Today, the Indian Army has got a “big catch”.
By now most people know that armymen took to me like…well, fish to worm. This time they are upfront and state that Kapil Dev will act as a mascot. But we haven’t won a World Cup test series since 1983. We have not quite produced a bowler like him. And people may have joined cricket after watching him play, but it is unlikely that they will join the army because of him. Unless the youngsters are given inducements like endorsements, visibility on TV channels.
His new rank will be of an “honorary Lt-Col” and the Army Chief will take time off his busy schedule to pin the Ashoka Lion and star on Kapil’s shoulders. Let me add a little about what he will be doing:
Legendary cricketer Kapil Dev will be joining the Territorial Army, the part-time citizen’s force which functions as a ‘vital adjunct’ to the regular army… In the event of national emergencies, they may be asked to become full-time personnel to act in a supporting role to regular army units.
In my article that got a few armymen very cross with me – Rot in the Indian Army – I had asked certain questions when Vivek Oberoi was asked to volunteer:
Even if the actor gets recruited in one of the non-departmental units that cater for urban requirements, 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 questions remain. There have been quite a few national emergencies since then. Where was the actor? Busy doing his “Ae Ganpat” act, or seeking obsequious apologies from Salman Khan at public functions, or growing his hair to look like Johnny Depp on a bad Johnny Depp hair and everything else day? Has there been one word from either him or the army about what role he would play/has played?
Therefore, the slightly bitter pill bit that I wrote wasn’t all that off, was it?
I just feel sorry that the real armymen who go through all the struggle during real battles or protect our nation are not considered worthy enough to be role models. But then, they aren’t considered worthy enough for a good enough pay packet.
Wouldn’t it be better to keep them in fine fettle instead of waiting to give them a gun salute, covering their caskets with a tricolour and then awarding them a medal, which their tearful widows and mothers have to collect?
You can flaunt as many mascots as you want, but the public is looking at how the ‘game’ is played.
PS: Cricketers are now taking part in a dance show with glamorous partners. Can the Army beat that?