The Army responds - 2

This note has been posted in the comments section. I felt it requires a detailed response. I welcome whatever criticism I get, but I think I have pretty much said what I have wanted to for now.

- - -

Dear Lady,

1 I read your article and was surprised on lack of understanding of how armed forces function because of a few bad eggs which is there in every org and society including foreign armies.

2 Next time you write another article disgracing Indian Army, consider following

(a) Every time I went on leave from a field/ops/RR or for that matter, reached Guhati or jammu , I felt it was a different world, nobody like you was aware how we were serving in what conditions..

( b) A common man even my own brother were never aware of how a dead body gets stiff within seconds, how a man loses his limbs in seconds on a patrol when RPG blast through a vehicle body or how a full family in a village or a town is destroyed when their son, brother or husband ie an officer/soldier becomes a fatal or nonfatal cas.

( c) Infact at Jammu I am surprised that there is no security conscientious on seeing a package kept in the bus and passenger absconding till a bus blast takes place and then journalist like you curse security forces.

( d) Infact we shift TV channels fast to see Sanjay dutt smiling and shaking handshake with Jail warden as we feel watching a casket of dead officer on TV is boring.

( e) We also feel sympathetic for SANJAY Dutt but no feeling for that widow of a martyr soldier . The TV also does not waste time on them as there will be a loss in TV ratings. Why don’t you haul up TV channels for all this nonsense as breaking news for them is anything other than an officer or a Jawan ha sided, it is a routine liner for all to read and forget about it and enjoy the sas bahu serial.

( f) We also allow you to claim that you have been pursing POW s status, Don’t we know it is for media mileage, how many children you have adopted or widows cared for or Ex Serviceman looked after. Have you visited a leper Colony in NE Along where the army has adopted the whole village.

( g) We also allow you to rubbish our Services on a few bad eggs, but we don’t hear you claiming Film Industry is bad because of Underworld nexus links or Industrialist not paying taxes despite being photographed for richest Indian in the world etcccccc because then you will not be invited for page 2 parties.

( h) I think you must make visit to real working conditions of J& K /NE of Indian army where motivated youngsters and Jawans are living in pathetic conditions and fighting enemy so that you can party around, making paintings etc. Every ni at least a million jawans are on guard all over the country so that you can sleep. Every Ni a boy dies in Jungles of J&K so that your boy/ relative can play around safely.

( j) Now why do you crib on those who are leaving, it is not wrong as every man has a right to grow in life. If not here somewhere else. At least they have given best part of their youth to this country when you were living a secured life,

2 Judge the services for what they are doing for your existence, not on a few incidents.

regards brando

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My reply

Dear Brando:

Thank you for the detailed response. Here is what I have to say...

My article was not about how the armed forces function; let me clarify that, just in case it has not come across. These were about the bad eggs, and agreed they are there in every organisation.

I completely understand what you are saying, from the perspective of an outsider, and you will appreciate I am not making tall claims about knowing how it feels to be in your shoes; I cannot. I also accept that the public lack security consciousness (as well as civic).

I cannot even ask you to read my earlier posts to know that I have shown no sympathy for how the media portrays the film industry, industrialists, even NGOs and the so-called fast-track justice reserved for some favoured groups. I have taken up those issues, but I will not expect you to read those because it isn’t important enough. You just have to take my word for it. And I say this because you do not know me and feel the need to lay down my POV with regard to those others, since you have reached conclusions about me personally.

I have written against the Sanjay Dutt tamasha. And how TV channels went overboard with this. However, these same TV channels take film stars to different army postings and we see the jawans asking them questions and performing for them. I suppose you don’t mind that.

Do you think TV channels showing the casket of a dead soldier would help your cause? Wouldn’t it be of far greater importance if the soldiers had raised a voice against the infamous coffin deal?

You say, with much arrogance (and I am afraid I am not given to pussyfooting), “We also allow you to claim that you have been pursing POW s status, Don’t we know it is for media mileage, how many children you have adopted or widows cared for or Ex Serviceman looked after. Have you visited a leper Colony in NE Along where the army has adopted the whole village.”

You do not allow me, you cannot, because the claim is a reality and on record and been appreciated by those families who are pursuing the case without any help from your Armed Forces, whose business it should be along with the inept and completely heartless attitude of the various governments in power. You are talking about feeling sympathy for the widow of a martyr…what about those who had to pretend to be widows at that time? Is it history for you too? This will not dissuade me from writing about the issue again, if I think it should be brought to attention. Because I don’t feel the need to get defensive about my actions only because of a few disgruntled people who want us to accept that there are bad eggs, but do not realise that it is not a good thing to have them. The fact is you have not been able to counter anything I have said.

When I first wrote about the POW issue, it was on my own during a casual conversation. I was not even sure about what it would entail and I had difficulty getting it published. I don’t have organisational backing. If I wanted media mileage, I could write on film stars, right? By questioning my motives, you are contradicting your own assertion that those get more people interested. And do not forget it was the Army who invited Vivek Oberoi to join it; I don’t give a tosh for him or anyone.

I do not party at all, and do not get invited to these socialite ones, just in case it is of any consequence. I am sure the mess has many more of those; the Navy Ball in my city is a big hit. Incidentally, do you realise that there are some sections that I write about who do not even have the facilities and the basic skills to convey the privations they go through? Because they are illiterate, poor and lack marketing skills, if they even know what that is.

You, my friend, are in no position to allow me to write or not write on anything, okay? But if you have time, click on the labels column, article, media and you might find something that will show you that I do a little more than just paint. I don’t have any idea why these poor paintings have become a target. I am certain if an armyman painted, he would be feted in the same Page 3 you criticise and been quite happy about it. Oh yes, I have also been extremely critical of the Page 3 types…

I am not denying there are a million jawans posted in various parts of the border areas; I will even grant that in some ways I can sleep safely because of that…it might interest you to know that a few blocks from my secured existence (had to add special grilles during the 1993 riots) a retired armyman has bought a house worth Rs. 8 crore. I am sure he has earned his stripes.

I am not cribbing about people leaving the Services. It is a relevant question and after all that you have written about my secure existence and sleeping well while you guys are in some remote areas (all true), you should be wondering about it too. If you think “it is not wrong as every man has a right to grow in life”, then you are in fact suggesting that growth within the army is of less consequence, that an armyman is allowed to go out and seek better avenues whereas an ordinary citizen cannot paint or write and has to feel indebted to such an Army and not raise a voice at all…in reality it is not my criticism that is harmful but these people leaving that is a slap to the organisation.

You should also be asking yourselves why there are so many suicides, why armymen are killing each other.

You may ask me to keep quiet (that I won’t is another matter), but will you be able to stem the rot? It is heart-warming to know that the Army has adopted a leper colony in the North East; the Army has; not an individual armyman. Right? So, how and why do you ask me as an individual to do so? Do you know what I do for what may be termed ‘less privileged’ people, and not just by writing but contributing in any way I can?

I would visit those camps you tell me about, but going by your reasoning would you not accuse me of doing it for media mileage?

The idea is not to sound insensitive to what soldiers go through but to look at other aspects as well.

“paye fateha koi aaye kyon koi chaar phool chadaaye kyon
koi aake shammaa jalaaye kyon main woh bekasi ka mazaar hoon”

This couplet by Zafar could apply to anyone who is helpless…should we create a tomb for that or transform the helplessness into vigilance?

Best wishes,



  1. I think the 'UNTITLED' watercolor is fantastic. I mean I can't even call it fantastic because I can't find the right word.

    I am not art lover, I do not know how to decipher paintings and stuff but there is something about that particular one that always makes me look at it once whenever I browse through your blog.

    It looks so hazy...so beautifully confused..I don't know...but I like it.

  2. I did not know I needed to deploy the army to have comments on my painting!

    Thanks...I believe 'Nightmares' would go well with my Profile, though...

  3. Dear Frusty Farzana,

    How vitriolic !! What venom !! How dramatic !! What happened, dearie ? Such bitterness is usually the outcome when some dashing soldier visits someone’s house and leaves next morning, never to return……... Usually, the mom proffers the same excuse, “Well, y’know, a fly spunked on a window and this child hatched from it….”

    But if that’s your impression of the Army and its officers, well I do not blame you – a person is known by the company she keeps – and I gather you have been writing for the Pak media too.

    Perhaps you do not know any people of substance, but prefer the company of shady caricatures. Am convinced that pigeon-shooting Colonel was your Uncle.

    Too bad you are safely enconsed in Mumbai but aren’t from any of our border areas – y’know, many Paki soldiers (especially the Baluchis, Pathan, Afridis, Waziris, etc) are known for their love for boys. Perhaps you would have appreciated the service that us poor dumb, corrupt, ration-peddling-petrol-pilfering-small-size-egg producing idiots have rendered to this country better had some of these Pakis been allowed to stroll across the border in victory mode, visit your houses and then allowed to “invite” grandpa, dad, brother, etc, etc, for some fun …………..

    Why pillory that Maj Gen without a proper investigation? Are you aware how and from where that Maj Gen acquired property worth Rs 50 crores. An army welfare housing house/apartment in Gurgaon purchased 15 years back costs Rs 2 crores now. When we bought houses there then, theplace was a veritable Africa - and even taxis refused to go there. And now, ancestral agricultural land there is selling at similar rates. But even if he is corrupt, he is one Maj Gen out off 1000s since Independence. What is the percentage of corrupt people amongst us? Why trivialize the issue?

    You never written about guys who demand a bribe just to give you a water/electricity connection, allot a bed to a critically sick patient or for allowing you to avail even basic amenities, or bureaucrats who misuse govt vehicles and manpower and divert public money for their own use, or about cops who are under investigation for amassing oodles of wealth, staging encounters, extorting money, strangling women or shooting innocent people for a promotion, or the conditions in our jails, the sad state of our health system, etc, etc. Not a cheep about how the father of Capt Anuj Nayyar, PVC (Posthumous), was harrased by all and sundry. Oh I forgot - he was just another corrupt soldier who bit the dust.

    Am sure you find that the rest of our society squeaky clean. Or is it that if you ever write a similarly scurrilous article about them, they will gang up and twist the wits out of you. No doubt, the Army is a soft touch and you are truly one courageous woman.

    Nevertheless, all is not lost, sweetie – since you think we do nothing but drink gin and shoot pigeons (a la your uncle), there is absolutely no harm in you volunteering for a TA commission and then taking part in 2-3 patrols or ambushes in J&K or the North-East. My advice – do take along lots of adult diapers – knowing you and your ilk, you would require many. The experience may make you grow up and get a life.

    And by the way – our cantonments are clean not because people like you ever volunteer to do civic service there – it’s because an intense sense of discipline and civic sense is instilled in each one of us and our families. You guys find such endeavours antediluvian and comic. And when you see a spic & span cantt in the midst of chaos, there is envy – and your hatred for us stems from that envy…

    A person who knows dick about soldiering, who’s so ignorant about the contribution of soldiers to a society and who’s supercilious, needs a high enema – right in to the brain. It’s good to be irreverent – but your piece was not irreverent – it was the ramblings of a cerebrally deficient life form out on some weird personal vendetta.

    about the Colonel’s who shot dead two pigeons in mid-flight with an air gun. When a soldier goes into battle, he is hunting another man who is equally well armed (if not better) and equally keen to kill him first. It is such a skill that you will need – all your cocktail party beer-swilling skill or the “power of the pen” won’t do. Ever thought how some great civilian warriors spend 24x7x365 at the Shooting Ranges, and are yet not able to get an Olympic Medal in shooting, or for that matter, in anything else? By the way, it was an army officer who got this country of 110 crores its first Olympic Silver Medal – after 55 years of Independence !!
    and ever thought what makes a soldier stand up and go for the enemy when aircraft are dropping bombs, artillery is raining shells, mortars rounds are falling and bullets are flying everywhere? One is a sense of responsibility to the nation; it’s also the thought that if he did’nt, his compatriots might deem him to be a coward ; and it’s just for this he is ready to die, leaving behind all he holds dear without support – a widowed wife and orphaned children.

    Heard you say you don’t give a tosh. Well how sophisticated the Mumbai cocktail circuit is, oh oh oh !!

  4. blog
    I don't believe army high school dropouts can even communicate in a civil manner...

    They're just duffers with no minds of their own, they are just brainwashed to kill civilians.....

  5. Dear Circle,
    If posting of personal fantasy on a blog is your perception of civilised world...well i would rather remain uncivilised.
    Regards anyways

  6. Circle:

    I have said so in an earlier post to you as well, this is a sweeping generalisation. And to prove it there are a couple of gentlemen officers who have been corresponding with me and are pained by the comments.
    - - -

    Generally speaking:

    While my article has been accused of several things, including "personal vendetta", without the individuals concerned having any clue, at least I can state that I have stuck on here and attempted to indulge in a dialogue.

    1. No one has been able to disagree with any of the facts mentioned.

    2. If the nature of the discourse is anything to go by, then these officers are doing nothing for the Services whose reputation they are striving to uphold; in fact, it reveals something even more rotten than I have put down or envisaged.

    3. If they are indeed brave warriors for the Forces and believe in what they stand for, then it would have been nice for them to come out in the open. Why hit out anonymously? I use my name, even though I am aware that my views are not necessarily right or nice. Does it make any sense then for those who so strongly believe that I am wrong and are in fact torch-bearers to hide themselves? What are they ashamed of?

    4. Although the long note by anonymous goes against the 'standards' for posting I have mentioned in this box, I plan to retain it if only to show how 'secure' we ordinary folks in fact are. I dread to imagine what would happen had we been 'un-secure'.

    5. I am not building the nation, nor claimed it, therefore my responsibility is limited. I claim no nobility. The personal comments have made me realise how much angst there might be among some of the army personnel. Perhaps this is an outlet to take them on their fantasy trips about how civilians live.

    6. It is highly amusing for someone to criticise me and adopt the very socialite mannerisms that I in fact avoid. Precious! And tosh isn't cocktail circuit, just as Vivek Oberoi isn't.

    Now, blimey, would I be accused of envy? After all, they still sing "He's a jolly good fellow", don't they?

  7. 1. Dear FV, I read all your comments again and it seems you want to have the last word. I don’t mind giving the lady the privilege, but I am not able to understand the ire of your anger towards services.

    2. I have had bad experience with a TT in railways but that does not mean Railways are bad, or police cops usually are thugs but I know many honest police officers and know that they are also hard pressed with round the clock VIP security. What I want to say we are not Martians or from an era of RAM RAJAYA. We are very much routine human beings, having a routine normal existence. I really appreciate what all you have written about against all bad things in life against film actors or other deep shit of society, as a woman I think it is much more than you are doing.

    3. However are you aware what actual action many of us have done for good of society or the system and it is a total selfless one. It is certainly not like your so called Uncle who talks big about shooting pigeons, but believe me we all are not like that. In fact in every movie they will show a Col in some scene you were speaking about so I can gather how you got impressions.

    4. Now about your main issue that not everything is right with services. Well, there is no denial. Tell me any society or system which is perfect. Even in Ram Rajaya Sita poor thing had to undergo a litmus test. So there is no big deal if anything corrupt comes up which leaves a bad impression, because the very fact such a thing is being caught means that we have sufficient checks and balance also and there are good guyies also to counter bad guyies. You are probably not aware what a big Army we have and such stray incidents are point …… percent of our total strength. Let me also assure you we all are also fighting this point….. percent in our own way….. as system overall is supportive of good guyies. So have faith on services and also don’t see services from a posh cantonment … or a Navy Ball ….. or a Maj Gen house ….. or…… etc etc all examples you have given including those boys singing songs with NDTV stars etc.

    5. The real Army CONDITIONS is above UDHAMPUR and after Guwhati in NE where round the clock Counter Insurgency ops is going on. Nobody is sure when he will have his next bath or next warm meal or a sleep. You owe to those boys not to condemn services, it is a self less service by all of us for mere pride and nothing else.

    6. Lastly your article cursing our Army leaves a bad taste in good guyies mouth as bad guyies I am sure are not even reading it. I would have been happy had you sorted out that specific bad egg by a personal E mail to such an officer, but also complementing our system, that we are not hiding such an officer. He is not our system ethos if he is what is being tried to be proved, but we don’t dump our own also, hence there are internal actions which must be already taking place to block such loopholes.

    7. Lastly I will certainly allow you to have a last word hence I will JUST SAY LET US DO OUR OWN BIT IN OWN WAY FOR A COMMON CAUSE that is seeking ENLIGHTENMENT. I found my life calling long time back and I think there are so many like you also pursuing that same dream world in every aspect of society, but life is Ugly lady…….. believe me…… the challenge is to accept it……… lift it………from dumps…….. and take it on shoulders……… by some actions or whatever we can do…. Only the right intention for fairness and goodness should be there.

    …8. Bye and now you can have the last word so long it is nothing objectionable to olive green…. As I want you before you again comment on services to remember that boy in insurgency which is a permanent way of life and not the one in any ball dance which is temporary respite.

    9. Adios be in touch……only ……… see a thing from a bigger prism and maybe down the line in couple of years we will see a dream world turning into a reality by combined endeavors of all right thinking well meaning people u and me and many………otherssssssssss………………..etc. I know there is a whole lot of good people waiting out there…….in my world and your also…….and ours combined. Like John Lenon sang I am a dreamer…….


  8. Dear Brando:

    The same patronising again...'we allow you to claim', 'we let you', and now 'you can have the last word'...

    - The point is not about having the last word...and who knows where you are having your last word? I don't come to dispute you. This is indeed my blog and I do have the privilege of having my say. The 'last word' is the sort of manner in which people choose to belittle an argument they do not find agreeable.

    - I find it precious that when you first wrote you acknowledged I wrote about bad eggs; now you say I am angry at the Services.

    - I am glad you have seen I have written about other 'bad' things as well, and may I add it is not the high-society thing you and your cohorts would like to imagine.

    - You obviously do not read or comprehend well enough, for you assume what the anonymous person says...had it been my uncle I would not have written about it perhaps...and had it been my uncle it may not have been pigeons...

    - The army is hardly a 'soft' target...please do not play those games here...the way you guys have been writing here, in emails and various other places shows that you have enough verbal ammo to drown paper into pulp.

    - I brought in the examples about TV channels and Navy ball precisely because I was being accused of pandering to that lifestyle. Understand?

    - The REAL army conditions are about everywhere...do not start your feudal hierarchy here as well...

    - Oh, if you do insist on talking about my wonderful life, I might add that I shop at Santushti when in Delhi and there is this rather posh restaurant there called 'Basil and Thyme'...the complex is prime land and is run by the Army Wives Welfare Assn.

    - Why should I sort out a specific bad egg in a personal email? What are you afraid of? It was reported in the papers. Did you tell all the newspapers to sort it out personally? Is corruption a Mom and Pop retail outlet?

    Should we then tell the army to please sort out the problem with militants and don't bother civilians?

    - Are you suggesting....oh no! - that perhaps I could have been bribed to keep quiet? Is this what you think is possible by a person of your profession??

    I don't know about the person, but no one can bribe me with anything...not even the most sonorous verse...or painting...

    - I tried to have a dialogue, but clearly you are re-reading the comments and getting all charged up because you are accustomed to a certain level of subservience.

    This isn't where you will get it. Because this isn't where I expect it from anyone, except of course for the avoidance of crudity.

    Interestingly, you do not have a word to say about the Anonymous person and the language he has used. I suppose it is par for the course.

    - I do not see any particular reason for us to stay in touch for this, and chivalry is not dead, so you may have the last word!

    I do wish you well as a dreamer. The dreams that are best are the ones that arise from reality. Those can be realised...

  9. Dear FV,
    I have gone through your post. What you write is theoretically correct, believe me you need to step in to our shoes to relies what we go through, day in and out. We all are doing our job and an ODD BAD EGG can not be yard stick to measure an organization. It is time for you to have a closer look at what selfless service we and our boys do for our nation, I am not looking for credits for that but are proud of what we are doing

    Warm Regards

  10. Brando/ Munish,

    I understand the emotions sustaining your views. First and foremost, there ought to be condemnation - in the harshest possible terms - of another army officer (anonymous)using the kind of language that he did. If this is what he can write publicly (although as a coward hiding behind anonymity), I dread how he actually thinks. You can dismiss him as another rotten egg. But how many more before you will accept that your organisation needs reform.

    Let's thank FV for initiating a sensible debate and contribute about what needs to be done, rather than bulldozing our half-baked opinions over her. In any case, if there are any issues with her POV, they should be debated in a polite, sane and rational manner and certainly not by high-pitched emotional rants.

    I am not going to dispute that Brando and Munish and many others may be indulging in 'selfless' service to the nation. For you claim it yourself! So, does that mean let's stop questioning what's wrong with the Army and how to set things right. What logic is that? We have some great politicians. Does it make the complete political class above reproach? Nah!

    You dismiss all the stuff as few bad eggs - Leh Corps Commander, Tehelka, Division Commander in Kashmir, Rations in J&K, Head of supplies in Delhi, Liquor from CSD at Bareilly, Ketchup colonels and fake awards, Major General at Jaipur, another Major General responsible for discipline at Delhi (Adjutant General office) coming with a civil lawyer to office after retirement - I might have missed a few.

    Officers going to court for postings and promotions (of no less than those attending NDC course who are now doing selfless service all over the country), Army commanders writing personal letters to politicians for becoming the Chief, RR units selling petrol and thrashing policemen for catching them. Law abiding and in the service of the nation.

    Recruitment centres and MES - they are the most honest and upright organisations. Selected officers and units in Congo getting gold for weapons being enquired by the UN itself. Suicides and fragging is another subject by itself.

    The list is endless and this is what has been covered by the media in the recent past. These are not aberrations (few rotten eggs), but manifestations of a deeper systematic malaise. The earlier the Army acknowledges it, better it is. Everyone knows the truth - let us acknowledge it and stop this battle for 'false pride' and saving the honour of the army by subjugating and quashing all contrary opinion.

    Munish, I must compliment your politeness. But do remember what Voltaire said - I might not agree with what you say, but I will give my life for your right to say that. That is what the real Indian army should stand for, not what (and how) Brando and Anonymous opine.

    FV, Keep it going. They can't cow you down or browbeat you into submission.


    1 Thanks for allowing me the last word in your latest post. As a courtesy I went back on your original article para wise. Since we went off the track……. in later posts, Now we will discuss para wise to put you on right track.. Here it follows !

    (a) Your remarks : What were the authorities in the armed forces thinking about when they asked Vivek Oberoi to join the Territorial Army …. he will have to train on weekends throughout the year. Will the Army, that tom-toms its discipline, make exceptions? And if they need recruits why can they not tap the thousands of educated unemployed in the country?

    My honest comments : The army does not make any exceptions in anybody’s training be it a VIP son. We are also recruiting recruits all over the country. If ViveK Oberoi joined TA I am sure he would have passed requisite physical and medical fitness. Please only lament in your forum if you come to know if there is any laxity you have come to know. If he is a star son that does not mean he cannot join forces. I think he was the only one also for Sunami relief operations. It was a genuine concern of his in Sunami relief operations when people like you were sitting in safe bedroom in bombay doing criticizing and nothing else. Also for your info Elvis Presly did a stint in WW2, Mohmad Ali did in Vietnam, so if this trend is starting by celebrities, it is a health sign of this noble responsibilities.
    (b) Your remarks : The above-mentioned bit of information is particularly important in view of the fact that this year itself over 1,500 officers from the Army, Navy and Airforce have applied for premature release or retirement. The private sector awaits them with its fat pay packets.

    My honest comments: All these officers have given best part of their youth to this country when you were having fun in college canteen. If they are leaving it is because Govt pays less……… where army is responsible for it ? Also there are many foreign army officers actually in every country joining civil sector because everybody cannot become a Gen. However that does not mean these officers were not meeting the merit, they also have the righ to grow and pvt sector knows what an officer stands for hence they are employing them with fat pay packets. It is a matter of pride and not lamenting by you.


    (c) Your remarks : The Vivek Oberoi honorary deal is a stinging slap and a total farce

    My honest comments: It is better than Amithab Bachan keeping the moron company of Amar Singh and then getting an intellectual honorary Haward /oxford degree. What is his contribution to the nation ? . At least Vivek is doing some real action and living with men in uniform.

    (d) Your remarks: People who have spent years want to leave because they do not have enough compensation. They are not endorsing colas and toothpastes and they are not coming back from the “ashes” (a typically weak tabloidy pun); they probably joined the Army with some ideals, like say teachers and doctors do. No, I refuse to talk about “doing something for the nation”. The nation has been sitting and fighting internal battles, protecting places of worship, deploying forces to lathi-charge morchas and manage devotees during festivals.

    My honest comments: I agree with you at least now , it is high time Govt thinks about compensation. I also agree with you when nation ignores our contribution. Thanks for the statement.
    ( e) Your remarks: Most of us have a rather filmi and flimsy image of Armymen as the most respected professionals. People look up to them, think they are incorruptible and make us feel proud. That’s what surveys tell us. That’s what happens even in clubs smelling of old wood where a retired Armyman with his gin and tonic is looked upon with awe even if all he is doing is snoozing in a lounge chair or cracking off-colour jokes

    My honest comments: It is a personal attack without any provocation/ meaningful reason in name of freedom of speech. I don’t know about your profession but nothing is greater than a profession where one has to give the ultimate sacrifice.

    I think your world is more of filmy and I am sure you have been ditched by an army man in matter of hearts sometime back in your life. If so I can understand your rude sentiments……… probably that guy knew what he was in for………… so all that crass description of gin and tonic etc…I forgive you……. I pity you, but Army Men knows how to enjoy a drink with a friend and also crack jokes.

    Join a real jam session after a hard day………. Not your chai pokra silly and sissy weirdoes.
    (f) Your remarks : Some years ago I had met a particularly weird specimen of the species. Honoured and feted for sending his boys to ‘go for the kill’ he had transformed into a caricature. Yet, Colonel saab was a hero to youngsters, not because of what he did on the Front but because he talked rather loftily about the two pigeons he had shot dead in mid-flight with an air gun.
    Two birds had slumped to the ground and Colonel saab had examined their plump flesh and wiped off the blood that had stained his fingers on his trousers and salivated over the possibility of a delicious meal.
    He told the kids so, and they looked with wonderment, and I thought about the sort of hunger in people’s bellies. What kind of role model did they find in this Army man – the patriot, the fighter, the raconteur, the wimp, the fool? What appealed to them – a man who had been isolated from their world or the chest-thumping victor? Did they believe he was for real or was he play-acting? Which would they have preferred, anyway?

    My honest comments: I have not heard of any such incidents, it is a made up crass story by you without conveying anything much except like I said ou probably want to get back on your Ex Army boyfriend. It is ok I can understand. However save this mail for your other heros ie Salamn Khan or Patudi etc who are in such similar news for hunting etc. Write a blog on them with this crass as that is what they did.

    Army Men if he goes for a hunting ie of enemy only.
    (g) Your remarks: If we were to take the Vivek Oberoi example, it would be the latter. The Army has to live out a fantasy of an imagined war-like situation. It has been a while since we went to a real big battle.

    My honest comments : I think you don’t see new everyday is a battle in J& k or North east. you are busy shopping or dining like you mentioned in your post.

    Also improve your GK forgotten Kargil, last battle we had or OP PARKRAM dply……….. go and meet some of the widows if you get time from shooping or writing crass in newspaper to earn publicity.

    (h) Your remarks : The problem is that peace does not suit them. The most obvious reason why men in uniform appeal is because they ooze power. People like to have someone to look up to, to feel confident that they will never be harmed. As a matter of fact, the power rubs of on those the powerful deign to associate with. For example, there is no reason why Army wives should follow a strict hierarchy, but their very position gives them this advantage..

    My honest comments : Go and meet those families living in separated accommodation if they are not wanting their husband back in peace station form all those insurgencies battle they are doing every day and night.

    Also meet those common man families on Brahanputra River who are rescued by Army in flood or meet those families in J& k during that earth quake if they claim on how much power we ozze when we are rescuing them with total selfless service.

    Also a common man feels more secure when even police has failed in controlling a mob. I was in Bhiwandi in Bombay Riots as part of Internal security Column when your friend Sanjay Dutt and his cronies were bombing Mumbai against Hindus and other carnage by shiv sena which followed against innocent muslim children as a revenge. Where were you that time Lady…certainly not with those orphaned children…I hope you were safe and secured……..

    (j) Your remarks: Look at the Army ‘brats’ who are into modeling and acting; they suddenly begin wearing a halo only because they have an Army background. What? Spanking clean cantonment, Army school, baked beans on toast, waltzing on powdered dance floors? There is a ghettoisation of sorts

    My honest comments: Our children are Miss universe and Miss world……I think I smell jealousy here ……. They are more confident but not snobs of those rich schools……… there are no drug addicts or MMS culture in our children what happened in snobs school.

    Also our cantonments are clean not only for officer accommodation but for every Jawan and his family there is no class difference in maintenance see that ……… jhobapadi slums out of your window and tell me what have you have done for them.

    Is that a ghettoisation near your posh building or our cantonments.
    ( K) Your remarks : We are living in such a dream world of celluloid and televised gunfire that we don’t realise that the Army has become one of the most corrupt institutions in the country. There are cases of sexual harassment, of murder, of abuse of power. Not everyone can accumulate assets worth Rs. 50 crore as a serving major-general did and was discovered by the CBI. The small-time players indulge in small-time activities – sell rationed liquor and even high-altitude clothing meant for soldiers are sold by their own officers in the general market. A rather pathetic case was discovered in the Udhampur-based Northern Command where Army personnel were given show cause notices for supplying eggs lighter in weight than Army specifications; yes, that too is specified. What kind of minds can think up such devious ways of cheating

    My honest comments : Firstly there are no televised gun fire in J& k . Now this corruption as I mentioned has eaten into innards of our whole country.

    How can Army with its interaction with so many civilians prevent corruption is an issue which is being addressed at all level but it is a national issue now.

    Also every politician in this country except I think only PM Manmohan Singh has come in news for all possible corrupt deals at some time of their career, so I can safely bet that we are still behind in race of being most corrupt, with many … other set ups…….. leading. A common man still epitomize a service man and he understands that mere rotten eggs do not reflect our cluture as a whole system.

    Now the question is what should we do to finish corrupt that goes for the nation or services or other set ups, that is where I dream as a dreamer ……in my post ….. ?
    (l) Your remarks : Is it only money? After all, 50 per cent of the defence budget goes in salaries and other expenses for the soldiers. The problem is that a status quoism is thrust upon them of subservience to a goal and ideology they may not believe in. The number of soldiers who commit suicide or are killed by their colleagues exceed those killed by enemy fire.

    My honest comments: There is no money involved as a reason of subservience or ideology I do not believe in………. Infact it is the whole case in point that suberivance or change in ideology if it was done then this army would not have performed outstandingly in all wars.

    Also the No of soldiers who are committing suicide have any family reasons like any common man and of continued mil ops in J& k / NE for which Govt is aware of and has to find a political solution.

    Nobody is a super man and even superman was helpless when he was not having Kryptonite powers . Also see the USA cas rate in Iraq or Afghanistan for all sorts of reasons.
    ( m) Your remarks : If only we stopped glorifying the profession and treated it as another job, then perhaps there would be less pressure on the need to be macho. Trust an American millionaire Charles Burnett III to celebrate his 51st birthday in a Hampshire village by recreating the World War 11 theme. His guests were dressed in war gear, and there were low-flying planes. tanks and battle re-enactments. The prettifying of military might has never been so potently puff-cake.


    Also our army men or hardware does not go to attend parties like filmstars does for Dawood/ industralists etc.
    ( n) Your remarks: Our boys are trying a reality version by roping in an actor

    My honest comments: We have our real battle heroes to get inspired from and emulate and do not need reel heroes.

    The actor I am sure joined on his own wishes to spread a social message to serve the nation which I think is beyond a reasonable comprehension of brain dead morons who need a issue to come in newspapers .

    2 Now as a last word I hope you will be more truthful and polite on service issues as freedom of speech can be also used as a counter attack which I don’t believe in doing in a crass way like you did..

    This country gets integrated by three means……… Railways…….. cricket and services and now possibly with the power of internet by many bloggers sharing same ideals . I hope we will discuss on more intersting topic this country is facing.


  12. Munish:

    I have already said so much and by now you must have read enough. Thank you for being the rare voice of decorum.

    Pune S:

    I can only thank you for having an open mind. The instances you have quoted and the behaviour pattern you talk about are indeed what does any organisation in.

    There is no possibility of me being cowed down. It has been tried by other sources, but thanks for the thumbs up.

  13. dear FV, i came across your criticism of the army recently and would like to add a few bits of my own.

    being a service officer, my views are going to be biased so please bear with them but i will try to be as impartial as possible.

    the first point i want to raise is a very crucial one and we often misplace the definition. what is army? a seemingly naive question. however it is important to understand that the boundaries of the army begins below the Chief of the Army Satff. the army is a tool in the hands of a government, to be utilised by its political masters for whatever purposes they feel fit. defense budgeting, foreign policies, cross border policy at indo-pak border, usage of army to handle domestic situations or riots etc are political decisions. these decisions have got little or nothing to do with army per se.

    second point i want to raise is why do we need to treat army differently, why is it not just another government department?

    well to use a simple analogy, one wears a helmet to protect one's head while riding a bike, one usually does not wear a thigh pad or an elbow guard. somewhat similarly army is a country's last line of defense. when all other measures to handle any situation fail, the nation turns to army, be it a natural calamity like floods, earthquakes etc or be it man-made disasters like riots etc. a normal middle-class child grows with the notion that in such-and-such a situation police could not control the situation, para-military forces also could not do much and finally the army was called in. army generates an awe. the awe is not for one retired colonel who has his gin and tonic in some godforsaken bar, nor for the soldier who is about to commit suicide because he cannot meet his expenses. it is for the service, for an organization.

    army is not another governmental organization because it is the last resort of a governemnt in crisis. so much so in peace time. today when this country is not facing a war, it is easy to consider balancing the equation. in the times of war, hypothetically, lets say the government decides that 10% personnel from every government department shall go to the front and face the bullets. do you see that happening. i dont think so. that time all memories of human rights will come rushing to haunt every living indian who is not in the army. and trust me army will also not be too happy about sending clueless zombies to die at the front, purely out of altruism. an armyman lives with the fact that when time comes, he will go to war for his country and die for it. even though "the country" only means a wrong decision made by his illiterate and corrupt political masters. he lives with this fact and lives with pride. there is no other government organization or department which asks its people for such an extreme sacrifice.

    i think from above two situations it might be clear why army is not at the same level as the rest of the government services. it has to be higher.

    and higher in what respect??

    higher in self-esteem, in honour, in discipline and in idealism.

    speaking of above mentioned heavy words and speaking of corruption, i am shocked that nobody ever raised a question as to why is it that while all the government servants get similar salaries in their respective ranks, only army personnel seem to be comitting suicides. how many people from railways or trade and commerse ministry have killed themselves, how many PWD officials have killed their fellow-officials or their superiors.

    it seems that the army is sufferring from lack of regular salary more than the rest of the government departments.

    ohh we can harp on about bad eggs and how even one is not desirable and how army needs to uphold its izzat and so on. let us first establish that army is least corrupt of all the government organizations.

    part of this theory is proved by the above mentioned question which i have posed and i am sure for which noone has a plausible answer. rest of it i leave to every individual's intelligent observation. being a service officers, i am aware of bad eggs in fauj. i am also very convinced that they do not form more than 1% of the total fauji population. in the civilian world, figures are way higher. it was quoted that a defense officer bought a 8 crore flat etc. pls try to find out how many of the other flats are owned by other government officials. including IAS, IPS officers. army officers are class I gazetted officiers and their salary structure is one of the highest in the country.( i think apart from judges but am not sure). so if one army officer affords a 8 crore flat, and u call him corrupt, u must also be fair and call the other 10 IAS officers who own similar flats in the same building. lets just be intelligent and fair observers and (i feel) it would be obvious that taking the raio of number of corrupt people versus number of total people, army will be emerge as one of the least corrupt governmental organizations.

    now turning to the fact that one government servant is found to be corrupt. first maybe we should analyze why did he turn to corruption in the first place, and secondly how do we deal with him.

    it is too vast a subject to be discussed here in limited space but i will try. i will focus mainly on army. i feel a person turns to corruption firstly when his needs are not satisfied by his salary and secondly when his responsibilities far exceed his renumeration and thirdly when there is no suitable deterrant to discourage him from taking this wrong path. we can take the simple example of an MP. he is responsible for clearing and approving schemes worth thousands of crores while his salary remains fixed in thousands. he also has no reasonable deterrant against becoming corrupt, so he does. in the case of army, the justice is swift, indiscriminant and merciless, so the deterrant is very much there, but the responsibility versus renumeration anomaly is very much there. so the corruption levels are low. however, as the rift is widening, corruption cases are going up.

    now the question comes as to what is the course of action now. well the cases of fratricide and suicides among soldiers are an honest indicators of the financial situation of average soldier today. it would have been a more general case across all government organizations, however in other departments' cases, this factor is evened out due to wide spread corruption and a lack of suitable deterrant.

    the army is facing attrition now. its the only organization where there are jobs but no takers. well if the nail really needs to be hit that hard - start paying dude. u want an army, earn one, coz once u have an army, the army sure earns its living by blood not sweat.

    it might come as an interesting fact to you that military personnel cannot raise their voice against governmental policies. thats the way the law goes. but i think the need is to protect our army while it lasts, lest we should be left standing on its grave, repentful and lamenting, but helpless nonetheless.


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