Turning 18 with HT: ‘We need educated not just literate youngsters’
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Turning 18 with HT: ‘We need educated not just literate youngsters’

Nation’s pride: He wants to serve the country by joining the army’s special forces and believes nationalism should be instilled at an early age to prevent the young from falling victim to divisive politics

punjab Updated: Mar 26, 2018 13:27 IST
Yojana Yadav
Yojana Yadav
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Turning 18,India's youth,army’s special forces
Challenger: Ishan Dhar Dangwal, the head boy of St Soldier’s School, Panchkula, is a keen sportsman and likes taking on challenges. He opted for humanities as the study of the mind fascinates him but he studies physics, chemistry and math himself as he prepares to take on the NDA entrance exam next month. (Sant Arora/HT)

Ishan believes should instil national pride at an early age otherwise we’ll keep falling victim to divisive and votebank politics.

Name: Ishan Dhar Dangwal

Born on: May 19, 2000

Badge of honour: Head boy, St Soldier’s School, Sector 16, Panchkula

What turning 18 means to me

It means adopting a huge set of responsibilities. I’ll not only be older biologically but will also be taking mature decisions. I’ll be empowered to vote.

What I want to be and why

I want to be a soldier in the Indian Army. I want to join either the armoured corps or become a paratrooper in the special forces because they are the best of the best. I’ll be taking the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exam on April 22.

My idea of India

By 2020, 64% of our population will be between 18 and 35 years. We should instil national pride at an early age otherwise we’ll keep falling victim to divisive and votebank politics. We need educated not just literate youngsters.

What makes me happy

Running marathons and cycling. I cycle for an hour daily in the evening in Zirakpur, where I stay. I ran the 10-km Beardathon in Chandigarh on January 21. I like sports and have played district-level tennis, cricket and badminton besides inter-school football and inter-house basketball matches.

What makes me angry

Anti-nationalism among people, particularly the youngters, gets on my nerves. Nothing comes before the nation.

My fear and fantasy

If at all there’s any fear, it’s not getting selected into the Indian Army. As for a fantasy, I hope to be a member of the next surgical strike team.

Am I happy where I am?

Yes, I’m a humanities student and in the middle of the Class 12 board exams but I’m not stressed at all. I believe in identifying and assessing current skills, choosing an occupation accordingly, setting the benchmark and then giving it a shot. Exceeding expections leaves one upbeat and gives a sense of achievement. Maintaining the sleep, diet and fitness balance is a must for a relaxed mind.

What money means to me

Money is a means of maintaining a certain standard of living but I’m not going to run after it.

What makes me proud about India

I’m proud to be an example of India’s unity in diversity. My mother, Caroline Abraham Dangwal, is from Kerala and my father, Piyush Dhar Dangwal, is from Uttarakhand. I like the varied cultures and cuisines of our country. My favourite, however, is the mutton curry prepared at home by my paternal grandfather, Major Muralidhar Dangwal (retd).

What I can’t live without

My parents. My mother is a centre head with DLF, Chandigarh, and my father is a mall manager with the Landmark group, a real estate company, in Dubai. Besides, I can’t do without my daily cycling drill of one hour.

What social media means to me

Social media is a means of communication. I’m on Snapchat and Instagram. I don’t think its necessary to quit it. If your willpower is strong nothing can distract you.

Change I’d like to see in my city

Better traffic management. People obey traffic rules only when they see a cop. The drive from Zirakpur to Panchkula or Chandigarh can be a nightmare if traffic lights are not working. Also, all two-wheeler riders, including those riding pillion, should be wearing helmets.

What religion means to me

My mother is a Christian and my father a Hindu. I believe in science…the cause and consequence theory that many call karma. I believe in doing good deeds.

My role model and why

Former naval commando Praveen Kumar Teotia is my inspiration. He was among the first responder teams during the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008. He neutralised a terrorist and received four bullets, including splinter injuries in the lungs. He was offered a desk job after he recovered but he didn’t give up. He runs marathons, pursues mountaineering and stays fit. I follow him on Instagram. It all boils down to willpower.

First Published: Mar 26, 2018 13:25 IST