It was at the behest of the erstwhile Maharani of Dholpur that a Rashtriya Military School (RMS) came to be housed in the regal Kesarbagh palace in 1962. Of the five RMSes in India, the Dholpur campus is the only one located on palace grounds, spread over an area of more than 1,500 acres of the royal estate. Situated on the left bank of the Chambal river overlooking the famous badland topography of Chambal ravines, the historical palace houses the school's academic sections, office blocks, classrooms and the labs.
Learning the curriculum of combat under vaulted ceilings and chandeliers in a centuries-old building made of red sandstone is a heady combination. On its 60th anniversary, the illustrious military school is ready to usher in newer elements into its fold. "Parts of the palace which were destroyed are being renovated. The old swimming pool of the Maharaja will come to life. All the geometrical paintings on the roof are being restored to their former glory. And after 60 years of existence, RMS will become the first batch of girl students this August," says Col Shyam Krishna, the principal of RMS Dholpur.
Rashtriya Military School Dholpur is the fifth and the youngest of the five erstwhile King George's Royal Indian Military Schools. Started on July 16, 1962, it is the only Rashtriya Military School raised after independence. The other four RMSes are in Belgaum, Bengaluru, Ajmer and Chail.
Rashtriya Military Schools were established as King George Royal Indian Military Colleges (KGRIMC) and carved out of a "Patriotic Fund" instituted by King George VI to express gratefulness for the mettle displayed by the British India Soldiers who fought courageously for the Britons and to provide quality education to the children of JCOs and NCOs. In 1952, the schools were reorganised and admissions were made open to the sons of defence service officers and civilians. In the year 2007, these schools were renamed as Rashtriya Military Schools. All RMSes, which operate directly under the ministry of defence, will admit girls from the 2022-23 academic year.
At the diamond jubilee celebrations at RMS Dholpur, there is going to be a blood donation camp, air shows, para jumping, weapon display, debates and poster-making, open to all government and private schools in the former princely state . "For the first time, we will have an open marathon in Dholpur district where the population composition is very dynamic. Uttar Pradesh is just 10km away. Madhya Pradesh is across the Chambal river and we are sitting in Rajasthan. No wonder the famous dacoits found this area to be strategically located in a triangle of three states," says Krishna who has been the principal here for two years.
Affiliated to the CBSE board, Rashtriya Military School Dholpur along with its sister institutions figured in the list of 20 Best Boys' Boarding Schools in the country. These schools have been the trailblazers with several of their alumni occupying high positions in various fields— from serving Lt Generals, Vice Admirals and Air Marshals in the defence services, to secretaries in government of India and positions in the police and paramilitary forces.