Monday, October 12, 2009

Views on IESL by Maj gen RN Radhakrishnan

Birth of IESL

Two generals were farsighted enough to see through the politicians, and founded Indian Ex-Services League in the early 1960 on the lines of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL), but down the line subversion crept in. Literally none of the service officer community, either was in the past or is now, aware of the existence of IESL. Strangely no one of the presidents of IESL seems to have taken note of the minimum participation of the officer community in the IESL and considered any possible effort to rectify the deficiency. Perhaps it suited them.

Registered body

IESL is a registered body, registered with Government of India vide letter 2(2)RECGN/IESL/KSB/A/2000 dated 04 Jan 2001 with its head Office at Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. It is registered under a proper Memorandum and the Article of Association. Every State is expected to organize a state level and district level units and get affiliated to the IESL. The affiliated units at state level are duly represented through their President/ General Secretary as representative in the council at Delhi. IESL is also an affiliated member of RCEL UK. The Patrons are the President and the supreme commander of the Indian Defense Forces incumbent is the Grand Patron in Chief and the other three patrons being the three chiefs of staff, during its formation. Subsequently, the Defense Minister assumed patronage as Patron in Chief and Marshal of the Indian Air Force as additional patron. (What a patronage? Soon presume the Defense Secretary also may become a patron, say Deputy Patron in Chief. The president of the IESL is elected from among the State delegates by the State delegates and holds office for a period of three years. The affairs of IESL are under the control of a council of members, duly elected. Membership to IESL is by application routed through the President of State Level unit and is for life. The fees are collected directly by the head office who in turn distributes 30% each to the State and District units. There is some ambiguity on distribution of the shares due to the state and district level units. We have seen that the application directly submitted with the due membership fees have been accepted and membership accorded. But how does a retiring serviceman come to know of IESL? According to the brochure of IESL, the whole country is supposed to be observing Ex-Servicemen Week in the first week of September every year. Is any one aware of it? How strange? Recently the AHQ seems to have sent out a letter to the Commands to take steps to promote membership to IESL, but how sincere has been the response to this instruction, is questionable. Had IESL played a dynamic role precisely with which purpose it was created, we might not have to face the present crisis forcing us to take to the streets, holding ‘rallys, fasts and dharnas’ as the common helpless citizen at times resort to with no specific gain, unless an element of possible destruction of public property or mass scale disturbance of peace is involved.
Maj Gen RN Radhakrishnan (Retd)
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