While ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ is the best option for us, it is very different for people like Commandant Atul Kumar Agarwal and his army of men. An alumnus of Saraswati Shishu Mandir Ramnagar, the life story of Commandant Agarwal translates to the motto of Indian Coast Guard - "वयम रक्षामः" (Vayam Rakshamah), which means "We Protect".
Altul is ever ready to protect our sea, which stretches from the coastline to 200 miles into the sea across the entire sea border. For him it is his prime duty to keep a check and stop any suspicious person or material trying to enter India and also protect the fishermen in peril.
Atul completed his Bachelors in Science with Mathematics and Physics from the Awadh University, post which he applied for and got selected in the Indian Coast Guard Service. He has been serving the nation since 2005.
“I always wanted to join the defense and serve my country. It was such a joyous moment for me when I got selected in the Indian Coast Guard”, mentioned Atul with a smile, who is also a helicopter pilot – an instructor as well as a test pilot.
For months Atul has to stay away from the comfort of his home. He looks after his men, offers them training for combat and prepares them to protect India. Despite weather conditions, they have to undertake constant vigils to ensure safety of the Nation.
As a civilian we can only imagine the difficulties of staying in a ship for months. As a newcomer it took time for Atul to settle in. But, then, as Atul mentions, “the unit becomes your home. You start enjoying the work since you are serving the Nation. You are then ever ready to protect the country”.
The men of Indian Coast Guard always have to be prepared to answer distress calls and respond quickly to it. And so has Atul done several times in his life. It was recently that the team received a call about a civilian who needed to be medically evacuated. The place where that civilian was, did not have a proper medical facility, and so, he was required to be airlifted to the city. The weather was stormy with heavy rains and the visibility was extremely poor. The pitch dark and thundery night wasn’t favorable for flying. But Atul and his men responded to the call without much ado. They were wearing protective suits because of Covid and began the rescue operation. Atul landed on the island which was hardly lit. They airlifted the patient and his family and brought him to the city hospital.
“The man was saved and that is such a joyous feeling”, recalls Atul with a sigh of relief.
The biggest satisfaction of life comes from selfless service. This act of selflessness is something which Atul learned from his school. “I owe everything to those 5 years of my life in Sishu Mandir”, he adds. He further recalls, “There used to be Sishu Sabha in our school, where I was made the Sabha Pati and this instilled leadership, public speaking and man management qualities in me”.
Commandant Atul urged the Vidya Bharati students to come ahead and join the Indian Coast Guard Service. As he says, “Service in Coast Guard is not merely an employment. It is a service to our Nation”.
Commandant Atul Kumar Agarwal is a laudable officer of the Indian Coast Guard. He has received Commendation from the Director General, Citation from Ministry of Defense Government of India, and Citation from High Commission of India in Maldives.
For people like Commandant Atul Kumar Agarwal, India feels safe.
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