Inside a People’s Liberation Army Camp
Posted by Sole on January 19, 2009
This article appeares in the latest issue of Red Star (Issue 21) under the title, “The Daily Routine in PLA Camp”.
by Deependra Rawal
It’s four o’clock in the morning. The Sound of the beagle was the sign of the preparation of the morning physical training. We hear the same sound of whistling of beagle night at 9 o’clock to keep the camp silent for night rest. Then, all types of activities were closed except the duty and the silent activities for camp security. However, the morning beagle brought the cheer and jollity with the golden rays of the sun in the morning. All the PLA soldiers are in the work of daily-routine.
Fire is burning in all the stoves of the mess house. All the members of the PLA are busy including Brigade commander Kuber to the vice commander Darshan and the secretary of the office Bishwajit. This is the 5th stage of the brigade-level training held in brigade camp. There are 21 instructors and trainers. The trainer is from the same brigade and they are commanders. The responsibility is divided among them.
It’s five o’clock. It is time to run in the field. The PLA soldiers are in military dress. All the trainees are in the field now. They are in a prepared position in groups. The team commander is leading the team. The number of women soldiers is less than the male soldiers. The race started with the blowing of the whistle. The instructors and the trainers are in their own preparation for the next activities after running.
The race continued till 6.30 in the morning. The PLA soldiers came back to their camps. There was no less eagerness and smartness in them. They took rest and served their breakfast within 15 minutes. Their breakfast was simple although it was the period of training. The brigade secretary Bishwajit said, “We are unable to provide balanced diet to our trainees due to the lack of the budget. The government has not provided us the budget for our training.” At 8.30 AM, the trainees took pens and the note-books in their hands and sat for their theoretical class. The commanders gave class to them.
The trainees often requested the trainers to repeat the class when they do not understand. I remembered my childhood when I had been at school. All the PLA soldiers and the commanders teach and learn each other like teacher and the student. After 10.30, they postponed theoretical training. All of them went to the mess. Then, they went to their rooms for rest. Right at 12.30, they again went to the field and again started their theoretical class. The class ran in a conventional way.
This theoretical class provides them out knowledge along with the military efficiency. This continued till 2.0 PM. They went for their lunch at 2.45. After lunch, the training started again. It was a practical class. The instructors had taken one item to instruct to the trainees. Some other trainers were checking their trainees’ activities. The report reaches up to the brigade commander Kuber. He gives the additional direction for the coming practice. The practical training ends at 4.0 PM and begins Physical training. The PT ends at 5.30 PM.
According to the instructor, the exam will be of 540 full marks and one of them, 240 will be theoretical and 300 will be practical. The pass-mark will be 40%. The exam is held in the mid-terms also.
The relationship between the trainers and the trainees is harmonious and bold. Though they were bounded in a certain rules and the norms in a certain time, they treated as friends after the end of the formal training. There is no relation of chief or the officer and the servants. The brigade commander Kuber said, “We are like teacher and the pupils at the training time, but we are friends in most of the time.” The trainees also expressed the same experience.
The commanders and the soldiers are always busy in their daily routine work. They are always conscious in their duty.