Satara (Maha), Jan 30 (PTI) AICC General SecretaryRahul Gandhi, who was on a three-day tour of Maharashtra, wasimpressed by students of the Sainik School here, the firstamong 24 such educational institutes in the country.
The young Congress MP, who was in this historic cityin Western Maharashtra yesterday for addressing a youthconvention, took time out from his hectic schedule to interactwith the over 600 students of the school, which is celebratingits golden jubilee this year.
"I always like to be amongst the youth. You are thefuture of India and I always admire with gratitude the role ofdefence forces. I was informed that over 1,000 students ofyour school have joined armed forces as officers and many moreare doing well in administrative services," Rahul said.
"It was the dream of my late father Rajiv Gandhi thatyoungsters should come to the forefront and lead the country.
I feel the same," said Rahul, who later addressed separatemeetings in the school auditorium.
On arrival by a helicopter, Rahul was welcomed bySchool Principal Col V N Chaturvedi who presented him amemento. He signed the visitors book and also interacted withschool prefects. "Amongst you, some may become politicians,"he hoped.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who hails fromSatara district and has been a supporter of the institutionover the years, dwelt on the history of the school.
"After China war (in 1962), it was felt that thereshould be some dedicated institutions which would groom thedefence cadets," he said. .
Chavan said the idea of establishing a chain of Sainik Schools was conceived by Yashwantrao Chavan, the then ChiefMinister of Maharashtra.
The school is spread over 115 acres. The main schoolbuilding is a modern structure with a large gymnasium hall. Ithouses the class rooms, laboratories and a library. The schoolhas a well-maintained swimming pool, a horse riding club andan auditorium-cum-cinema theatre.
There are six boarding houses named after PanditNehru, Chhatrapati Shivaji, D K Karve, Maharana Pratap,Lokmanya Tilak and Lal Bahadur Shastri, and staff quarters.
The school has an athletics stadium and 15 otherplaygrounds. It has Classes VI to XII and is affiliated to theCentral Board of Secondary Education. Students are preparedfor entry to the prestigious Pune-based National DefenceAcademy (NDA).
The school is managed by the Sainik Schools Society,body under the Ministry of Defence. The Board of Governors isheaded by the Defence Minister. Alumni include Indian AirForce chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik and actor-filmmakerRakesh Roshan.