Lt Gen responds to Express editorial

The Indian Express had an excellent lead editorial in today’s edition regarding the letter written by the Chiefs of Staff Committee to Defence Minister AK Antony, requesting him to hold the Pay Commission for the defence officer cadre in abeyance until certain anomalies had been addressed. Predictably enough, it hasn’t gone down well with a lot of senior officers. Anyway, decide for yourself — here’s the editorial, and following it is a letter of reaction written by a senior retired officer Lt Gen SK Bahri to the Express today, a letter he copied to me. First, the editorial:

EXPRESS EDITORIAL: It’s the uniform

India’s defence services should now be paid more. The cabinet cleared the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations for new pay bands for defence employees on August 14; on Monday, the defence ministry officially sanctioned the implementation of the cabinet’s suggested changes. The cabinet went well beyond what was recommended by the pay commission, except, unfortunately, in the matter of severance packages — which would have helped the armed forces’ growing pension bill — and flexible hours. In particular, the concern that lower ranks were not being given enough of a raise has been addressed. It was doubly disappointing, therefore, that the seniormost uniformed officers in the country have written to Defence Minister A.K. Antony demanding that the pay rise be put on hold.

There are a hundred jokes in the services about how difficult it is to get the army, navy and air force to agree on anything. For the leaders of the three uniformed branches to join each other in writing to their civilian superior, one would think that something of earth-shattering import needed to be addressed. On discovering what it is, however, all notions of what the three service chiefs consider an earth-shattering crisis might need to be revised. In essence, the chiefs are upset that senior ranks in the armed forces are not being paid an amount commensurate with what they believe equivalent ranks in the IAS receive. (The pay commission held sharply differing, and more rational, views on what constituted an equivalent rank.)

The armed services do indeed see a steady leaking of talent. However, so do other services. The problem is that by grounding their complaint in a spurious comparison to the IAS and the IPS rather than as a reasoned exposition — using labour market analysis — of how higher pay might stop that leakage, the armed forces come off as depressingly petty and bureaucratic. Senior soldiers obsessing over points of order and the order of precedence is not going to help that leakage; worldwide, what keeps soldiers in uniform is not parity with civilian administrators but a sense that for what they do they receive recognition of a unique order, and that the uniform itself ensures they will receive a certain dignity and respect. When the seniormost of those wearing that uniform write letters of the sort that the defence minister just received, that hope receives a small jolt.

And now, that letter of response from Lt Gen SK Bahri to the above editorial:

Dear Sir,

I am rather pained at the insensitivity of your editorial. Distilling our grouses against the continuous decline in our status to “obsessing over points of order and precedence” is unfair and glossing over reality. It seems you are oblivious to the manner of functioning of the armed forces with the civil services. If we were to be only responsible for the external defence of the country we would be confined to our cantonments and be least concerned with how the civil servants keep upgrading themselves.

The reality is that we have to function alongwith them on a day to day basis. Be it maintenance of law and order, counter terrorism operations and aid during disasters. I will give you three instances:

a) In 1969, our regiment was deployed in Ahmedabad during the communal riots. A Superintendent Police (SP) was attached to us as a liason officer. He was wearing a major’s badges of rank. My CO who was a Lt Col had 20 yrs service while I as a major, his No 2,had over 16 years. The SP was very respectful to us both. However, a week or so later he came wearing Lt Col’s badges. We congratulated him and asked him over for a drink in the evening. He however shied away saying that it was hardly worth a celeberation as orders had come that all officers with more than 10 yrs service can wear a Lt Col’s badges, without any effect on his salary. But he continued giving due deference to those senior in service to him

b) In 1974, I was posted back to Ahmedabad as a Lt Col, in the Division HQ. We were called again to tackle law and order during the Nav Nirman agitation led by Mr Jaiprakash Narayan. We had a Brigadier attached to the Police Commissioner.. The latter, though he wore the badges of a Brig was drawing less pay than a Colonel. Let that pass. But Deputy Commissioners (DC) wearing the badges of Lt Col were attached to each sector, looked after by a CO of an infantry battalion. Once there was a problem in one sector and the DC promptly informed the CO about it. The CO told the DC to hold the situation with his police till he arrived with his troops. When the CO reached the spot he found that the DC had not moved from his temporay office and taken no action. CO lost his temper and ticked him of rather strongly. That evening at the Sector Commanders conference the DC raised the issue that the CO had been rude to him, even though they were of the same rank! The Brigadier, who used to preside over these meetings clarifed to him that though they may be wearing the same rank, the CO was senior and had the right to tick him off for dereliction of duty. Imagine the situation at present in Ahmedabad. The Commissioner Police wears a Lt Gens badges, a rank not worn by an army officer in the whole of Gujarat. In 1974 IG Police Gujarat wore the same badges as my Division Commander ie., a Maj Gen’s. Then the IGP used to come to our HQ. Now not even the DC comes to the office, leave alone the Gujarat DGP!

c) In Aug 1972, HQ Southern Command was busy pulling out of Pak territory occupied by it during the 1971 war. We were occupying the PWD Rest House in Barmer, Rajasthan where we had set up a camp Command HQ. We suddenly got a notice from the local Deputy Commissioner that we should vacate the Rest House immediately. The AQMG of the Command HQ, a Lt Col, was sent to tell the DC that we hoped to vacate it in another fortnight. The DC agreed, but pointedly asked him that why couldnt the Army send a more senior officer to discuss the matter with him. Imagine the DC had 9 yrs service while the the Lt Col had 21 yrs to his credit. Problem was that the Rajasthan Govt had unilaterally issued a notification that a DC will henceforth be senior to a Brig. During the war not only the DC but the Chief Secy used to wait to meet the staff at the Command HQ in Barmer . As soon as the war was over they started to lord over us as though they had won the war for the nation.

The media, politicians and civil servants must realise that when they mess up things, only the armed forces come to their help. In other countries the Services are not bothered by the Govt to pull their chestnuts out of the fire and so seniority and precedence do not matter. In India, during the time of the British, the Services (specially the Army) were integrated in the total Govt heirarchy due to close functioning between the civil and armed forces. The Police was considered a subordinate service of the Army as the latter used to send its physically unfit officers to it. Irony is that even though half the Army is totally commited in aid of civil authority, it has to fight to maintain its equivalance, superiority be damned. Till date the SP in the UK wears the badges of rank of a Capt, same as in India till the 1950s. But now Capt to Lt Col badges are only for promotees from Inspectors. The IPS officers wear them only fleetingly.

The country is heaping humiliations on the Services as a reward for their loyalty and efficiency. Beware, the last straw on the camel’s back may soon come. If God forbid something happens, remember you were warned.

Lt Gen SK Bahri
New Delhi

Editorial ©Copyright The Indian Express Group

60 thoughts on “Lt Gen responds to Express editorial”

  1. Shiv:

    Can Gen Bahri also talk about the rank inflation in the services? How many commands were there during the 71 war and how many are there now? Which other army in the world has Lt Colonels as company commanders and not battalion commanders?

    Let him not fool others by quoting selective incidents from the past. The C-in-C in the British era used to stay what is now the teen murti house. Should the Chairman COSC get that house now?

    Times change, things change, status changes. How far will we go? When soldiers used to be rulers? Dethrone the PM and rule the country. A ridiculous set of arguments, if one can call them that.

    It is rather unfortunate that the services have been treated like a holy cow for long and they have got used to this idea of being superior to bloody civilians.It’s hight time more mainstream media guys frisked the services on their contention.

    Gen Bahri’s rant only proves what that “excellent” edit in Express said — Senior soldiers obsessing over points of order and the order of precedence.

    Indian Express and Shekhar Gupta need to be complimented for running that edit and putting things in perspective. A blindly supportive media was causing a huge damage to the services.

  2. Gen Bahri’s end lines sound like a threat. What is he warning us all about…A military coup just because they were denied as much pay as their IAS counterparts?

    If this what it means to carry a gun (speaking metaphorically of course)which, incidentally has been provided for by the nation state, then is this how people like General Bahri will react every time their demand is not met. A scary thought and all we have to do is look at Pakistan to realise what happened post 1953 when the Pakistan army carried out a threat quite similar to what Gen Bahri hold out to us now.

  3. of course you will say that.
    it was in fact a most idiotic and ill-informed editorial.

    there has been a consistent effort to reduce the forces' prestige in GoI hierarchy started by the nehru regime which feared a military coup as was the norm in 3rd world countries.

    the IAS babus have continued that effort with gutso and relish way beyond what was envisaged even by nehru, who was well known for his opposition to the forces.

    fact is, after the 6th PC recommendations (oh, and BTW it didn't contain a single service man, in spite of the fact that they constitute a large chunk of GoI employees) are accepted,
    IA/IN/IAF officers of similar ranks (with same amount of service) will receive much less pay.
    this, when these people are subjected to some of the harshest work environments in the country.

    what the heck, you think an army officer fighting a gun-battle with terrorists in J&K is doing LESS valuable service for the nation than his counterpart pushing files in an AC office in nai dilli ???

    if the nation is not prepared to give its defenders' their due, it has no right to expect deeds beyond normal human abilities from them.
    (which is after all what is asked of a soldier, being prepared to put your life on the line isn't your average 10-5 job)


  4. Lets not get into the arguments of academic magnitude and loose the issue!

  5. Media is evidently not aware of the functioning of armed forces and its work culture (and they will never understand it).

    A very delicate issues is being reported in a very wrong and immature manner.

    The word “seniority” means a million bucks in ranks and cannot be played around.

  6. My humble request to all the intellectuals of this forum is to search the answer to the question I have raised in last post9in case you do not want to answer it
    public ally).I am sure you will then agree with point of view of Gen Bahri.

  7. the reasons for the antipathy in the armed forces are not in the least unfounded. but for the three chiefs to base a request solely on a slightly forced and indefinitely perpetuated comparison with the IAS/IPS is just silly. i agree that the express has gotten misty eyed with the whole “armed forces have honour and dignity” thing, but i think the larger point holds. their demands should be independent of the damn civil services. – anjan

  8. @ the american patriot at the start of this section:

    do you know that in other armies there exists another rank b/w the col. and the maj gen ranks known as “brigadier generals” ??

    which means a larger proportion of higher ranking officers than IA and its sister services.
    how does that affect the pay structure ?? go figure !

    see for example:

    “‘‘The extant parity of Lt-Col rank officers has been lowered by retaining them in Pay Band-3 (Rs 15,600-39,100), while raising similarly placed civilians and paramilitary officers to PB-4 (Rs 37,400-67,000),’’ said an officer.”

    ‘‘The salary of DGPs has been fixed higher than Lt-Generals to further increase disparity. Till the Fourth Pay Commission, all DGPs were a rung lower than Lt-Generals. The Fifth brought the two on par,’’ said a senior officer. “

  9. as I said in my earlier post, putting the forces in their place is an ongoing process carried out by many generations of GoI babus.

    it is a well known fact that IAS babus think they are the jewels of GoI and NO govt employee should be paid more than them.

    let me give an example:
    In 70’s/80’s the iraqi air force wanted IAF instructors to teach their fighter pilots for some months(less than a year). now, this is standard practice among friendly countries.
    however, they were going to pay those IAF instructors at a rate which exceeded both the IAF pay but also the IAS pay !!

    well, good isn’t it ?? let the lucky fellows earn a bit more even if it is for a few months.

    Well, NO !!
    the IAS babus put their foot down !!
    how can a lowly IAF officer be paid more than them, the crown princes of India ??
    result ??


  10. I sincerely believe the forces need to take over for the good of the nation. Rule the country for a few years, clean out the political and civil administration mess and give us a new constitution. Kind of do what Charles de Gaulle did for France. In my opinion, this will be the fastest way to resolve a clutch of issues facing the nation.

  11. all that will happen is that the armed forces will become the new IAS. you exchange one set of loathsome, good for nothing babus with another set. actually aroors post got me thinking about his mentality, and that of the media which actually thinks that editorial is good. and the other cheerleading idiots who think that lt gens frustration is a “threat”. these chaps have zero idea of the hardships the defence forces bear. my goodness, in the US, the public and media are so supportive of their troops, their people, in our case, the media goes out of its way to run indians down. take a look at aroors posts about drdo also, same attitude. amazing, these media guys think they are above other indians, actually superior to them.

  12. @anon of 10:16

    buddy, do you want IA to become like the paki army ??
    ‘cuz that’s exactly what your recommendations will achieve.

    what makes you think army-wallas will make good administrators ??
    they are not trained to do so and SHOULD not do so. comparing with de gaulle is not justified, de gaulle learnt the tricks of politics and leadership by coming up thru’ the grassroots movement in a very special situation. no Indian forces chief is going to get that type of experience anytime soon !
    anyway, a professional army like IA takes its discipline very very seriously. heck, the retd. officers are pained even by the public demonstrations as it undermines the dignity of the forces, even though they sympathise with the cause !!
    IA doesn’t breed dictators now and I hope it stays that way !


    @ anon of 10:54
    aroor’s credibility has been going downhill steadily for sometime now. I can’t remember the last time he posted something that was his own work !
    if somebody starts posting prasun sengupta’s reports, which in turn are from somebody else (that man has absolutely no conscience. He lifted bharat-rakshak webmaster rupak’s mig-27 upg article word for word for force mag w/o as much as a thank you !!) you know his days as a def journo are going to be numbered.
    time to do the page 3 perhaps, shiv ?
    and what happened to your LCH article?? it’s been what, 3 months ??

  13. fighterclass: you talk like livefist has a citizen’s charter, or terms of reference, or a guarantee of some sort. it’s a personal blog that i began about two years ago as a place to write whenever i could since i was moving to television. so if you’re unhappy with the “downhill” motion, thanks for your expectations in the first place. i had no idea they began that high! that’s the best possible compliment! and i posted almost a year ago about how if anyone was interested in writing for the blog, they could, since i didn’t get much time to update it with content of my own — i still don’t as you can see 🙂 either way, glad to know you’re tuned in so closely. that’s the whole point, somewhere, i suppose.

  14. oh and about prasun’s articles. i don’t vouch for them personally simply because i post them on livefist. i put them up here because i believe they serve a purpose, such as it is, to create further debate. his is a viewpoint, and i’m afraid, unlike a lot of forums, i don’t believe in silencing opinions on defence on this blog. you might have noticed that one of prasun’s first posts engendered a very lengthy — and mostly constructive — comments section about the arjun MBT, which had almost nothing to do with the original post! ditto for some of his other posts. so if some folks think his work is pig-swill, so be it. a lot of people do hold that view. at any rate, what’s wrong with a good wrestle once the post hits the blog, huh? 🙂

  15. arre boss, why do you think I don’t follow your TV reporting as well ?

    I should have clarified, the downhill comment is not specific to the blog.
    pardon my blunt speak, couple of years back you did some atrocious reports. your stuff started improving around a year, subtract a month or two back.
    denied of any journos who can tell apart a mig21 from a mig29(Raj chengappa,huma siddiqui or TS subramanium notwithstanding), any Indian def enthusiast has to make do with whoever is available.
    just that, I thought you may shape up to be a good one, unlike the rajat pandit types.
    if that is too much expectation, my apologies !

  16. regarding dear prasun’s articles:

    well, if you are ready to post anything in order to foster debates, why not post maoist pamphlets that say India spends 20% of GDP on defence ?? 😉
    would get you even better responses !

    if you are ready to put your own credibility on the line for that, well that’s your decision ! don’t say I didn’t warn you !

    after all, posting prasun’s articles on livefist gives him a certain credibility and respectability that he doesn’t deserve. not because what he did in the past but because his articles continue to be ctrl C, ctrl V trash.

  17. buddy, do you want IA to become like the paki army ??

    Paki army is that way because it is made of Paki-men. The Indian army can not become like the Paki army until it starts enlisting Pakis.

    what makes you think army-wallas will make good administrators ??

    The army-wallahs don’t have to administer. They have to replace the politicians and stay on until the new republic is established.

  18. sure, and the “new” republic will be run by ??
    the “old” politicians, I guess ??

    Yes, in part. The main benefit is in compressing 30 or more years of democratic transformation into a shorter period of time.

  19. Everybody seems to have got into unnecessary arguments over pay. If army people talk of take over then they are free to act. But can they? Indian never walk the talk. That’s our basic flaw. As regards to IAS dominating over army, well it’s true. But can you do something about it? Then why talk? Learn from babus – less talk and more act. Piece of advice for army guys, when you get your chance to hog the limelight make your presence felt and extract your pound of flesh. Promote everyone. Has anyone said no to it. By the way you make your own rules and you only pay the penalties for not making them user friendly. Who is stopping you from promoting everyone? Govt? Ask for more vacancies. That’s what babus do.

  20. Offensive editorial and even more offensive response (esp the last para). If the General is threatening a coup, let him say it frankly say that so.

    It is time armed forces stop being loyal only to their uniform (or their branch of service) and start being loyal to the constitution. Constitution is the only contract between a citizen and the state.

    And, you know what, life sucks. Grass is always greener on the other side.

  21. fighterclass: you’re just being a thickhead by bringing in impossibly exaggerated examples (maoist pamphlets) of what’s appropriate for this blog. there are folks, like you, who are virulently opposed to prasun. so you’re invited to please discredit him constructively here. you’re very welcome to do that, you know. so instead of chickening out, taking the easy road and getting personal, do some good work and break down his writing if you really have to, and if it’s really putrid cut and paste stuff. do it without your juvenile brashness, and everyone learns more. and i’m sure someone with the kind of “knowledge” (!) that you seem to exude, could spare a joule or two for this blog you can’t stick!

    Probably people in the Armed Forces have NOT realized that we are the residents of an UNGRATEFUL NATION where everyone is SELF SERVING ! In order to understand the current state of affairs let us get some facts right !
    Our history is replete with the fact that at every stage AN INDIAN HAS SOLD INDIA FOR HIS PERSONAL GAINS and we INDIANS have lived eternally as SLAVES !
    Having lived eternally under KINGS and then UNDER FOREIGN RULERS, be it ALEXANDER, CHANGEZ KHAN, MUGALS, PORTUGESE OR THE BRITISHERS, we Indians have sold our souls (and we call ourselves spiritually enlightened ??? Even the so called Babas are fooling the masses) as a result of which we want to usurp power in what ever way we can, be it becoming the 'chamchas' of the rich or powerful or by misusing whatever power is given to us !!! Yeh humari Asliyat hai ! The British ruled us and they used the Policy of “Divide and Rule”, since they were foreigners and had to subjugate the residents and Natives of this vast land somehow or the others !!! They created the INDIAN CIVIL SERVICES the fore runners of the INDIAN ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE with a view to get to the pulse of the locals by USING the foolish Selfish Serving Indians and imagine INDIANS took pride in becoming ICS Officers ??? Can you imagine ??? And once they left the legacy of the ICS was inherited by the IAS !!! They may have inherited the ethos from the British, but probably what they forgot was the fact the people they were now dealing with WERE THEIR OWN COUNTRYMEN AND AS SUCH INDIA HAD BECOME A FREE DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY AND THUS THE CONCEPT OF GOVERNANCE HAD CHANGED TO “SWARAJ” which meant that the Power was in the hands of the PEOPLE, the Masses and not the NETAS or the BABUS – The concept of RULE had to be replaced by the Concept of SERVE !!! The Netas and Babus ARE THE SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE AND AS SUCH ARE ANSWERABLE TO THEM AND NOT THEIR RULERS !!! And imagine In a Demcratic Country like INDIA the Chief Justice has the cheek to say that HE IS NOT A PUBLIC SERVANT BUT A CONSTITUTIONAL APPOINTMENT ????? How incredible !!!! IT CAN HAPPEN ONLY IN INDIA !!! AND YOU KNOW WHY ? ITS IS BECAUSE THE MASSES HAVE BEEN DELIBERATELY KEPT ILLITRATE AND HUNGRY SO THAT THEY CAN BE USED AS VOTE BANKS FOR SELF SERVICE AS AND WHEN REQUIRED !!! so far as the IAS lobby is concerned, it has learnt the art of pleasing the Netas and deriving Power out of them – for they couldn’t careless – so what If the Americans or the Chinese take over INDIA tomorrow (believe me the writing is on the wall – if we don’t wake up to ground realities and pull up our socks – at best its another 20 years and we will be under the Americans or the Chinese – either taken over Economically by the Americans or split, broken piecemeal by the Chinese and taken over – see the way the Chinese have engulfed us right from their presence in Sindh (Pakistan) in the West to Aksai Chin, Korakaram Highway, Tibet, Mao Government in NEPAL, Mao Rebels running a Parallel Government in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa down till Andhra Pradesh (all these provinces grossly neglected by them by misrule and efficient Governance and they call themselves Administrators par excellence?), across Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, in Mayanmar right down to its base in Coco Islands ??? And the Military Power they have built up over the years !) But how does it matter to the BABUs they will still remain IAS (Indo American Services) or ICS (Indo Chinese Services) ! And see the beauty of it all – when they by they inefficiency create a situation when things go out of hand and locals revolt, these BABUs and their cousins in the POLICE Services just raise their hands and when everything is lost and Burning – they run to the same ARMY whose Officers are not as elite as them, who don’t go through Selection Boards at the cutting edge ranks of Capt, Maj and Lt Cols – It is these officers who with their professional competence and efficiency and clock like planning and precision in execution bails them out time and again and as SOLDIERS DO – JUST QUITELY FADE AWAY ! But than does this give the NETAS and the BABUS the right to take them for granted ??? Remember it is a myth that a COUP is impossible in INDIA – Remember for ANY ARMY IN THIS WORLD IT IS THE EASIEST THING TO DO – BEFORE ANYONE REALIZES THE COUP WILL BE EXECUTED AS HAS BEEN SHOWN IN HISTORY TIME AND AGAIN ALLOVER THE WORLD !!! THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BEING – IN INDIA NEITHER ARE THE GENERALS COMPETENT ENOUGH TO DO IT AND EVEN IF THEY CAN, THEY WILL NOT DO IT FOR THE SIMPLE REASON – THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES CAN EITHER RULE THE NATION OR THEY CAN DEFEND THE NATION AND CERTAINLY WITH THE LEVEL IF INTEGRITY AND MORALITY THAT WE INDIANS HAVE – ITS NOT WORTH IT – MOREOVER SOLDIERS IN INDIAN ARMY DO NOT HARBOUR ANY SUCH ASPIRATIONS ! BUT THEN IF THE INDIAN SOLDIER IS BEING GOOD AND PATRIOTIC, IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT HE IS WEAK ! BEWARE — DON’T MESS WITH INDIA AND DON’T MESS WITH THE ARMED FORCES !!! IF SOMEONE THINKS THAT GEN PRAVEZ MUSARRAF RESIGNED AS THE PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN BECAUSE THE CIVILIAN COALATION PRESSURISED HIM — FORGET IT !!! HIS LAST SPEECH AND GESTURES SAID IT ALL !!! HE WAS A SOLDIER FIRST AND THE PROSPERITY OF HIS OWN COUNTRYMEN WAS HIS TOP PRIORITY — HE RESIGNED BECAUSE HE COULD SEE EITHER INNOCENT BLOOD SPILLING, IF HE CALLED THE ARMY AND FURTHER HE DID NOT WANT TO INVOLVE THE ARMY IN THE DAY TO DAY RUNNING OF THE NATION BECAUSE OF ITS COMMITMENTS IN FIGHTING INTERNAL CONFLICT IN NWFP AND OTHER PROVINCES OF THE NATION !!! THIS IS THE REASON WHY THE INDIAN ARMY WILL ALSO NEVER STEP IN TO RULE THE NATION !!! BUT THE FACT STILL REMAINS – WHETHER ANYONE LIKES IT OR NOT – INDIA AS IT STANDS WITH ITS BOUNDARIES TODAY – IS BECAUSE OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE NATION AND FOR NO ONE ELSE !!! THE INDIAN SOLDIER IS THE ONLY INSTITUTION THAT STILL PLACES NATION ABOVE SELF !
    The Officer fraternity of the Armed Forces is feeling cheated, because at some stage of their lives when they are being trained to become officers at the Military Academies, they are brain washed to live by the Chetwodian Motto, "THE SAFETY, HONOUR AND WELFARE OF MY COUNTRY COMES FIRST; THE HONOUR, WELFARE AND SAFETY OF THE MEN I COMMAND COMES NEXT; MY OWN EASE, COMFORT AND SAFETY COMES LAST, ALWAYS AND EVERY TIME !" And it is on this creed that an Army Officer is trained, groomed and brought up ! But then as he graduates in life and goes to DSSC and a posting to Delhi and gets in touch with the TRAITORS OF THE NATION – THE BABUS AND THEIR POLITICAL MASTERS, do they realize that THE ARMYMEN ARE BEING USED AND TAKEN FOR A RIDE BY THIS SELF SERVING SELFISH CLASS OF TRAITORS WHO HAPPEN TO BE AT THE HELM OF AFFAIRS – THE BABUs BEING CLERKS TO THE NETAS DRAW THEIR POWER FROM THEM AND IMAGINE THE PLIGHT OF THIS NATION – CLERKS CALL THE SHOTS !!! CAN YOU IMAGINE !
    Now when the said Army officers come in regular contact with the Babus and the Netas, they understand the game plan and imbibe the same characteristics from them – After all Khoon tuo Hum Sab Ka ek hi hai and that is HOW the ARMY is sold BY THE GENERALS FOR THEIR SELFISH BENEFITS ! But then they too have got it now – Lt Gens status viz-a-viz the DGs of PMFs has been belittled !!! Imagine a CORPS COMMANDER Being given an order of precedence below the DG of a PMF who does NOT even lead his force in any action – he is only an Administrative Head ???? He does not even evolve the Operational Policies or Plans of the force ??? What a paradox !!! What emerges clearly from the Recommendations and Acceptance of the SIXTH PAY COMMISSION is that THERE IS A CLEARCUT CASE OF A TRAITOR AT WORK TO WEAKEN AND SABOTAGE THE ONLY STRONG INSTITUTION HOLDING THIS COUNTRY TOGETHER AND THAT IS THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES !!! FOR GURU GOBIND SINGH JI ONCE SAID, “A NATION/SOCIETY THAT CANNOT HONOUR ITS SOLDIERS PERISHES !” And that is exactly what is going to happen, if course corrections are not made immediately – mid rug officers ie Majs and Lt Cols who form the CUTTING EDGE of the Armed Forces WILL look for greener pastures and quit or they will get disgruntled and become liabilities on the organization and ONLY MONKEYS WILL COME TO THE ARMY ! A deliberate plot to weaken and destroy the fiber of the NATIONAL ARMY can only be the work of a TRAITOR and no one else. THE GOVERNMENT ie THE NETAS MUST REALIZE THAT FOR THE NATION THEY HAVE TO STEP APART FROM THE BABUs AND THINK !!! INDIA ALSO NEEDS TO THINK – IN THE TIMES TO COME AND WITH THE ADVANCEMENT IN ALL FIELDS – DO WE NEED THE INDIAN ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES AT ALL AT THE FIRST PLACE ????? CAN WE NOT REPLACE THEM WITH TECHNOCRATS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE MINISTRIES ?????
    Imagine the plight of our Poor BHARATMATA, the unscrupulous Netas and Babus who are supposed to SERVE HER get involved in all sorts of nefarious activities to sustain themselves AND TRY TO RULE HER ! An in-depth study of all the Insurgencies, Civil Disobedience Movements, Separatist and Extremist Activities leads you to one simple analytical outcome and that is Indian masses have been neglected, ill treated, denied their basic rights and dignity of living a peaceful fulfilling life in terms of denying them proper education, rampant corruption, a defunct Public Distribution System, a defunct and inefficient Police org which does not even know how to behave with its native citizens and cannot ensure fair and intelligent investigations and enforce law properly – it is heavily loaded in favour of the rich, famous and powerful, a defunct judiciary with no one to listen to, no jobs, no means to earn a respectful livelihood !!! Imagine our’s is a nation where those who are fortunate to get educated look at the poor masses and comment that THE POPULATION OF INDIA IS AN ASSET !!! WHY ?? BECAUSE THE POOR, WEAK AND UNEDUCATED CAN BE EXPLOITED TO WORK AT LOWER WAGES !!! This is what we are !!! So what does a poor man who has just finished his education, but cannot get a proper job do ??? Obviously, the easiest way out – take gun in his hand and become a hero and have an access to easy money !!! And then what next – when he starts a separatist or insurgent movement and the situation goes out of hand the Netas, Civil Administration and Police raise their hands and ARMY is called in to sort out the poor chap !!!! What INDIA needs to do is to evolve a POLICY that wherever such a situation occurs – the entire civil machinery should be suspended, their pay stopped and they should all be placed under the ARMY – so that they too can be sorted out !!! In fact they can be sorted out first !!! ARMY needs to assume the role of the VIGILANTE in this nation !!!! The sooner the better !!!
    There are time when on interacting with the civilians in peace stations when the Armymen try to motivate the locals in being self disciplined and being Patriotic towards the nation the general answer that one used to get is “Yeh Fauj mein chalta hoga – yeh Civil mein nahie chalta” ! One was forced to think AFTER ALL WHAT IS FAUL AND WHAT IS CIVIL ????? The answer that one could conclude was that CIVIL is a word that is an offshoot of CIVILIZED and to be CIVILIZED one has to be Self Disciplined and Cultured with high standards of Morality and Integrity ! When we look at our society our Netas and Babus today the thought that haunts is ARE WE CIVILIZED ??? IF WE ARE NOT CIVILIZED THEN DO WE DESERVE DEMOCRACY AND HAVE WE BEEN PUT THROUGH THE PROCESS OF DEMOCRTIZATION ????? SO AT THEW FIRST PLACE WHERE IS THE QUESTION OF “SUPREMACY OF THE CIVIL OVER THE ARMED FORCES” ? The way our Parliamentarians behave in the Parliament does it show any signs of being civilized ??? The way our Netas cause destruction to National Property during Bandhs – Are we civilized ????? The High headed way in which our BABUs Behave – Are we civilized ????? If this is concept of Civil in INDIA then to be true the ARMED FORCES ARE THE ONLY CIVILIZED INSTITUTION IN THIS NATION – REST IS A UNRULY JUNGLE WHERE ONLY THE FITTEST CAN SURVIVE AND THUS EVERYONE WITH POWER OR EVEN A BIT OF BRAINS IS OUT TO FOOL THE OTHERS !!!
    “INDIA SHINING” is a slogan being followed by all and sundry !!! “INDIA A SUPER POWER IN THE MAKING” is being heavily touted ! We need to introspect – Are we Morally Sound ??? Do we have Integrity ??? Do we have Character and do we follow scrupulous Work Ethics ??? Are our family bases strong ??? Is our infrastructure strong ??? Are we Economically Strong ??? Are we self sufficient in all fields ??? Is our Education base strong ??? Are we strong Militarily ie to say do we have the R&D and indigenous Defence Production and sustainability capability ??? Are our alliances with other nations strong ??? And above all Are we United as a Nation ????? Pragmatic answers to my aforementioned questions will show where we truly stand.

  23. sure aroor, I wonder who is going personal or juvenile here.

    I haven’t tried to take apart prasun’s reports because I couldn’t decide where to begin, the stuff he writes !!

    you don’t have to respond to each and every BS that floats on the net, that way you will end up spending half your life on pakistani forums !!
    I just wanted to make you aware of prasun’s reputation as a plagarist and an unreliable reporter.
    That’s it, if you think his articles are still kosher on livefist, it’s your call.
    I will comment on his articles as I see fit.

    and what with the “chickening out” bit, eh ??
    when exactly were we discussing some particular article ?? don’t create strawmen to satisfy your ego.
    and if you think maoist pamphlets are impossibly exaggerated, I must say I think prasun’s writings are incredibly foul smelling BS.
    It’s all a matter of opinion isn’t it??

  24. Shiv:
    I am surprised at your query regarding about the accretion in ranks and regional commands since 1947. The Army was very happy with its structure but the other services went to town upgrading their appointments, as explained by me in my response to the IE edit. The Army had suggested that it would be happy with its rank structure if their pays were increased. It was the IAS who forced us to introduce increase higher ranks retain some parity, against our better sense. As regards the Commands – there were three Commands till late 50s for a 1.5 lakh Army. Now it closer to 12 Lakhs with enemies alround which are not the creation of IA so 7 Commands are not excessive. What about the internal security problems which are an added responsibility. Bahri

  25. I see that my response to another affront couched in the IE edit has raised hackles.My implied threat seems to make people think only about a takeover like the Pak Army’s. I have been long enough in the IA to reiterate that it will not follow the Pak route. But it could, while taking home fat pay cheques, function with the same or better “efficiency” as the IAS/IPS and their ilk. That would be a bigger disaster for the Country than a military takeover. SK Bahri

  26. I’m rather surprised at the people who have reacted as if the General is threatening a coup!

    But then that is a typical Indian civilian view- take out the armed forces for the Republic Day Parade, watch Kargil on NDTV and pass the dal yaar, Kashmir is not the body bags which come early in the morning at Palam but telegenic Omar Abdullah and then pack these guys off to their barracks or they might get ideas—like a coup!

    As someone wrote: you pay peanuts and you get monkeys.

    How do you expect men to lay down their lives on these pay scales? To clean up the mess after our esteemed politicians and our 2 minute maggie noodle framework -our babus- who were once called the steel framework by Nehru. What a joke! But thats another tragic story.

    With what has so been so grudgingly dished out, you will get men desperate to have a job but not men dedicated to the job.

    Come on you sanctimonious civilians! You who move from one job to the next for a few thousands. You “go slow” or walk off with entire teams if you feel you are not getting your “due”.

    Imagine if our faujis did that….A-Ha! Do I smell fear?

    What you guys need is a week in Siachin or the bloody vales of Kashmir- a mess created by treacherous self serving politicians- where you don’t know if the next bullet carries your name.

    Do I hear ” Mummmmmy”?!

  27. SK Bahri,

    the only hackles you raised were aroors and some of his fellow travellers. the rest of us in india still appreciate the services & while we dont worship you all, we do respect you far more than we respect the likes of aroor. i think that speaks for itself, so you need not have any worries on that score. sadly, by their immature behaviour, the indian media are digging their own grave. their recent behaviour during the arushi case was another case in point. more and more people see the media as contempt worthy as politicos and babus, which should alarm the likes of aroor, but they are too busy in their short term fame to matter. why in the recent guj elections, i believe several national tv anchors had to run for it, once their bete noire won, and his supporters decided to take matters into their hands and give a public "feedback" about the media and their antics.

  28. fauji chick:

    "the bloody vales of Kashmir- a mess created by treacherous self serving politicians"

    lets quit bashing the politicians for once and call it what is. a mess created by feeding a bunch of islamist, ungrateful kashmiris our hard earned money and listening to their rabid pro-pakistan slogans.

    well, i think india has paid enough for the land & we do own the rights to it, lock stock and tender.

    the kashmiri muslims of srinagar and the valley, those proud patriots who love to burn indian flags and wave the pakistani one, are welcome to emigrate to that paradise upon earth, pakistan.

    i am sure they will be welcomed with open arms!! win win situation.

    good riddance, i say.

  29. Gen Bahri: I agreed with the principle point of the editorial in that the comparison between the services was spurious. The edit said that the fact that the armed forces required better pay, benefits and status held by its own merit, and needed no comparison — and a comparison with the civil services simply degraded its case. If you think I think there is dishonour in the armed forces demands, or the accretion of ranks as you’ve pointed out, you’re mistaken, Sir.

  30. Anonymous:
    Here are my views on Kashmir sent recently to a TV Channel:

    Seeing Geelani last night on Big Fight I was left wondering in which country would he have been allowed to speak thus.
    In Pakistan?
    In Saudi Arabia? Two countries from who Mr. Geelani draws support.
    Its only here we have people actually professing treason on National TV.

    Why don’t we call their bluff?
    Let them go. As Vir Sanghvi said today in the HT. What have they given us: Damn all!

    How long will we lose our sons and fathers defending people who have no respect for the salt they eat.

    Lets see where they will sell their apples, shawls and carpets?

    How will they live without the Indian tax payers money that is literally thrown at them by the Government of India.

    India will survive. India will grow.

    Let the Kashmiri go to Pakistan and see for himself how they treat Baluchis, Bangladeshis, Sindhis and Mohajirs.

    I say good riddance…but this time we are not giving our land.

  31. More responses to the Express editorial (Courtesy Jagan of BR):

    Dear Editor,

    All the respect I had for your newspaper, with “Journalism of Courage”prominently featured at your masthead, vanished when I read the puerile Editorial titled “It’s the Uniform” in your edition dated September 03 2008. The shock was greater when it followed the front page headline story on the same subject you broke only the day before. Did the bureaucrats get the editor in question in the interim or did he not consult the news editor? I cannot think of any other plausible reason as I am aware that your editors are usually well read and understand nuances of important news.

    Are you really serious when you say that the military’s complaint regarding being deliberately downgraded is ‘spurious’? It is obvious that the worthy editor has no idea about the military and how important status is for them. Neither it seems he is aware of what the military’s stand has been allthese months. Throughout thesordid episode generated by the injudicious recommendations of the paycommission over the last six months, the military has not asked forenhancementof pay, only parity at levels that have existed hitherto. Therefore,for theeditor to pass scurrilous comments on the officers of the defenceforces andparticularly against the service chiefs, is not only downright unfairbut is anattack on their sacred uniform.

    When the next war comes by, though no soldier wants one, the same editor will no doubtbe singing paeans for the military, but perhaps it is fashionable to do downthe military when peace prevails, not because of IAS and IPS worthies, whom heseems to worship, but because of the same military which he has attacked withhis pen or is it the cursor on his lap top today?

    Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi
    Panchkula-134109 (Haryana)

  32. And one more response…


    I would like to point out that there are some factual inaccuracies in the Editorial which, possibly, has led you to make the observations/insinuations about the three Services Chiefs, which, to say the least, are most unfair, derogatory, hurtful and insensitive. The Chiefs have reacted, as they have done, certainly NOT because of some 'spurious comparison with the IAS & IPS ', as the Editorial states. They have actually done so, as a most laudable response to a higher sense of duty, since, very unfortunately, as you failed to appreciate, all officers from ' MAJ to BRIG' (and the Lt Gens ), together with their equivalents from the Navy & Airforce, who constitute OVER 60 % of the total strength of Service officers, have been downgraded, both in 'Status & Pay' vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts. As per my understanding, considering the affect of this development on the 'Morale & Motivation' of such a huge component of officers of the three defence services, the Service Chiefs were fully justified to treat this as an ' Earth-Shattering' matter, requiring the three of them to come together and take the issue with the RM. Further, contrary to your views, I am afraid it is not the Armed Forces who 'come across as depressing, petty and bueacratic', but it, unfortunately, is the Politico- Bureacratic combine who have been taking the Defence Services for granted for quite long, be, unilaterally being the ' Witness, Advocate & Judge ', without fully understanding and appreciating the Defence Services 'Ethos & Sesitivities'. Also, let us not pretend that ' Uniform' today carries or represents any great 'Dignity or Respect '. If such was the case, the elite youth from among the polititions, bureacrats, businessmen and professionals would not have remained so totally away from the Defence Services. Finally, it is not as much the question of Parity' but that of 'Equity' which has, greatly and progressively, been eroded and denied to the Defence Services. It hurts and hurts deeply and the Editorial like the one under discussion acts like the salt on the wounds.

    Lt Gen G L Bakshi

  33. Shiv Aroor said…

    fighterclass: my last word — you’ve satisfied my ego more than i’d bargained for, with your obtuse tripe. let’s leave it at that!


    well I will not pile on the insults, given what you are already getting !! just this, your obnoxious comments to my remarks only show what you are !!

    but don’t let that worry you, given your vain ego, you are beyond repair.

    once a DDM, always a DDM !

  34. desi dork media.
    which thinks all migs are “flying coffins” and T-90 is a t-series blank audio cassette that runs for 90 min.

  35. @Shiv:

    Ignore him. Just read somewhere that “not every comment deserves a response”.

    I am truly saddened by the viciousness of personal attacks upon you. Not one commenter, from Gens Bahri to Oberoi, have given why post-AVSC, the status has not been downgraded.

    What is the concept of NFSG? Who propagated it from the services? What logic did the services take to the IVth CPC? How the same logic has come to haunt them in the SCPC?

    I’d still stand by the fact that the IE editorial was an *excellent* piece and the petty retorts that have followed have shown the kind of thinking that has led the Indian defence forces into the state they are. Vain, egotist, status-jockeys moving further away from professionalism every single day…

    What appears to be a victory now to many is just a mirage? The real impact will be felt later on. Sad, but true…

  36. The real impact will be felt later on. Sad, but true…
    but not in the way you think. sad.

    do answer my posts at the start of the page if you are so well informed.

  37. fighterclas if you are so full of yourself as demonstrated, why not articulate your argument instead of sounding like a braggart?? stop passing judgement in lieu of argument because it just shows you up. tell your argument. otherwise you just sound like those fools who prowl the bharat rakshak forums, which you are probably from???

  38. dear idiot anon,
    do look up and read my previous posts to “know” my argument.
    surely I don’t have to teach a know it all like you to scroll up the page ??

  39. fighterclass all that you are doing is trying to mask your purile arguments by resorting the things that media normally resort to, which is to go completely off track and act like you are the cats whiskers. i have closely read your posts above and am of the opinion now that you are no better than those who go against your half-cooked knowledge of military life or how we live in it. the simple fact of the matter is to look at everything with some context and perspective. i have spent the last 13 years in the army, but i still happen to think it degrades us to compare ourselves with filthy babus who do not give a damm about our welfare or future. the spirit of the editorial totally favours the soldier and our honour. anybody who thinks the express article goes against the spirit of the army, has misread the spirit. it totally supports us, and instead stamps on the bureaucracy. but you have obviously missed that major point since you are only interested in shouting out your foolish misinformed comments. what makes yo better than the VHP or RSS, who use half-truths to further their stupid objectives, and that too by shouting loud, not proper argument. if you think you know or claim to know so much about military life or honour or status, put on a pair of boots and join us. otherwise, enjoy your half-cooked knowledge in isolation. bye, RK

  40. look dear fella’, it is easy as anything to claim that one is an ex-soldier out here, given that there is no way to check your credentials.

    all you have done is add adjectives like “puerile”, “half-cooked”, “foolish” and some comparison with VHP/RSS for added strengthening of your argument. no counterpoint, no nothing only some baseless support for the IE edit.
    so much for “logic” from you !
    in fact what you have done falls in the class of “Reductio ad Hitlerum”.

    “Ad Hitlerum can also be combined with ad hominem or personally-attacking arguments. Reasoning such as “you are wrong because Hitler said something similar, and Hitler was evil, so you must be evil too” is doubly false, and as such is also related to the fallacy of appeal to emotion.”

    FWIW, some well known senior IA officers have taken enough offense to the IE editorial to write back in vehement disagreement.
    Clearly, at best you are out of sync with IA values and at worst you are lying about your army background.
    and I do have connections to some very senior retd. officers of the army. my arguments are not based entirely on media reports.
    but you are free to disbelieve that. I couldn’t care less.
    on the other hand, still now, not ONE commentator has countered me with “logic”, seems ad hominem is the extent of their analytical ability !
    cheers !

  41. lord, how many fake ids will aroor create?

    dear ravikant, if you are from the army, go ahead and post your service number. from your general tone – only one thing appears – fraud.

    and how did vhp and rss come into the picture? oh looky, looks like the previous anons comments about gujarat hit a sore note for aroor.

    btw, fighterclass thanks for the link. one of the BRF moderators has a good sense of humour.

    tracking errors in defence reporting..i almost wrote it as tracking aroors in defence reporting.

    and dear ravikant aka aroor, you are an absolute a$$ to think that you can pass off that POS editorial as supporting the army.

    so stop being a slimy bugger and stop spamming your own blog with fake ids. you are way too predictable.

    meanwhile several officers have spoken up against the editorial.


  42. A simple question ONCE again!
    How does LT Col(And equivalent in other two services) qualifies to be placed in PB-3? Where as all others who were drawing pay equal/less then them in PB-4?
    Rest all is ANGREJI!

    ANSWER: Sheer deep rooted conspiracy of bloody Babus who are all out to spoil this nation.

  43. It is amazing that the Army is being graded below the police and para military forces by our all knowing politicians and the IAS. I was amused when I heard an ex DGP claiming, during a discussion on a TV channel about military salaries,
    that police should be equated to the Army as it loses more constables in a year than the Army!
    Agreed, because the police officers send the poor policemen like sacrificial lambs to be killed by the Naxalites on a daily basis. I can understand the personnel on anti insurgency duty to be compensated but definitely not the IPS officers. Beacause if you go through statistics you will find that hardly any IPS officer
    has died during operations, incl BSF who spuriously claim that they are deployed on the borders like the Army and face similar dangers.I hope that due to their nexus with the politicians and bureaucrats they dont get a MSP approved for themselves. I also hope some of the police officers are prosecuted for getting their men killed due to sheer negligence.
    Trouble is that no one amongst the civil services is ever held accountable.

  44. let us be fair to our armed forces. just compare the life-styles of service officers and civil servants. the frequent transfers to difficult and hotile areas make their families suffer too!

  45. It seems that the General’s remarks have created a hornet’s nest.Some have even ridiculed the General for threatening a coup.Actually,come to think of it,If the General was referring to a coup,it is not far from the truth.

    While a coup may be impossible now,we do not know what happens in the future.The present crop of young officers have grown up seeing insults being bestowed on the forces.They share a great hatred for IAS babus who they feel have let them down.They care nothing for values like honour and pride and feel that the nation takes them for granted.

    20 years hence,these Officers would be on top and then what happens nobody can tell.I feel it’s in the interest of the nation that the armed forces are paid well.If you keep pressing people against a wall,what happens cannot be fathomed.

    Either ways the civil establishment is no understanding a simple thing that 1.1 million armed men need to be taken along and not confronted.

    Some bloggers may scoff at me,but I feel 20 yaers hence,Army would start meddling in the day to day running of the government more.

  46. After all this debate on the IE edit and the protestations that followed, here is my take:
    (a)The issue of rank parity is necessary because the government machinery has got tuned to it over the last six decades.Any upheaval will create a difficult situation where officers from the armed forces work shoulder to shoulder with the paramilitary,IAS or other non-civilian IAS cadres.To cite an example – an air base of the Navy where naval and CG officers fly together.Imagine a situation where an erstwhile buddy (junior or equal) becomes superior in status suddenly due to the huge disparity in the basic pay scale!A reversal of command relationships can spell doom in terms of Flight Safety.Similar situations may arise between Army-BSF or Army – CRPF.Can this be allowed in national interest?
    (b)Let us not delude ourselves by painting grim scenarios of a ‘military coup’ – I believe it is just NOT POSSIBLE in India.Firstly,the concentration of the Services vis-a-vis the geography of India is skewed unequally in favour of North India.The Armed Forces do not physically cover all power centres across the country.Secondly,the senior hierarchy of the Services is implicitly supportive of the democratic tradition and do not nurse the Quixotic idea like it happens commonly in the neighbouring states.Amusingly,there exists enough inter-service rivalry and disagreement generally,to prevent a confluence of minds over such disruptive notions.Thirdly,politics being the last refuge of the scoundrel remains a singularly unattractive profession that could naturally impress the disciplined(and often intelligent) mind of a typical senior officer of the Services.
    (c)Lastly,let us remember,the Civil Servives have their place in primacy because they are expected to be more mature and wise – capable of taking the right decisions in the interest of the country.Over the years it appears that they have emerged as an elite but prejudiced entity – incapable of understanding the uniformed community – firm in their belief that the Servives are to be kept down at all costs – in status,in privileges and in protocol.That needs to change.Contempt,scorn and jealosy needs to be replaced with mutual respect and regard for each other’s professions.Only if that happens we can call ourselves the true sons of mother India.

  47. heard of terrorists being escorted across the border for a fee ? exchange of alcohol , pork vs beef on hoof ? allow the terrorists to kill the civilians ? ham kya kar sakten hain approach ? there are plenty of ways to dip into the islamic jehad funds from numeruous india hating countries. ? gen bahri only warned you ? you will soon see the action of your scorn for the uniformed man.

  48. Just received this mail from Lt Gen SK Bahri — another of his letters to Express.

    Dear Sir,
    A friend recently brought to my notice a news item in Coomi Kapoor’s “Inside Track”, published a couple of weeks ago, about the Union Cabinet’s meeting held to discuss the Committee Of Secretaries’ recommendations on the 6th Pay Commission. We understand that even though the upgradation of DGs Police in the states was not a recommendation of the C of S, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav proposed that the seniormost DGP in a state be upgraded to the level of a Secretary. It mentioned that except for an objection by the Defence Minister, none of the Ministers demurred and the resolution was approved.

    Isnt it ironic that the upgradation of Principal Staff Officers in the Service HQ have been recommended to be upgraded to Secretary’s level in the last two pay commissions and to C of S but the Govt does not find merit in the proposal? But an off the cuff recommendation by Mr Ydav is readily accepted. No wonder the Armed Forces are violently agitated by the stepmoterly treatment being meted out to them.

    I remember in 1987, when a new Corps HQ in Rajasthan and the IPKF HQ for our operations in Sri Lanka were raised the Govt had not found it convenient to sanction two Lt Gens posts. Instead Army HQ had to downgrade the sanctioned appointments in two training institutions, to arrange officers to head these operational formations. While on the civil side, posts of Special Secretaries and Principal Secretaries were being created ad lib.

    To a layman it seems that the reason for the largesse being shown to the police is that Mr Yadav in particular and politicians in general, have to be on their right side! Dont we agree?

    Yours sincerely
    Lt Gen SK Bahri

  49. You guys just Chill have a drink. Stop fighting each other. We Indians have fought each other for too many centuries. The PM is an honourable person. The Chiefs have made a legitimate request. Let the PM decide. All IAS officers are not menupilating Rouges, all Armed Forces guys are not Angels.

  50. wow, we actually have folks who pretend to know what the service ethos is without wearing a uniform for a day!
    kipling knew it…way back when he wrote ‘tommy’…but we’re the last country in the world not to get it.
    oh yeah, about comparisons of the army with the ips and bsf etc, just go and spend a few hrs with each establishment, and you’ll know the diff.
    as far as i am concerned, the ‘ie’ needs to be burnt, coz all they’ve done is run thughts planted by cretinous ‘crats. fie upon shekhar gupta.

  51. Its the Honour of the Uniform

    Letter to the editor of the Indian Express
    5 October 2008

    Dear Mr Shekhar Gupta,
    While your reluctant apology was at best confusing, your tom-tomming the “soldier’s paper” surely cut a sorry figure. I wish that along the details of generous donations your employees have made in memoriam of the fallen, you might have also informed the reader of the sons and daughters of your employees who have joined the forces. Anyway, I write to you assuming that you still believe that you are a “soldier’s paper”. I must admit that I am a diehard fan of the genre of reporting that your paper stands for.
    I am sure the Chiefs understood the import of the option of refusing a cabinet decision before exercising that option including the permanent damage to the forces, unprecedented as it was. Actually, I believe they were indeed thinking of the future when they took the decision! Your analysis of the consequences of not stirring the political executive, I am afraid, was less than enthusiastic if at all.
    I also believe the Chiefs’ protest is purely for equivalence and status. Money is something most are ashamed to even suggest let alone protest since bargaining is still considered ‘un-officer like’. Status on the other hand is something for which they may probably do more than merely mildly protest. There are valid reasons for this seemingly peculiar and ‘undisciplined’ behaviour.
    I will try to explain the centrality of the idea of izzat – which the English word ‘honour’ approximates. To help me in this endeavour, you may like to imagine having been asked to lead your employees to their probable deaths. I believe the talk of ‘merely a point of order’ in ‘It’s the uniform’ must not be trivialized. And while I have no intention of sounding alarmist, I recount an old episode to try to explain the bottom line of professional soldiering.
    Towards the end of the ‘65 stalemate in the Lahore Sector, a correspondent happened to ask the Commanding Officer (CO) of 3 JAT, a unit which had just got the better of a Pakistani battalion in a bloody battle (3 JAT lost 5 officers and 90 men on the night of 21/22 Sep while the Pak battalion lost about 300 dead and rest captured including their CO), as to what made the men fight such a gruesome battle? The correspondent, eagerly, without waiting for an answer hastily added that it must have been the love of their country. Lt Col Desmond Hayde, the CO, pointing to his No 2, said, “You see Major Shekhawat? He fights because he holds nothing dearer than the respect and standing he enjoys in the eyes of his men, family, and community back home. His fear of losing that standing overcomes his fear of death. The men, of course, fight because Major Shekhawat fights.”
    The idea, at the core, is therefore rather simple. You place the leader at such a pedestal that losing that place is all that he fears. The followers follow because they see the “highly placed fellow” fighting fearlessly (seemingly, at least).
    Now, if you belittle his protests of his degradation of status (and worse – tell him that he is getting paid more than he deserves; worse still – egg him on that he has lost discipline and honour for having the temerity to even protest his degradation; worst of all – deny him any channel and means to protest), then, you are in effect directly and surely denuding the fighting capability of your armed forces. There is no dearth of lecherous (and stronger than India) countries there in this dog-eat-dog world.
    Mr Gupta, I implore you do two things.
    1. Study the Indian Military Academy’s Credo carefully.
    “The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time.
    The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next.
    Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, Always and every time.”
    Note that the honour of the men comes next to the Nation itself; within the priorities of the men, honour comes before welfare or comfort. Note also that the honour of the Gentleman Cadet being commissioned doesn’t figure anywhere in the credo. So where is the leader’s honour? The motto itself, of course! Is his honour divided between the Nation’s and that of his men? Who fights for his honour? I like to think that people like you, the Cabinet, and the people of this country fight for the military leader’s honour.
    2. Please read and asses for yourself the import of what successive pay commissions have done to that honour? May we expect some genuine research from a paper famous for it? May we expect the IE to kick-off a genuine national debate instead of allowing lowly lobbyists, in print and TV, to dangerously sensationalise the limited space?

  52. Shiv, mucho thanks for your rational and objective statements regarding me and my 'stories' that are hosted in your blog. Returning now to Lt Gen S K Bahri's point of view, he does have the moral higher ground simply because the internal civilian/internal law & order machinery seems to reside in the 19th century and is pressurised to combat 21st century crimes and criminal techniques, this consequently resulting in thr armed forces being called out to fill the void. I received yesterday a draft of a speech given 48 hours ago by Shri L K Advani (it was sent to me by his press secretary) and this is what he says in his speech: if elected into power the BJP-led coalition WILL re-introduce POTA, and MAY CONSIDER the setting up of a federal intelligence agency to combat terrorism on a national level. Now, please just set some time aside and consider the implications of his statement and how he prioritises his charter of functions. When the entire empowered intelligensia of India fully agree on what needs to be done at the organisational and operational levels to neutralise pan-India terrorism, this politician who remains optimistic of heading the executive branch of the Govt of India in future, can still make such remarks in public! Therein lies the problem: sheer lack of strategic visioning (this course is not even included in the curriculum of IAS/IFS probationers, whereas this course is compulsory for armed forces officers destined for upward-mobility as senior commanders, by the way).
    Now to turn to the issue of creation of additional senior appointments within the armed forces, one needs to bear in mind that contrary to its counterparts in other continents, the Indian Army and Air Force have since the 1990s been engaged in limited 'proxy' wars. They were combat hardened and combat-proven purely due to the nature of such low-intensity limited wars of attrition. For the Indian Navy the domain of maritime awareness has only increased manifold, especially after May 1998. At the same time, the sheer size of the armed forces has had to increase due to factors such as the creation of new tri-service and service-specific field commands (this being done to score over parties hostile to India at the operational level); creation of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) for which additional human resources are definitely required), and the establishment of the HQ Integrated Defence Staff, which also requires a functional secretariat and chain of command. These issues are generally regarded as esoteric and not harped upon, with the average citizen only thinking that with the parading every year during RDP of the families of ballistic missiles India has a credible nuclear deterrent, and conveniently forgetting that a huge tail of skilled and experienced manpower is required not only to operate such strategic weapons, but also to man their redundant command-and-control systems.

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