I have always loved combat and war and am a big fan of the Indian Army. Hence, if there is news concerning the army I have to take keen Interest. So when I saw it on TV today that MS Dhoni, Abhinav Bindra and one Dr. Rao had been conferred with Honorary ranks by the Indian Army I became restless to dig further. I immediately recollected something like this happening before to Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar (Air Force) and Kerala film actor Mohanlal. Now those are names that I hear day in and out. But who is Dr. Rao and why has he been given a rank in the Army is he an actor, is he a cricketer or some other athlete? The thought wouldn’t leave my mind so I decided to kill my curiosity and started researching to know what Dhoni, Bindra and Dr. Rao have in common to receive the Honorary Rank from the Indian Army. I won’t keep it a secret because I am sure even you would have guessed its “Nothing.” So lets take a closer look at how I reached to that conclusion. I asked myself a spate of questions and started finding answers from the only democratic medium I know “the internet.” I started looking for who they are and what they do or rather what they have done and their achievements.

Who’s who

Dr. Deepak Rao

Dr. Deepak Rao

  • Prof Dr. Deepak Rao (47) along with his wife Dr Seema Rao, spent their life by giving his expertise & talents in training Indian Army and Indian Forces, serving the Nation for 18 years.
  • They have pioneered an area of warfare called close quarter battle which is all battle within close proximity, a very crucial area in present day era.
  • They trained almost every elite Indian force in modern Close Quarter Battle for 17 years without accepting any compensation, as a Selfless service to the Nation.
  • The Raos developed an indigenous method of Reflex Shooting which was found to be very useful by Indian forces. This Indian research is now replacing outdated British WW-II methods.In short, they are responsible for modernization of reflex shooting for the Indian forces.
  • In addition they have authored the first encyclopedia of close quarter battle in the world which was distributed by the Indian Home Ministry each and every Indian force. The Rao’s have used their life’s earnings to produce this book and donated thousands of copies to the Indian government

MS Dhoni

  • MS Dhoni (30) is the captain of the Indian Cricket team. He has been been playing in the team from the around 2004/5.
  • He has been the most successful cricket captain for the Indian Side and is also one of the most endorsed player in terms of commercials and brands promotion.
  • He is also a good wicket keeper and has been instrumental in winning IPL, Champions league and other cricked, ODI world cup and other T20 competitions.
  • Dhoni hails from Ranchi and is the highest scoring keeper batsman and also winner of numerous awards for his cricketing abilities.

Abhinav Bindra

  • Abhinav Bindra is an Indian shooter from Zirakpur, Mohali, Punjab and is the current World and Olympic champion in the 10 m Air Rifle event.
  • By winning the gold in the 10 m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games and India’s first gold medal since 1980, when the Men’s Field Hockey Team won the gold.
  • He is CEO of Abhinav Futuristics.
  • Winner of world shooting championships in 2006
  • Has an indoor firing range at his house in patiala


This one really blew my head or as Dhoni would say bowled me out. I haven’t heard of many people with such credentials in my lifetime. MD, PhD, Doctor of Military Science, CQB Instructor, Scuba Instructor, CLET and what not along with the 8th degree belt in Military martial arts. I tried to put facts for Dhoni and Bindra together too.

Men at work: Dr. Rao training the Indian forces

Men at work: MS Dhoni at the crease

Men at work: Abhinav bindra ready to shoot

Here is a quick look at their credentials. Not a comparison, just a neat tabular layout

Dr. Rao Dhoni Bindra
8th Degree Black Belt in military martial arts Captain, Indian Cricket team Olympic Gold medalist shooter for 10m Air rifle event
Asia’s only certified Law Enforcement Trainer from American Society of Law Enforcement Training Chennai Superkings IPL team Captain Board Member, Abhinav Futuristcs
MD, PhD, Dsc (Military Science) Hon. PhD (DeMontFort Univ) BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration)
Modernized reflex shooting for Indian Army replacing outdated British WW II methodology First Indian to be the ICC player of the year India’s only gold medalist at olympics 10m Air Rifle Shooting
Guest Instructor in CQB for Indian Forces under invitation for 18 years without compensation Actor for TV commercials Actor for TV commercials
PADI-SCUBA instructor  State level Football player
Lower Middle class income group High income group Very High Income group


Now here is one department where I found great insights. Dhoni has contributed with world cup, and winning IPL, T20 world cup and what not. Bindra of course got us a gold medal at the olympics. Since their contributions to their field is obvious I wondered what would I be able to find about Dr. Rao and my curiosity was answered after some research.

Dr. Rao’s contributions to various fields related to the Indian Armed Forces


Dr. Rao conducting a CQB session

  • First Indians to specialize in Close Quarter Battle Training (CQB) and give this expertise for 17 years to train about 15000 soldiers from various Indian forces.
  • Played an important role in modernizing Close Quarter Battle Training for Indian Army Commands under invitation of Army commanders Gen. Deepak Kapoor and Gen. V.K. Singh who went on to become Army chiefs.
  • Under directive of Home Ministry, imparted modern CQB training to various Indian State Police forces.


Dr. Rao Authored the first Indian Textbook on “World Terrorism”. He has also written encyclopedias on close quarter combat and manuals for commando warfare. And all this without any compensation and solely for circulation within the Indian Armed forces only.

They have produced books solely for Indian forces with their meagre earnings and distributed it free to Indian forces only. Their books have found way into FBI, Interpol and SWAT libraries across the world.

Awards and Citations

Army Chief Citation

Home Ministry Felicitation for the Rao Couple

Dr. Rao at the world peace congress

MS Dhoni’s Awards

  • 5 Man of the series awards
  • 14 Man of the match awards
  • 1 Man of the match award for Test match
  • Padma Shri
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
  • First Indian to win the ICC ODI Player of the year award
  • Topped the list of world’s top 10 earning cricketers

Abhinav Bindra’s Awards

  • Gold Medalist for India at Olympics, 2008
  • Gold Medalist ISSF World Shooting Championship, 2006
  • 3 Golds, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze at the Common wealth Games 2002, 2006, 2010
  • Arjuna Award, 2000
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, 2002
  • Padma Bhushan, 2009

Dr. Rao’s Awards

  • First Indian to get World Peace Award at World Peace Congress in Malaysia, for his work for country in 2008.
  • Outstanding Law Enforcement Instructor Award from US Martial arts Hall of Fame in 2009.
  • Both were Felicitated by current Army Chief Citation at Ministry of Defense in 2010
  • Army Chief Appreciation 2001, 2005, 2010
  • Army Commanders Appreciation 2007, 2008
  • Home Ministers Appreciation 2009

End note:

The source of information for this article has been Wikipedia, commandocombat.com, Dr. Rao’s blog – deeblog.tripod.com and Abhinav Bindra’s blog – abhinavbindra.blogspot.com

What impresses me about Dr. Rao and his partner Dr. Seema Rao is that they did not sell their patent of reflex fire to the ammunition company  Heckler and coch. They did not sell their popular book overseas they did not even sell it to interested parts of forces rather distributed free. They did not approach the press for publicity. They did not make money by training overseas security agencies. They maintained their fidelity to our armed forces throughout 18 years spending all their time in training Indian forces without accepting any money despite going bankrupt many a times

Also as I read more and more I realize that the woman along with Dr. Rao has equally contributed in modernization and training of the Army. But I guess by rule Indian Army does not give honorary ranks to women. May be this was a good point for them to start doing so. I only hope the nation realized their inputs.

And a big credit to the Indian armed forces for being open minded to adopt a better method of reflex shooting over the outdated British world war II method. And Salut to Major Rao because in no other part of the world would civilians dedicate their life and all their earning to for serving the forces without demanding any compensation or credit.

A greatly deserved Honorary Rank from the Indian Army to a great man.