Donning a defence uniform is not for everyone. Only the smartest, wittiest and the fittest people in India can wear those ranks on their shoulder. This has been proved time and again by the Services Selection Board (SSB). The SSB is one of the toughest exams to crack and only 3 per cent of defence aspirants make it to the much coveted interview stage.
The charm of defence uniform in India is perceptible in the sheer number of people that apply every year. In fact, some of the popular faces in India had also appeared for SSB but were rejected by the board for various reasons.
Take a look at some of them:
1. APJ Abdul Kalam
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was also one of those who had applied for the Air Force. He did make it to the interview stage but was rejected later. Remembering his stint with SSB, Dr Kalam said:
“I appeared for the interview at DTD&P(Air) and did well at the interview. The questions were of a routine nature, and did not challenge my knowledge of the subject. Then I proceeded to Dehradun for my interview at the Air Force Selection Board. At the Selection Board, the emphasis was more on “personality” than on intelligence. Perhaps they were looking for physical fitness and an articulate manner. I was excited but nervous, determined but anxious, confident but tense. I could only finish ninth in the batch of 25 examined to select eight officers for commissioning in the Air Force and was deeply disappointed. It took me some time to comprehend that the opportunity to join the Air Force had just slipped through my fingers.”
2. Shah Rukh Khan
The ‘Baadshah’ of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan was also a defence aspirant. He wanted to join the Indian Army ever since childhood and had even taken the SSB test. However, he could never clear it and that brought in a sigh of relief to his parents who were against it. However, Khan went ahead to live the reel life version of his love for the uniform in shows and movies like ‘Fauji’, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ and in ‘Veer Zara’.
3. Amitabh Bachchan
The ‘Shenshaah’ of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan had also sat for the SSB and was rejected. Bachchan said:
“I was a defence aspirant like you all who have appeared various times for the SSB. I tried couple of times but could not make it. Of course there are emotions, dissatisfaction and disappointments but you have to move ahead with life. Fortunately, I was destined for something else.”
4. Rahul Dravid
A surprise to many, Dravid was also a defence enthusiast and had applied for SSB at Bangalore. Despite various attempts to get in and despite being a great sportsperson, he could not make.
5. Sushant Singh Rajput
Sushant Singh had applied to join NDA before he cracked JEE and landed a spot at the prestigious Delhi Technology University.
Well, it is clear that the proud uniform is not earned, but the uniform calls for you. Donning one and flaunting the ranks on the shoulders has been a dear dream to many Indians and yet, only few get to live that dream.