IndiaPolitics

Make Your Voice Heard: Change may come from within!

I doubt the politicians in India realize the frustrations of the ordinary people as to how they are behaving and governing the country! They do not realize how disillusioned the businesses are of them at messing things up repeatedly.

Worse, they do not realize how mad even our Defense Forces are at the treatment they are meted out. The long tradition has kept the officers strong but quiet. But those who shed blood thanklessly, will eventually start asking – WHY?

I got this from my Brother-in-law, who is in the Army. It is a talk that Maj Ashish Khanna gave at DSSC (Defense Services Staff College – an elite Defense Institution in India) few days back. His thoughts expressed here narrate to the present situation in the country and the status of our Armed Forces as they stand today in the political scenario.

You may like to send it across to other colleagues/friends. He did convey few words and feelings for his Dear Friends whom he lost so early in life.

****** *********

1. Gentlemen & Friends!! I want you to consider what a failed state is? Visualise events which would happen in a failed state and then think about certain events in a country, say “X”.

a. One state which was limping to normalcy is now entirely divided on communal lines like never before, due to sheer blunders made by X’s politicians and bureaucrats. 16 years of the sheer blood price that the Army has paid in stabilising this state has been wasted in one fell swoop.
b. In one state, 25 lakhs have been rendered homeless and on the brink of starvation while politicians squabble over votes and relief rations.
c. In one state, Hindus and Christians are killing each other over the murder of a minor politician who probably never deserved to live.
d. Eight states are helpless in the grip of Naxalites with an inefficient police cowering in their own police stations.
e. Four states have been swamped with forty years of insurgency. The entire demography is being changed forever. Still, major ldrs in power, consider all Bangladeshi immigrants as votebanks to fill their coffers. They refuse to see that if even one in a thousand, decides to plant a bomb in a rickshaw, you will have ten thousand bombs exploding in “X” country!
f. A recent trust vote in this country called “X”, saw cash thrown in its parliament and politicians being bought like cattle. All for a deal dying its own death in the NSG.
g. Serial bomb explosions in “X” do not count if there are less than three and if the total killed is less than 30. We move on.

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2. What is “X” today? Where is it shining?? Why has so much rot set in??? If the Defence Services of “X” were not shedding blood, what would the size of “X” be after sixty years of independence????

3. We have all fought and risked our lives, lots of times. While I have a family today, I will certainly do it again. At the very least, for the game and to retain the respect of the men I command. I have lost a lot of comrades, some in front of me. Two very dear friends, Paddy and Ganapathy died this very Independence Day, on a daring rescue mission in the North. They were brilliant, decent and brave soldiers, (coursemates of many of us here), who volunteered and died. They left behind three kids, all less than three years old. Paddy’s son is one month elder than mine. One day he will grow up to be as brilliant as Paddy was. The only tragedy is that no one, no one except their families will ever actually mourn them. In this, our very own premier Defence Institution, no mention whatsoever was made of this tragic loss and we all went back to our classes and joined the daily grind. Our rat race, to become good staff officers to cdrs, looking for Governor Appointments continues.

4. I have so much more to say about both, but I won’t digress. Suffice to say, that in our DSSC context, they did not give the entrance exam last year because they wanted to fly in Siachen as long as they could. Ganapathy was to move out on posting with his family in two days, on 17 Aug. Paddy’s posting was due. Yet, they both volunteered leaving behind broken wives to pack their last belongings and children who will never know their father, or what he died for in a thankless service and a callous country.

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5. Spare a moment from your mule and VTKM calculations. You could be next! Ask why the Services have been downtrodden over the years. Why was the Northerm Army Command not consulted on the ramifications of the Land Transfer Blunder? Why have more great soldiers like Sam Manekshaw, PS Bhagat and Arjan Singh never come out of our great army? If after Vietnam, the US middle level Officer Cadre could force a change in the entire country’s war doctrine, why can’t we? Who has perpetuated the post colonial myth, that the Army should always remain apolitical, something the British used, so effectively to slaughter our own native revolutionaries? Who answers to the sacrifices made by us, all these years? Who has allowed dirty, stinking politicians and corrupt bureaucrats to decide our own destinies??

6. The answer is us. This rot is endemic. We have done it in our own system and allowed it in our own callous nation. Make your voice heard. If you just can’t, then at the very least say a prayer for Maj Padmnabhan KE, Maj S Ganapathy and all our forgotten brothers. Goodbye my friends. I miss you.

Maj Ashish Khanna, SM

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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10 thoughts on “Make Your Voice Heard: Change may come from within!”

  1. I appreciate the sacrifice our Armed Forces are making to make sure that our country is safe. We Indians should come forward, acknowledge and reward our soldiers for their heroism. We need to take care of the families of our martyrs.

    In present times, security of a country is perhaps more susceptible to terrorists attacks from within the country than from hostile nations. This is true not only for India, but for US and UK as well. The role of Defense Force should be more inline with current requirements. There is bound to be backlash within Defense if they find themselves fighting in their own country with wayward (terrorist) countrymen. Perhaps we need another department to deal with terrorism and hold them responsible if they fail in their duties. Home ministry has failed utterly in dealing with terrorism.

    With due respect to Maj Khanna, I disagree with him when he says “Who has perpetuated the post colonial myth, that the Army should always remain apolitical, something the British used, so effectively to slaughter our own native revolutionaries?”. When Army has political affiliation, then it can be very dangerous. We don’t need to look far, to look at the sorry state of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    I’m proud of India with all it’s present imperfections. It saddens me when there in killing in the name of religion. Politicians are elected my us. In a democratic country like India – something that we should be very proud about – we need to make our voices heard by voting our corrupt politicians out. We need to stay positive and not let negative events/thoughts around us compound the problem by taking wrong and ill-conceived actions. I’m sorry if I’m pontificating, but I empathies with our Army. I know their dedication and hard work is valuable more than my words. Jay Hind!

  2. I appreciate the sacrifice our Armed Forces are making to make sure that our country is safe. We Indians should come forward, acknowledge and reward our soldiers for their heroism. We need to take care of the families of our martyrs.

    In present times, security of a country is perhaps more susceptible to terrorists attacks from within the country than from hostile nations. This is true not only for India, but for US and UK as well. The role of Defense Force should be more inline with current requirements. There is bound to be backlash within Defense if they find themselves fighting in their own country with wayward (terrorist) countrymen. Perhaps we need another department to deal with terrorism and hold them responsible if they fail in their duties. Home ministry has failed utterly in dealing with terrorism.

    With due respect to Maj Khanna, I disagree with him when he says “Who has perpetuated the post colonial myth, that the Army should always remain apolitical, something the British used, so effectively to slaughter our own native revolutionaries?”. When Army has political affiliation, then it can be very dangerous. We don’t need to look far, to look at the sorry state of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    I’m proud of India with all it’s present imperfections. It saddens me when there in killing in the name of religion. Politicians are elected my us. In a democratic country like India – something that we should be very proud about – we need to make our voices heard by voting our corrupt politicians out. We need to stay positive and not let negative events/thoughts around us compound the problem by taking wrong and ill-conceived actions. I’m sorry if I’m pontificating, but I empathies with our Army. I know their dedication and hard work is valuable more than my words. Jay Hind!

  3. Rajesh – When I read this – it was a reflection of the frustration of the young officers in the Army. It was ANOTHER dimension .. another voice in the cacophony of Democratic debate. It was a voice that has been suppressed in the name of “politicians over defense forces” mindset. And “Suppress” is the correct word!

    It is IMPERATIVE that we listen to the guy who actually goes out to defend the nation… for he is the only one we have! He is demanding some very basic wherewithal.. which is not given. For example:

    – Indian Navy has asked for an aircraft carrier for last 10 years. The politicians did not care for it – constantly looking for kick-backs. Now, we have a situation where our ONLY “working” aircraft carrier is in docks for replair (INS Vikrant).

    – Jawans were sent to fight in Kargil with absolutely inadequate equipment – and many died of frost bite. Some killed the terrorists carefully so they could take off their clothing and ponchos to wear.. the shoes were not adequate. I myself collected money to send some ponchos to the battalion of my brother in law from here.. because their ponchos were made of CLOTH! In rain they would be wet and heavy.. and cold!!

    there are many other examples.. but the main point is that it is very difficult to understand the mentality of a guy who is going out to give his life KNOWING that it is going to be a WASTE! Why? Because:

    1. the guys making the decision are using him as canon-fodder and a pawn in the game
    2. they are going to barter away the security and integrity of the country ANYWAYS!!

    The amount of betrayal in North and South Block of Delhi is UNIMAGINABLE!! Spies of foreign countries have been known to take Confidential documents from the Home ministry’s files and USE the photocopier of the department itself to copy hundreds of docs and ship them via their own consulates! Its a KNOWN issue.

    I do not want the Army rule Pakistan style.. but my take is that politicians are playing it very dangerously. Someone will break up in the Army/Air force after years of abuse!!

  4. Sir,

    I have seen the soldiers from very close quarters. Having shared the same cantt. for almost 2 decades. Mizoram, Pokharan ,Bhuj ….
    We may glorify them to any degree, but that can never compensate them for what they sacrifice.

    The rot is endemic. Even the Army is not untouched, as we have the Booze Brigadier and Ketchup Colnels tainting its image. What we are witnessing is a
    complete change in the make-up of the society. Values are getting eroded everywhere.

    An upright officer finds it harder to rise in Army. Why is that so?

    The sad bit is that we acquire most of our values by the time we finish our schooling and then all the polishing that the Army can do hardly touches the core of the cadet.

    The real change in the society has to begin at our homes.
    “Courage and not opportunism.”
    “Sacrifice and not pleasure.”

    The rot is endemic, Sir. It is heartening to hear voices like Maj. Khanna’s.

    I was in Jammu , when it was burning. The Government at the centre acted in a most shameful way. It is sad that how they turned a deaf ear to the peaceful voices coming from Jammu , they had to be woken up by the shrill noise of violent protests.

    I am a Hindu, completely apolitcal and I lost faith in our Governance post the Amarnath row.
    Wonder what a Muslim or a poverty struck youth would do.

    To find out why IM has surfaced, one need not look far. The answer is simple, we all have become weak. Because “Weakness” makes us corrupt and insensitive.

    Maj. Khanna is right about the rot, but the Major’s and Lt. Colonels cant alone bring about that change.
    The parents in our country should help prepare the next generation to be courageous and not cowards(who only breed corruption).
    Each adult should own up the responisbilty for the mess we are in.

    Had we been living in a non-democratic nation, one could have blamed the powers that be.
    But the beauty of Democracy is that, it is the responsibility “of the people”.

    Just one question- Is India beyond redemption?
    Hope not..

  5. Rajesh – When I read this – it was a reflection of the frustration of the young officers in the Army. It was ANOTHER dimension .. another voice in the cacophony of Democratic debate. It was a voice that has been suppressed in the name of “politicians over defense forces” mindset. And “Suppress” is the correct word!

    It is IMPERATIVE that we listen to the guy who actually goes out to defend the nation… for he is the only one we have! He is demanding some very basic wherewithal.. which is not given. For example:

    – Indian Navy has asked for an aircraft carrier for last 10 years. The politicians did not care for it – constantly looking for kick-backs. Now, we have a situation where our ONLY “working” aircraft carrier is in docks for replair (INS Vikrant).

    – Jawans were sent to fight in Kargil with absolutely inadequate equipment – and many died of frost bite. Some killed the terrorists carefully so they could take off their clothing and ponchos to wear.. the shoes were not adequate. I myself collected money to send some ponchos to the battalion of my brother in law from here.. because their ponchos were made of CLOTH! In rain they would be wet and heavy.. and cold!!

    there are many other examples.. but the main point is that it is very difficult to understand the mentality of a guy who is going out to give his life KNOWING that it is going to be a WASTE! Why? Because:

    1. the guys making the decision are using him as canon-fodder and a pawn in the game
    2. they are going to barter away the security and integrity of the country ANYWAYS!!

    The amount of betrayal in North and South Block of Delhi is UNIMAGINABLE!! Spies of foreign countries have been known to take Confidential documents from the Home ministry’s files and USE the photocopier of the department itself to copy hundreds of docs and ship them via their own consulates! Its a KNOWN issue.

    I do not want the Army rule Pakistan style.. but my take is that politicians are playing it very dangerously. Someone will break up in the Army/Air force after years of abuse!!

  6. Sir,

    I have seen the soldiers from very close quarters. Having shared the same cantt. for almost 2 decades. Mizoram, Pokharan ,Bhuj ….
    We may glorify them to any degree, but that can never compensate them for what they sacrifice.

    The rot is endemic. Even the Army is not untouched, as we have the Booze Brigadier and Ketchup Colnels tainting its image. What we are witnessing is a
    complete change in the make-up of the society. Values are getting eroded everywhere.

    An upright officer finds it harder to rise in Army. Why is that so?

    The sad bit is that we acquire most of our values by the time we finish our schooling and then all the polishing that the Army can do hardly touches the core of the cadet.

    The real change in the society has to begin at our homes.
    “Courage and not opportunism.”
    “Sacrifice and not pleasure.”

    The rot is endemic, Sir. It is heartening to hear voices like Maj. Khanna’s.

    I was in Jammu , when it was burning. The Government at the centre acted in a most shameful way. It is sad that how they turned a deaf ear to the peaceful voices coming from Jammu , they had to be woken up by the shrill noise of violent protests.

    I am a Hindu, completely apolitcal and I lost faith in our Governance post the Amarnath row.
    Wonder what a Muslim or a poverty struck youth would do.

    To find out why IM has surfaced, one need not look far. The answer is simple, we all have become weak. Because “Weakness” makes us corrupt and insensitive.

    Maj. Khanna is right about the rot, but the Major’s and Lt. Colonels cant alone bring about that change.
    The parents in our country should help prepare the next generation to be courageous and not cowards(who only breed corruption).
    Each adult should own up the responisbilty for the mess we are in.

    Had we been living in a non-democratic nation, one could have blamed the powers that be.
    But the beauty of Democracy is that, it is the responsibility “of the people”.

    Just one question- Is India beyond redemption?
    Hope not..

  7. Desh,

    It was very touching, as it has come from a wounded heart. I read some time back in a management book, comparing an organisation to a large tree. Like a tree, rot sets from the top downwards. Similar feelings were expressed by T.N.Seshan, when I happened to listen to his lecture when he was CEC.

    It’s really painful when the ruling class demands unqualified and unquestionable patriotism from public, while they indulged in all un-patriotic acts, over decades.

  8. Desh,

    It was very touching, as it has come from a wounded heart. I read some time back in a management book, comparing an organisation to a large tree. Like a tree, rot sets from the top downwards. Similar feelings were expressed by T.N.Seshan, when I happened to listen to his lecture when he was CEC.

    It’s really painful when the ruling class demands unqualified and unquestionable patriotism from public, while they indulged in all un-patriotic acts, over decades.

  9. It is a democracy. People get the govenment they deseve. They are consistently electing these jokers who have warped ideas about secularism. Divide and rule. Chances are these jokers will be re-elected again next year.
    Is India is beyond redemption? Who knows?

  10. It is a democracy. People get the govenment they deseve. They are consistently electing these jokers who have warped ideas about secularism. Divide and rule. Chances are these jokers will be re-elected again next year.
    Is India is beyond redemption? Who knows?

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