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Cadet who defied death gets first posting at world’s highest battlefield

When 27-year-old gentleman cadet (GC) Rajshekhar was commissioned from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) as Lieutenant in the Indian Army in Dehradun on Saturday, it was no less than a miracle.

Not too long ago, doctors at the Dehradun military hospital ruled out his chances of survival as he had suffered multiple organ failure after collapsing during a routine drill in the academy.

“I suddenly collapsed due to dehydration during the pahla kadam exercise in which cadets were required to run a distance of 10km with heavy loads on their back,” Lieutenant Rajshekhar, who hails from Tamil Nadu, recalled.

Doctors said his kidney and liver had suffered 70% damage. He had to be confined to hospital for 40 days.

“I was admitted at the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) for 18 days and at the high dependency unit (HDU) for 22 days. The doctors clearly told my trainers that I won’t survive,” Rajshekhar said.

In fact, the IMA was abuzz with rumours of his death as two gentleman cadets had already died that year while doing the exercise.

When he started recuperating, doctors advised him to quit the course citing his medical conditions. Even his mother and brother gave him a similar advice.

“I was not prepared to give up. After being discharged from the hospital, I started working out in the gym for four hours daily and it paid. I not only survived, but became fit enough to complete the course in time,” he said.

“My company commander and platoon commander gave me invaluable support while I was in hospital,” he added.

At the passing out parade, he got the best motivator award for his never-say-die attitude.

Hailing from Maidanbatti, a small village in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, Lieutenant Rajshekhar learnt to fight against all odds as a teenager.

Rajshekhar lost his father in 2005, when he was in Class 10. To support the family, his mother, Santhi, took up tailoring jobs as both Rajshekhar and his brother were in school at that time.

“It was not an easy journey till this day. It was full of hardships and struggle, but I never gave up as I was determined to achieve my dream of serving my country,” the army officer said.

He got his first posting, attached with the 12 Assam Rifles in Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield.

“It’s nothing compared to the medical conditions I fought and survived,” the army officer said as he’s gearing up to take up the new challenge.

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