Once considered to be a heartland that produced valiant officers and soldiers in abundance, predominantly for the Army, Suchani and adjoining villages in Samba district today has no takers for defence forces. Attribute it to the disenchantment among the youth towards olive green, sky blue and white uniforms or changing trends in the materialistic society, defence forces today doesn’t attract them in Suchani village.
Suchani in the past produced highly decorated officers, including three Major Generals, two Vir Chakra recipients, and even today the villagers take pride when they talk about Satyendra Singh Jamwal, serving Rear Admiral, posted as Chief of Staff in the Southern Naval Command in Kochin. Predominantly, a Rajput village in Samba district, Suchani had given the Army Jagdish Singh Jamwal, Goverdhan Singh Jamwal and Keshav Singh Jamwal, the three Major Generals, says Yogeshwar Singh, sarpanch of the village.
Though Jagdish and Goverdhan retired after rendering distinguished services to the Army, in-service Keshav died in a chopper crash in Assam, he adds.
Suchani youth always had a penchant for the defence forces, particularly for the Army, but the trend plunged sharply over the years, says Yogeshwar.
Though the feeling of patriotism among the youths of the village has not died, they are now inclined towards professions like becoming government contractors and joining civil administration to live a contended life, says the sarpanch.
However, the passion to join the defence forces has almost faded among the youths from the Rajput Community here, a stark reality proved by the fact that in the past over a decade only one to two youth from Suchani joined the Army, he adds.
He rued that the Army did nothing to motivate the youth in a village that produced the maximum number of officers and soldiers for it.
The disenchantment towards the Army was amply proved when this correspondent found that all three sons of Vir Chakra recipient Naib Subedar Budhi Singh Jamwal had opted for careers in an agricultural university and other government departments. Budhi Singh, who passed away some three years ago, had been awarded the Vir Chakra for blowing up a Pak bunker in the Poonch Sector during the 1947 Indo-Pak conflict. Even Vikrant Singh Jamwal, grandson of Budhi Singh, doesn’t want to join the Army and wants to become either a government contractor or a cop in the state police.
However, recollecting bravery of his brother Budhi Singh, who joined the First JAK LI as a Naik, his brother Captain Khajoor Singh (retd) said Budhi had hurled grenades in the Pak bunker in the Poonch Sector in 1947 conflict.
The then Brigadier Pritam Singh, a Sikh officer, had recommended Budhi’s name for the gallantry award, says Khajoor. Khajoor’s son Jaipal Singh Jamwal attributes the root cause of disturbing trend to the concept of small families having only one son, low qualification among the youth, tilt among them to become government contractors and the Army’s lackadaisical attitude towards Suchani village.
“During 60s and 70s, the Army used to conduct recruitment camps in school premises here and youths from over half a dozen adjacent villages used to inundate the camp. But from the past over 35 years, the Army conducted no such camp,” says Jaipal Singh, an employee in the Education Department, whose son Dheeraj Singh Jamwal is a Flying Officer in the Air Force. This village had a tradition of sending men to defence forces and the youths, too, used to have a strong yearning to crack NDA, CDS, SSC exams, he adds.
He counted a few names to substantiate his claims like Rear Admiral Satyendra Singh Jamwal (son of retired Major General Jagdish Singh Jamwal), retired Commodore Kamal Singh Jasrotia, Brigadier Ravinder Singh, Lt Col Mukand Singh, Col Shiv Nandan Singh, Lt Col Bhagwan Singh, Brigadier Krishan Singh, Vir Chakra winner Lt Col Prabhu Singh, Major Balram Singh, Major Surinder Singh, Major Brahm Dev Singh, Brigadier Rajesh Singh, Major Raghunath Singh Jasrotia and Brigadier Raj Singh Jamwal.
After a gap of almost a decade, a village youth Uday Vir Singh cracked NDA examination and has become Captain in the Army. However, Major General Jagdish Singh (retd) attributed the declining trend to the step-motherly treatment to the three services. “We have been demanding ‘one rank, one pay’ and politicians also promise it during elections, but the fact can’t be denied that the three services and their men are not being looked after in the right earnest,” he says.
Those at the helm of affairs, including bureaucracy, in this country want to take everything at the expense of the three services, he adds.