Col Virender Pal Singh
Anatole France once asked a soldier, " Do you think you die for your country?" When the soldier replied in the affirmative, he said, " Wrong! You die for the INDUSTRIALISTS."
I would, in the Indian context, like to modify his suggestion to read as : WRONG, YOU DIE FOR THE CORRUPT, UNGRATEFUL and UNCONCERNED. Bureaucrats and politicians head this list, followed by bulk of unscrupulous businessmen who would qualify to be included in the list.
Soldiers, today, must learn that they NO MORE fight a Nation's wars but the conflicts started by inept, inefficient and incompetent BUREAUCRACY of India, in league with self-centered, greedy and corrupt politicians.
You ask me to explain it. My answer is very simple. All internal and external problems of India are created by lack of vision and thought bankruptcy on strategic matters by two sets of people who rule India, namely, BUREAUCRATS and POLITICIANS:
-From Nagaland in the fifties to Mizoram in the sixties;
-from Assam in the seventies to Punjab and J&K in the eighties;
-from Mumbai riots in the early nineties to Mumbai attack in 2008;
-from communal riots in Gujarat to the same in Andhra & Karnataka;
-from killing fields of BIhar and UP to mafia murders in Mumbai;
-from 'MANDAL' issue to 'KAMANDA'L issue;
-from demolition of BABRI MASJID to burning of TRAIN in GODHARA;
-from Naxalite hooliganism to Communalist mayhem since independence;
all this and much more owe themselves to the misdeeds of an unholy nexus between the bureaucrats and politicians, who govern this country.
Whether it was the Indo-Pak wars in1947, 1965 and 1971 or 'WAR LIKE SITUATION 'in Kargil in 1999 or even Operation PAWAN in Sri Lanka in the late eighties and the Chinese invasion of 1962-----my dear departed comrades: you did not die for the nation; instead, you gave your lives so as to cover the callous mistakes of these people. You are dead and gone. But no one remembers you other than some rantings on these annual rituals, called 'Vijay Divas' or the 'VICTORY DAY".
If there is a natural calamity in the country---army is called in.
If law and order goes awry, soldiers are roped in.
If a child gets stuck in a bore-well pit, soldiers are mustered to save the innocent life.
BUT,No one punishes the guys responsible for such acts of omission and commission.
In the bargain, if a soldier loses a life, they play-act a drama, as if they care too much but none does.
There are many a widows of soldiers, who are fighting their lonely battles----- ----no one is coming forward to help them except some ESM organisations such as IESL and IESM---whom no one listens to---not even the army.
Once NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, while in Germany, had made a remark on the army's recent projection of anomalies in the Sixth Pay Commission. He retorted to the questioner," Don't worry we will sort out the bast**ds" or words to that effect. He did not know that MILITARY ATTACHE was also listening and who, then, faxed it to his chief. You know what happened then. The three chiefs walked up to the PM with resignation letters in hand.
The recent case of OROP(One rank One Pension) is an interesting testimony to how bureaucracy fools everyone. Don't you know the way the soldiers have been fooled by this announcement in the parliament by our respectable Finance Minister on July 6 2009, when he vociferously announced implementation of ONE RANK ONE PENSION for the armed forces. Undoubtedly, it was an attempt to divide soldiers by announcing it ONLY for PBOR (PERSONS BELOW OFFICERS RANK). The govt has, thus, tried to create a wedge amongst officers and PBOR. Even the so called grant of OROP to PBOR is a fallacy.Unfortunate ly the UPA government is trying to exploit this by allowing some ex- Major in Delhi distributing leaflets on this. It is an utter nonsense. What the government has done is to bring at par the pre-96 retirees with pre- 2006 retirees, which is only a miniscule segment of pensioners. The bulk of the pensioners lay in the post-1996 and pre-2006 category, which has been left untouched by the government. This is how our bureaucracy makes fool out of everyone and this is how the politicians willingly play into the hands of bureaucrats. I bet if Pranab Mukerji knows as to what harm he has done to the armed forces by approving this Machiavellian strategy of bureaucrats. To them, it is NOT the NATIONAL INTERESTS that matter but their PERSONAL INTERESTS.
They had done the same thing during implementation and formulation of proposals for armed forces by SIXTH PAY COMMISSION. It is only due to near-rebellious situation in the armed forces that the govt reluctantly accepted it. Now the same bureaucrats have played another dirty trick with the army and the ESM. They do not realise by tampering with the ARMED FORCES and its disciplined ethics, they are endangering the security and integrity of the nation.
Just imagine what happens, if the armed forces whither away like police or any other government organization! Bureaucrats and politicians have broken the back of police and made them ineffective. Thus Law and order has become a serious problem. Like Committed bureaucracy and committed police officials--- -they want soldiers also to be committed to political parties. If it happens, your national security be damned. THERE IS A VITAL NEED TO KEEP THE ARMED FORCES APOLITICAL. But some wise Congressmen think KARGIL-99 was not their war but BJPs---similarly BJP will think that 1971 or 1965 wars were not theirs but of the Congress. What happens to soldiers?They too are being cultivated to divide the army. Would Congress's soldiers like to die for BJP's war? The question is ridiculous but this is what Mr Rashid----- a Congress MP, meant when he ridiculed the celebrations of VIJAY DIVAS. No congressman asked him to shut up. How disgusting.
Often, I hear a logic, that one joins armed forces voluntarily and that no one forced them to join. Very right. This very logic has affected the military ethos. You do not get the quality material any more because of this lopsided thinking. Therefore there are aberrations ---corruption cases---rapes- --misbehaviour- --hooliganism- ---extortion and what not by some officers and soldiers. It is still under control---but if you continue to ignore them, certainly he would ask the question:
WHY SHOULD I DIE FOR THESE PEOPLE? IS IT WORTH LAYING DOWN ONE's LIFE FOR SUCH SELF CENTERED PEOPLE?
Most of our soldiers come from rural poor backgrounds and they still think of their poor families before they do any act which might affect their family honour. Therefore, they not only tolerate all sorts of nonsense but also accept the professional hardships. Their tolerance limits are much more than the soldiers of other armies.
They suffer the vagaries of weather and man-made conditions silently. In 1962, they fought the Chinese with point 303 rifles with just 50 rounds---they went to snow covered high altitude mountains in their summer clothing. They died. They were injured but they did not rebel. It was exploitation of their impoverished background by the nation. Giving medals and awards to a few does not ameliorate the pain of many others whose deaths go unnoticed and uncared.
The question is how long the nation and the army can keep its soldiers in the 'DENIAL MODE' from their LEGITIMATE DUES and RIGHTS? Today's soldiers are more aware of their rights and privileges. Education and literacy is making them INDIVIDUALISTIC. Time is NOT far when they would behave like the EDUCATED SOLDIERS---- Yes, its implications must be understood by all and sundry---even the army.
They will question every one--from their own bosses to governmental orders. THEY WILL NO MORE BE SOLDIERS OF THE 'LIGHT BRIGADE'---WHO WILL AUTOMATICALLY MARCH INTO THE 'VALLEY OF DEATH' WHILE THE BULLETS FLY LEFT AND RIGHT OF THEM. They will no more sing the hymn: THERE IS NOT TO REASON WHY; THEIRS IS BUT TO DO AND DIE. Therefore , please do understand that ignoring SOLDIER's MARTYRDOM and his SACRIFICES was going to be very costly for this nation. Nation has to pay the PREMIUM for the SOLDIER's SACRIFICES and MARTYRDOM. Nation has to pay this premium for its own security and safety. It is NO FAVOUR nation is doing to its soldiers---whether they joined voluntarily or due to some economic pressures.
The words of General Douglas Mac Arthur, US army Chief in 1931 echo in my ears, when he told president Franklin Roosevelt, "Mr President, when in the next war, an American soldier lay on the ground with enemy bayonet slicing his abdomen and spat out his last curse, I do not want the name to be Mac Arthur but ROOSEVELT". It is no point emphasizing that president Roosevelt gave to the army what he wanted. And second world war is a testimony that US army tilted the balance in favour of Allied Powers.
Therefore. I reiterate that dues of indian soldiers must be given. The nation must do it. If you do not do this then the ULTIMATE WILL HAPPEN-----as a URDU SHAYAR had said, " GAR AB BHI NA SAMJHOGE AYE HINDOSTAN WALO---TUMHARI DASTAAN TAK BHI NA HOGI DAASTAANO MEIN"( If you do not mend your ways O' Indians, you shall evaporate and not exist even in History books). Take it from me, there will be no more SAFE INDUSTRIES-- -THERE WILL BE NO MORE JET FLYING 'CEOs' and smooth talking corporate managers or the GLOBE TROTTING IT's WONDER BOYS IN INDIA------- ---THERE WILL BE NO MORE SAFE HOMES FOR YOU TO INDULGE IN BLOGGING ON SULEKHA----- --IN FACT, THERE WILL BE NO MORE INDIA AS IT EXISTS TODAY. Decide what you want.
The last bastion of India's UNITY and INTEGRITY is waiting to DISINTEGRATE because of CONSTANT TAMPERING WITH it by BUREAUCRACY and POLITICIANS.
Indian army has been fighting for 60 years in Nagaland and other North East States---it has been holding Assam, Kashmir and Punjab for you for the last 25 to 30 years. Despite all this there are no major cribs against it, other than media hyped non-sense by vested interests by which some of you get influenced. Remember, Soldiers are not saints---there will be aberrations but the track record of Indian armed forces is much better than most of the armies.
I am appalled to see some debates on Sulekha which talk about wrong doings in the army. Most of it is based upon misinformation- -but even if there was any misdeed army is prompt to act and punish the guilty---you know about TEHELKA expose and what Army did later. Who else did it and who else does it?
Haven't you heard the recent murder of a youth in Baramulla? There was KASHMIR BANDH on this on the plea that he was killed by the army. Now it has turned out that he was killed by his friends for money. Such manipulations against army are quite common in insurgency infected areas.
All cases of alleged rapes are speedily dealt with---most of them turn out to be motivated allegations. When you ask soldiers to search for militants at the dead of a night in a village----such rubbish will be attributed to them. Even if some soldiers misbehave--- take it, they are NO HOLY MEN. If you want to avoid such incidents--- ASK THE GOVERNMENT TO SEND THE ARMY BACK TO BARRACKS. This is what the SEPARATISTS and the MILITANTS want---If some of you, educated elites of SULEKHA are going to play into the hands of the SEPARATISTS of KASHMIR like this and believe in their motivated propaganda-- -----then, also be prepared for them to walk into your homes one day and there would be none to check them.
Look at the record of Pakistan army in Bangla Desh in 1970. More than 10 million people had become refugees; many lakhs perished and thousands of women were raped and hundreds of children maimed. Just have a glance at Sri Lanks'a recently concluded operations against LTTE. what has NOT come out about thousands of CIVILIANS of TAMIL ORIGIN who were killed. Look at what the PAKISTAN ARMY has done in SWAT? Some 3 million people have been rendered homeless. There is no independent check of army's claims of killing some 1000 Taliban ( there were only 4000)---No top leader has been killed or arrested.
Compare the track record of Indian army against this back drop.
Now, read "CRISIS IN COMMAND" by RICHARD GABRIEL and PAUL SAVAGE to know the track record of US army in VIETNAM in the 60s & 70s of the last century. If still not convinced then it would be interesting for you to know of US army's recent misdeeds in IRAQ in the years 2007 &2008. Here is the link:-
Here are some excerpts from this link:-
"------------ -------Several soldiers said unit discipline deteriorated while in Iraq.------- ---------"Toward the end, we were so mad and tired and frustrated," said Daniel Freeman. "You came too close, we lit you up. You didn't stop, we ran your car over with the Bradley," an armored fighting vehicle.---- --------- With each roadside bombing, soldiers would fire in all directions "and just light the whole area up," said Anthony Marquez, a friend of Freeman in the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment. "If anyone was around, that was their fault. We smoked 'em.--------- ---------"
"------------ --------- -Taxi drivers got shot for no reason, and others were dropped off bridges after interrogations, said Marcus Mifflin, who was eventually discharged with post traumatic stress syndrome.
"You didn't get blamed unless someone could be absolutely sure you did something wrong," he said "------------ --------Soldiers interviewed by The Gazette cited lengthy deployments, being sent back into battle after surviving war injuries that would have been fatal in previous conflicts, and engaging in some of the bloodiest combat in Iraq. The soldiers describing those experiences were part of the 3,500-soldier unit now called the 4th Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team.------- --------- -Since 2005, some brigade soldiers also have been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, DUIs, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides.
------------ -------The unit was deployed for a year to Iraq's Sunni Triangle in September 2004. Sixty-four unit soldiers were killed and more than 400 wounded — about double the average for Army brigades in Iraq, according to Fort Carson. In 2007, the unit served a bloody 15-month mission in Baghdad. It's currently deployed to the Khyber Pass region in Afghanistan- --------- --------- --------- ."
Now talk about the Indian army and its track record. It is sixty year for this army to hold your nation together from Nagaland to Kashmir and J&K to Kanya Kumari. It has been involved in wars---low intensity conflicts--- militancy /terrorism-- -----flood reliefs---children rescue----earthquak e relief----you name a damn thing where you have not called your army---how many INDIANS have been rendered home less. It has fought four and a half wars (Kargil was somewhat a war) for you.
Some thousands of soldiers have laid down their lives in these wars and operations --------they have left their widowed wives; orphaned children; helpless mothers, sobbing sisters and wailing fathers in your care for, they had faith in you.
Would they have sacrificed their lives if they had an iota of doubt on your sincerity? They fulfilled their part of the CONTRACT by laying down their lives for your safety, honour and security. Why are you retracting from your part of the contract? Please ensure they are not to be ridiculed and slighted as you are doing it today.
I insist soldiers are no saints---they are from the same society----as you all are----while you have gone astray-----I mean the society----how do you expect them to remain holy men? if soldiers are running berserk at times---it is the social system which is to be blamed which has begun to TREAT THEM AS DOORMATS.
Reform the society first. Stop this unwanted criticism--- else you break this institution as a back lash by the soldiers who will ask:
WHY SHOULD I DIE FOR THESE PEOPLE?