Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NDTV..Views by Maj Gen Raj Mehta

From: raj mehta raj_s_mehta12@yahoo.com
Sent: 12 September 2010 22:04
Subject: OROP ON WE,THE PEOPLE SEP 12, 2010

Dear Sir,
The Barkha Dutt show last night can be seen at different levels of objective scrutiny.

Let me start with the most important first. We,The People is a well followed program in terms of TRP rating, bureaucratic and political eyeballs that watch the program, and the iconic standards attained by it over the years (though some would argue that the format, with its closet full of the same old "experts" and social gadflies that are part of the Delhi glitterati/chatterati, is becoming stale and needs a serious makeover). Barkha is remarkably gifted, feisty and loves the camera but it is only once in a while that she allows content to override her by now well patented, sometimes hectoring, even intimidating presentation style.

Yesterday, though, she was the Barkha of old who delivered magic during the Kargil War. She sensitively allowed content to override her basic "take charge" personality and with great visual, emotional and mental impact.

I do think, sir, that, with one fell swoop, she has given OROP more visibility and intensity than our years of struggle since 1982 to make Governance aware of its legitimacy.

Thats the good Barkha of old; the spritely, effervescent motor mouth and intense storm trooper who covered Kargil to world class standards (I suspect she really set standards during that coverage); that at a time when (as she mentioned in a post-war interview) she was menstruating, closeted in a bunker with bravehearts some of whom later died.

The next in line for scrutiny were Capt Sidhu, the amputee Paratrooper brave heart. The program rightly gave him a standing ovation, and, in so doing, panned the sheepish faces of the bureaucrats present to put up the Governments poorly choreographed, obtuse, single point defence. They appeared taken aback by the spontaneous response of the studio audience in empathising with this brave soldier and his 30 year old fight for justice.

Gen Vijay Oberoi was his usual assured self and was a treat to watch, though the program constraints made him speak more on behalf of the war wounded than on OROP. His contribution on OROP came more by way of interjections than original content.
(Gen Vijay Oberoi is President War Wounded Foundation. He has been fighting for the dues of war wounded with the Government and in the Courts. One must appreciate that first deserving cases are the war widows followed by war wounded. The rest of the ESM can only come after these categories – Chander Kamboj).

On a par really, were the steller contributions of the Independant MP, Mr Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Mr Manvendra Singh, a TA officer and journalist (he is the son of Mr Jaswant Singh of the BJP). It was a delight to see them tear the Governments specious (and the Congress representative, Capt Davar's) arguments to shreds and with logic rather than emotion.

The IESM stand on OROP was put across with dignity and quiet assurance by Gen Kadian, though one would have wished for some forceful clarifications from him on the issues being raised by the out-of-sync "expert" Mr Shah, Ms Indu, the senior financial bureaucrat and Capt Davar.

I do feel sir, that the gains are that the case now has the nation's attention, rather than just some people. We have to thank the IESM for that, as well as NDTV for providing the platform for giving the issue truly national coverage. Barkha Dutt, a big thank you.

The areas of improvement are clear: Capt Davar's deliberate reference to the fact (unchallenged by the panel) that IESL was "happy" with the awards by Government implies that we need greater unity between our ESM lobbies.
The clearly visible hard stands displayed those representing the UPA viewpoint (including the unfeeling economic "expert") means that a long battle is ahead and needs great circumspection as well as a well thought out plan to win the OROP campaign instead of yesterdays battle.

I do also feel that our key points in favour of OROP need to be prioritized and put down in precise language that every one; the Government, Supreme Court, common man, ESM can all understand. Once finalised, these points should be our common user language for getting OROP through.

We also need to have irrefutable figures on who all have OROP benifits. It appeared to me that we need rather more research on this issue.

With warm regards,
Gen Raj Mehta (Mohali, Punjab)

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