THANJAVUR ESM MEET – 19 JULY 2009
Col (Retd) TN Raman
1. Further to my mail on IESM Meet in Chennai on 12 July 09, it is important for us to know about the Meeting of ESM conducted by IESL Thanjavur, to celebrate its 33 rd year of Raising.
2. From the IESM side, Col S Rajan & Col TN Raman were present on special invitation from Col CT Arasu, President of the Executive Committee, Thanjavur IESL & OIC, ECHS Polyclinic Thanjavur. Cdr Vaidyanathan, Convener IESM Trichy & Lt Col RR Jai Ram Convener IESM Thanjavur, were also present. The Meeting was presided over by Maj Gen RN Radhakrisnan, who is the President of Tamilnadu IESL.
3. The Meet was attended by over 500 ESM, including ladies. Four Ladies also spoke. Mrs Vijay Lakshmi, whose husband was present in a wheel chair, spoke with confidence & condemned the general trend of ESM to keep begging the Govt for even petty things. Instead, she advocated the ESM Organisations to encourage self help groups of ESM & their families with all available resources with them. Since maximum ESM live in villages, self help, according to her was the best way to ensure the prosperity of the ESM community. I was told that she was practicing what she was preaching. The same view was echoed by a few more speakers including Cdr Mayil Vaganan, who said that these ESM Self Help Groups should be formed on Taluk basis & registered with the State DSS& A Board.
4. The general trend of most of the speeches was on Unity of ESM. Cdr Mayil Vaganan, Senior Vice President of the Association, was proud in pointing out the fact that he attended the Hunger Strike organised by Col S Rajan in Bengaluru on 15 Mar 09, along with 10 members of IESL from Thanjavur. Many more from Madurai & Trichy also took part in the agitation headed by Air Marshal (Retd) Keith Lewis (pardon me if I had misspell his name). He along with 9 other members from Thanjavur deposited their medals. This, according to him was done to show the solidarity with the IESM, who had taken up the cause of ESM & was fighting for justice. Similarly, he had organised 10 ESM from IESL to take part in the Maha Rally in Delhi, along with the Convener IESM Tamilnadu, Col TN Raman. It was with the same spirit, he attended the recent Meet of IESM Tamilnadu, held in Chennai on 12 July 09.
5. We owe our thanks to Lt Col R Sadhasivam, President Thanjavur IESL, Lt Col RR Jai Ram & Col CT Arasu, all from IESL, to have encouraged their cadres in lending support to the agitations organised by the IESM. Not only that. Similar agitations were also carried out by their own affiliated Associations through out the District.
6. Later Col S Rajan addressed the Meet in his own inimitable style, which evoked spontaneous appreciation from all those who were present, including Gen Radhakrisnan. He chronologically traced the plight of ESM & the achievements of IESM. Col TN Raman highlighted the efforts of IESM & the Core issues. He said that, due to the increased educational qualifications of the recruits, the rehabilitation & a second career should not pose a problem, provided they are well equipped before release from the Armed Forces. Why not demand Study Leave of two years for the PBOR before their retirement. This would enable them to improve their qualifications so that they can compete in the civil job market with more confidence & skill.
7. Some of the Resolutions passed by the Thanjavur District IESL may be relevant to all ESM Associations. They are listed in brief below:-
a. ESM Welfare should be part of Concurrent List.
b. Guaranteed Second Lateral Employment up to 60 years of age.
c. Pre-Recruitment Training to be provided by the DSS& A Board to the dependents of ESM.
d. Co-Locate ECHS Poly Clinic, ESM CSD (I) Canteen, Office of the Assistant Director ESM Welfare & Community Hall.
e. Restoration of commuted portion of the Pension in 12 years instead of 15 years.
8. Maj Gen RN Radhakrisnan, then gave his closing address. In a lucid style he captured the attention of the audience with a couple of Tamil Poems. He explained the statement of the Govt on OROP in the Parliament & how it was falling far short of our expectations. He assured that no effort would be spared in getting the justice for the ESM which was long over due.
9. By now, it may be abundantly clear to the readers that, like the aim of all religions is to identify one with the supreme being, the aim of all ESM Associations is to improve the conditions of the ESM, especially the PBOR. The methods used may have been different. But every one in Thanjavur & in Chennai agreed with the reality, that it was the advent of IESM which gave a fillip to the ESM & focused the attention of the entire Nation on to the issues relating to them.
10. Return of Medals was one of the issues, which created discard in April this year, before the Maha Rally. The same action was being spoken with pride by some members of IESL, in Thanjavur. It does not mean that hundred percent approval was there for all forms of agitations & policies carried out by IESM, in the past few months. There were dissentions even within the ranks of IESM. So why blame other organisations for the failure to reach consensus & unity.
11. Col S Rajan, Lt Col RR Jai Ram & Cdr Vaidyanathan would bear me out that at the grass route level, there is a yearning for able leadership to guide them. That leadership is available in IESL as well as IESM. Therefore, the tussle is not the question of leadership. But of Unity. For example, the IESL Thanjavur leadership is willing to offer unconditional support to our Movement. The same may be the case all over India. The requirement is to harness such a strength in the form of a Federation, in which all units are treated at par.