Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: OROP

MY NEW DEFENCE MINISTER

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!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

IN CASH AND BODY BAGS A SOLDIER PAYS HIS TAXES

 

I was going through the summary of the GST bill sent to me on social media. I came to know that it has been tabled as a “money bill”. Well it is all about money going out of my pocket so I tried to find out what does it mean. Folks I gave up moment I saw the text of the money bill. I suggest don’t waste your time looking at it. The gist is that Rajya Sabha has just to go through certain paces for formality sake on such bills. People there may fret and fume and pick faults in the bill but the last laugh will be had by Sir Jaitley and his team in the Lok Sabha as they can show a “THENGA” to the upper house. What the states are going to do is obviously clear. Resistance might be there from only non BJP states, so dear common man will it be good, bad or ugly for you, time will tell.

Be that as it may. I would like to know, will there be only one tax on my Colgate and Thums up? Not that I use any. Will my carry home income increase with this bill? Will my income tax reduce? Will goods be cheaper? Will availability of items increase from the PM to my Bai who may prefer to use a “daatun” instead of paste. For PM Sahib it is herbal and natural besides Baba Ramdev recommends it and for my bai it’s free and readily available from the jungle. No VAT and this that needs to be paid.

FM Sahib, you pay me a pay/pension depending whether I am serving or retired and you tax it at source. I have no issues with that. Then you lay down how much will be tax free and how much won’t be. No issues with that too. Then you lay down income slabs on a sliding scale, I grant you that also. You also give me ways and means to save my money under 80-100cc category or whatever. Tell me one thing, if I have to earn to save why I earn in the first instant. If I have to earn and put it back in a scheme then why is my pay scale fixed? Why don’t you lay down that this much amount will be reduced, this will be put in compulsory saving till you retire, and this much I will take back for the government? Period! Why do you want me to fill forms and show you how much you gave me and how much I owe you and how much I have paid you back, and in case if I don’t pay by 31st March you further add a penalty to it. What nonsense this is! My pay scales are fixed by you, then why keep deducting. Do it once for all and save me this tension of filing returns. Half the times I am posted at places where you don’t provide me the net and most of the times how hard I try I can’t make out head or tail what to fill in where, though you claim filing is a cake walk. My foot! Please save me this agony also sir like you are doing for the GST. Tax me once and then let me relax for life time.

I have some more issues with you sir. OK fine you tax my pay, pension now you tax my pension plus pay as I am now working for a corporate. Firstly, you put me at a disadvantage when I come to the civil world as I am seen as a person with double income. They don’t realise I gave 25 years or more for this nation unflinchingly and earned my pension. Secondly, certain people don’t want to pay taxes as they say most of it goes in the pay and pensions of people like me and the balance goes to feed all “sarkari damads” like the parliamentarians. Out of every rupee only some part reaches the beneficiary rest is siphoned off due to your enacted laws and poor administrative controls. I can forgive them as they know not what they say about me but you all need to find answers for your part.

If I have paid you the tax which was due on my pay and say I save some of it which I put it in FD, you charge me tax on its interest also. What the hell? Then you add that interest to my rest of the income and tax it again. If the scale tips over to the next tax bracket there is a quantum jump on the tax which I have to dish out. I decide to buy a house from my savings. I pay you tax again including all swach bharat, beti parhao, kissan cess etc. The bank’s loan me the amount and charge me interest where as my pay comes in that bank only.  You give me a tax rebate equivalent to peanuts on housing loan, where do I go? When builders fund you and your parties then no one opens his mouth but the builder opens his mouth wide when he charges me with all taxes and cess’ and half the thing he wants under the table. I buy a vehicle and for that I pay registration fee, insurance, road tax, environment tax and you name it. I paid so much of income tax to built roads then you charge me road tax besides you don’t let me off without paying toll tax too. Is it right? I go to a dhaba I pay no taxes on what I eat. I go to a restaurant and the last five lines are taxes and charges for what I ate. Depending on the type of eatery, they charge many times the amount for the ambiance and a waiter and you want me to pay the government of India for giving my daughter a treat. Isn’t it ironical FM sahib? I don’t mind paying for a rail ticket as the railways have definitely improved; unfortunately there has been an accident today.

If you really see the soldiers, they actually are paying taxes to the nation by putting their lives at stake for you people who don’t understand their worth and treat them as cannon fodder. One political decision to sort out Kashmir has been delayed by you for donkey’s years. How many more body bags would be sufficient? How many lost legs and limbs do you want? How many widows and orphans do you want for this nation to run in terms of taxes my dear sirs? Don’t we protect you in the close cordons when you as MPs move around in bullet proof cars? A man hangs on to a modified footrest to protect you and still you want us to pay taxes. If you are the chosen one of the people why do you need any protection from your own people?

You have one rank called MP, with one pay and one pension. You thrive on our money and want us to pay you both in cash and body count, how sad! You keep getting paid as you never feel like retiring. We soldiers take oath to dedicate ourselves to the nation even at the peril of our lives and you people want us to perpetually remain in peril and continue to be martyred without you people being harmed. We obey the rules laid down by you and you snatch away what we earn. We are still magnanimous to give you back enough in taxes and personal sacrifices, which you mismanage for obvious reasons. Some of us luckily survived, we have grown old and weak and silently sit at Jantar Mantar peacefully to make you realise that it is high time you gave us our due sirs. Are you listening yea members of parliament? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE DR ROY BUT NOT THE MEDIA

 

I still remember the good old Doordarshan days when the same bearded man used to present “The World This Week”. It used to be a treat to listen to him. As time went by we used to wait for a cassette of “NEWS TRACK”, which used to come free with the yearly subscription of India Today. Besides the news coverage it was more to watch Madhu Trehan. Madam please take it as a compliment. The shape of news, views and discussions changed over the years. One can call it an evolution of the fourth estate. From gagging of the media during emergency and what it is today, it is a total transformation. We now have big fights, we kick each other left, right and center, and we also have to bear with the noise hour. There was one guy who used to be the devil’s advocate too. Mirch, masala, fresh tadka is the only way for any news channel to survive. I have had my share of love and hate kind of relationship with the way media is doing its job. I stopped watching WWF fights on news debates long back as the whole time it appeared fake, cooked up and playing to the galleries. What I want to highlight today is how a media house can be so pious and holy that they are feeling bad when they have been raided by the IT department.

“We the people” today are very much aware how the media houses function. “Sold” is a mild word is the general perception. However neutral they may claim to be, however outspoken they may assert to be, however frank and honest they may say they are, however candid and blunt their opinions may be, however fearless and daring news feeds they might deliver, however loudly they may outshout the co-panelists’, however they may claim to get the highest TRP ratings and eye balls from figures plucked out of thin air, however smart and good looking newsreaders and debate conductors might be. I am convinced as a common man that every channel has an agenda; every channel wants to claim they broke the news first. Thank God they are not deployed along the security forces otherwise they may stake claims that they are the first ones to shoot the enemy and the terrorists.

Here starts my bone of contention, Dr Roy not with you but with the media as such. It is the way media people have degraded the armed forces by airing whatever media thought is right. Earlier I never used to see any retired defence personnel on TV but then a new trend in journalism started. Many retired officers joined the ranks of media houses and used their links and pinks to get as much information they could for news to sell. There came a time when the newsreaders were in bunkers when the Kargil war happened. People were covering ground zero in Afghanistan. Ex Indian Army officers were invited to the glaciers, aircraft carriers, submarines etc. With this exposure and intimacy to the forces grew and matured. Then some channels in the garb of freedom of speech started tarnishing the armed forces in public. Here I started to veer off the news and the anchors conducting such shows.

Well, if you can put the armed forces to scrutiny from the chopper scam, to intelligence failures, to tactical mistakes, to human rights violations, to ketchup Colonels, to booze Brigadiers, to date of births issues, to equipment and procurement scams, to watery dal, to encounter killings, to eliminating the Burhan wani kinds, to tying a stone pelter to the jeep, basically after getting a foothold into the military environment and to try and sneak into all matters military which the media have no business to open their mouth about. This has resulted in so much of morale shattering air time that words cannot describe. So why there is an issue when media is being scrutinised under the tax mans lens.

NDTV has put out the news that it is political vendetta because a BJP spokesperson was shooed out of one show. Well, so be it. People like Brakha Dutt when she was with NDTV went to cover the poor school teachers kid called burhan wani and the plight of his family and various other people affected by pellets and bullets. She made her career covering Kargil war sitting with Capt Vikram Batra saying “ye dil mange more” to shoot to fame. Well, it now pains me to see the way news anchors have torn apart our army and Army Chief when he said what he had to say about the militants, stone pelters and their supporters. I think the media has grown too big for its boots and such raids serve them right. Media needs to be put into place, let it be Dr Roy or any media head for that matter. Who is a congress supporter or a BJP supporter is not the issue either? The issue is who maligns and tarnishes the image of the armed forces. Yes media may claim that they have done many welfare programmes for the armed forces. Well let me tell you it is no big shake to get Priyanka, Priety or Anushka to the operational areas. They are kids of the forces and they will oblige anytime to boost the morale of the forces, maybe at their own cost unlike your sponsors.

I had been following the news channels which used to bring the Pakis for debates in the prime time. Initially I enjoyed when many of our panelists’ gave them a good amount of bashing but soon those guys got the hang of it and gave it back. They had the audacity to call my country and its Prime Minster names, thanks to the media. We were abused and threatened by those pipsqueaks, which was again not palatable to me. All this was done in the garb of a balanced debating. The amount of disservice that can be done to this nation and the way they abused our decorated veterans was pathetic the least I can say. Enough is enough.

Well, I am not in favour of such a free press where any news anchor can speak poorly about the armed forces or admonish a member of parliament or a politician live on air. These MPs sit there and can do nothing about it as they cannot take “pangas” with the media. Well, Media people, you may show your arrogance, misbehaviour, manner less attitude etc to the politicians but kindly leave the people in uniform and veterans alone. We toil for you so that you can air your programmes, remember that. Media doesn’t save the nations integrity; it is the man on the border who does. You may fire your bites on air but the person who faces the enemy’s bullets with petty perks and privileges’ remains in the background and anonymity. He is asking for his well deserved one rank one pension which you people have just not given any coverage because it didn’t matter to the media. How sad! I suggest the government should raid all the media houses today and tell them to take a swallow of the same bitter pill they have been dishing out to the forces. Will the media act responsibly in future? I wonder!!!!!!!!

THE RAKSHA MANTRI OF INDIAs JOB IS FOR ME

THE RAKSHA MANTRI OF INDIAs JOB IS FOR ME

BY

LT COL NOEL ELLIS (RETD)

15/III/2017

Rumours were one thing which we were told to stay away from while in the forces. Now that I am a veteran, I can at least hear rumours and get carried away by them. I saw RM becoming the CM and another CM being considered to become the RM. Well, Mr Parrikar is already on his Goan beaches but who will fill his void is the rumour. Personally, I have nothing against anyone but technically I can guarantee, if a person of non defence background can do the job of the RM then I definitely can do it 439.09% better. If not then Ghasita Ram Halwai will also fit into the job. The PM is now pushing this country’s luck too far to dream of the unthinkable. My apprehensions will be confirmed that “andha bante rewri apne apne ko de”. Irony is that my armed forces will now have to “reinvent” warfare once again if this rumour is anywhere near to be true.

As a CM of a state he may be doing wonders but at the national level if the PM is seeing the potential of putting some CM as the RM then there must be something in him. My issue is not with this person, but what I am going to ask the PM is that he has a few well trained armed forces veterans, duly elected and rearing to go to do something for the armed forces. Then why has he not thought about them. I talk of Ex Army Chief, Gen VK Singh and Maj Gen BC Khanduri. Gen VKS is looking after foreign affairs well and Gen Khanduri has been a CM of a state, with an illustrious Army career, as also a fruitful political tenure in his kitty. With their experience as ground soldiers could there be a better choice to be RM of this country. Many veterans also wear the political caps, so if the cabinet of ministers could be shuffled sometime back, why can’t RM be a veteran that too with firsthand experience?

I can understand that the parliamentary committee decides who gets which portfolio but may I know from the PM what the criterion is for RM? Who decides such an important appointment? The RM is virtually on the mat answering for all shady defence deals. He is fighting war, terrorism, insurgency, shortages of men, material, equipment and ammunition from the deserts of Rajasthan to the icy heights of Siachen? Well, I won’t quote Field Marshal Sam Bahdur here who knew that they don’t know the difference between a guerrilla and a gorilla, a magazine and a magazine, a gun and a howitzer. Will a netaji know the difference between a phased array radar and an over the horizon radar, the difference between LC and LoC? He won’t know the difference between the Radcliff line and the McMahon line. He might know the actor Mac Mohan as Samba of Sholay fame. He won’t know the difference between the hitch knot and a reef knot and he would be dealing with submarines of the nuclear kinds. Will he know hand and flag signals? I am sure he would know light signals as was done in the movie Titanic. Would he know that there is something called a rotor down wash or nape of earth flying? Will he know that the most important nut in a helicopter is called the Jesus nut?

My questions continue. Will he explain the difference between a two men trench and an LMG trench? Will he understand a crow bar, of course he would know of a crow and a bar girl. Will he know the difference between a safety catch and a safety match, Shikari position and dhava position? Will he know chizen 6-S aur ek-M ki vajah se dikhti hain? Will he know what a bridge head is? He may know an ex girlfriend called Bridgett all right. Will he be able to pronounce Taknakpaktso? Will he know the difference between “tashi dileg” and “julle”? I am sure he must have seen this movie called Julie 100 times. Navy guys you better avoid saying “aye-aye” sir, or it may be misconstrued as saying something about his mom in Marathi.

He might be navigating on the GPS of his mobile phone alright, but can he indicate targets seeing through his Eye ball Mark-II. Can he tell me as to how many degrees are there in his hands? I hope he doesn’t refer this to his geometry teacher or a palmist? In defence there is no politics. Things are either black or white. We don’t like the shades of grey. We identify friends from foe. We love our friends and eliminate our foes. Yes, the only thing we don’t know is politics of any kind.

If the qualification of the defence minister is to sit in south block and just sign deals, then I am the best person. I can assure you, the Finance Minister will dread coming in front of me because I shall sit right in front of his office till he gives me funds. The transport minister will have to stop all projects and work on the border roads till the time I am satisfied that all posts and my last man is well connected. Pakistan will tremble because they shall be getting 10 times the dose of each cease fire violation. All the fodder that the media gets about food not being good, shahayaks etc will be sorted out within days of my taking over. All welfare schemes for the ex-servicemen would be implemented within the first year. War widows and orphans would be my personal responsibility for which I shall create a special wing in my ministry. All cases in any courts pending will be sorted out on priority and no one will be begging for his rights. Yes Mr PM, all my manpower in terms of officers and men will be made up even if I have to make another Indian Military Academy and National Defence Academy or both. Defence of my country and morale of my men will be my first priority always and every time. There will be no income tax for any fauji, serving or retired whatsoever. If kissans and doctors have this privilege so will we have it? If you won’t listen to me, I will sit in front of your office Mr PM till you condescend to the needs of this RM. Do you have the guts to take me?

I know the answers to all questions I asked above. Be rest assured Mr PM I will do it if I have said it provided you give me a chance. We are waiting for the promised ache din. Sir, you have qualified manpower for the most coveted post. If you don’t appoint them, then I am available. They chose to become dhotiwalas to understand the political system and are now waiting for you to give a nod. If you don’t appoint veterans, then may I request all veterans in the present cabinet to resign? Will they? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

DEFENCE MINISTRY OF INDIA IS HEADLESS

The lotus has bloomed at many places this Holi, the hand shook hands with some, the broom failed to sweep, the cycle was damaged beyond repair and the rest is history. What has been gained and what has been lost in these elections that time will tell. I wish the parties all the best now to fulfil their dreams and desires to take the states to new horizons. This was obvious in pre poll bhashans, now I would like to see that whatever you were unhappy about improves drastically. I know it will need time, but I am an impatient voter. I have brought you in for a change. I voted for you for purely selfish reasons. I look forward to see Achhe din, from all the parties which will make governments. If you guys fail me, I will have no choice but to bear with you for the next five years otherwise I shan’t give you another chance.

My issue today is how can national priorities be less significant than the party priorities? How can the nation be left into a lurch in guise of peoples need, for whatever reasons. Well let me put it point blank, because I am from a defence community which bears the brunt by losing lives in line of duty every day. Yes friends, I am not happy with the decision of moving the defence minister. Imagine, in one day a man who was responsible for everything related to defence will suddenly now go back from where he came. All the hard work which he might have put in, all the policies which he would have evolved, all the decisions he would have taken, the style of functioning which he would have brought in for the working of the defence ministry would change overnight.

The people of Goa have decided that he should be the Chief Minister. What were the people of Goa doing till now? Let all of us from the armed forces also send a petition to the PM that the country’s defence is more important than one state. I cannot list out what Mr Parrikar has done for the forces since taking over which the Chiefs can answer better. In fact they should be the ones who should be consulted whether it would be prudent to move him immediately.  On the other hand it was quite surprising that India did not have an exclusive Defence Minister till Mr Jaitley shifted to pure finance. I am upset, how can we be so casual and callous about a post which is involved in real battle day in and day out with both the internal and external enemies. We have deals in the pipe line which no one else but the defence minister would have lined up. There would be policies which would have been worked out in great details which the new incumbent would take at least a year to understand especially OROP and details of 7th pay commission (selfish me). There would be Secrets which would only be known to the defence minister and now it would be known to another minister and in case he too changes then one can understand how many ears would know and how many mouths will speak. Official secrets act is good for just signing on the first on Jan every year that’s all. Defence deals can be done by bureaucrats, minister saab was just a stamp it appears.

Politics and especially this kind of politics increases my dislike for the people who do it. I am convinced now that the arrogance of winning is getting to the head. I have to be prepared for such decisions which now will be taken more often. Who am I to even think of questioning it? Had BJP not got the desired number of seats which they got today in Goa, could they have dared to think of making a government? Mr Parrikar would have continued to be defence minister. Today, the defence ministry is headless. Had the PM been so much in love with his desh and desh wasis he should have first announced that who will be the replacement of the defence minister. Goa is not running away to the Portuguese again but every second delayed in terms of a defence decision will surely lead to some enemy taking advantage of the situation. I wish this contingency should have been thought out well in advance. Before firing India’s defence minister to Goa, a successor should have been geared up. I hope now someone with a defence background is put in that chair, enough of tomfoolery.

Politics if compared to Holi proves by the end of the day one cannot make out the real face of a person. That is what I see happening at the highest political level. People are changing colours so fast in the name of party and politics that the real intention of the face and person is getting blurred. This nation cannot progress if we do not grow above party politics. India is being harmed like hell in the name of what people want.  Politicians in power are being too self-centred. What the neta’s want; it is my party, my win, my man, my ideas which are being plastered on the common man forgetting why we became national leaders. I conjecture the aim was to get in more members to the Rajya Sabha and votes for the presidential Electoral College so as to bring in your man as President of this country. For this the PM and his cabinet camped away from the real place of work for days. Aim achieved, bills will now be passed faster, our men will be in the highest positions, colour of the mask does matter, colour of the scarf does matter, the man behind the mask need not matter.

All these are my apprehensions folks; I am seeing a change in the Indian polity, which is definitely required. I know to take tough decisions; the colour of the party dress has to be the same. I also agree that some decisions may not be palatable to everyone like this one of side stepping the Defence Minister for selfish reasons as I see it. I would only request the PM, that sir; defence is no joke, nor child’s play. Kindly be serious and let us not leave the defence ministry headless. Such appointments should never be touched even if party pressures force you to do it, otherwise comedians can also fit the bill of the defence minister. Will you get the deeper meaning of what I plead Mr PM? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

PHIR BHI MERA BHARAT MAHAN

Political drama continues, not just in Tamilnadu, but wherever there are politicians, more so where ever the PM is giving “bhashans”. ISRO continues to blast rocket after rocket with foreign satellites, Kiran Rijiju continues to tweet on Christians vs Hindus. Soldiers continue to be martyred every day, wreaths continue to be laid, last posts continue to be played, tri-colours continue to be draped, widows continue to increase, orphans continue to cry but our parliamentarians are so busy doing politics that who is running this country intrigues me. I continue to be convinced that our democracy which is “of the people” is now limited to “of the representatives of people”, “for the people” needs to be replaced by “for just the politicians”, “by the people” needs to be replaced “by the ministers and bureaucrats”. The man, who needs democracy, gets rules, regulations, legislations, laws, red tape and procedures. The man who should enjoy the benefits of the system has to keep filling forms after form, to prove that he exists and is alive. The convicts rule states and maybe the country someday, as they know our courts and there procedures take donkeys years to say that a thief is a thief. Mera Bharat Mahan.

The system in the country has become so cumbersome that all those who know how to manipulate the system are actually benefitting from it. The people who understand rules of the game also know what foul to commit and get away with it. They may get a yellow card or even a red one, but are never out of the game. They know that sometimes the DRS or a referral will not be able to catch their folly, so they play on. At least the real sportspersons retire, here the politicians have no retirement age, and they continue playing as spoil sports knowing full well that they have run out of steam and stamina. Oldies don’t want to give young blood a chance to prove their mettle. Sad state of affairs and our people are blind like the “andha kanoon”. It happens only in India.

We the people have now become so brainwashed that we can vote for anyone who will get our adhar card or ration card made. Now that it’s made what next, so the promise of bijli, which is the oldest jumla motivates me to vote for a person. In the first elections he gets you the bijli ka pole, and tells you, see I fulfilled half my promise, second elections he gets wires mounted on these poles, you are more excited that see this person is doing what he said, third elections he gets you a transformer. By the fourth election you are fed up, and in the interim now this fellow knows that he will be booted out, he curses all and sundry and gets you solar powered lights. Catchy ads are made, whole family is eating together, children are shown studying, kitchens are brightly lit up, even the buffaloes look shiny in the lights and one more election passes by. Next elections bijli really comes and you out of sheer happiness to see it in your house die of a heart attack. The solar lights last a year or so and find no replacement. Now the power cuts also start. Your tube well doesn’t run, your home is in darkness, so you start to hang clothes on the electric lines. People just keep looking up to the poles as if they can see the current coming and lighting up the street lights. By now this politician is about to kick the bucket. He promises to fight till his last breath for bijli and one fine day he passes away. Your dreams also are “switched off” as he is laid to rest with full state honours.

Next person comes; he says sarak has to go through our village. You say yes. Your land is on the road map, you are promised some compensation X, but you get X minus the politicians cut, or else you get nothing, you compromise and accept it. You lagao “angootha” on all the papers and find that your cultivable land gone for the national cause. As a compromise for that you are promised some days of employment in MANREGA. You are employed to make the embankments of the roads, and by the time the survey is finished time for new elections arrives. The topic changes this time to “beti parhao”. Wow you say, I have two daughters and one son, one I will make a doctor, one an engineer and the son a fauji. The neighbour tells you, ghar mein nahin hain daane aur amma chali bhunane. You say doesn’t matter, I shall go hungry but my children will study. Issue is there is no school in the village; the nearest one is five kilometres away across a river. You say, no worries, and send them and find out later that there are no teachers there, and all those recruited fill in their proxies from their homes. You complain, one news channel lands up, gets hold of the education department, your children now study, by then the government changes again. So now the politician says let’s have a “shauchalya” in schools and one in your house too. You say I live in a cow shed, clean cow potty from morning till evening I can’t afford one.  Well, sarkar pays for a portion of it and you make one at home too. But you don’t have water to flush. So now comes the next promise, as “pani” for all.

Your daughters grow up, they have passed high school, now college is in the town, and you can’t afford to send them. Family pressures take over, and you get them married before it is too late. They turn 18 one by one. Your major portion of land already grabbed by government for the road, the remaining sold for the wedding of your first daughter, the house sold for the second one. Son joins the fauj, but soon is martyred in a militant encounter. His young wife and a small child now becomes your responsibility. You sell off the cattle too. His pension doesn’t get through; you don’t have the energy to fight the case. You approach your elected representative, who says that he has better things to do. You are unemployed, landless, cattle less, bijli-less, sarak-less, pani-less and pension less. You feel shattered but life goes on.

Na bijli, na sarak na pani, time now for the next jumla, health care for all. You have grown old, health issues have started, so you say; let me vote for a person who will at least look after my health. Every night you go to bed coughing, even the cattle get disturbed, the dog under you bed also snarls as his two winks are cut short by your snores and one fine day you are in heaven. No worries of children, land, bijli pani and voting. Suddenly you find you don’t need currency or anything of that sort. Well, this is how our country actually runs. Promise to promise, sarkar to sarkar, tenure to tenure, jumla to jumla and life of a common Indian citizen ends doing noon-tel-lakri (making two ends meet).

Well, instead of make in India, I say lets WAKE UP India. Far too long have we voted these people who have manipulated our lives? We do the hard work, we toil, we sweat and we shed blood?  What do we get in return from them? I definitely dream of just living a normal, healthy and safe life with the basic amenities, leave the fundamental rights etc aside. I want two square meals a day, which every Indian irrespective of caste, creed, religion or region he belongs deserves. Dear present lot of politicians, will you understand the pain the common citizen has to suffer or should we SHAKE YOU UP if we just get only false promises of Achhe din. I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE NEW ARMY CHIEF

Congratulations Gen Rawat for being nominated to take over the world’s best Army. My congratulations to the new Air Chief designate Air Marshal Dhanoa too. Both of you have herculean tasks ahead. May God grant you the wisdom, strength and acumen to carry them out in a professional manner and may you also do something to stop this constant bickering amongst certain people especially the disgruntled lot. They only find faults with anything and everything, including your appointments. Well, in today’s world everyone has a birthright to crib and squabble. Everyone has his own favourites, likes, dislikes and everyone has his point of view. Now that the government has taken a decision, accept it and be done with it, the sooner the better. If someone can change this decision, then do it and if you can’t then let these people do their jobs.

Yes I feel bad for Gen Bakshi, he was my instructor in ACC&S long time ago, but maybe there are better things in store for him. I personally feel very bad for Gen Hariz, as I personally know him, and we wore the same RECCE & SP (TR) badge. Naturally guys, if given a choice to me I shall chose him first being from the Mech fraternity, in fact my second choice would have been Gen Bakshi as I have a soft corner for him, being from the Mech forces again and having been my “ustad” many   moons back. Gen Rawat would have been my third choice, as I don’t know him at all. I believe he is a very highly decorated officer, and I am sure the merit system must have been put in place before the final decision to appoint him was taken. I have no doubts. So why is there so much fretting and fuming amongst the armed forces fraternity. Now some politicians, who don’t know the D of Defence, and A of Attack, have also jumped in and trying to gain political mileage for no reason.

Ok let us for the time being just assume that a person X has been appointed the Army Chief. So what are the expectations from him today is one part of the question. The second part is that what he should do for the army to make it the fittest fighting machine against all adversaries. Now, the expectations would differ with who needs what, so let’s take the ex-servicemen for instance. They want the OROP to be implemented as they are already tired of protesting and look at you as a messiah. The serving want the 7th pay commission recommendations implemented tomorrow, with all anomalies removed. Thirdly, I will like to pay no income tax, for which I would like to push Gen X to fight with the government tooth and nail from the day he takes over. I would like MS branch disbanded, as they never give any choice posting ever. In fact when you say you don’t want Delhi they send you to Delhi. I remember telling them to leave me in the unit as it was my last chance to appear in Staff College, they posted me to an Assam rifles unit, that too under a sector HQ RR in the Kashmir valley. Thank God I passed the exam from there.

Here after come the real wishes that every commander should have a Mercedes Benz as a staff car, every CO to have a Range rover, then only every Lt Col and below may get a gypsy. All are made in India now. I would like to have free rations to be picked up from big basket and home delivered even if I am in field. If they can’t deliver there then Gen Sir the same should be delivered to where my family stays, extra bread, eggs and butter included. I would like to have all the in lieu items of ration once in a while. I may be excused from paying electricity and rent of any kind to the government for any kind of house or furniture which is provided to me. I would like the MES also to be disbanded and people like L&T or HCC to build for the army. I won’t talk about DRDO now, but take them under your wings. I would like to have any other pen in place of “Pen Wilson” from my ACG funds.  My quota of liquor needs to be increased to 24 bottles irrespective whether I drink them or not. These are just a few demands Chief, in case you are capable of getting me all this, then my vote is for you, otherwise, I shall curse the system till cows come home. One more thing, the railways and the airlines have to give me and my family confirmed seats free of cost, then I will consider you as the man who matters.

Now comes the other items on the agenda which might be required for national interest. We want the best of guns; best of equipment, best of clothing, best of transport, and best of you name it. In case the government cannot provide all these within 4 months of you taking over, I want you to put in your resignation the next day. Then I would say that you have the guts to shake the government. You have to get all pay and allowances cleared or else put up your resignation, then I shall consider you to be the Chief with certain principals. All tanks, all ammunition has to be made up and all CAPEX utilised in the first year of your taking over, otherwise you will send your resignation to the President along with your yearly report on the fitness of the Army. Then will I consider you to be worth your salt. You have to sort out Pakistan, without a single casualty, and Pakistan should be on its knees, before the next Army commander’s conference you chair. Then probably you would meet our standards to be the army chief. I want you to be a “Panga” taker, at the peril of your job and my list is never ending.

Well ladies and gentlemen, enough of fiction, enough of day dreaming, and enough of bak-bak. Given a choice, I would love to sit in the bar of Le Meridian, and fight a war on social media and destroy all my enemies while having a glass of beer. Can a Chief do what we expect out of him, or is he made the chief to do what the Nation and the Supreme Commander wants him to do within the means that the country can afford. I am sure there is ample space of improvement and ample budget available for everything. But can procedures and systems be bypassed. Is the Chief going to fight those tactical battles at ground level or is he going there for strategic thinking and implementation? Is the chief going to forecast the Army in 2050, or is he going to be the “fire fighter in chief”; that he keeps dousing one fire after the other. Are we as field commanders doing our bit to make life easy for him to fight the political bigwigs? Are we doing our bit to ensure that the chief doesn’t keep rushing from post to post? Friends he has seen enough of posts, now it is our turn to defend the country and defend it to the best of our abilities. No more heads severed and taken away, no more failed infiltrations bids. Let us sort these buggers out for our senior commanders to do what they are meant to do.

Well, had I become the chief I would have done it all, however, I would have been thrown out on day one for my dislike of politics and the politicians. I feel bad when people bring in the communal angle of a “Bhulla” and a “Kancha” in between. Not warranted and not done. My best wishes to the ones who missed out on this and God Bless and God Speed to you Gen Rawat. I am waiting for the day when my course mate becomes a chief of either of the services. Maybe then I may come to know what goes into making a Chief, and then I may also ask him how uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. I am really waiting for that day, but will they tell me the inside story? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

REFLECTIONS ON THE YEAR GONE BY

 

As I reflect on my year gone by, I remember making no new year’s resolutions. The reason was simple, so that I don’t break any. But I promised to myself, that I will pursue my hobbies of writing and gardening. At the end of the year as I reflect on them you all will be surprised that I wrote about 70 articles and could not complete 25, they are half written and shall stay in my memoirs. By the way there are still 15 days for the year to end; I may land up writing a few more. On the gardening front my efforts have started paying me. All those who are connected to me on face book would know, and I feel satisfied and content. A few days back I remember promising to myself to start enjoying the sunrise and sunsets, the breeze, the moon, the sea basically nature and I feel that nothing else gives me more solace and peace. My thoughts are calm; my day starts with cheerfulness as my blooming flowers give me so much of tranquillity & peace of mind that words can’t express.

I remember last year, thanks to the social media and the mobile networks, I was flooded with New Year messages and blessings. I think the blessings have helped me and my family tremendously. As time went by came Holi, and the wishes of the festival of colours were galore. The colourful messages really cheered me up; the choice of words in all messages was amazing as if they all were meant for me personally. Time went by came Dussera and Diwali, and again the victory of good over evil messages helped me to kill the evil in me, the festival of lights lifted my spirits and of course there was Eid and Gur Purabs where the blessings of Allah and Waheguru touched my soul, and now comes Christmas again, the festival of peace, happiness & joy which will be followed by another new year. New resolutions, new reflections, new associations and everything new is about to start again. So let me now reflect on a few things gone by and yet to come. Maybe we all can draw our conclusions thereafter.  So let me wish you folks a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year in advance. God bless every friend of mine abundantly.

We have had the worst year as far as the Indo-Pak relations were concerned. With China too I would say has been a year of ups and downs. We had our share of martyrs’ and we too did the surgical strikes. Earth quakes, typhoons, plane crashes continued in various parts of the world. Our parliament went to a new low where all we saw was no business happening per se. Statistics can claim that X number of bills were passed but were passed with hardly any deliberations. A personal attack on each other, use of un-parliamentary language has become the name of the game. Demonetisation or remonetisation is a new thing which came to light after years. The valley saw its lowest ebb. Now with Mehbooba mufti giving 4 Lakhs to Burhan Wani’s kin was like adding salt to our wounds. Well, the dance of democracy continues and is slowly transformed into “Democrazy”, but this country moves on. Mamta has been in a fight with one and all, Kejriwal doesn’t know whom to fight with or what to fight for, Rahul baba is trying to become a leader, but fails to impress me by miles, Mayawati and her written speeches shows how well read she is, Jaitley ki kately is brewing lassi of a different kind instead of tea, Amma has left no one to take over her legacy. Even then we are firing rocket after rocket and sending satellites one after the other. Corruption continues, political mis-governance continues, gareeb remains gareeb, real estate bubble doesn’t burst, banking woes continue, ATTA BHI MEHNGA, CHEENI BHI MEHNGI, MEHNGA HAR SAAMAN, FIR BHI MERA BHARAT MAHAN.

OROP, has any one heard about it? I am sure we all must have, but PM Sahib, when will your good governance reflect on it? We have deposited our life certificates already. I dread if you push the dates to the next financial year for its implementation. We the ex-servicemen are still as disciplined as we were when we were in uniform in fact more disciplined now. We haven’t behaved like the gujjars or the jat agitation, though our forces have numerous people from that community. Hanumanthappa’s are still getting buried in avalanches while defending this country.  It is matter of shame for me to see an ex Air force Chief under CBI custody, well I feel a little taken aback. If he is involved, let him get a boot, but one has to set the system right once for all, but if he isn’t, how will his image be restored. I am also awaiting the 7th pay commission. Now that the sarkar has collected so much mullah in the banks, will it part with the booty? Hoping against hope to see that implemented too. I really want to see the ache din and soon. Dear Mr PM, are you listening?

This year has seen TATA in turmoil, a rarity of kinds. Such things can also happen, in fact in this country anything can happen. Rahul baba can trigger an earth quake in parliament if he is allowed to speak. Kejriwal can cure cough by coughing out scam after scam of all governments. I can put any allegation on you and get away scot free is the game of the day. The only positive note I find in all this mess is that I believe Arnab has left his job. What a relief it must be to the viewers! His fans must be now waiting for his channel to be launched. Hope he doesn’t. Mr PM why can’t there be a cap on news channels, like you have put a cap on withdrawal on cash from a bank. Why can’t there be a limit of words, and the correct decibel level laid down for these channels? Moment you exceed any of them CBI should take over the channel and Supreme Court should suo-motto charge the news anchor for “breaking the news”. Anyways, I don’t watch them anymore, and I don’t feel like reading the news paper also anymore, so no news is good news. Good riddance to bad rubbish I suppose.

I am also looking forward to something new on the social media. Except for posts of a very few people I don’t even care to open the attachments. My good morning list from people who never wished me earlier has gotten so long, that the morning doesn’t look as good any more. Whatsapp, has become such a nuisance that within minutes one finds 345 messages unread, imagine 345 notification bells are difficult to bear, yes I can understand I can silence my phone, or that particular group notifications, but then why do I keep a cell phone that too a smart one. Face book is also losing its relevance, except I get reminded of birthdays of my good friends. I made a blog noelellisblog.com but except for the first 8 comments which some genuine friends happened to see, I find only spammers on it trying to sell me porn or Viagra, or are willing to write stories for me. Well, that’s life. Twitter I don’t enjoy handling, so won’t comment. Mail has died its own death I suppose. Above all I find all those people who post internet links on mail or Whatsapp get no attention at all. I somehow do not like people who are just forwarders. Anyways, I have to bear with them in the coming years.

As a passing thought friends, let us unite to bring in positivity in our lives and all those who we come in contact with. The more we get embroiled in our mundane lives, the more we miss out on the little goodies that nature and God has showered upon us. Let us look after the environment, let us plant a tree and admire a flower, real flower not a flower on Whatsapp. Let us make someone whom we don’t know happy, let us just be good citizens, and in the bargain swach bharat etc will fall into place. I don’t know I may be sounding like a preacher all right, but I don’t preach through forwards, I tell you what I have decided to do, and I am going to spend time with my family and friends. I shall enjoy every moment of life. I shall try and become app savvy, well I now have to learn to pay through the paytm and other e-wallets to book an OLA cab, pay them through my mobile and carry on writing and improving my garden. Any suggestions friends, you are welcome to send them to me, but will you take my words positively, I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OPEN LETTER TO GEN VK SINGH

Yes ladies and gentlemen, how could I have stayed back without airing my views on the suicide of our Ex-serviceman Subedar Grewal at Jantar-Mantar, and the political fiasco thereafter? I would say there has been a military disaster too from none other than our great General VK Singh. Sir, I generally avoid passing remarks about any senior officers, but when it comes to calling a spade a spade I do not spare anyone. I do maintain the thin veil of decency, and military decorum when it comes to such seniors who gave all of us a ray of hope that they have entered politics for the Ex Servicemen and servicemen fraternity per say. We rejoiced when you led by example to personally supervise airlifts of our countrymen. We were kind of dead sure that here is our person who has made inroads into a political party in power, and you shall act as a messiah for all of us in uniform, and especially those who have hung their uniform like you. It saddens me that the perception you give of working for Modiji is far-far away from what we thought you would do. Anyways Sir, this is not the first time that when you have opened your mouth and instead of pearls of wisdom, worms have fallen, is my view, like it or lump it.

Now, do not hide behind politically correct statements and maro smart acts. Sir, we are not Bachhas or second termers which you may understand better. We may be junior to you in rank, we may be lower than you in protocol, we may be inferior to you in qualification, but we are way ahead in common sense and wisdom. Reasons, I shall let you know as I write this piece. The trigger to pen my thoughts did not start when you commented about his mental state which needed to be checked, but when you emphatically stated that he had become a Sarpanch on a “Congress” ticket. You also became an MP on a BJP ticket, is it an offence to be of any party or associate oneself with any party? How distasteful sir, how mean of you. How can you make such comment for a soldier who protected your assets when you were growing in ranks and were climbing the stairs to reach the Chiefs office? Sir, his boots on ground secured the installation which he guarded so instead of being remorseful and thankful, you added the unnecessary political flavor to it.

I have understood one thing, moment a General becomes a politician, he changes his colours, and now your OG blood has become saffron. The reality is that when OG and saffron meet, it turns into the ugliest shade of blackish grey, which is not pleasing at all. How can you switch loyalties within two years sir? Or is it your compulsions which make you take such decisions and utter such uncouth comments. I have never seen a uniformed person deflecting, twisting, polarizing, and politicizing above all screwing issues. We are known for using all possible problem solving tools, and here you have messed up in one sentence by saying he was a congress worker. Sir, he was a Sarpanch of the village, he was working for the grassroots; he was toiling for people from where democracy starts. He may not have been decorated in army or DSC career, but was awarded twice by none other than the Presidents themselves as a Sarpanch, and not like you the way you would have got your AVSMs and VSMs, I don’t even know what you got, and don’t care if you had them also.

Sir, your words initiated the chain reaction of politicians lining up for his funeral. The Congi vice president, for whom I have a very low opinion, also scored brownie points, thanks to you. Rest of the parties I don’t even care. In fact all the dhotiwalas and their supporters had no business to be there. In this solemn occasion of grief, it should just have been the military fraternity and the village members, laying to rest this old veteran. The announcements of money being done by another party, looked so degrading and cheap, as if he was begging for money while agitating for the OROP and pay commission anomalies. Isn’t it what we deserve? Isn’t it what is our rightful right?  Imagine Sir, besides his primary task of working as a Sarpanch of the village, he chose to fight for his rights, which have been denied by all governments till date. He felt and considered it his moral duty to support the cause which the Ex Servicemen have been agitating for since the last 567 days and more. It’s a pity to see many of your course mates and seniors, sitting on durries, under a shamiyana all these days. Many seasons have changed since the agitation peacefully started, but you and your government has yet to implement it. I was dreading the day when an ex-serviceman dies at Jantar-Mantar, and it has started with a suicide, how unfortunate. How heartless your government can be sir!

Sir, why have you not commented on the OROP issue till date? Why haven’t you adorned the Ex serviceman’s cap and walked into the Rakshamantri’s office to get to know firsthand how and where is the damn implementation is stuck. If you are aware of what is happening in the corridors of the north and south block about this issue, why haven’t you stood and persuaded the agitating veterans and convinced them to go home, that friends, I shall look after what is pending, you go home and wait. Why could you not get a time frame from the Government, saying, sir, I don’t like my fraternity sitting on dharna and hunger strike, as if we are beggars and culprits who are delaying the process. Sir, have some consideration and pity on the oldies, many of whom are suffering from medical ailments, but with a never die spirit.

Can you share with us today, truthfully, why did you join politics? Can you tell us why did you accept a BJP ticket? Can you tell us, why you are not the Defence Minister of the country? Can you tell us what has been your achievement as a second rung minister in the foreign ministry? Can you tell us how many times have you spoken in parliament to project the OROP issue? How many times have you asked the Prime Minister to set up a separate pay commission for the uniformed personnel? How many times have you threatened or challenged the Modi government for causes that were so close to your heart as an Army Chief. Or are you avoiding “pangas”. I don’t think you have ever been seen speaking on these issues, except visiting the Pakistani embassy wearing a green kurta pyjama. Sir, I speak for the common ex serviceman, who has no pull-push-link-pink-Maibaap-father-in-law, nothing in fauj or otherwise. This is what I think of you and many people like me do. People may shoot me down, doesn’t matter.

Sir, diplomacy, politically correct statements, diversionary tactics, loose comments, degrading words, polarizing thought process are not expected out of a person of your stature and rank. I would rather write another article in your praise if I see you putting in extra efforts for the veterans. I am sure you have obligations to the people who sent you to the parliament, but your obligation to the servicemen of the nation, and all those who served the nation before you, with you and who are still sacrificing themselves, for our tomorrow, is your prime responsibility. Hiding behind your party ideology comes second, but the men and the welfare of the men comes first always and every time sir, I am reminding you of that quote which you would have by hearted in IMA. Sir, we expect a lot from you. This congress BJP, AAP, etc means nothing to me at least. Why we are apolitical is because we do not trust politicians and stay away from politics? But we trust our generals with our lives. Are you going to honour our trust sir, or hide behind the political cloak? Will you stop being a sissy wearing a BJP mask and be a “Tiger” for the armed forces fraternity? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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