‘Do you have it in you?’ goes the tagline the Indian Army uses for its recruitment drive. They say you walk in as a boy into the armed forces and come out as an officer and gentleman. Just the sort of sentiment to get you jumping the queue to get recruited into the army, don’t you think? The army is nothing if not innovative. We didn’t realise just how innovative until we saw this ad by a local recruiter in Shillong. The billboard was emblazoned with photographs of Priyanka Chopra, Anuskha Sharma, Preity Zinta, Gul Panag and Celina Jaitley. The caption was even more unique. It said: If you want to have Beautiful and Successful Daughters JOIN INDIAN ARMY’. The lovely lasses are all from army families.
Now, this will come as news to gender specialists and doctors. The mere entrance into the army’s ranks is enough to determine the gender of your child. And not just that, never mind your genes, you are assured of a beautiful girl. A bit limiting if you aspire to have a boy and a good looking one at that. This casts the army in a new light. No longer is the urge to join the army driven by patriotism, the overpowering exhilaration of knowing that the nation can sleep safely as long as you are guarding the border. No, your primary duty as a soldier, it would seem, is to produce a beautiful girl who will go on to grace the big screen. But perhaps there is more to this than we think.
Many leaders from our worthy neighbour Pakistan are said to be enamoured of our Bollywood beauties. So, our army could churn out an assembly line of lovelies who would so dazzle our Pakistani brothers that they will abandon all thoughts of fighting for such footling issues as Kashmir. Well, our doughty Shillong recruiter may be on to something here. From the barracks to Bollywood may not be such a leap of faith actually.