We the soldiers of India have been tossed around and kicked below the belt for a number of years. We have accepted this situation from our politicians and babus merely because we have respectfully accepted the constitutional decree of "rule by the civilians". Its a lofty idea in an atmosphere where politicians are just, babus are considerate, judiciary is respected, police is impartial, media is not stringed and the people are not misguided. If all such conditions do not exist where is the sense in soldiers surrendering their right to be treated with respect, dignity, honour and parity with other services?
Plethora of suggestions are floating around on the problems of veterans and a decent parity of serving soldiers with ruling elite. All valid within their perspective yet no definite solutions to the travails of soldiering.
"Nip in the bud" is an old adage. We the soldiers did not bother about the cactus being sowed all around us by the constitutional masters, leaving us isolated to live in our cocoon of lofty ideals of respect for the civilian rule, respect for the constitution, respect for the judiciary, respect for the rule of law and respect for every tom, dick and harry at the cost of our respect, dignity and parity. We have surrendered our right to speak and be a part of the ethos of our nation. We have learnt only to be dictated. We have learnt not even to question the wisdom of politicians, babus and parliamentary debates that grow more cactus around us through uncanny methods. We have reached the state of being a slave institution; mute horse being mercilessly whipped by every one. We have forgotten that we are the lions even when our teeth and claws have been blunted. We have let the people forget that a lion, even on its last breath, can maul.
The fault is not with our stars but that we are underlings. We have surrendered our rights to govern ourselves. We have surrendered our right to be effective fighting machinery. We have learnt to accept the morsels thrown at us. Serving soldiers have also forgotten the rights of veterans who were once their guiding stars, forgetting that ultimately they too will be joining their band. The situation is too complex to be elaborated any more. Everyone knows where the solution lies but is afraid to speak it out.
The first echo of General V. K. Singh's statement that amendments to Armed Forces Special Powers Act is being enacted for some petty political gains, was heard last Sunday on NDTV in "We the People" programme by Barkha Dutt. It must jab the ears of politicians and babus if they understand the innuendo. The Chief on behalf of the Armed Forces has given his opinion and has perhaps tried to pre-empt the contemplated amendments to the Act. The babus will stoop to their usual methods to muffle the Chief and its upto him to show whether he is what he has shown with his first salvo at the powers that be. If future is not in his mind he can do what many before him have failed to do. Its time for someone to put the babus in their place.
Am I seeing a change in the scenario or is it a wishful thinking?
Veteran Ram Gulrajani