Soldier2ndlIfe, a website that harnesses the power of the defence community into a comprehensive portal offering products and services was launched on 03 June at New Delhi.
Lt Gen. Ata Hasnain, a renowned strategist and military thinker and also the mentor of the site, unveiled the site in a ceremony attended by luminaries from the Army, Navy and Air Force, exservicemen and members of industry and commerce. He brought out the unique bonding that exists within the defence community and how Soldier2ndlife could be the platform that helps link them together.
The site has a unique proposition. It uses the power of the internet to harness the over 5 million strong members of the defence community (which includes exservicemen and their spouses) and provides them with a portal on which they can look for jobs, offer services, sell products on-line and put up their homes for a Bed-n-Breakfast. The products and services are put up for sale on the site and can be procured on-line by the entire internet community. Some of the products were also on display during the launch and stood out by their range and originality.
Col Sunil Prem and Col Ajay Singh – the two ex-army officers who founded and established the site, amplified on its concept, “The defence forces form one of the largest affinity groups in the country and have a pan-India reach. Most sites offer them jobs and placements but there are many more avenues that can be explored. We do provide jobs through our tie–ups with industry and commerce, but that is a minuscule part of the overall offerings. We offer varied options to exservicemen by which they can find productive second callings. The services sector is one in which their power has still been untapped. Here, they can offer services in the fields of training,investigation, project management, surveys and even rudimentary ones such as driving and other administrative services”
“They can also put up homes for a Bed n Breakfast. So many ex-servicemen have a spare room to offer and more importantly make excellent hosts. We use that USP to get clientele for them from India and abroad.”
The site also enables them to sell products – unusual products which in some way reflect the ‘soldier theme” and has some unusual handicrafts, apparel and outdoors items. One of its major attractions is a home wine-making kit, perhaps the only one of its kind in India, which is available on the site.
The event also saw the presentation of the ‘Soldier for Life” Award – an award presented to persons who persons who have attained notable success in both their military careers and subsequently in the civil world. The inaugural award was presented by Mrs Sabiha Hasnain to Lt Gen. Sudhir Sharma, Commodore Dr Prem Chand and Col S.M. Kumar, who followed their glittering military careers by establishing and operating MITKAT, one of the largest security advisory companies in the country. Gen. Sharma reaffirmed the credo of Soldier 2ndlife when he said, “Soldiers don’t retire; they merely re-attire and change from military uniforms to civilian clothing”.
The launch culminated with the release of the comic book ‘Chak De in Africa’ – authored and conceptualised by Col Sunil Prem – a first of its kind in India which covers the exploits of a fictional army unit in different situations.
Soldier2ndLife does have a unique concept which has much to offer. The platform seems to be well-set. Now, operationalising it on a pan-India basis would be the next big challenge for its founders.