From: vinay singh [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 13 September 2010 05:29
To: REPORT MY SIGNAL(CS Kamboj)
Subject: Beware of the babu - Sarojini Naidu's letter to Nathu Singh
Dear Brigadier Kamboj,
I saw the NDTV programme on NDTV 24X7. I think the bureaucrats and lawyers had no answers to the arguments advanced by Gen Oberoi, Gen Kadyan, Mr Chandra Sekhar, MP and Manvendra Singh, ex- MP. No one had an answer for the reasons for MPs, judges and Secretaries getting OROP. The fact that it isthe babus who have sabotaged it is now too well known to bear repetition.
The fear that the bureaucracy would ruin this country was foreseen even before Independence. I am giving below an extract of the letter written by Sarojini Naidu to Brig Thakur Nathu Singh, who was then the Director Personnel Services, in the Adjutant General's Branch in Army HQ, which was then located at Meerut. This was shortly after Nathu Singh had been offered the post of C-in-C by Sardar Baldev Singh, the Defence Minister. Sarojini Naidu and Nathu Singh had given evidence before the Skeen Committee on the same day, and had become quite close to each other. Sarojini insisted that Nathu Singh should call her 'Mah' (Mother), and that is the way she signed her letters to him. The two often corresponded, and at this juncture, he wrote to her, about the problems facing the Country, and nationalisation of the Army. Sarojini Naidu responded, on 9 January 1947, and wrote:
"Dear Nathoo Singh,
Many Thanks for sending me your very illuminating 'Shot in the dark'. It gives a correct picture of the situation from every angle.
.....As the security of the country depends entirely upon the Army, the army should not be based on what the country can afford to have for its defence. It will be fatal to rely on a small armed force, however efficient and modernly equipped it may be; because our country is vulnerable, bristling with traitors and the fifth columnists, in millions in every part of India. We all know the character and honesty of our potential enemies and so called friends.
Our leaders should get advice from us Indians in the army and other branches..... and not repeat not from hirelings, who have their own axes to grind;....
One thing more, probably you have noticed but have not mentioned; is how the army is at a disadvantage because of that 'steel frame', who wants to have the last word in everything pertaining to the Army. That steel frame must go.
Once again, many thanks for sending me the most illuminating 'Shot in the Dark.'
Two very important points emerge from the letter. One, the argument that funds are not enough should never be a consideration when deciding the size and quality of the Army. Second, the propensity of the bureaucrat to keep the military out of the decision making process was known even then, by the political class. Unfortunately for us, the steel frame did not go. In fact, it has become stronger.
Maj Gen VK Singh