Category: Defence Minister (Page 1 of 3)
The day guns fall silent on the LoC would be the beginning of progress in both our Kashmir and Pakistan. The day the thought that jihad for Kashmir has to end, peace will prevail. The day the separatists of India decide to change their mind to stay with us, harmony will return to Kashmir. The day Government of J&K allows and opens up to the idea of doing free business, setting up factories and industries, Kashmiri people will get employment and flourish. Prosperity is the key to elimination of all dissatisfaction and alienation I feel.
I was watching one video of Hafiz Saeed where he was telling Donald Trump to go climb the nearest tree. Then he talked about life after death and jannat which he and his associates will get if they sacrifice their lives for Kashmir. Well, lesser said the better about such people. Till the time such like people walk the earth, the dream of peace, progress and prosperity can be laid to rest.
Well, just blaming him and his ilk will not get us to any solution. Awakening of Kashmiri people is the solution. The day they understand that destruction will lead to more destruction, things might fall into place. India’s war preparedness has made no difference in Pakistan’s attitude. Three wars and unlimited skirmishes on a daily basis including holding on to a piece of glacier where men die more due to inclement weather is no justification for peace. All of us who serve there know that many will not come back but still we go. We also know that many of us will not be recovered for years and our families will wait in hope that someday we will return from our graves frozen in eternity.
The centre has been helping J&K monetarily & militarily since decades. The reciprocation of this gesture is never seen by the rest of India. Roads, rail and other infrastructure should now be looked after by the people of the state but security forces have to be deployed to escort their own convoys. Bridges of love and tunnels of affection are nowhere to be seen.
The only thing I observe is apprehension, as to what next. This is the feeling in both, the Kashmiri’s and security forces. Every person in the forces is counting the number of days of his tenure. He doesn’t have a choice to refuse unlike many other organisations. He does his job to the best of his ability and wants to get back home at the earliest. Who would like to stay with unfriendly people? Similarly, it is for the Kashmiri’s. In case they find the forces too harsh they construe a plan directly or indirectly to cause harm. Overall this is a cat and mouse game going on. Fact remains neither the security forces are happy nor are the Kashmiri people.
If I am observed from the first ray of dawn to last at dusk, at odd hours I am mustered and questioned. If my privacy and freedom is curtailed, if my movement is restricted, naturally I will have that revolting feeling. To top it all, if someone from the village gets killed by the forces. He may be a militant or otherwise, emotions flare up. Result is stone pelting. Now, the security teams deployed come under constant surveillance. Each and every movement and routine is observed and passed on. Result may lead to an ambush or an attack on the camp.
Today’s Kashmiri generation was born under the barrel of the gun. They don’t know what free life is. They are used to restrictions of all kinds. They are afraid, scared and terrified from within. However friendly the forces may appear but the anxiousness due to the uniform and gun does not let them be their normal selves. They hear stories from their elders who naturally glorify their own kith and kin. They also hear stories of atrocities of the forces which may be exaggerated, hearsays and even lies. The child is confused and he doubts his own existence. What should be done to minimise his pain and hurt to his psyche? That is where the solution lies.
Pakistan keeps adding fuel to the fire. Open borders and inhospitable terrain facilitate movement of people. The trust deficit between the state and the centre remains. Just by giving money solutions can never be found. Just by policing and counter insurgency grids bitterness will never go. Stoning the security forces will not help their cause either. This only aggravates the anger in the security forces. Pelting is done for the same purpose to incite and solicit a hard reaction. It’s a psychological game to be understood in its totality.
I too get carried away when a security person gets martyred. The rage inside me tells me to act against all those who were involved. Like my annoyance shoots up so must be the case in Kashmiri people too. How many lives need to be lost to end this anger within? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
Splintered is a feeble word I would use for India today. We are kind of disintegrating as a nation. Fragmentation has become a new norm of our society. Even our ethos is crumbling with every passing day. The whole world is our family is way too big a statement. Today, we are split down the middle, even in our families. Then we have our social gradation which separates us, followed by our religion which makes us drift apart further. Now we also have various kinds of fringe elements adding to the chaos. Is this the India of our dreams?
The segregation starts moment a child is born. The difference is being born in a municipal hospital or a super speciality hospital. The gap is seen between the haves and the have not’s. Then comes our schooling, in that comes gradation due to Vernacular medium, English medium and International schooling. Religious schools & institutions shred us further apart. We stand divided at every step but are united to fight for destruction of this nation.
In the armed forces we too have groups called Combat groups. We have squads, sections, platoons, detachments’ and Combat teams. We have Brigades, Divisions, Corps and Commands. However, we train together and fight together. We are divided into such groups to unite our Hindustan. We carry our religion, which is the national flag on our sleeves.
A crew of a tank, a gun or a BMP is an ultimate team. Everyone is a cook, sentry, gunner, commander, operator and stick. If the driver doesn’t switch on the master switch, nothing functions. If a loader doesn’t load, the gunner can’t fire. If the commander doesn’t designate a target, the driver will not be able to position his vehicle correctly for the gunner to fire. If all of them do not come together as a well oiled team, they cannot fight the enemy. Where does religion come in here?
In battle there is only one aim, annihilation of the enemy. I don’t know if religion, caste, creed, ethnicity is becoming our biggest enemy.
In an army convoy if the leading vehicle is too fast, the vehicles following will get scattered. If it is too slow, they all will bunch up. If they do not follow SOPs & drills and adhere to speed limits, there is likely hood of convoys getting mixed up and accidents. Aim is to get every vehicle, men and material to the designated place, at the right time, in the designated order, in the best state of preparedness, for accomplishing a mission. That is what India needs. There cannot be a hindu-muslim-sikh-isai convoy. Yes, the “mandir vehicle” as it is called is also part of the convoy. Anyone so desirous of “tekoing his matha” can do so while on the move but without breaking convoy discipline.
During war water and food is limited and rationed. It is distributed equally to everyone. There is no discrimination. In battle if a man is thirsty and you offer him a sip of water and a tonne of gold, what will he go for? What will a soldier carry in battle? Is it ammunition or his religion? Religion has no place in war, it is the country that comes first always and every time. Rest doesn’t matter.
We have one organisation which is above religion and politics that is the Armed Forces. The seeds of animosity and bitterness cannot be and should not be planted in our blood. Every officer loves his cook as much as he loves his gunner. Every man counts, every trade has his role to play. The doctors don’t see your religion to treat you when you have a bullet in your chest. When blood is infused, no religion is printed on it except its group. Life and limb needs to be saved not religion.
If this much is clear then at least on the day when soldiers are being laid to rest after making their supreme sacrifice for the nation, let news channels not debate, as they show scenes of coffins and the last post being played with politicians this Hindu-muslim-sikh-isai issue. Let that soul depart in peace.
My country is supreme; rest all has no place in military ethos. I have pledged my life for the tri-colour, I shall go by land, sea or air, where ordered, to defend it from internal disorder and external aggression is the pledge I have taken and a promise made to my countrymen. If I die in the line of battle, the only place where my religion comes in is to give me a befitting farewell on my last journey. Otherwise I have no religion. Is my religion loud and clear? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
It was sad to hear that four more brave hearts fell to Pakistani shelling. “Condolences” have become such a common word now and are not enough. The whole country stands with the armed forces, we know. Solidarity is not enough. Today, condolence has become more akin to pity. Solidarity appears to be just a verbal support and assurance. Though every show of support is welcome but to mitigate the loss of a martyrs family is impossible. A person in that fraction of second when a bomb explodes next to him lives no more. That very second he is on a different journey leaving behind shaken comrades, ladies beating chests and wailing children.
In the line of duty there are already enough hazards. Inclement weather, hostile terrorists, enemy fire, illness, accidents, besides politicians getting FIRs lodged against own armed forces. This adds on to the misery and lowers the morale of a soldier. Every man in uniform lives with these risks. In that bat of an eyelid he is gone. Risk increases many fold if they get engaged with the enemy. With every step closer to the enemy it is a fifty percent chance of survival. To make his sacrifice count, what all does this man do is unimaginable by many of us.
Last 70 years we have borne the brunt of the enemy. What we get in return is condolences, pity, sympathy, empathy and all those bombastic words. The huge bhashans, the endless debates, veterans boiling their blood and the next day it’s the same routine. Tri-colours are in constant demand and so are the wooden boxes to carry the mortal remains. Firing squads, wreaths and guard of honour has become a SOP of every Military station. All these things are done internally by the armed forces and on the quiet. Who else will care?
Are we doing enough to stop this constant flow of bodies home? Why can’t a living being come back to live happily ever after? Talks don’t work out; retaliation doesn’t work, then what next. People say war is not a solution; then what are the means to sort out Pakistan. Is it diplomacy? Is it international pressure? Your guess is as good as mine. Passing resolutions in parliament and making a hue and cry on TV doesn’t work. It has to be action on all fronts. Question is when, how and by whom?
What they portray in movies is very different from reality. In movies the emotions are faked, the josh is faked, blood is fake, ammunition is fake, the smoke is fake, the explosions are controlled, blood sweat and grime on the actors face is the artistry of the makeup artists. Even the panting is faked, the firing is faked. The hospital, doctors, and nurses all are faked. Tears are faked. The storms and winds are faked. The pain of a wounded soldier is faked too. The reel life is nowhere close to the real life.
In actual war nothing can be faked. We keep hearing of fake promises on the political front every now and then as also of political battles. Terms like maidan-e-jung, chunaavi akhara, ran bhoomi are common parleys during elections, well sirs, verbal volleys and an MMG burst are totally different. You may shoot from your mouth and influence a few people but when it comes to the real bullets it takes a life and limb with it. It maims, it injures the heart and soul of not only one individual but his whole family and his armed forces fraternity very deeply.
Words like hum un par naaz karte hain, naaz marne ke baad quon karte ho bhai. They are very bahadur, we are where is the doubt. Hum Pakistan ko sabak sikha denge, which text book lesson are we talking of. Hum nakon chane chabwa denge, hope you know your biology right. Aar paar ki larai hogi. Kis ke aar aur kis ke paar, I ask? How many politicians have lost their lives taking a bullet on their chest? What has been done to stop this bloodshed by those who run this country? Enough of cannon fodder we have been. No more death is acceptable.
I will accept that we don’t need an unnecessary war. I will accept what the political decision is but I will not accept politics over the dead bodies of the martyrs’. I am ready to face enemy bullets happily for my nation provided my nation’s representatives promise me to finish this issue from its roots. If diplomacy is the solution, so be it. If the Armed forces can find the best solution for you, give your orders but kindly stop showering condolences as they appear artificial. Are the corridors of power listening? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
I just happened to see our RM take a Sukoi ride. I am sure after a hectic 24 hours on our Air Craft carrier Vikramaditya, to fly in an aircraft would have left her flabbergasted. My salutes to you Mam, it needs a lion’s jiggra (heart). What you went through in a sortie or a day at sea, these men in white and blue do it on a daily basis. You must have spent some time with the folks in Olive Green too and I am sure you would have cherished every moment. You can be rest assured that the country is in safe hands. You can bet your life on them. They won’t let India down is now stamped, signed, dated and sealed with your visit.
Be that as it may, moment I saw the SU-30 rolling out with the RM, the first thing which came to my mind is that the Air Force would have put her in the cockpit with the best pilot. In all probability it would have been the Commanding officer. My mind wandered as I was just thinking had she sat in an army vehicle then everyone would have gone looking for the best driver. Reason for detailing the best driver is that he avoids all dhachkas (bumps) while the memsaab is sitting in the gaari (vehicle). In other words the lady has to have the smoothest ride. Saab ke saath, parvah nahin.(If makes no difference when sir sits) Ask the pilot mam, what he must be thinking while you were on board. He would have ensured not a “G” extra. They are indeed the best of best.
This reminded me of my good old days when we were in a place called Lalgarh Jattan. It was so God forsaken that the nearest STD booth was in Ganganagar about 20 kms away. We had just been allotted a house and were busy setting it up. Wife complained of severe back ache one day, probably she might have got a catch, shifting the black steel trunks around. Simple fauji drill I did, took her to the MI (Medical Inspection) room, got medicines and off we went. However, the pain did not subside. The third day she just could not get up from the bed. I panicked and decided to take her to MH (Military Hospital) Ganganagar. Whole night she cried in pain and I could just do nothing about it except rubbing Iodex.
As luck would have it, due to mobilisation practice I was not able to accompany her. My company driver Rajjan Lal was detailed and Major Kandari volunteered to accompany her. I spoke to Rajjan and told him that make sure the drive is smooth. My wife was furious because I wasn’t going along. She said “your office is more important than me” etc. Rajjan gave me the most assured look, half pitying me and said memsaab aap fiqr mat karo (madam you don’t worry). I bade her good bye at about 9 am and at 11.30 Rajjan was back. I asked him what happened as I could see him totally white faced and with dried up lips. I knew something was not right and just hoped my wife was OK.
With a stammering voice Rajjan sheepishly said memsaab theek ho gaya (Madam is alright) and he has dropped her home. I exclaimed, what! How can this miracle happen? Sheepishly he said sir, I was driving very slowly till Khayali Wala (a village), suddenly the road became good and I sped. It slipped out of my mind that madam is sitting behind and I missed a speed breaker. The jonga jumped over it, she said Bhaiya main theek ho gayi, ghar chalo. (Brother I have become OK take me home)
I picked up my bike and rushed home and found she was happily in the kitchen. I asked what happened. She said the sprain (CHOOK) in my back was straightened out by the driver as they jumped over a speed breaker. She landed with a thud and heard a crackling sound and suddenly all pain subsided. I thanked my stars and thanked “Dr” Rajjan. Rajjan thereafter never missed a speed breaker till retirement.
Well, Madam, I don’t know how many of your aches and pains the Army, Navy and Air Force would have removed. However, you definitely need to look into what pains them the most and that is their IZZAT. For every Indian’s tomorrow they are giving their today. Do take a closer look at issues of all those serving and of all those who gave their yesterday too. You will then always be given the smoothest ride. Do you get my point madam? I wonder!!!!!!!!
© Noel Ellis
These days I avoid commenting on the state of political affairs. However, when people get loggerheads with national security, I can’t resist keying a few words. Today, I would like to deal with a politician who rubbed the Indian Navy on the wrong side for not granting permission for a floating jetty to be constructed in the Malabar hills of Mumbai. Well Sir, the least I can say is little knowledge is dangerous. If another 26/11 happens, the same politicians will not only run to the Navy but also provide a mile of land to establish a security hub where they refuse to give an inch today.
Be that as it may, you call Colaba area posh. Rightly so, it is the inhabitants and the culture of the citizens staying in that area that make it posh and Navy is definitely one of them. Real estate prices are not the only indicator for the poshness of a place. It is the environment, the facilities and national assets that make it so. Don’t you see smart men and women in white who add to the definition of posh?
If I have to suggest, why do we have all Mantralay’s including yours in Delhi? Let the Maharashtra Mantralaya shift to Deonar dumping ground and our Parliament to the Gazipur land fill. Two things would happen, one, the habit of opening their mouths too much by the politicians will stop due to the stench. Second, that area will become posh.
The Navy should be patrolling the Pakistan border as you say. Rightly so, you should be patrolling the Indian roads then. Why do you politicians chicken out while giving orders to sort Pak out? Navy would be more than happy to shift their Headquarters to Karachi or Gwadar as the case may be. You want to be in the arms of your darling every evening, what has the navy chap done to deserve a life buoy around his neck at the end of each day.
Once Pakistan is taken care of, thereafter, you won’t have any requirement of the Western fleet. Army too will be able to concentrate on the direction which is getting hotter by the day and so will the Air Force. Kindly minister sahib, visit those forward areas. I request you give us a few feet, where roads and other infrastructure can be built for sustaining the troops. The forces will be more than happy to find their colleagues being evacuated in time and saved. We want living legends and not dead jetties.
Let us be clear that minister ship lasts as long as the government lasts. How long will this one last, next election will tell? Once the Navy is sent off to patrol, they definitely won’t be able to vote, as they would be guarding the high seas for this nation. This should not give you a wrong notion that their vote won’t count. If need be, the armed forces will make it count one day. We are protectors of this nation and not people who lower their morale by ridiculous statements. We serve every government irrespective of who is the minister of which ever ministry.
The joke going around is that, if you can’t give an inch of ground, we definitely can give the government a nine inch boot in next elections. The men in uniform owe their allegiance to the tricolour & the constitution; politicians we know owe their allegiance to whom, for what and why.
One more thing I want to ask Minister Saab. You keep every inch with you but please ensure that servicemen and ex servicemen do not have to beg for their rights. Their families are looked after while they are at the borders. Their children get admissions in schools, their properties are not taken away by thugs, their aging parents are treated with dignity and their documents are made without greasing any palm. Too much of rum has been spilled in the corridors of civil authorities without relief to this man guarding the frontiers. The beauty is that even when you don’t give him his due, he still doesn’t let the country down.
I wish you become the Defence Minister one day, maybe just temporarily and understand why they denied that facility. The person whose baby it is knows, isn’t it? I know you can’t think beyond business, profits and commerce but National Security should never be compromised at any cost, ever.
Well, Indian Armed Forces have a different business to deal with. So kindly take back your words and give us that inch which you have decided not to give. We have been taught and believe in that Chetwode Motto which says “The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your country comes first always and every time”. Construction of a jetty for commercial purposes comes last always and every time. Does it make any sense to you Mr Minister? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
This man called Hafiz Saeed is always in the news on every Indian news channel. God knows if he is under house arrest, close arrest, or no arrest. What I reckon is that he roams free and attends to his “social service” business as usual. I am also told that he has a bounty on his head of 10 million US $, that is more than 63 crores rupees, with no claimants. Quite surprising, isn’t it! Had the same reward existed in India, there would have been a long queue to claim the full house of Tambola once six and three 63 was announced.
The Paki courts don’t find any evidence against him and rightly so. How can his own family find faults with him? Even if they find a few, that gets covered in mafi-galti (pardonable margin). Indian news channels are running their shows and headlines on his name. They can be rest assured their TRPs will drop if they continue. Reason is simple, as no one is listening and no one is interested. Basically, Indians are more interested in elections. Bold decisions to tackle him or Pakistan may come before elections 2019.
I don’t think this man was the master mind behind 26/11. This is another reason that the Pakis are rejoicing because they know who the actual master mind is and laugh at the world especially the two countries, US and India for our ignorance. The brain behind Mumbai attacks was the ISI and the Pak army. This man was just a pawn. Yes, he had the ability to supply manpower and that’s it. To train them into a killing team definitely is the handy work of a well trained trainer. He just picks gullible people at random and hands them over to the ISI.
People like Kasab navigated on GPS, high jacked a boat, changed boats, got down at gateway and decided on their targets which were recced by someone else, based on videos and photos, moved in, took hostages, drove cars, caused mayhem on stations, got into prayer houses and hotels, is not as simple as it appears. Even locals get lost in their own area. What they kept in mind was shooting. Weapon handling had to be perfect. They definitely were ready for retaliation by Indian forces and came prepared to meet the promised virgins.
Looking at this man Hafiz, I doubt he has the capability to conduct such refined and precise training. Yes, I can understand his hatred for India and his mindset with regards to Kashmir. Yes, he does give inciting and hate speeches. He has political aspirations. He has the patronage of the Paki Polity, judiciary and the Armed Forces. Thereafter what? Are we still looking more for evidence to fill anther dossier? Or are we looking for a miracle that he will come and surrender at India Gate, if not at the Taj through the Gateway.
Do we need to wait for another 26/11 or an attack on parliament to occur? Do we need to wait for another Kargil like situation? Are we waiting for the dirty work to be done by the Americans? This man is not in not even hiding like Osama. Our verbal bullets have no effect, instead we are giving Paki’s ammunition to shatter us in every debate we have on the subject on TV. Their panellists’ come, abuse India and blame everything on us. We like bloody fools, keep waiting for our turn to reply in all civility and make a mockery of ourselves.
They put the onus back on India as if we are sponsoring terrorism and they are doing Yoga. We are sending terrorists across and they are sending kishmish-badam. We are doing all cease fire violations and they are showering Holi colours. They prove to world that India is the culprit of all the de-stability in this region and they are the only ones who are proposing peace. Let’s not fire blanks anymore on TV.
On the lighter side, I would suggest to news channels that when they are in the real mood of Pak bashing, call panelists from Pakistan and start winking at them. Keep winking with alternate eyes, till they are thoroughly confused. Keep showing your tongue in between. At times show your thumb (thenga) till the time they smash their TVs. Mute the Paki voices from the very beginning. End the debate stating that Pakis have admitted to all crimes and then see the fun. Instead of saying good bye, all our panelists wink, show a thenga and show their tongue with the neck protruding forward in unison. Pak will surely give us Hafiz Saeed tomorrow, if not Kashmir.
All said and done, someone please claim that 10 million dollars. It would be a waste if someone else knocks him off and the money goes back to the exchequer. Is anyone ready to claim 63 crores, without GST? I wonder!!!!!!!!
I am not sure why we are after the 2G scam when we are now hooked on to 4G and beyond. The outcome had been predicted many moons back. 250 witnesses were “grilled”, 10 odd people went to jail including politicians, over a lakh pages were printed for a 67 page judgement and what comes out of it, a dead rat. How many draft pages would have gone down the shredder, the person handling the incinerator will tell us. One party took advantage and won elections just highlighting this rat. The investigating agencies kept investigating playing their “pied pipes” but could not find any rat. The courts found no evidence worthwhile to nail any rat. Someone had the last laugh. Any guesses?
Be that as it may, parliament has been stalled for the umpteenth time. It is business as usual for the politicians as they feel at home disrupting proceedings, sloganeering and with dharna culture. Poor Sachin spent 365 days preparing for his maiden speech which got beeped out due to the din. When it came to increasing their salaries the pandemonium came to a halt. When it comes to OROP, they don’t have funds. The tamasha continues. I just don’t understand this new kind of “democracy” and where is it heading. Is anyone really bothered about the nation or should we keep dancing to tune being played by our “elected representatives”?
Someone shared with me certain things about the custodians of our democracy. When Bofors scam happened, who suffered the consequences, it was the armed forces. After Bofors, we got new guns this year after a gap of 30 years. Why? The Armed forces went to war during Kargil. We almost went to war again after the attack on parliament without a God damn good artillery gun. Bofors was low on spares, their prime movers were off road and ammunition was grossly short thus imported overnight at exorbitant prices. No one questioned the whole issue as it was for the defence of the country. The politicians knew if something drastic happens, this country will not spare them. The ammo was bought at “onay-paunay daam” to save their skins. When Service Chief’s highlight such issues no one pays heed but when politician’s skin is stuck in the zipper then anything can happen.
The shortage of Bofors ammunition was taken up to the MoD level during Kargil war. No country was willing to give ammunition at such short notice. One country agreed but charged an exorbitant price. War had already broken out on those icy heights and ammunition was running out. Causalities were pouring in. Ammo had to be shipped to Bombay & thereafter moved up north by train and then by road to Kargil. Ship would take two days to load, 4-5 days to travel & two days to unload.
Bombay refused to handle ammunition as all other cargo operations would have to be stopped for safety reasons. Ship came and waited for two days outside Bombay. Unloading was not on the national priority so the destination was changed to Vizag adding another 6-7 days for movement. Mind you war was on. Railways had to re-position their rakes. Due to ammunition movement and safety reasons, speed of trains had to be restricted. A 48 hours became 96 hours plus journey, then time for unloading and reloading at Jammu. Finally, movement to Kargil by trucks which would have taken another three to four days till it reached gun positions. Kargil was over by then. Shocking! Thanks to the Armed forces they still evicted the Pakis as our nations integrity was at stake.
Did anyone smell a rat, bat or cat then? The only thing which was later highlighted was the coffin scam. My foot! We kept waiting for orders to go across in the winter of 2001 but rotted in our operational locations till end of 2002, away from our families because of whose indecision, any guesses?
We the people of India including the Forces have now become puppets with strings controlled by politicians. The armed forces especially are on the wrong side of the receiving end. What planning these “puppeteers” do is not visible to the common man. The whole show is choreographed so nicely that we miss out on the larger picture. Our judicial process, our investigating agencies everyone seems to make a mockery of things. I call it wastage of paper, time, effort, resources and money of the tax payers hard earned money.
I am disillusioned, I don’t know whom to believe and trust as I have become a mere moot spectator and allow myself to be used for narrow political gains. Tomorrow, another charge sheet will bite the dust, another Kargil might happen, another political party will cry foul for scams and win elections and the cycle will continue. The soldier on the other hand will keep his vigil and never let down his guard. He remains oblivious to the real motive of the political game plan. Can someone stop this bloody tamasha? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
I have a basic doubt, what is the difference between elections and democracy? I fully understand that the elections are a means to elect candidates to run the democratic process. However, I have now got confused, why we are mixing up the two. The electoral process has its own importance and democracy is a way of governance adopted by the people of India. Then why have state elections become more important today that the PM and his cabinet congregate in Gujarat lock, stock and barrel for days on end leaving their primary jobs.
Parliament, our temple of democracy, was abandoned in a way. If I put it across crudely, to hell with parliament! We shall get hold of its agenda in the coming sessions. What goes of India if sessions have to be cut short, postponed or even cancelled? Parliamentary proceedings will be stalled by someone as usual, so what is the use of wasting time sitting on those green or red cushions and walk on the same colour carpets depending on the house you are a member of. India is resilient, Indians can wait, India per say is not a priority during any state elections. Is this the whole idea of democracy or is this a kind of making a mockery of it?
The pradhan sewak, becomes the pradan bhashanwala. The same old rhetoric, the same old jumlas, the same old brain washing technique is applied to influence the public. Results show the effect. I still don’t know who are the actual contestants is Gujarat. The only one I saw was the PM. He is fluent with the local language, terrain, intricacies, feelings, sensitivities of the public no doubt. Does that mean he should neglect his basic responsibility and only pay heed to states undergoing polls so that by hook or crook his party wins? I am in total disagreement on this.
My argument can be shot down saying all official papers and documents were signed during election time. However, the impression I get as a common man is that every minister is on temporary duty to Gujarat, on the government’s expense. The dak from Delhi must be transiting through air, land or sea along with connected personnel. Tickets of Rajdhani’s and last minute air tickets must be costing the exchequer some amount. All the DRM (Divisional Railway Manager) quota seats of the railways must be blocked for travel conveniences’ of such staff. Imagine when the heads of important ministries like Defence, Finance, Law, Textile and many others have pitched their tents in Gujarat?
Be that as it may, it hardly matters to mantri ji as things in India can wait till cows come home. India won’t run away anywhere. Even when Pakistan slaps us daily, elections are priority one and democracy will decide how to act against Pakistan in due course of time. Today, BJP netas would be in their party offices in party mood, enjoying one more holiday. Crackers will be burst. Supreme Court will not object to the pollution they shall create today, that’s another irony.
I consider it the failure of the states politicians to allow the central govt getting involved in their elections. Definitely they can go and cast their vote if they belong to a state but it should be on proper leave of absence and on their own money. No one has the right to fritter away the tax payer’s hard earned money. So what he is the PM of India? If he is doing it for the nation, I have no objections to it. If he is doing it for his party then he might as well use party funds only. I consider it a narrow minded vision of interfering in state politics from where he rose to such an esteemed office. For me the nation comes first always and every time; state will automatically be looked after if national interest is supreme.
In the army, if I belong to a battalion then that affiliation will stay for life. After I command my unit (like you became the CM of your state) I get promoted to higher ranks and responsibilities, I cannot get involved in the units day to day functioning. I can go and motivate the unit alright but I have no right to meddle into their day to day functioning. PM saab you now are a “General” of India, please remain at that pedestal. Let the people of the state decide whom they want to be governed by and not by whom you as PM recommend. Mota bhai, tamne samjan padi? (Have you understood elder brother?)
Can we have a new legislation through a “democratic process” of non involvement of PM and his cabinet in state elections? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!
I have these mixed feelings when I see Gen Satbir crying hoarse on TV. Sir, I too being on your side of Suez can feel the pain. I am thankful to each and every veteran and veer nari who has given even one minute for the agitation for our OROP. My hats off to you all for sustaining these 860 plus days which has seen many seasons change. The only thing which didn’t change was the dauntless attitude of all you people who sat in unison for our brethren. Sir, I salute each one of you for your spirit and courage shown for this cause.
I can only with folded hands plead to you sir, please do not highlight this in the media. They just want a story for breaking news and pass time on debates pitting soldiers against soldiers. Media and the politicians will have the last laugh watching and debating our plight.
The Armed Forces are a different breed in many ways. It has been amply proved the way veterans conducted themselves exemplarily by not going violent and abiding by the rules. Then why did we not vacate that place in the first go itself. Sir, I feel, we let ourselves become objects of ridicule by waiting there too long to be shooed away. We are supposed to be Gentlemen first and Officers later. Somewhere we got mixed up.
There are no free lunches after we retire, isn’t it sir. So if the Ramlila grounds were asking for whatever amount per day, it was their right. Why were we showing our Ex-serviceman card to them? Are we looking for concessions or are we expecting a waiver of fees being an extra special category of people? That’s not going to happen. I can understand that what was passed in parliament and what we have got may be at variance but isn’t that we need to be thankful for. Whatever is left we can always put across in a manner befitting our community.
In good old days, when did we have everything that one needed Sir? Manpower was always short; equipment was off road or deficient; Ration, lesser said the better; state of accommodation was pathetic. We kept cursing the higher head quarters for lack of funds. Everything fell into the category of “manage”. Every year we were told to cut down budgets; consumption of fuel was curtailed; ‘A’ vehicle mileage kept reducing; administrative requirements kept increasing. A time came when Havildars were doing standing duties. Didn’t we live then? An officer below major’s rank was not even authorised a cooler. Officer Messes used to be flooded with officers; today they are rarities to be found. We in those days never lost our balance and sense of humour. We did crib like hell but made jungle main mangal.
Well, slowly and steadily our equipment was made up. So I am sure the same would be for the OROP. Why do we have to be so adamant and stuck? I concede that had you not started this agitation, we wouldn’t have got what we got. This doesn’t mean that unless we get what we think is correct, we keep protesting and fast unto death. I saw officers and widows being put to discomfort. I felt sad.
We are not politicians and not aware of the political game plans. They have the patience to wait and we don’t. They can make us cry and won’t budge. Tomorrow, if the parliament decides that pensions will be halved, would we protest then? Day after tomorrow the parliament passes a bill that there would be no income tax on pensions, will we still protest. One fine day the government decides that everyone will serve only five years, no pension and no other benefits, what will we do then?
Be that as it may, Sir, time is ripe for mid course correction. You don’t have to reveal your cards now. Let us do a tactical withdrawal, sit together and prepare a new plan to assault the perceived “enemy”. Shoot to kill is not working then let change tactics but let us not make ourselves the centre of scorn to be mocked and used for target practice by media and politicians. If we want to fight politics with politics like a tank versus tank battle, then let’s leave Jantar-Mantar and organise ourselves politically. If AAP could do it, we are definitely capable of being sabka BAAP.
I wish half of these days were utilised to reinforce, restructure, reorient, reconcile, recoup, reconstruct, re-crystallise our thoughts, resynchronise our effort, re-synergise our focus, rejuvenate, reconfirm our faith in our effort, revitalise, recapitulate, re-examine our lacuna, revitalise our energies, reinforce our demands, resettle our nerves, resurrect our image, reformulate our plans, re constitute our ORBAT, rededicate ourselves to revolutionise our efforts and then renegotiate with the Government from a position of strength so that they cannot refuse but to condescend to our demands. Does it make sense to any one? I wonder!!!!!!!!
Yesterday was the blackest day in my life when because of the Green Tribunal many of us who adorned the Olive Greens, Whites and Blues for the best part of our lives were evicted, manhandled and transported in the shabbiest manner from Jantar-Mantar. They did not spare even the ladies who lost their husbands in service of the nation. Well, in garb of the Supreme Court orders, where only “your honour” work, the police did the most dishonourable thing. They had no choice but to obey orders, so be it.
Law is equal for everyone, isn’t it? So, in the same breadth had OROP been given the way it was envisaged and passed in the parliament, as it is given to other Government services, there was no reason for the veterans’ to sit for more than 860 days and demand parity, as if we are beggars.
Be that as it may, there are two ways of doing things; one is the gentlemanly way which has been exhibited by the veterans’ community till date. The other way can now be something how the Jat agitation or the Gujjar agitation was done. We have always given our services in “Aid to Civil Authorities” whenever the need was felt by the nation and when the civil administration had completely failed. Do we need to prove that you guys have been failures time and again as far as running administration is concerned during time of crises? I am sure the community which already has OROP needs to justify why they deserve it and why ex-servicemen have been deprived of the same for so long.
This nation is constantly facing external and internal enemies. We understand what the government must be going through to sort out issues internationally and regionally. That is why we are agitating peacefully. We have borne the brunt of external aggressions and internal disorders by laying down our lives in service of the nation with no questions asked. Here you treat us so dismally. Though we do not adorn the uniform anymore, we are capable to fight for our rights in a different manner. Will it be acceptable? The government is pushing us to the wall and time now is ripening for retaliation. Hope the time never comes! If the Government can speak to terrorist organisations, what wrong have the veterans done?
We have till now been fighting for the Izzat & dignity which is due to us. Now why should we hesitate to fight for our well deserved money also? We should get our dues or be capable to extract the same any which way. If the government gives it upfront, we have no issues, if it doesn’t then be warned that we have the acumen to do things differently. Say, if we disrupt Delhi for the same number of days as this agitation, there will be utter chaos in one day only. If need be let there be bloodshed on Vijay Chowk. Let the President who passes by it every Republic Day and there after enjoys beating the retreat ceremony at the same place should feel jolted to sit on the blood of veterans who always bore true allegiance to the Tri-colour. Let him also realise that it is time for him to intervene, as we the veterans have no choice left but to look up to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces for his personal indulgence now.
Spending time on holidays with jawans is appreciable Mr PM. Madam RM, I had requested you to at least go and meet these veterans once. Had you done it, this stage would have never come. I wish it happens that instead Generals you put civilians as the commanders. Can the Chief downwards till Brigade Commanders be civilians? Chose your best Mr PM, let us see then how the integrity of the country is maintained. I know my argument is preposterous but I am convinced that we will be given OROP within two days. Let us see equal sacrifices from all those who are bent upon to block our right.
In the true spirit of the uniformed community, I think the Prime Minster should be contacted to give veterans an audience and explain to us the reasons for delay in implementation and why the deviation from what was promised in parliament. Let the RM be in attendance which I think can be arranged.
Christmas is coming, so one national holiday should be spent with the veterans. Hope PM becomes Santa Clause for us. The Presidents’ bodyguards could be requested to loan a buggy and some horses instead of the sleigh and the reindeers. Let him come dashing through the Delhi fog, on a one horse open sleigh and wish us Merry Christmas and grant us the correct and well deserved OROP. Will he? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!
As they say old habits die hard so following my habit I switched on TV news in the lunch break yesterday. I saw my Defence Minister addressing a press conference. I thought to myself that war must be imminent. The volume was on mute so I could not gather the gist and my specks too were not on my nose so could not read the ticker either. My curiosity kept increasing. As usual my daughter hid the remote somewhere. Finally, I could locate it and hear the sweet and melodious voice of the RM. To my utter shock she was discussing Mr Robert Vadra. I shoved a finger in my ear and gave it a shake in disbelief that have I heard it correct that the RM had found the most happening jija ji to talk about. Had she been discussing Gen Javed Bajwa, Pak ISI Chief or Masood Azhar it would have been worth listening to. It took me one minute to get the gist and I flicked to discovery channel.
Madam, I had just written a piece a few days back welcoming you to the folds of the uniformed people. I felt really belittled that the government of the day chose you as the spokesperson to put down someone who may have swindled and made loads of money through his deals as alleged but he doesn’t deserve a mention from “my” RM at least. Madam, as they say in the Army, ladies and politics are never discussed by officers. You leave me no choice except to discuss you and the politics. I felt what you were doing was the politics of a loser.
Is it because all the rest are busy with Gujarat elections and there was no one left to high light Mr Vadra of all the people? Was it a cover story to camouflage the flak which Mr Shah’s son was supposed to take? Madam we got to fight a war with our enemies for which you have been chosen as the final authority and word. Here because of political compulsions you had to speak about a person whose in-laws have so much of money that might be equivalent to your defence budget. I am just conjecturing as I am convinced that at least I can see through the smoke screen you raise. Basically the idea was to demean the Congress. I also know that everything is fair in love and war. Where is love here? Is it love for your party? What about love for the country? Where is war? Is it the political war you are talking about? In any case the RM is not meant to fight with any individual. I feel “ye sab aap ko shobha nahi deta” (all this doesn’t suit your appointment and the dignity attached to it)
Hope madam like you have put the Armed Forces to clean all mountainous areas, you now don’t put us to clean all the political muck. You can be rest assured we can do that too but we in the armed forces are way above all this ma’am. We discuss ideas and not people. Had you talked about the measures you were taking to bring back Cdr Kulbhushan Yadav before Diwali or eliminating all terrorist launch pads in POK, I would have appreciated it. Had you told the media about the latest tanks and guns or for that matter the latest warship you launched I would have never spoken a word but when I heard you speaking about a person who is related to the head of your political opponents, my head bows in shame.
I do not know if you have a choice to refuse such press briefings. Madam you are senior to me in age and service. You also know politics well. I have no clue of even how to spell that word starting with a P. But this I definitely know that on one hand you are the most powerful woman of this country who can mobilise resources to fight nations, terrorists and terrorism. You can dominate the skies, put naval blockades against enemy nations and you chose to speak about a person who has got nothing to do with the country’s defence. Not done Ma’am.
Madam it doesn’t look nice for the Defence Minister of India leaving her prime responsibility addresses a few journalists on the few lakh rupees paid by someone, for someone, in some country, to do some travel a few years back. You are in government and you haven’t been able to fix that fellow in any of the conspiracies he is involved in, when all investigating agencies are duty bound to obey the ruling political masters. You also know that things are under courts considerations. Then what makes you come out all guns blazing at this man just because a news channel broke the story. I consider it to be absolutely useless politics. Except to spread negativity you are doing nothing else. Doesn’t suit the decorum your chair deserves.
Be that as it may ma’am, I feel a little uncomfortable when you with such an esteemed post have to speak about a person who doesn’t matter to anyone. If you can get back the thousands of crores that Mr Malaya took away, you can surely recover the same one day from this person too. Madam, defence is a different ball game which you now got to be serious about. However, kindly remember the armed forces stay away from politics. Please don’t mix the two. I am no one to advise you but you are responsible for “Desh ki Raksha” not “Vadra se raksha”. Will you ever understand? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
It gives me a good feeling when my Raksha Mantri (RM) finds time to visit forward troops. I recently saw her in the desert sector atop a BMP modified like a chariot. The crew would have been, the Army Chief as the Commander, the Army Commander as the gunner and the Brigade Commander, no you guessed it wrong, poor fellow must be hanging on for dear life as the driver would surely be the senior most Havildar. Can’t take a chance with Brigadier saab’s driving and giving jhatka’s of a life time to the minister. (With no offences meant please)
Be that as it may, I am reminded of the good old days when I started my career from the deserts. Jaisalmer Sector was the place I joined. The then Army Commander was on an operational tour and I was made the official photographer with one pip on my shoulder. My location was in the navigation party led by open jongas of the Motorised Battalion. For me map of the desert meant nothing as I had just come from IMA Dehradun, where I could never make out the difference between a spur and its contours. We all just did “Bhed chal” to reach Bhadraj top behind Mussorie. There maps were green and shades of it. Here I had a khakhi blank sheet of paper with one odd marking of a toba, taal sar, khu, talai, tibba and an odd Dhani (hamlet) after two map sheets. This jonga was modified for carrying many tubes. One could mistake them for missiles. Actually they were stuffed with map sheets and tons of them. That was my abode for the next fortnight and I was off on my maiden desert safari thereafter.
These motorised guys taught me how to join maps in a sequence as every 10-15 odd kilometres the sheet used to change. My CO used to be in the gunner’s cupola and the Army Commander on a Tatra’s seat welded behind. A jeep’s seat was also welded in the rear for all and sundry. This was the Army Commander’s chariot (BMP). Our two waiter’s Gabbar Singh and Jagjit Singh were stuffed into the stick compartment in the rear of the BMP.
Hats off to the waiters, as moment there used to be a halt they used to stick their necks out from the gunner’s cupola in between CO’s legs with some beverage. Our CO had catered for thanda pani, garam pani, neebu pani, narial pani, meethi lassi, zeera lassi, garam chai, garam coffee, cold coffee, frooty, unit soda in three flavours and you name it. There was one officer detailed to keep fetching ice from wherever he could. Our ice supply never ran out. Administration was perfect.
Yours truly had no clue of Mechanised tactics. So I hung on to dear life on to that leading jonga with a “hot shot” camera and clicked away merrily. One of my photos of the BMP tracks on a virgin desert stretch was later used to design the Recce & Sp logo showing the track marks. Well, we did move bound to bound, the Pakistani rangers were following us, there were no border fences that time and we used to take the shortest cut between the border pillars. It used to be a pleasure to relieve oneself on the other side of the border. Somehow it gave a kind of sadistic pleasure and a feeling of satisfaction deep within that we watered Pakistan.
I learnt to read a map, I learnt to bear the heat, I learnt to face sand storms, I learnt to navigate a little, I learnt navigation by stars while moving cross country at night, I understood what a mirage is. I learnt to identify blind wells and how to avoid them. I learnt how to use a magnetic compass while on the move, I learnt to survive on limited water, I learnt to handle start a jonga, I learnt how to negotiate a vehicle in absolute lose sand, I learnt to recover a stuck vehicle, I learnt to enjoy cold meals, I learnt to enjoy the sandy crunch in the meals, I learnt the importance of a “patka” and sand goggles and this learning stood me in good stead later in life as more than half my service I did in the deserts and above all I learnt to use my seventh sense and instincts.
It took us lot of reconnaissance and practice to achieve the mastery of the desert. Yes I also learnt a lot of Rajasthani. I learnt what a KHOJI was. He is a person who tracks down animals in a village. Their expertise was such that they could tell by the footprints of the camel that was it laden or empty. They could identify number of camels in a group by hoof marks & foot prints. They could tell how long the animal was sitting in a particular place by the droppings and urine. They could make out that the animal is tired or fresh by the belly marks on the sand; they could even say whether a particular animal is injured or had a natural limp by the imprint on sand. They could indicate the direction of the move of the animal, was it running or walking. Basically they were the most sought after people. Later in life we used to take their help for navigation to reach our objectives.
Well I transformed from a desert novice to a desert fox many moons later. But it was nice to see our RM on the “Mechanised ship of the desert”. Madam I hope now you will try and understand how life is in the deserts especially while operating such equipment. I hope now you will change your opinion and understand that life in the sandy wilderness is tough too. Will you? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bechare Modiji is in a catch 22 situation. Where to start and where to finish? What to do and what to leave? I applaud his efforts of making a beginning but his efforts need an equal thrust down the chain. Unless the states and center sit together on one national agenda, one national priority then only it will be possible to chalk out a path. All citizens have to chip in and be on the same grid.
With all that I see, read and hear, it appears to me that our industries are in a mess, trade is in a soup, railways are derailing, women and child care no one cares, farmers are left in wilderness, defence of the country is short of manpower and equipment, terrorism and militancy are never ending. On the surface things look calm but the undercurrents are giving a different signal. Why is my perception like this? Why do my senses infer everything is not right? Why am I uncomfortable with the way things are? The common man is perturbed. He is unsure of his future.
Unemployment and job creation are mismatched as on date. What can a youngster do even if he is educated? The political game plan of dividing the people of this country is leading us nowhere. Plus our religious fundamentalism and intolerance is adding fuel to the fire. We are becoming our own enemies; appears to be path of self destruction.
Be that as it may, if the PM says that he is satisfied with his efforts, definitely he will have the overall picture. I am sure he will reveal it in one of his “man ki baat”. Money is not the issue I suppose for the government but money cannot work on its own. People who are responsible to distribute the resources and money have to show accountability.
The underlying factor is the sincerity in effort, good governance, close monitoring, no corruption and no shortcuts by one and all. If we could stand in queue for our turn to get money from the ATM after demonetisation, we need to be prepared to stand in line for everything else. We need to have patience in this world of internet and twitter. We need to have the will to sacrifice our luxuries for the sake of this nation and its future. We have to think India first.
I can give this moral lecture because of two reasons, firstly because of my background and training in the army I know what discomforts are and how to overcome them. Secondly, I am financially ok even if I have to live on simple dal-roti. The rich will never feel the pinch but what about the poor, middleclass, unemployed people who are running from pillar to post for their living? Petrol and diesel prices add to their woes. The farmer who provides us food is dying a slow death due to lack of support. The Defence is facing an external enemy on multiple fronts is also involved in the internal aggression needs full government backing. Our education system is cockeyed with multiple types of education, multiple fees structures and barriers due to the federal system in this country. Our huge orchestra is playing in a concert with many instruments out of sync and out of tune thus producing only noise which is clearly visible in parliament and news debates.
Red tapeism still exists. There are multiple rules and regulations for the same thing. There are laws but getting justice is difficult. Justice gets delayed that it is almost kind of denied. Corruption in government departments is still rampant. A common man has to grease someone somewhere up the ladder in cash or kind or through a third party. Bribes are camouflaged when they change into Diwali or New Year gifts; people stay on the house with family in resorts maintained by companies, provision of chauffeur driven vehicles on holidays, booking of air tickets etc at the corporate level have become the new normal to oblige and get things done.
Basic health care doesn’t find a place in our national priorities. People die, children die, makes no heads roll. The pathetic condition of the stinky, dirty, filthy government hospitals makes you wonder whether you have come here to be treated or come here to fall sick. Conditions of public toilets & toilets in schools are no better. Policing is under pressure too. They don’t know whether to listen to their political bosses or face the consequences of disobedience. Women are unsafe, schools are unsafe, hiring domestic help is unsafe, filing an FIR is a task in itself besides harassment of the common public never ends. Thus faith in system is reducing.
I kind of feel upset about the whole scene in the country. The beggar on the railway platform, the leper on the red light, the small child selling national flags on the footpath would never know that he too is a hero in his own way. Though they shall live and die in anonymity. This person will have a large enough heart to feed two street dogs. Push your car without charging if you are stuck, eat the left overs which you throw away in dustbins and still proudly salute the national flag because he considers himself an equal citizen of India. He too hopes for achhe din. It is another matter how we treat them.
We have now got to shift focus to nation building. A road map needs to be laid out and we the people have to get involved to implement it. I suppose the vision is there but the will to implement it with all sincerity is lacking. Am I the only one feeling this way? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
Wallah! At last India has a permanent Defence Minister after a long wait and amidst so much of speculations. Congratulations ma’am and welcome to a different world. Things are different here and things are done very differently in the Armed forces. I am not using the words defence on purpose because you will get a first hand feel of its enormity once you get on the chair proper. You will have the three services Chiefs at your command to give you the correct picture of things on ground and national security. They will also tell you how things are on paper. If you will have a heart to heart talk with them they will reveal to you how they are actually functioning with all that they have. Madam, trust them and listen to them. I wish you all the best.
Well let me not get into the 3Cs of criticizing, comparing and complaining mode from the very beginning. I am sure all your predecessors would have contributed their bit in nation building and with special reference to defence. You have got a fresh slate and a fresh charter. You also have come in here in the third year of the government so the ball must have been set rolling in any case by now. I am sure budget will not be a constraint even if you have to walk in into the FMs or the PMs Office or is this asking for too much on the second day in your office. So let me assume that you will take that liberty as and when the need arises but on the other hand I would request you to change the way the defence ministry works and that its rigid protocol. You will find it on every file, the seniority in which people will put their remarks on each noting sheet. Ma’am I want you to go to the three service Chief’s offices rather than them coming to you.
Imagine what commotion you will create in the corridors of South block if you walk up to the Army Chief’s office. Let me tell you ma’am the sandwiches served there are too good. They will be served with so much of love and affection that you may ask for more. Madam you will see people running to hide all maps with those huge curtains in the Military Operations room, later realising that you will be the one giving directions soon as to which part of the map to obliterate or pound and with what intensity. Suddenly, you may find pink napkins in the corridors of South Block. Madam jokes apart, you have yourself to feel the warmth that the men & women in olive greens, sky blue and white will shower on you. They are looking for a fresh face as they have had too many stain marks from spilled goan curry, Chai from Jaitley’s ketley and rancid coconut oil on their documents.
Madam Minister, another thing I request you to change is the perception of an iron wall between the MoD per se and the people from the services. If a gun has to be used by the Army man, an Aircraft by the fly boy or a submarine by a mariner then who should have the last word in its procurement. Please involve the user in every phase ma’am because to tell the difference between a smooth bore gun and a rifled gun your technocrats will give you but for a man to survive on the battlefield and hit the target in varied terrain and weather will only be revealed by the user, I hope you will agree. Please let there be a change where the well walks up to the thirsty rather than the other way around. If anyone in uniform does hanky-panky or misappropriation of money please skin him alive. He doesn’t deserve to be in uniform but if the same is done by someone in white collars, you may decide appropriate punishment.
The biggest thing I ask of you madam is the restoration of our IZZAT. I do not want to get into the naam, namak and nishan part of it. But our prestige, our honour, our self esteem needs a definite boost. Why do we in the forces get a feeling that we are children of a lesser God? Madam our ex-servicemen are sitting on Jantar mantar peacefully till date. They are old, many infirm and not in their best of health but are conveying their feelings to this nation that for what fault of theirs they still have to bear the heat, rain and cold after doing their time in hell. Madam do go and just say a hello to them. Probably your predecessors never had the time or inclination to meet the veterans and the veer naris.
One more thing ma’am, please do not change your ministry like my wife changes her dresses. By the time you get the hang of it your tenure will be over. Do a good job and help me to vote for you in 2019 again to see you at the helm of affairs in the same Ministry. You will see many Chiefs change during your tenure but the ethos and dastoor of the services won’t change. Let them hold their head high and give you all their support. Visit doklam next week end, I would say visit every theater of operation, ask the commanders there what are their typical issues and resolve them then and there. Issues could be operational or administrative like infrastructure, health care, accommodation, equipment, morale anything under the sun. Madam another thing I am skeptic of is the DRDO, reason I don’t know but the perception says there is something amiss. We still wait for our Main Battle Tank, a state of art rifle to say the least. We want Israel and Russia to use equipment made in India is what I ask you.
At the outset let me again welcome you to the uniformed part of it. The non-uniformed you have to take care of. I can’t say I wish you were Ex-NDA but madam I expect you to be one. You need to be a flier, a commando, a paratrooper, a deep sea diver, a tank man, a sailor, a Commander of men and women in all varied terrain and weather. Madam above all you will have to have a heart of gold which beats in sync and tune with the armed forces. I wish we sort out Pak in the next three years to start with. Good Luck and God Speed to you. Have I asked for too much? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
Let us start with an assumption that we are going to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, nothing wrong, most of the countries are doing it. What if I say that the same nuclear technology will also be used for making bombs as a safety and security measure for my country? I sign all declarations and prove to the world that our intentions are very pious & holy but this needs to be done for the country, nothing wrong in it again. Well, time passes everything is fine and one fine day one bomb explodes and people die at a very large scale. You then say that actually this bomb had an alternative use for a long lost dream of India called population control. You start justifying it by saying; see how many people we have reduced from this earth and from India in particular. How beneficial it is to the country, so many lesser mouths to feed, so much lesser burden on the economy and infrastructure so on and so forth. Everyone wonders if the minister justifying the explosion is in his senses or out of his wits.
What has happened here is that there has been a change of not only the goal post but change in the game itself. The venue changed, the rules and regulations were tweaked as per circumstances and in fact there was nothing original left as to why we started this whole nuclear exercise in the first place. We kept testing the waters and kept adjusting our aim and destinations as we went along as per our convenience. We used political jargon, some facts and figures, some percentages and some decimals to create an impression that what we are presenting to the public is correct and convincing. Poor public which is naive, illiterate and actually is not concerned because if the gareeb janata keeps getting his roti somehow, achhe din or no achhe din, he continues to believe in his political masters. They make, bend, change, tweak, modify and then justify the rules with sugar coated figures.
Well that was my aim to confuse myself so I started with the nuclear example and have still not revealed why am I writing all this. Well folks, I happened to hear our very dear Mr FM & DM briefing the media on the RBI report on the effects of re-monetisation I suppose. At the end of the day the whole exercise of demonetisation aka re-monetisation was done as the colour of the old notes was not matching the PM dresses. In the bargain if the tax payers base of the country increased by 17.971%, well what is wrong with it. The hundreds of tonnes of raddi collected in form of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes will be now handed over to the wall paper industry to change the colour of the walls of the North and South block. The black money which was supposed to come pouring in is still stuck in some foreign land and nothing in black could be retrieved. The cash less changed directions to less cash and the figure quoted was also in fractions of a percentage like 15.237%. Who knows how this figure has been calculated or arrived at and how accurate it is. At least I am not interested. The militants were supposed to be hit by demonetisation but they continued their demonization. Yes the only people who hit them were the armed forces and they shall continue to decimate them.
Added to this chaos of demonetisation came GST. What good it is to man or beast and what services it is taxing that no one is clear to be frank. Now we actually have a demonetised GST economy. The world economists are pondering over it as a special case study to find out how is it going to affect the coconut exports of Maldives as they are convinced that in India nothing has changed. Why I say this is because the trains keep derailing killing innocents travellers, children are again being massacred in hospitals. Babas and Baby’s keep ruling the roost. Bombay and Delhi cannot get over the deluge of rains. Pakistan continues its nefarious activities as usual. China is doing what it wants to do. I am where I was, except for my increasing weight I can find no change in me or my environment around.
It is not surprising at all because the FM handles the defence budget; he is also the DM. In the same breadth, he must be handling the home budget also so he should be the home minister too. I am not surprised that they have amalgamated the rail budget into the general budget but then where is the need to have a railways minister? If FM is going to handle all the money then why have so many ministers floating around. Here I find no logic as the people who are experts in their fields especially defence find themselves not even in the playing eleven of the game. They have been kept merely as extras. Which game they are going to play that the PM will decide? How long they will play that game before shifting to another sport that too is left to him? It is as simple as the cabinet reshuffle. From HRD to textile to another ministry in three years is like Mithali Raj shifting from cricket to badminton to boxing. Then we will expect her to win every game for India, while Sindhu and Mary Kom are told to play kabaddi and do sailing. What is the difference in sport a, b or c?
Well friends, this is not the first time the goal posts have been changed in this country. It was all started with good intentions like the surrendering of gas subsidy. Opening of the bank account was the next initiative. How far has it been really successful that Bhim, Paytm or such portals will tell? Kashmir boils with no goal post in site. Achhe din are just games people say but don’t play. Will all these exercises bring some peace if not ache din with or without a changed goal post in the near future? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!
If I would have to ask any “premi” today what he or she achieved by burning what they burnt, breaking what they broke, injuring people whom they didn’t know, destroying national assets and dying on the streets of Panchkula unrecognised and for whom, probably they will have no answers. As a few would sit next to their fields watching the setting sun from their charpoy and ask themselves am I a Sikh, am I a Hindu or am I whatever religion. How did I get attracted to this person? How did I lose faith in my God? How I forgot my scriptures? How I got brainwashed by this fellow? Can I justify to myself what I thought of him? What I did to show my frustration yesterday? Was it the disbelief as I could not digest who this baba turned out to be? Was the annoyance and disappointment with my own self? Was all that I did correct?
What satisfaction did I get by putting so many states on tenterhooks? Were the railways my enemy? Was the press reporter an informer of the secret kind? Were the police personnel there to sing Arti & Ardas for you? Well, the answers can only be found and judged by those who participated as a supporter of this baba. He and his indoctrinated followers have shamed our nation beyond limits.
I grew up in Punjab and Haryana. I was deployed in these states many times. Such lovely people, such lovely spirit, such camaraderie, such big hearted people, happy go lucky people, such hard working people, such fantastic company, such solid friends and out of that lot emerge these people who got entrapped with this man’s charms that they could not understand fact from fiction. It all happened in that fraction of a second which the local government anticipated chaos but turned a blind eye to it.
The death toll must have reached half a century by now. This happened despite the courts giving clear orders to the Govt to use everything within their means to control the crowd. Our police were mere mute spectators and did not open fire. Two people in every area who thought that they will be able to destroy the state assets should have been shot below the knee, all supporters would have vanished into thin air within minutes. This man who would have come down to his knees would have deterred all the others from further rioting. The stigma and fear to be maimed and carry an amputated leg lifelong would have changed his thought process. Most of them would have run to save their own lives.
It is easy to decide to destroy but when one sees death so close you think a hundred times. When you know the police are approaching and there is a petrol bomb in your hand and a bullet hole in your knee the first thing one shouts is please save me. The second thing you hear is who gave me this Molotov cocktail (petrol bomb) and you disown it. Thirdly, you would have tried to prove that you are from the local area and had come visiting the place and not a rioter. Finally, you would have disowned the baba knowing the consequences of your arrest for destruction of public property. That is the effect of one bullet. You would have lived to tell the tale of the strictness of the police.
The police-walas were carrying weapons, I doubt if they were loaded. Why did he not fire at the rioters when in his full view they were destroying property, carrying out loot and arson? Or they were told not to fire. They why give them weapons danda’s should suffice. If a protestor can snatch away a weapon from him in broad daylight and his comrades stand as moot spectators. What does this show? That now from a banana republic we have become a bloody Kaddu republic?
The Army came out and within an hour protestors evaporated into thin air. Time and again it is the army that comes to the rescue of this nation. If one goes by the figure of the police big wigs floating in the state of Haryana can anyone justify this mayhem? What are the umpteen numbers of IGs, DIGs etc doing, chamchagiri of the political leadership. The people on ground who brought the situation under control were Colonels, Majors and our bahadur jawans. They organised themselves and moved out on their duty to get things under control. I say, why the Haryana administration didn’t hand over to the army in the first place. All these goons would have been put into the right place ab-initio.
If the last resort has to become the first resort then so be it. Why wait for things to escalate. The Army would have done this with minimum causalities. The riot leaders would have been identified, earmarked and on the cross wire of sharp shooters. One wrong move and a hole in the bum, second move and a hole in the head, period! Dera premi would have turned desh premi within one second. I pay taxes and these chaps have no right to burn my hard earned money. If they think they can burn national assets, then I should be given the right to put such miscreants on a pyre and burn them too.
It was the saddest day indeed for me to watch this tamasha of totally crippled State Government machinery. Media felt bad because media bore the brunt for the first time. Media can now ask for resignations of all and sundry. Media you need to now question the accountability of the politicians and every babu. Enough is enough. I now request the media to project the Armed Forces in the correct light of what they rightly demand. Premi’s have burnt their fingers. Panchkula and other places suffered for no reason but will anyone understand that the people who have taken an oath to save this country from external aggression and internal disorder get the izzat that they deserve, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!! (With due apologies to all the dhotiwalas, babus and khaki wardi walas)
I have been avoiding writing about China and its recent mis-adventures purposely. Let me confess, I am no expert on China. Though we used to have an army pamphlet about China but I could never remember even one organisation chart of their units or formations. Reason was that moment I used to visualise them, all faces used to look alike. So to differentiate HU from HUI and JING from PING became a nightmare for me and I decided in case a question lands up in my exams, I shall just write “Ni-Hao” and leave it at that.
Their script always fascinated me. Their architecture fascinated me too. The “SHAOLIN” movies were my favourites. Jackie Chang was too good but the exaggeration of the drunken monk kind of movies made that fascination fade away. Their aerial tricks and their flying mid air fights were definitely a wow factor but were a bit too much to swallow. I could not watch those Kung-fu kinds of movies as everyone kept picking up fights for no reason. They could fight with a tea cup, a broom, or even a spoon. What I disliked the most was the sounds they made while fighting. I was more comfortable with dishoom-bhishoom stuff.
I used to wonder while playing cricket about a term called “China Man”. Well it was a left arm leg spinner bowling an off break to a right handed batsman. I am sure you would be confused like I was for many years. That’s the aim of this ball, to surprise the batsman. I remember Navjot Sidhu, “Sherry” was in the slips when YPS Patiala was playing with my team from Sainik School Kapurthala many-many moons back. They had this left arm spinner and Sidhu kept shouting to him from second slip, China maar China isko. I laughed as I knew what he was talking about. This boy bowled a china man a bit too short of a length; I went on the back foot and gave it a solid whack. Off it went for a four towards square leg. I winked at sherry. I never got a china man bowled at me in that match.
Yes, Chinese food still fascinates me. I was introduced to it while in IMA Dehradun in a small eatery on Rajpur road called YETI, if I recollect the name correctly. Slowly we weaned off to the basic Momo-Thuppa kind of stuff near Ghanta Ghar due to financial constraints as a GC (Gentleman Cadet). One always thought those people were Chinese. Later when I served with them did I realise that how real Chinese noodles were made. Lovely people they were and Tashi Deleg to all of them. We Indians now are hooked on to the Tibetan cuisine for sure.
Another incident of how far I could dig my soul into the Chinese military was when I was made the CO of a Signal Regiment in a war-game of a mountain division against China in Staff College. Firstly, I had no idea about the terrain in the East of India where this Dhoklam thing is happening. Secondly, my phobia of learning anything about Chinese Army petrified me like hell. Thirdly, I was a Mech officer, commanding a Signal Regiment almost killed me. The only Radio sets I handled were the ones fitted in my BMP or the ANPRC with a ten foot telescopic antenna. I knew if the instructor asks me even one question, leave alone Chinese tactics I will forget how to spell “signal”. Well, the great moment arrived and I had to brief a truck load of Directing Staff (DS) on a map about my role as a Commanding Officer of a Mountain Division Signal Regiment. One of the Brigadiers asked who amongst you is CO Signals. I stepped forward, sir yours truly. He said Noel we don’t have time; we give you five minutes for your briefing. I said sir trust me I will take only two because of enemy jamming. The DS burst out laughing and moved on to CO ASC battalion without even listening to me. I thanked my stars and must have smoked a pack of cigarettes after that, as I was feeling so goddamned relieved. You may lose a war if you read the “signals” wrong, isn’t it? I had won mine.
The recent intrusion in Chushul took me down memory lane when I was posted there. I had the privilege to climb the heights around Chushul to experience firsthand how conditions of 1962 would have been for our soldiers. While counting bunkers, I remember the doors used to be jammed due to frozen ice. The bunkers had to be aired for a couple of days to open up. Imagine how they would have dug those bunkers. Standing atop Pankha heights, the Pongang Tso staring at you like a vast ocean and the air strip appeared to be a highway of some kind. My head bows in respect to every soldier who participated in whatever capacity in that battle. It was indeed a humbling experience, an experience of a life time. The Trishul heights, the Spangur area etc were the most beautiful places I ever saw. My brothers who bore the brunt of 62 war fought with minimum strength, underrated equipment; clothing not fit for that altitude and weather but their morale was high, their spirits were dauntless; their courage was rock solid even when the enemy kept chanting Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai. Today one finds the saying painted on many stones, “In the land of Lamas, don’t be gammas”, is absolutely true.
Be that as it may, China is huge, China is tough and of course China is strong in every way. That should not deter us from keeping that country at bay. These incidents which are happening are not really what their actual intentions might be as I reckon. There is something more sinister to it. We got to be prepared to take China on. Are we ready? I wonder!!!!!!!!!
I got a chance to listen to the PMs Independence Day speech only late in the day. The phrase that caught my ears was “Na Goli se, Na Gaali se Kashmir ka masla hal hoga Kashmiri ko gale lagane se” and words to that effect (Neither with bullets nor with abuses can we resolve the problem of Kashmir; it can be resolved only by embracing them). Well PM Sahib, I have an issue here with what you said. On one hand you say that you won’t leave any “ATANKWADI” or his supporter, right. On the other hand you want to embrace Kashmiri’s some of them who are militants. On one hand you see a role of security forces; on the other hand you don’t want to fire a bullet. On one hand you don’t want to talk to Pakistan till it behaves as they understand only gaali’s, right. You also want to teach Pak a lesson for what it does in Kashmir. You want peace and prosperity in Kashmir without getting the elected representatives of Kashmir moving. Now you come out with this goli-gaali Jumla. I am now thoroughly confused sir, what do you mean and how do you propose to do what you say?
You want the Central Government to work hand in glove with the state government, right. If I understand correctly that funding to Kashmir that has been going on till now shall continue like hither to fore, right. Everyone will know the package you announce but no one will know how it will be utilized. The Kashmiri politician will know where and how it has to be utilised but the Kashmiri population you want to embrace will not know where the hell this fund has gone. The State government will demand more and you will give more from your benevolent funds that you have at your disposal. I as a tax payer and a contributor to your funds will never know on what scheme was this money spent on ever. Your FM will account for every “paai” he releases and announce it to the world but how much will be swindled, mis-utilised and seep out of the system, no one will ever come to know. I don’t have to remind you about terrorist funding Sir, which needs to be eliminated too.
I had seen border roads organisation working and maintaining most of the roads in Kashmir, if I am correct. Most of the infrastructure projects like the rail and major highways funded from the centre employ maximum locals, right. How much more infrastructure they require can someone give a road map? Why is the Kashmiri so lethargic? Why is the pace slow? Is it because the local contractors are slow? Or is it because of the sluggish attitude of the Kashmiri people? Or is it the threat to any project by the militants which slows projects? Is it lack of supervision at the governmental level and accountability of the officials? I have seen myself, people working on projects having cups after cups of tea, discussing everything under the sun, closing shop early to reach home before sun down. PM Sahib, can a reality check be done how work is done there? You are in for surprises, if not shock.
Do we have a dearth of infrastructure companies in India? Answer is no. Then why can’t they work in Kashmir, if Kashmir is part of India? Why can’t the labour be taken from rest of India to expedite projects ultimately an Indian is working on an Indian project. Why a company has to work at the Kashmiri pace which is like get up in the morning, warm up your Firan with a Kangri, wait for the blood circulation to increase, smoke a few biris till mood to work sets in, curse the world around, look for fire wood and gucchi the whole day and by 3pm pack up and head back home. Winter months as it is there won’t be any work due to snow. During monsoons the rains stop projects, rest of the months there is hardly a window to work and one has to catch up on gossip. If GREF can take labour from Bihar and build the Tangtse-Pangong Tso road, what is the problem in Kashmir. Is work the problem or is it the work culture? I believe no one is marked absent after all it is welfare of Kashmiris.
I say, catch hold of all the stone pelters and tell them to crack boulders for the next road project. Pay them the same amount they get for pelting. Give them food and shelter till a project is completed but make them work. Question is that is he willing to work? Will he contribute to the progress of Kashmir he has dreamt of? I further say, you want to agitate; you want to protest, do it after 10 years and during this time work dedicatedly for what Kashmir needs. Let there be power generation all over. Let there be cold storage chains professionally managed all over. Let there be best of fisheries, saffron and fruit production. Let there be a full scale furniture industry, woollen garment industry, fruit canning and pickling industry. Let train and plane loads of cargo be flown in and out of Kashmir. In case of landslides and road blocks, let everything go by alternate means of transport. Is it possible?
My idea may sound absurd, bizarre, ridiculous or even silly but it is an idea worth thinking of Mr PM. Make the representatives of the people of J&K accountable to their own people. Embrace the people once they are willing to work on their dream projects. Shake up the typical lethargy of the people and let them be handled professionally. Pay them when they work, pay them on the quality of output they produce. Let the security forces help them to create an environment for their own betterment. Weed away the “gaddars” and traitors. PM Sahib you will get jhappis if your vision is made into a mission.
Let tourism flourish. Engage locals to provide security to all visiting Kashmir. Let the security forces become friends of Kashmiri people. Help the forces change Kashmiri outlook towards India and life. Let prosperity come and then let the goli be only for Pakistan and the traitors. Let gaali be only for terrorists and their supporters and jhappi for the common Kashmiri people who have been torn apart from this strife due to utter neglect, lack of vision and transparency. Create a framework for them to accept the tri-colour from their heart. Give them the dignity they deserve. Your change of stance from gali to jhappi without goli will materialise soon. Take a decision, now!
Will I ever hear JAI HIND-JAI KASHMIR there, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!
I had just finished watching the Kabaddi match last night, which is far better than watching the “kabaddi on news debates. My instinct told me that the match between “BJP Lotus Giants” and “Congress Handcrafters” being held in the polling stadium of Gujarat for the famous of Rajay Sabha Cup from where three members were going to be selected for the national team is going to be interesting. There were various reporters spread all over India taking reactions from spectators. Some of the anchors had already declared the results prematurely. There were political experts on every channel trying to give out all kinds of opinions like the good old Lala Amarnath. Tension was in the air. There were players who were surrounding the third umpire’s office as some controversy had erupted. The final results were to be declared after the third umpire “The Election Commission” would have reviewed each and every move replayed in “slowmo” from every angle. The situation was touch and go.
Well, my patience ran out and I went off to sleep. This morning I found that the unpredictable happened due to “Duckworth Achal Joti” method. The Lotus giants who were expecting a clean sweep lost one seat to the Handcrafters. What difference does it make in the Rajay Sabha? I don’t know. But after this round I know that congress has already declared a definite victory in Gujarat in 2019. We all know “there is many a slip between the cup and the lip”. Till the time the game is fair and square may the best team win; if my constitutional bodies aka referees abide by the rules, I shall have all praises for them because I know my country is in safe hands.
Be that as it may, come to speak of fairness, honesty, integrity etc my instinct to trust our political set up has gone totally wonky. I don’t know why. The congress had huddled together their MLCs in Bangalore and released them on voting day and still some cross voted it seems. The rumors that they can be bought at a price by the opposition were hot. How far they are true I can’t speak with authenticity. But there is no smoke without fire is also true. Does it mean that the value of this politician is just those few crore rupees? Is this what we have fallen to? His Zameer and conscious is for sale. If this is how I am going to earn a living then what am I going to do when I sit in parliament. Naturally, I will loot my country any which way I can. If money is the criterion to sell off my soul then this country has a very faint chance to dream of “acche din”.
The icing of the cake would be if one of the two people elected yesterday from the Lotus Giants is made the Defence Minister of India. One is already a minister so chances are that the present portfolio with that minister continues, I am worried about the other one. I will have no choice but to accept him as that’s the law of the land. So, all my brothers in uniform I wish you luck. PM Sahib, I still insist you have people qualified with more than 40 years of service in Defence of the nation, please be fair and do justice. Am I asking for too much? Let me not drift into my dreamland again.
I am still not clear as to why do we join a political party and have loyalties depending upon the price offered by another party. How can we switch at a moment’s notice? Why do political parties fear that their workers will change teams? Is there nothing called trust left in this nation? Do we need to use unfair means to woo people to defect? Should false promises and hopes still have place in our political system? The larger issue is, are we building this country or ruining it? If we are ourselves not sure on which side we are going to stand then when it will come to decision making for the poor and common man our decisions will be biased based on who offers us the best returns. We are corrupting this system at the highest level and then we are expecting the lower levels to be the most honest people. How can this be possible? My disillusionment for the political class keeps getting deeper. I am now convinced that money makes the mare go.
Thank God a few institutions are still upholding the Constitution of India. Otherwise this country if left to the people who know how to manipulate the system would have sold this country out by now. I was amazed to hear the hard work and toil the political workers were claiming to have done. The midnight oil that they burnt as if they were going to sort out Pakistan. They claim to have won a battle and appeared fatigued sitting in their offices and roaming the streets as aimless nomadic workers. The bursting of crackers and dancing on the streets was as if the enemy had been conquered. The rejoicing and celebrations continued through the night. Who paid for all that? Someone needs to take an account of that too. I see the waste of money in every electoral process irrespective of the political inclinations and affiliations.
Well folks, I am now looking forward to more Kabaddi of the political kind in 2019. Will I see team Lotus Giants lifting the “acche din cup”? I don’t know. Do the Handcrafters stand a chance to bounce back, I have my serious doubts, is there any other team capable enough, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!