Monday, August 31, 2009

Sub/Maj Hony Lt (Retd.) Pandey on 30 Aug at AVCC , Noida

Respected, Honorable Senior Veterans and my Dear Friends!

Today is a historic day in the history of Indian Military Veterans of all arms. We all have completed one year of our peaceful struggle for OROP. The GOI has been compelled and forced to consider our justified and legitimate demand for ONE RANK ONE PENSION. In my view we have all gathered here to contemplate on our past actions and discuss and explore our future plans of action. In my brief talk, I will try to cover the following points:

1. Achievements of IESM in the past one year

2. Actions taken by the government, the politicians and the bureaucrats

3. Possible reasons behind OROP not being granted as yet

4. Possible course of action for the future

5. And finally and most importantly, how each and every ESM can contribute to this mission

1. Achievements of IESM in the past one year:

(a) This is the first time that the issue of OROP has been mentioned in the Presidential Speech in the Parliament. This has been possible only because of the massive action taken by IESM.
(b) A large number of senior officers and all Ranks of all arm have come together under the IESM umbrella. This involvement has been totally selfless from all members and it is an astonishing feat achieved by the Indian Military Veterans community.

(c) A dedicated, able and effective leadership has taken charge of this mission and will most definitely steer the mission to victory and success.

(d) The government is now fully aware of the fact that the planning and execution of IESM is way beyond their control and that IESM is growing faster than they could ever imagine. That is why the government is reluctant to talk and negotiate with the IESM.

2. Actions taken by the government, the politicians and the bureaucrats:

(a) Divide and Rule - Instead of solving the problems of ESM and carefully considering the legitimate demand of OROP by the military veterans, the government has been trying to divide us in segments like ranks, arms, Officers, JCOs, ORs. They have been trying to segment and divide our power and strength.

(b) Using small ESM organizations with vested interests, the government has been trying to advertise that they care for the welfare of the veteran community, all of which is a false propaganda.
(c) The GOI should recognize and be grateful to the officer community especially the chairman IESM, for it is because of them this mission is still peaceful.
(d) The PBOR community is so full of anguish that if left uncontrolled/unguided they will not refrain from resorting to other means of making the deaf hear our voice. That said, I must underline the fact that this is a rather dangerous game the GOI is playing and it better be aware of the consequences of this.

3. Possible reasons behind OROP not being granted as yet:

(a) I feel that reason behind the fact that OROP has not been implanted in its true nature and spirit is the fact that each and every action/decision/step taken by the IESM leadership is being debated.

(b) This is a clear sign for the GoI that the ESM community is not united. The proverb “Too many cooks spoil the broth” is so truly applicable to this situation. We must all understand that this too is like a war for justice and no war can ever be won if there are more than one orders given at the same time or if, on every decision, a committee or a consensus must be formed.

(c) With respect, I want to bring forth a very important and serious issue regarding the devaluation of JCOs, NCOs and equivalent ranks of all arms. The JCOs are commissioned by the President of India and it is a class II Gazetted Rank. Now it has been replaced by a term “PBOR”. Where did this term “PBOR” come from? I find it amusing and rather disturbing that it has been so easily accepted by our service chiefs and the boards of JCOs and NCOs have been replaced by PBOR!

Rank degradation was a major issue taken up by most ESM organizations. Similarly the same issue of rank degradation holds good in coining this term “PBOR” and must be dealt with utmost seriousness. On the Blog REPORTMYSIGNAL it is seen that each rank is interested about its own interest. This is a point I have personally raised with the Vice Chairman in the past as well. It has also been raised earlier by Sgt. Prabhjot Singh PlS (Retd.), President, Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh.

This is the root cause of defamation of the Army. It starts from the soldiers and creeps all the way up to the levels of senior officers as well. The time has now come for all ranks to forget about their individual benefits and unite for Social Justice and Respect of the Indian Military Services. Many senior officers have rightly pointed out that we should learn from neighbors and the past history. Service years were different and the times now are different. Why is any body/organization not thinking for the benefit of all ranks all arms (from Sep to Gen, including Ex Service Men)? Has GOI been successful in its divided and rule policy inherited from the British?

4. Possible course of action for the future:

Therefore my request with the entire ESM community is this:

(a) Organizations founded for the welfare of ESM have failed the very purpose of their existence. IESM, in my humble opinion, must make an effort, to get rid of the people filling holding these appointments (and making a mess of the entire organization) and to replace these people with those who are really devoted to the cause of the ESM, who can understand and appreciate the reason why these bodies were founded.

(b) Many states like Punjab have been exemplary in this regard where these organizations still perform the duties they are supposed to.

(c) Let us all be united in our thoughts, actions and words. That is the only way we can become a force strong enough to shake the high offices in New Delhi.

(d) Let us all have faith in the IESM leadership. The chairman and the steering committee is what the Captain is to a boat or a Pilot to an airplane.

(e) Let us not criticize others. Instead, do the best we can in our own capacities to help the mission become successful.

(f) Once a decision has been taken, let us all own it – for better or for worse – understanding that the intent behind taking that decision was the success of the entire mission.

(g) Please do not criticize our leaders, do not comment on there integrity and leadership capabilities. They have brought us here and they will, most definitely, make this mission successful.
(h) Lastly I whole heartedly support the suggestions of Vice Chairman Maj Gen Satbir Singh and Col Rajan for the future plan of action.

5. How Can One Individual ESM Help:

One must both generously and seriously think about how he/she can help the Mission OROP. Some can help with money (donations), some with their organizations, some with organizing local meetings and seminars, some can give time and man power, and some can help with material/items. Where ever an ESM goes, let it be ECHS, CSD offices and any where, we can talk about this movement get membership form and deposit medals.

Once again I thank you all for giving me this opportunity to share my vies with you.

Jai Hind!

Kameshwar Pandey
Sub/Maj Hony Lt (Retd.)


  1. Very thoughtful and powerful presentation.Congratulations.

  2. Kamlesh Sahib, Weldone! You have covered each and every necessary point very vividly and nicely particularly the term PBOR which either out of ignorance or deliberately was ignored by our higher echelon. I wish to bring one more point to your knowledge regarding plight of Subedar Major rank in the present day army.

    Since the British rule and till recent past Subedar Major rank was considered a respectful and responsible one in the matter of administration as well as financial benefits. Till the implementation of recommendations of 5th pay commission there was considerable difference of salary of a Subedar and Subedar Major. Take example of pension rates of Subedar Major and Subedar of Y Group. As on 1 Jan 96 these were Rs 4775 and Rs 4050 respectively. While settling pay anomalies whereas pension of a Subedar raised to Rs 4650 a Subedar Major's pension remained same i.e. Rs 4775 a difference merely Rs 115. New in the 6th pay commission recommendations, a Subedar Major gets merely Rs 200 (only grade pay) more than the Subedar of same group. This poor rank has no representation of its own.

    In the case of an incident in a Unit, a CO may wash his hands but a poor Subedar Major faces the brunt even he happens to be on leave at that time.

    I am giving a living example. At the time of Mutiny in the Sikh Regimental Centre during 1984, the Subedar Major was on annual leave during that time. Whereas the officers responsible got their promotions even gallantry awards but that poor fellow had to go on pension without getting his due honorary rank.

    Since you are near to President and Vice President IESM, please bring this point forcefully to their notice.

    Presently I am in Canada but I have concern and sympathy with my brethren. We all are with you.

    With regards,

    Harbans Dhaliwal