritime interest, Coast Guard also extends its help to the civil administration in emergency situations such as evacuation of personnel including critically ill patients from far flung islands, rescuing fishermen at distress from the seas etc. Coast Guard also conducts regular Community Interaction Program (CIP) to make the local community specifically those in coastal areas and fishermen aware of the safety protocols to be followed while at seas and the kind of help they can seek from Coast Guard. Sudeeptho urges the local community to dial Coast Guard toll free helpline 1554 for assistance in emergency situations. On completion of his tenure in these islands, he is looking forward to his posting in ICGS Samarth at Goa.

From the interaction it is evident that Sudeeptho Ghosh, not only dared to take a path less travelled, through his sheer determination and hard work, he is also determined to overcome the oddities of hailing from a rural area and brought laurels for his family and the islands. He demonstrated that if one dares to dream big and shows the resolve to achieve those dreams, the oddities do not stand a chance. Someone has very rightly said : If we think we can, we can.

Monday, 19 June, 2017