At Army prep grounds, number of aspirants down, as is morale | India News – Times of India

BAGHPAT/DEHRADUN: Over 70% of families in Bawli village, roughly 62 km from Delhi in Baraut, Baghpat district, have at least one member serving in the armed forces. Every morning, youngsters run along the canal, on small grounds, even on the roads, with just one dream — to don the Army uniform. Though many are still at it, the number has dwindled. They say they’re despondent due to the Centre’s Agnipath scheme.
As large swathes of India continue to be in the throes of violent protests against the new short-term recruitment programme, youths who are still preparing for the Army, running their hearts out, lifting weights, and carrying the burden of hope, often of entire villages, at various training grounds in places like Baghpat in UP and Dehradun in Uttarakhand, popular “hotbeds” of soldiers, said they felt “let down”.
Bawli’s Vivek Tomar said, “It seems they’ve snatched away the soul of this village. Hundreds of us have been training here with the hope that one day, recruitments will take place and some of us will get through. That we would be regarded as faujis back home. But who cares for a fauji that returns after four years with nothing?”
Hours away from Baghpat, on the outskirts of Dehradun, young men aspiring for the Army said their morale was down. Over the last few days, training grounds have seen a significant dip in numbers. A few were deserted on Saturday.
Anuj Shah, 19, from Tehri Garhwal, told TOI, “See this ground? I used to do five rounds. Now I can barely do three. There is no motivation. Some of my friends have gone back to their villages.”

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