Meet Afrid Afroz, The Patiala Boy Who Won President's Gold Medal At NDA
Afrid Afroz is a 21-year-old boy from Punjab’s Patiala who won the President's Medal at the 144th batch of cadets who passed out of the National Defence Academy.
NEW DELHI: Afrid Afroz, a 21-year-old boy born and brought in Punjab’s Patiala, emerged as the topper of the 144th batch of cadets who passed out of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, Pune recently. This Patiala lad was awarded the Gold Medal for being the best overall cadet and adjudged as the best all-around air force cadet.
Afrid Afroz is the son of Professor Dr Mohammad Habib, the former head of the Department of Religious Studies at Punjabi University. Professor Habib is currently posted at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. Afrid Afroz’s family originally belongs to Gurgaon, Haryana. Before his posting at Punjab University, Patiala, Professor Habib previously served in Haryana Udru Akademi, Chandigarh.
Afroz did his initial schooling at St Mary’s School, Sanaur in Patiala. When he was in Class 7, he shifted to the Army Public School, Patiala. It was during this time that he came to think about joining the armed forces to serve his motherland. His admission to the Army Public School in Patiala proved to be the turning point in his life. After a year’s stay here, Afroz came to know about the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), Dehradun and set his eyes on getting into the prestigious preparatory school for NDA.
Through his sheer hard work and determination, Afroz managed to crack the extremely tough RIMC entrance and studied there till Class 12. For the unversed, the RIMC is a premier institution in Dehradun that prepares boys to join the NDA. The selection at the RIMC is very rigorous and done on the basis of an all-India exam. A maximum of two cadets can be selected from a state. Punjab has only one vacancy. Larger states like UP, MP, and Bihar have two seats.
Cracking The NDA
After clearing the Class 12 exam, Afroz cracked the prestigious NDA entrance to fulfil his dream of becoming a fighter pilot and entered the Academy during the pandemic in 2020. At the NDA, he opted to be an air force cadet. Afroz was a proficient polo player and had passed out with a half-blue in riding. He was part of the NDA team that took part in the Junior National Equitation competition and the Army Equestrian Championship. He was also awarded a half-blue in PT.
Afroz's father Profesor Dr Mohammad Habib, mother Zubaida and elder brother Amaan attended the Passing Out Parade. However, his eldest brother Inaam, who works as a manager at the Trident, Patiala, could not make it.
The Big Moment For Afroz
The grand moment for Afroz's family came when his name was announced by the Commandant of the National Defence Academy in Pune for the coveted President's Gold Medal for being the best overall cadet in academics and sports of the 144th course that graduated in June 2023.
After the passing out parade, Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, the chief guest, congratulated Afrid Afroz for his achievements and extended his greetings for a highly successful career ahead.
Beaming with pride at his son’s achievements, an elated Professor Mohammad Habib said, "He is going to serve our country and there is no honour higher or bigger than that." Interestingly, Professor Habib’s brother recently retired from the Army and his nephew is deployed in Kashmir.
Afroz, who is now spending time with his family during his three-week holiday, intends to visit the two schools he attended in Patiala and RIMC, Dehradun to thank them for their love and care and inculcating the seeds of serving the nation in him.