Monday, August 15, 2011

I heard you tell the world 'India is shining'

Oh India…. Why do I still serve you?

India celebrates its Independence Day today. Brave men and women had fought for it many decades ago. And for more than six decades countless brave young people have sacrificed to keep it safe for us.

It took a lot of courage and  sacrifices of men in uniform and their families

COURAGE is the most admired of human virtues in all societies and in all walks of life — to be a man, is to be courageous. Courage is no less or more in the higher ranks of command than in the lower levels of command..... but it so happens that the greater the responsibility and higher the ranks, the emphasis shifts from physical to moral courage. Moral accountability is a form of intangible courage — it is a much rarer quality, rare but essential to all leadership qualities.

The term we casually ascribe as ‘Officer like qualities’.....
From where do they come?

Perhaps ...the answer lies in what is inscribed in the oak panelling at the Eastern entrance of the Chetwode Hall of Indian Military Academy... 

The origin of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehra Dun dates back to the growing demand for Indians as officers into the Army. By the end of the 19th century, the demand for an increasing participation by Indians in the governance of their homeland had taken firm roots. The persistent efforts of Gopal Krishna Gokhale resulted in the setting up of a Commission in 1912 in which he represented the national aspiration. Lord Curzon set up the Imperial Cadet Corps to which only selected Indians of proven loyalty from among the princes and landed aristocracy were admitted.

The Indians proved their mettle during the First World War.

In 1917, Montague Chelmsford Plan was introduced which afforded greater involvement opportunities to Indians in administering their country. Indianisation of Army started with the grant of King's Commission to 31 trusted Indians including KM Cariappa who later became the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. As feeder institution, the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College was set up at Dehra Dun in 1922 with a view to providing necessary preliminary training to Indian boys for entry into the Military College in England.

The Academy was formally inaugurated on December 1, 1932 by Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode, the then Commander-in- Chief in India, after whom the Chetwode Building and the Chetwode Hall have been named. 

One reason that an officer is a gentleman for he is expected to uphold the highest moral and ethical values. 

The academy's credo tells you why !!!

The safety, honour and welfare of your country comes first, always and every time.
 The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.
 Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.

Wish all our countrymen ... Political leaders...Civil servants... Educationalists....could imbibe this and enshrine it in our hearts..

The main constituent of the above credo is ‘courage’ and ‘self sacrifice’.

Whereas, the former that is physical courage, is easy to see...moral courage of higher leadership, seldom comes to public notice.

The unusual and unstable service conditions ‘enjoyed’ by Armed Forces officers and men along with their families are unparalleled... requiring a unique and compassionate approach to their scales of salary, pension, housing and so on.

Nothing hurts the ‘fauji ‘ more than unjust treatment which is crafted with deliberate cussedness and meanness by those who know better and should respond in a balanced manner. One Rank One la long standing fight for just and equitable remuneration. 

OROP is justified, whichever way it is examined, it is neither bad in law, nor is it discriminatory.

The so called upper classes, elite, bureaucrats/technocrats/business entrepreneurs/rich professionals couldn’t care less about what the ‘fauji ‘does, what they get, how they manage their affairs and such tiresome issues. When they are safe, secure and successful, the soldier’s lot is irrelevant. Whether the material and emotional wherewithal given to the soldier and his family is adequate for maintenance of national security and safety, is far from their minds.

Why blame the civil society...!!!  They pay taxes and expect the Govt to ensure their security to generate wealth for themselves and India.

The 6th Pay Commission, controlled and configured by bureaucrats, has generated avertable bitterness between bureaucrats and military. Pensioner’s protesting across the country, returning medals, rallies, sparse articles in the odd national daily, with some TV exposure has created insignificant awareness, certainly not enough to convince the average Indian, that something is terribly wrong about the earned pensions in Forces.. Deplorably, no one is bothered. A  man in not looking for sympathy, he does not need it.

 He wants the nation to understand why he is asking for OROP, not as a gift but a right..... One Rank One pay is his earned right.

A Quick Perspective. 

Issue: Vol 26.1 Jan-Mar 2011 | Date: 21 March, 2011
Till the 60s, OROP was in vogue as Military Pension, and faujis got 65 percent of last pay because most had to retire in their late 40s/early 50s while civilians got 33 percent since all served up to 58 years. The 3rd PC abolished Military Pensions, reduced it to 50 percent, increased civil pensions to 50 percent, and added a proviso that to earn full pension a govt servant must serve for 33 years. Thus most military men seldom got full pension because very few could serve for 33 years, but the civil servants invariably got full pension because they served till the age of 58, getting them at least 33 years of service.
Look at the perfidy of this rule and the shabby treatment meted out to the Armed Forces? The Supreme Court has already declared that pension is, “delayed wages for services already rendered”. But look at it this way, Colonel Kapur who retired with 24 years of service at the age of 48 years in 1989, must get the same pension as Colonel Ghosh who retires today at the age of 50 years with 24 years of service. Why must Colonel Kapur have to beg for this, he is only seeking justice because he had to retire at a much younger age than his civilian contemporary who joined the IAS at the same time.
The civilian does not retire with only 24 years service at the age of 50 years, he carries on till the age of 60, and crosses that 33 year barrier. Recently the Supreme Court was constrained to rebuke the Govt for “treating soldiers like beggars”. Regrettably our media, so fond of sensationalism, has not cared to take up cudgels for the military, which provides and preserves that freedom of expression the media clamour for.

OROP is a Financial Burden on India.... so say the Parliamentarians...But it was not so when it came to be their own hike.

Do you know that a 300% hike was not enough for our Members of Parliament !!!!

They want it to be 500%..... They were vocally and aggressively dissatisfied by the quantum of hike in the salaries approved by the Cabinet,

The MPs contended that the government had insulted Parliament by rejecting the recommendation of its own Committee to raise the basic salary from Rs 16,000 to Rs. 80,000 per month. MPs have argued that their current salaries are lower than a secretary level government employee. 

However, a back-of-the-book calculation by TIMES NOW has estimated that effectively MPs annual salary per month is now Rs 5 lakh .including ....
o   Free air tickets,
o   Free Railway travel for family
o   Dearness Allowance,
o   Accommodation,
o   Rent
o   Telephone
o   Electricity bills
o   Constituency allowance. ....etc.

Like all employees have a 'Cost to Company', to maintain their lifestyle these MPs have a Cost to the Nation that goes up to Rs 5 lakh a month - or 60 lakhs a year per Member of Parliament. 

Finally, compare the above to an Army officer, whose last salary hike on an average was 40 % compared to an MP's 300%. 

However much the public may disapprove, for once all MPs have been united on the issue of increasing their own salaries, the only dissonance being why they can't get even more.

Another cussed bogey raised by them is that OROP will be an unbearable burden for India —
Pure lies, misleading propaganda, obstruction to deny justice to the valiant men who have tirelessly served the nation for decades.... .

 Whenever all else fails, the Armed Forces are called for remedy.

  • Foot bridges for CWG are re-built by the Army?
  • When Central and State governance fail against Naxals and Kashmiri militants, they want the Army and Air Force to take over.
  • When natural calamities overwhelm, the Armed Forces are called in.

 What is tragic is that in planning bridges, making disaster relief plans, formulating anti Naxal operations, the Armed Forces are never consulted, but when the chips are down, they are ordered to step in.

The lies and naked truth is exposed....The youth does not want to step forward for his time of duty for this nation.... His  nation. India stands vulnerable today there is an extreme shortfall of young officers ... They are our ‘sword arm’.

This was written by a Fourth generation, 24 year old Career Officer in the Indian Armed Forces.....He was  spurred by the report of the 6th pay commission and a heartless article written by a 'respectable' denizen of our great country in a national daily on the armed forces and the 6th pay commission.

He was so disillusioned   ......

How you play with us, did you ever see?
At Seven, I had decided what I wanted to be;
I would serve you to the end
All these boundaries I would defend.

Now you make me look like a fool,
When at Seventeen and just out of school;
Went to the place where they made 'men out of boys'
Lived a tough life …sacrificed a few joys…

In those days, I would see my 'civilian' friends
Living a life with the fashion trends;
Enjoying their so called 'College Days'
While I sweated and bled in the sun and haze…
But I never thought twice about what where or why
All I knew was when the time came, I'd be ready to do or die.

At 21 and with my commission in hand,
Under the glory of the parade and the band,
I took the oath to protect you over land, air or sea,
And make the supreme sacrifice when the need came to be.

I stood there with a sense of recognition,
But on that day I never had the premonition,
that when the time came to give me my due,
You'd just say,' What is so great that you do?'

Long back you promised a well to do life;
And when I'm away, take care of my wife.
You came and saw the hardships I live through,
And I saw you make a note or two,
And I hoped you would realise the worth of me;
but now I know you'll never be able to see,
Because you only see the glorified life of mine,
Did you see the place where death looms all the time?
Did you meet the man standing guard in the snow?
The name of his newborn he does not know...
Did you meet the man whose father breathed his last?
While the sailor patrolled our seas so vast?

You still know I'll not be the one to raise my voice
I will stand tall and protect you in Punjab Himachal and Thoise.

But that's just me you have in the sun and rain,
For now at Twenty Four, you make me think again;
About the decision I made, Seven years back;
Should I have chosen another life, some other track?

Will I tell my son to follow my lead?
Will I tell my son, you'll get all that you need?
This is the country you will serve
This country will give you all that you deserve?

I heard you tell the world 'India is shining'
I told my men, that's a reason for us to be smiling
This is the India you and I will defend!
But tell me how long will you be able to pretend?
You go on promise all that you may,
But it's the souls of your own men you betray.

Did you read how some of our eminent citizens
Write about me and ridicule my very existence?
I ask you to please come and see what I do,
Come and have a look at what I go through
Live my life just for a day
Maybe you'll have something else to say?

I will still risk my life without a sigh
To keep your flag flying high
but today I ask myself a question or two…
Oh India…. Why do I still serve you?

Of the many pillars of India, most are accused of corruption, sycophancy, cronyism, lack of courage, regressive and such adverse epithets. The Armed Forces remain unaffected and is the sole unblemished pillar ......inspite of occasional black marks.
For the civilian politico-bureaucrat-technocrat together with extra constitutional power centres, to mistreat and deliberately mismanage the issue of OROP is criminal with serious implications on both external and internal security of India.
All that the Armed Forces request is that any soldier, sailor, airman, must get a pension corresponding to, the current salary for his rank the and actual years of service put in, irrespective of when he retires. A Havaldar who retired in 1975 with 18 years of service must get the same pension as the Havaldar who retires today with 18 years’ service. A Wing commander, who retired in 1994 with 22 years of service, must get the same pension as a wing commander who retires today with 22 years service.

There are no riders, no deletions and no add-ons. It is as simple as that, because, truth is the only thing which cannot be improved upon.


  1. Nilesh Saraf ......questions aplenty - a lot to ponder over - but after reading i can't help asking - why do i still serve you?

  2. Nilesh Saraf some soul searching!!!! timing is good!!!
    Yesterday at 4:44pm · Unlike · 1 person

  3. Ranjit Dey ....A fighter also have own mindset. We are proud of our boys guarding the NEFA, Aksai China, the Siachen Glacier, the POK, the deserts of Rajsthan, the rann of kutch gloriously. "All the fights they were fought, Not a single they were lost" which we have seen in 1947/POK, 1961(Goa), 1962 China, 1965 Pakistan, 1971 Pakistan Wars and famous Kargil Conflict (Pak). Also internal and Pak promoted terrorist groups, infiltrators. We can sleep at night in lieu of their awakened night. Indian Armed Forces are one of the best in the world, and we are proud of them.
    18 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Daarji Returns.... But we have strange ways to thank them...honour them...reward them...
    18 hours ago · Like · 1 person

    Ranjit Dey ....Right Sir. Ultimately corrupt people also think corruptly. desh ki shaan hai woh log, jo desh ko raksha karte hai, birgoti prapt karte hai.
    18 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Daarji Returns ....Yahi toh asliyat hai Bhai..... yeh bachon ko milla kya..... recognition bhi nashi milti.

  4. Dilpreet Toor.... this is the truth.justice could only be done when these armymen are given the powers to run the country n the corrupt politicians are left to face the results of their scandals.barring a few all the polticians are making money by corruption without caring for us,our country and the sacrifices of our valiant soldiers.
    8 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person

    Ranjit Dey.... Power of Administration is such a thing , even Army men may stand in the same line of corrupt politicians, is they become administrator. There are both type of person honest and corrupt in all category. We the people should select while voting, as to who will be less corrupt.
    6 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person
    Daarji Returns ....Youth of this country is the future.... MORAL COURAGE is the answer.

  5. That's great Daarji!!

    This is true that "Youth of this country is the future" but that youth doesn't have strong shoulders, those can take the responsibility of "Serving Nation". When a well educated person can get a good salary +incentives + perks etc. by working in growing corporate world then who’ll think of serving nation. In today’s India, how many parents like to see their Son (s) sacrificing their life for the nation?.
    There is a trend in modern India(I personally seen) , if you’re not getting job elsewhere – then join the Army as will get the fixed salary and pension on retirement. Then, where is the spirit of “Serving Nation”. These “Neta’s” or political leaders also claim that they are “Serving Nation” but the 300% hike is still not enough for that Service. If, one is getting that much amount without facing the bullets at the border - then from where Youth will get encouragement of “Serving Nation”…