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..."A Matter Of Honour"...

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roshini
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..."A Matter Of Honour"...

Post by roshini on Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:14 am

Rashtrapati
Bhavan, the august premises where the supreme commander of the Indian
armed forces awards highly coveted medals to select members of the
military, witnessed an unusual, unprecedented and ignominious scene
recently. An anguished delegation of military veterans returned over
2,000 gallantry and distinguished service medals to the president to
register their protest over the government's stubborn denial of the
long-promised one-rank-one-pension (OROP) dispensation for retired
faujis. The civil-military chasm has been increasing in recent years in
India exacerbated by the UPA government wherein the honour of the
Indian military has been steadily denigrated by the civilian leadership.


It
is an irrefutable tenet of the democratic ethos that the military as an
institution will always remain subordinate to the elected
representatives, and each country has its own way of arriving at the
appropriate civil-military equipoise. This evolution is particularly
challenging for the post-colonial state, where the military the army in
particular may have been part of the colonial experience. The
Afro-Asian experience after World War II is deeply blemished and many
nations have seen their armies seizing political power through coups,
often abetted by external actors. Within South Asia, the historical
experience of Pakistan and Myanmar is a case in point.


However,
the Indian case has been an exception and due credit must be given to
the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru and his colleagues, Sardar Patel and
C Rajagopalachari, each of whom had an imposing personal stature and
unassailable conviction about the idea of a free India. And this was
shared by the top leadership of the Indian military. Field Marshal
Cariappa, the first Indian Army chief, and his peers, were deeply
imbued with the same normative nationalism and accepted civilian
supremacy. Despite the humiliation of 1962, engendered by rank
political ineptitude, the Indian military grew into a credible and
highly professional but totally apolitical institution. Thus the
tumultuous trajectory of Indian democracy was served well by the
stability that the Indian military steadfastly provided.


However,
the top Indian political leadership has always had a distant and formal
relationship with the military and this was perhaps due to Nehru's own
misplaced perception about the military as an institution. But this
changed dramatically after 1962, and the role and relevance of the
armed forces for an independent India in an adversarial neighbourhood
was acknowledged. In the early decades after 1947, the cream of Indian
youth joined the military to serve the nation, and for the honour of
our flag.


Many died in the wars of 1965, 1971 and, most
recently, in Kargil in 1999. They continue to fall in the ongoing war
against terrorists and insurgents. On balance, the fauj, with its
innate sense of 'izzat', was revered by the people but was kept at a
distance by the politico-bureaucratic elite. Certain protocols and
procedures were recognised, and an acceptable civil-military status quo
maintained.


However, in recent months, more so after the award
of the 6th Pay Commission, a series of unfortunate but totally
avoidable events have led to the denigration of the armed forces as a
collective. Gross disparities in the pay and allowances of the serving
military in relation to the other cadres of the government were
introduced that were detrimental to the soldier. When this was pointed
out, the request for a review was dismissed in a cavalier manner and
canards floated in Delhi that the military was resorting to trade union
tactics.


More than money which is no doubt an important element
the honour of the military was deliberately trampled upon, and here
some degree of bureaucratic perfidy is discernible. Some redress for
serving military personnel has been awarded by the government, which
appointed a group of ministers headed by the indefatigable Pranab
Mukherjee.


More than the status of the serving community, it is
the plight of the retired military personnel that has triggered the
unseemly returning of medals by the veterans. As per current pension
norms, all military personnel (barring the chief, C-in-Cs and honorary
commissions) receive different pensions for different ranks depending
on when they retire. This, incidentally, is true for the civilians also
and only those who attain the pay scale of secretaries to the
government of India have the benefit of OROP.


But given the fact
that military personnel retire at a very early age (beginning at 32 for
sepoys and going to 54 years for most officers), harmonisation was
sought and successive governments since the days of Rajiv Gandhi have
promised to do so, but never delivered on the promise. Consequently
many pension asymmetries prevail. For instance, a sepoy who retired
before 1996 gets a pension that is 82 per cent less than a post-2006
retiree.


In yet another incident that reeks of deliberate
denigration of the men in uniform, it is reported that at the
traditional president's Republic Day 'At home' this year, the three
service chiefs were not accorded a place with their supreme commander
for the first time in living memory. In snubbing military personnel who
are sworn to lay down their life for the flag and honour, it is the
honour of the republic of India that is sullied. But alas, who cares?




The writer is a Delhi-based security affairs analyst.


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Re: ..."A Matter Of Honour"...

Post by Guest on Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:59 pm

very nice share roshini.... clap 2 indeed Indian army is the cherry of the indian pride...n they sud be treated with more respect agree
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Re: ..."A Matter Of Honour"...

Post by roshini on Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:34 am

sunny :thanx: sunny

@Baba wrote:very nice share roshini.... clap 2 indeed Indian army is the cherry of the indian pride...n they sud be treated with more respect agree


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Re: ..."A Matter Of Honour"...

Post by SourabhBasak on Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:52 pm

Very nice sharing....... clap 2


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Re: ..."A Matter Of Honour"...

Post by roshini on Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:16 pm

:thanx: :thanx: :thanx:

@sourabhbasak wrote:Very nice sharing....... clap 2


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