National

Ahoy, it’s the Navy

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Aboard the Indian Naval Academy, where men and women train hard to wear the whites of an officer

A navy can’t be away from water, and hence Ezhimala, by the backwaters and the Arabian Sea in Kannur district of Kerala, is a fine spot to train cadets for India’s seafaring force. The village, a flourishing seaport of yore cradled against the Western Ghats, is now home to the Indian Naval Academy.

The 2,538-acre campus is a mini-India, with young men and women from all over the country training hard to wear the officer’s whites. The day begins at 5.30 a.m. at Asia largest naval academy, the cadets put through their paces under a meticulous plan by way of the “daily order”, which lists out the routine they have to follow.

Lieutenant Juhi Kashyap from Varanasi, who had completed her training, is the first from her family to join the Navy. “It was while working as a probationary officer in the Bank of Baroda that I came across the Indian Navy advertisement. From credit and debit and accounting, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of a more adventurous life. The INA has given me a chance to be different and serve the nation,” she says. The campus is entwined with maritime history. Among the many historical sites there is Mount Dilli, which Vasco da Gama is said to have used as a heading beacon before turning south to reach Kappad in Kozhikode, located 80 km away, in 1498. A total of 1,100 cadets get trained in the academy a year.

(Shaju John is the Deputy Photo Editor of The Hindu)

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