Sarthak Dhawan, the son of an autorickshaw driver from Kolhapur, stood fourth in the overall merit list (army cadets) at the 136th course at National Defence Academy. Sarthak, who also excelled in military training, will pass out from NDA on Thursday. “My son has made us proud today. It’s a dream come true for us,” an ecstatic Shashikant, Sarthak’s father, said. Shashikanth has been plying an autorickshaw in Kolhapur for the past three decades. He gives full credit to his son’s iron will, which did not let him falter even when his mother died in a tragic road accident four years ago. “It came as a big shock, but he did not shift his focus from studies and cracked the NDA entrance on his first attempt. Now, he is on his way to becoming an army officer,” Shashikant added.
On Wednesday morning at NDA’s Habibullah Hall, it was family reunion time for the Dhawan family, as joyful relatives gathered around Sarthak and posed for photographs.
Sarthak, a Romeo squadron cadet, studied at the St Xavier’s High School in Kolhapur and completed his HSC from the Services Preparatory School (SPS) in Aurangabad. He said it was his childhood dream to become an army officer. “So, I joined the Maharashtra Cadet Corps (MCC) in school and studied at the SPS to prepare for the NDA entrance exam,” Sarthak said.
He got emotional when he remembered his mother. “She would have loved to see me in this uniform,” Sarthak said. Sarthak will be commissioned as a lieutenant in the Indian Army once he completes a oneyear advanced military training course at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun.