The SSB Process: Search for an Average Officer

“Main apko niraash nahi karungi, papa!”says Janhavi Kapoor in the recent Bollywood Biopic titled The Kargil Girl based on the , life ofFlt Lt Gunjan Saxena the first helicopter pilot from IAF to fly casevac sorties during the Kargil war in 1999. The depiction of the journey of the officer in the movie has aroused a lot of debate and discussion about the life of a Military Officer in IAF, especially the women. The movie briefly touched the very first yet most important step to become an Officer in Indian Armed Forces: the Services Selection Board Process.

As the name suggests SSB is the prime body which conducts the complete selection process for entry at Officer Level for the three arms: Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. There are many ways of entering Armed Forces as Officers for male candidates, starting with NDA after higher secondary level or at graduation/post-graduation level. But, for the girls volunteering to enter Armed Forces, the option is available only after graduation/post-graduation. For entering IAF, specifically, all eligible male and female candidates have to undergo an online exam known as AFCAT. All the candidates who clear the exam have to undergo further screening at AFSSBs. Guidance for preparation for AFCAT can be sought at the official website of IAF.

Now coming back to the selection process shown in the movie “The Kargil Girl”, we

find the young aspirant Gunjan going through a lot of tests and interviews before she is finally selected. A lot of the actual tests are missed out in the movie, but what would have made a mark on everyone’s mind was the way the young lady does not know anything about what is going on in the country politically, but, given the opportunity to speak freely, she has a lot of information about the movies, esp the newly made STAR “kid” Tuffy from the movie “Hum Apke Hain Kaun”. Many criticised the depiction of the SSB process as the movie made it look like a cake walk for her while all the others in her batch got rejected even after giving brilliant answers at their interviews.  

So, for all the young aspirants who are preparing for the life in Armed Forces, let us take a look at the whole process through the lens of the person who sits behind the chair and observes the whole show of your performance. On 21 st August 2020 at 0500 pm (IST) in the evening, join me on Instagram at abhyankarvidula speaking to @udaanfound about the SSB Mantra in their #uniform series. I will try to cover most of the things that people don’t know about SSB process, such as:

     What makes it different from a usual job interview?

2.     What do SSB assessors test?

3.     What are the personality traits they are looking for?

4.     Is it possible to acquire these traits through coaching?

5.     Is the rejection rate so high as shown in the movie @Kargil Girl?

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