Military & Aerospace

Indian Army: Decay sets in the last Bastion
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 07 May , 2016

The most important pillar of any nation, The Armed Forces, they are proudly referred to as the last bastion. It is there strength upon which rest all others. The temples of democracy, freedom, economic progress, fundamental rights, judiciary, independent press and likewise the list can go on; they are all protected and secure till such time the last bastion continues to radiate strength and sense of security. Generally, we tend to over look this aspect in our day to day lives. Unfortunately, it is this bastion that has set in a motion to decay, the reform measures if not instituted will one days result in history repenting and the nation weeping. 

In India, millions of her citizens, have deep respect and draw immense pride out of their uniformed brothers. Their hearts swell with pride on hearing the heroic deeds of the men and women from the armed forces. There exists ‘astha’ in the most revered armed forces of ours amongst we Indians.

…the question of, what has gone wrong with our Armed Forces should trouble us more?  Probably far more than the incident of beheading our soldier by the Pakistani troops on the LOC.

The horrific revelations of a former Air Chief having taken bribe in the VVIP Helicopter deal, has betrayed the faith of millions in uniform. Well the story of corruption is not so new but the magnitude is ever increasing by the day. The latest in the series being the allegations of the Military Secretary taking bribe for promotion. And if this was not enough, the news of arrest of a colonel for highway robbery in Mizoram appeared in press. 

All these faith shaking revelations and allegations of corruption have a collateral price to be paid. We need to carry out an analysis and act fast to restore the shaking Astha. 

Over the past decade, there have been regular reports in the media on suicides, fragging and to add further insult the incidents of officers getting beaten up by their very own men they commanded. 

Why does the situation develop into an ugly scenario so fast and regularly these days where jawans gang up and thrash up the officers flushing down the drain rich traditions, customs and ethos that we have been boasting for more than a century now? It is difficult to even imagine what mental trauma these officers must have undergone. A permanent injury from insult and shame of getting assaulted by your own men is unfathomable. The country should be forced to think of the larger reasons that have gone wrong and force course correction. 

My experience tells that this organisation is crowded with great fire fighters, where the effort of all at first instance is to brush the things under the carpet.

Where have the thing gone wrong? After all these officers were selected and trained into the military ethos which is guided by the Chetwode Credo of the Indian Military Academy, that says, “The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time”. These officers who love their men more than their folks, who lead them into battle with a smile and similarly these men always considered their officers as virtual gods. For them, their officer could be trusted blindly for their well-being and honour. Then the question arises, what has gone wrong with our Armed Forces? It should trouble us far more than the incident like that of beheading our soldier by the Pakistani troops on the LOC. 

Our PM and the Chief may underplay, in the interest of the nation and the organization, by stating ‘that our army is 12 million strong and such small incidents do occur’. A reaction given soon after the incident of 16 CAVALARY in 2012. Is it so normal and common? Well! by any analysis, it is not so. At least I never came across during my 20 years of military service. 

We as a nation need to think, introspect and implement changes to stop this down slide in the last bastion of our country. There is an urgent need to identify, why the standards of our officers are falling? It is their failure, that is responsible for a terrible and an irreparable damage to the fiber of our Army. 

I sincerely feel that the responsibility is not merely that of the armed forces to keep their house in order but of all Indians to ensure that it is kept in order. My experience tells that this organisation is crowded with great fire fighters, where the effort of all at first instance is to brush the things under the carpet. 

A young man who joins the Armed Forces comes from a society that is churning and stoking with the fire hatred towards nation’s corrupt administration and politicians. The desire to change is real.

Our political masters are not bothered and are contented till such time the Army stays in barracks and keeps itself busy internally. The Indian political class, who has literally no exposure in to the functioning of our armed forces, other than a few official visits to military establishments and information gathered through our Bollywood movies. Hence they lack the required knowledge to steer and initiate corrective measures. 

The senior echelons of the army who are entrusted with the responsibility to maintain internal health suffer from parochialism and exclusivity who appear more bothered about their post retirement employments and false regimental spirits and loyalties rather than the real issues. Armed Forces “The Holy Cow” I don’t know why it is always kept under wraps and discussions not open to a larger intelligentsia, inviting the participation of professionals and eminent people. This policy of isolation may have been correct during the British era for the European masters who wanted to keep the Armed forces away from the civilian influences and vice a versa. 

The challenge faced today need to be debated by the professionals from various fields who would put their brains together and reason out the reform measures. This is whose army after all? If we don’t bother then who will? Unfortunately, unlike the armies of the west where the citizen awareness and participation is far more, where soldiering is a highly preferred profession, this is somehow beyond the imagination in India. 

A young man who joins the Armed Forces comes from a society that is churning and stoking with the fire hatred towards nation’s corrupt administration and politicians. The desire to change is real. 

Our joint family system has finished which in earlier times gave a lot of mental peace and stability to a soldier’s family back home. Unlike the west, where the state takes upon itself the responsibility to safe guard the interests of a soldier’s family, unfortunately, in our country the state representatives do not spare a chance to fleece the brave hearts, moment they get one. 

Any little time that an officer may have, he would like to invest in his professional studies if he wants to continue afloat in the competitive environment rather than wasting time in troop activities, thus slowly and gradually the officers have become virtually invisible to our men.

The neighbors and the relatives in plenty of cases are constantly eying the property of a soldier while he is away on duty. They are aware that he will not get time while in service to safe guard his interests at back home. These vulnerabilities often lead to mental tensions coupled with the challenges of the service conditions. 

Over and above all this, in the present environment of internet and media, a soldier is fed with the revelations and allegations involving senior army officers in corruption and malpractices. Such practices, otherwise reserved for civil servants and the politicians, leaves this soldier utterly dismayed. 

On part of the officers who generally come from the urban background, who are raised by their parents in an over protected environment. The group participation like sports and cultural activities are virtually non-existent and unfortunately reserved for those who are not academically focused. This leads to deficiency in developing an art in dealing and understanding the group dynamics. 

Urban life style, corporate culture, internet, media and cut throat competition shapes up our children who would later join as army officers. The art of man management which was earlier learnt while playing in parks, streets and vastly available grounds is now a thing of past. 

The Armed forces have not been able to cope up with the changing times. The general outdoor culture is on a fast decline, the company and battalion level sports and physical activities that were organized almost on daily basis are nowhere to be seen any more. 

On the contrary the officers can easily be spotted sitting in their offices till late in the evenings. Any little time that an officer may have, he would like to invest in his professional studies if he wants to continue afloat in the competitive environment rather than wasting time in troop activities, thus slowly and gradually the officers have become virtually invisible to our men. The immense work load and stiff competition has led to short tempers and reduction of compassion towards juniors by their seniors. 

In my opinion we need to integrate our officers back into the great value system and traditions of the Armed Forces and simultaneously curb the menace of growing corruption in uniform.

The deliberate ignorance by the military leaders and steep rise in cases of corruption in the defense forces is another major reason that has led to trust deficit between the led and their leaders.

The incidents in Ladakh and Pathankot may be the early signs of greater troubles in future if necessary steps are not taken. We have to curb and check scandals like the ones, involving NDA commandant, bribery case of Canteen Stores Department Bombay, fake killings at Siachen Glacier, Ketchup colonels, attempted bribery effort by a retired general seeking favours from the COAS, vast corruption in Assam Rifle, Jhorat’s  case of extortion of money by intelligence officer, a brigade commander taking money for writing ACR of the COs in the North East, like this the list can go on. Such incidents raise doubts in the minds of our troops regarding the credibility of the officers in general overshadowing the genuine lot. 

So where is the fault? Well the fault is inherent to our character that resists change and refuses to evolve, on the contrary do not hesitate in subverting the system for vested interests. The officer men gap continues to widen, the good things that we inherited form the British are gradually eroding and dying.  In my view, camaraderie, honesty, integrity, service before self, personal example, moral and physical courage are the attributes that a soldier should possess to be a successful and effective military leader. These attributes are gradually being reduced to irrelevant subject like the moral science. 

Who is to be blamed? the Army? Well it may partially be correct. Because, in my opinion, the correct order of blame should be – our society, the politicians and then the army. Why the society keeps quiet, why the law makers not seek answers, unlike the other issues of relevance. Why there is silence towards these inadequacies in the Army that make headlines off and on. 

In my opinion we need to integrate our officers back into the great value system and traditions of the Armed Forces and simultaneously curb the menace of growing corruption in uniform. There also exists a strong reason for the government and the society to look after the soldier’s interest back home, may be by enacting laws and increasing public awareness. 

We within the organization are all aware of misuse of Military Intelligence funds and siphoning off various grants allocated to the units and formations in the name of organization where the line often gets blurred.

Apart from corruption that has brought in degeneration to the overall ethos, the other reality is that this organization is also carrying a huge component of superseded Officers, JCOs and NCOs at different ranks. There exists a large population of medical category personnel minus the Battle Casualties. This combined lot is generally disgruntled and is equally responsible for the decay that we are discussing. 

This lot unfortunately gets de-motivated fast leading to wide spread discontentment which is not healthy for the organization. I am by no means trying to belittle the sacrifices made by these officers and men, but our pyramidal system which has no other alternate but to exist in this manner, leads to weaning away by picking up the best from the lot. 

In my opinion we need to graduate from a welfare organization into a through professional organization. By this I imply that we need to scratch the bottom of the pan regularly, those officers and men who are found NOT TO BE HAVING IT IN THEM should be given a golden hand shake or given a management or technical training from any of the prestigious institutions or absorbed laterally in civil police, Para Military, etc and gracefully eased out. There can be many other options but by scraping the bottom, the organization will gain immensely. It will retain its energy, positivity, morale, and motivation and the pay offs will be manifold. 

Within the organization a few issues that need to be addressed like the importance and professional relevance of Honours and Awards, understanding the ills of awarding Unit citations and the side effects, reviewing the selection process to Higher Courses, all of which make some units and individuals do a few wrong to maintain an edge. 

Over the years there has been an increase in role of private contractors at unit and formation level, be it in the current system of Logistics and supply, Land and Works, OP Sadhbhawna projects, Army Commanders Special Powers Fund. 

More than the police reforms, administrative and the Political reforms, the Armed Forces reforms is an urgent necessity.

We within the organization are all aware of misuse of Military Intelligence funds and siphoning off various grants allocated to the units and formations in the name of organization where the line often gets blurred. In today’s age of information nothing is hidden from the troops and our young officers thus adding to their frustration, distrust and disgust. 

Other aspects that has an adverse effect on the psyche   of the troops is the five-star culture that has crept in the officer class, sense of exclusivity that prevails when the use of resources on welfare is concerned, and to top it all our Sahayak System which reflects the feudal culture and is hated by the troops despite the fact that this is defended and preserved by the officers. 

Having given an insight in to the areas of termite infestation in the solid plank, which I would still maintain is the most robust and sturdy when compared with other institution of our great nation. The decay however has set in and the responsibility lies in the hands of all us to ensure the cessation of this drift. After all this is our Army?

More than the police reforms, administrative and the Political reforms, the Armed Forces reforms is an urgent necessity. The citizens don’t come face to face with the Holy Cow hence are oblivious to the lurking danger which if not averted may let down the nation at a crucial juncture for which the history may not pardon.

First published in 2012

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Danvir Singh

Associate Editor, Indian Defence Review, former Commanding Officer, 9 Sikh LI and author of  book "Kashmir's Death Trap: Tales of Perfidy and Valour".

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39 thoughts on “Indian Army: Decay sets in the last Bastion

  1. hello Colonel Singh,

    I am curious to know that while you have referred to an incident from 2012, but the article was put up on 2016. Was it a reupload of an old article?

    I would also like to know how is the situation now ?

  2. Sir beg to disagree … I m not able to understand y veterans dnt update their their know how b4 commenting on such issues which affect morale of serving troops… Pls understand the contemporary environment and then comment..discuss inhouse b4 getting into public outrage and slugfest… With all due regards…

  3. Dear editor,
    Thoughts in this article have brought out the truth of the decay in the Army, however, I would like to list a few ante dotes for this decay
    1. All citations for distinguished service awards from PVSM to Army Cdr Commendation should be made public on award atleast. This will put a break on these awards being used as a bait to get all wrong done by Senior offrs.
    2. All ACRs by an IO which are graded upto 80 percentile of the highest to be made open to all offrs to view the Pen Picture.
    3. Make Offrs accountable instead of Offrs doing all wrong in an Appt in the garb of organisational reqmt and then accountability shifts to Appt holder and not the person who did all wrong. This aspect has everything to do with putting under the carpet.
    4. If the rumours of Own troops having been shot from behind by own fire to make an assault go are true then behind time in setting our senior hierarchy accountable.

  4. Well Col there are a no of issues. Why don’t you see officers at PT or games parade ? How many officers are there in a Battalion at peace stations and what duties are they performing ? I as a CO found it hard to send my companies out for training since I couldn’t find officers to go along with the companies. I was forced to de-induct an officer from Fd Firing because the Fmn HQ wanted a C of I done within a stipulated time frame. It has become a helpless situation and a frustrating one for the CO of Battalions. You possibly cant rely on the JCOs to run the Battalion. They have their limitations. Who will train the young officers ? I am giving personal examples because that’s the real situation. I move to CI ops with 12 officers under 3 years of service. I didn’t have senior company commanders. Whose fault is it? All Administrative posts are held at 100%. We do not have adequate officers to maintain the step by step hierarchical system at each level. After all we learnt from our seniors and in todays Army there are no seniors to train young officers. So where does that Ethos come from. Commanding troops is not by the rank we wear – its matter of experience and maturity which is lacking today because of shortage of officers.
    The biggest malady is at the upper echelons. They are just looking ahead or up – their desired final destination in the Army. They are commanding by coercion and not by exemplary leadership. I served under a corps commander who on his first meeting told me that he will sort me out if …… that was one hell of an inspirational leader. There are broken links in the chain of command. There is no personal touch. Today brigade commanders are there for 16 to 18 months and Div Commanders for one year. Do they have the time to get into the inspirational style of leadership. As one young officer remarked – “my CO said that before the enemy he has to know the Commander and the GOC, they enemy will always be there, but they will move fast”.

  5. Well articulated Danvir – kudos. The fact is that such a state has come to pass is that it’s not anybody’s Army any more. The politicians – bureaucratic cabal continues to corrode the rubric of the services and our senior officers are guilty of letting this happen. In my view, it is the latter that is the biggest bane and something to ponder about.

  6. The biggest problem is silence to corruption. A few Top brass thinks We can save our conscience that we will be honest in some yardstick , manipulative in some thing else , close our eyes to somebody who matters to us in unethical gains and finally sort out whistle blowers.

    Why do they think that immediate next rank will matter to them rest of their lives.. the chiefs involved in Adarsh scam or top brass in sukhana or other..cases…they will be always remembered for that..what did they achieved… you should see them isolated or shun in veteran meet…or official parties.

    Others who thought they were clean 25 percent find their voice after retirement. They kept quiet because that time next rank was important. .but they destroyed the faith and justice what this organization stands for.

    Hope they will ponder now after retirement ..if not now..the life will flash in front of them in hospital when they are nearing the end…you will that time realize what did you achieved…I saw a top brass recently of cancer..helpless
    A life wasted…for likes of corrupt…to fluorish…sad…what did you achieve..does your rank or vsm matter now…you are respected only what you stood for….as a veteran..

    So those serving , make your time count. like Sam Manekshaw to achieve immortality what he stood for….integrity reward is not those 9 point from a corrupt boss but after retirement you are known when you served.

    Jai Hind…Keep this organisation clean and is the last Bastion ..this nation has.

    Last but not the least ..stand by honest guys…they loved you; respected you…but you sacrifice them on wishes of corrupt..don’t destroy the next generation.

    All sins will catch up with you all…karma catches up…I have seen that ..karma taking stock of what you all did… Isn’t it….think it over…those bad things why it happened to you is called Karma…

  7. This article has come out extremely well in zeroing down to the most critical causes of decay. However, the public at large is blamed to be the cause is not right. The common man like me, (A bloody civilian) has got little exposure to the ethos and the framework of these august institutions. The top brass has more often than not, been yielding to the political pressures from time to time. Every General is not and Cannot be Sam Bahadur. Although the author did not come across any incident of violence between the men and the officers there have been enough number of cases fighting between the officers separately and men separately which a common man does not even know about…

    Further, there have been some cases of corruption within the defense forces which never even reached the bureaucracy or the RM. Like the case of military farm, the case where an officer was named as Ketchup officer etc…

    all these and more cases known only the insiders in defense and maybe after a couple of years reached the public. Hence, it is not right to blame the society and the academy. The fault lies with politicians who are over enthused to poke their noses into defense and the leadership which yields to them. NOT THE PUBLIC.

  8. Good article but was it with convictions or a filler…
    Lt Gen Bajwa cleared this article…
    Ask him what did he do in case of Dilawar.. long story..

    Enjoy writing such articles…we stopped reading such stuff long time back as not translated in actions..

  9. millions of her citizens, have deep respect for the Indian armed forces but the politicians have very little respect for them. In 1962 when India had very little money for the armed force that were very poorly equipped, India learnt a very costly lesion. You have the economy running at 7.6% but Mr Modi who has cut the defense budget by 8.5% he fell he is a good friend of the Paki nation and China and he is doing his best to sell India to the American India is going to let her forces down again !

  10. Continued…

    India is a nation owned and operated, for the most part, by those certified as congenitally backward. Every arm of the State is unfit-forpurpose other than to loot, plunder and rape the helpless. How can the Armed Forces be an exception to the National Culture? It is like somebody saying , “Yes, my body may be dying of cancer but my hands and teeth will survive”.

    *Note: PANGOLIN: An enemy of India who believes in inequality under law, exceptions to the rule of law and persecution of some for the benefit of others. At present, the sole purpose of the Indian Republic, Constitutional or otherwise, is to pamper and provide for certain constitutionally preferred sections of society who the British found useful to hold and exploit India at the cost of those who the British hated and persecuted. The Pangolin is a creature that is unique to India and feeds on ants that are known in nature to be industrious and hard working if not quite as fruitful as bees who flee to better climes. (PANGOLIN is an acronym for the Periyar-Ambedkar-Nehru-Gandhi-Other (alien) Religions-Communist Consensus that usurped the British Mantle and has worn it with elan to loot, plunder, and rape India since 1921 and re write History and laws to their exclusive benefit since 1947)

  11. How can any tentacle of the Indian State be free of the pervasive culture of corruption, incompetence and non accountability that India’s PANGOLIN*s have constructed since 1947?

    Way back in the 60s inspired by the like of Jabberlal Nehru and Krishna Menon, there was wide spread carpet bagging. Commandants of such institutions as the NDA and IMA would pocket the carpets, the furniture, the cutlery and crockery at the expense of the mess or other contractors. There have been Generals who would stoop so low as to dip into the pockets of their subordinates.

    During Sardar Patel’s Operation Polo (currently under the Official Secrets Act, like the Henderson Brooks’ Report) a despatch was received by Sardar Patel from a former Mysore Civil Service officer on deputation there. “The Ruby necklace that was declined to the Marchioness of Willingdon by the Nizam was seen around Mrs Chowdhary’s neck”. Wrote Patel on the margin of this despatch, “He gave me Hyderabad in three days, let him keep it”.

    Since she lost the Keshavananda Bharathi case, Indira Gandhi set up a High Command that collected files of criminal wrong doing of personnel in all offices of the State from Judiciary to Police to Bureaucracy, to Politicians to the Armed Forces for preferment and promotion. These were the growing controllable cogs in the wheels of the State. Who do the Armed Forces report to? The Armed forces have changed places with the Police and have become a subordinate service while every corrupt and criminal Police paunch retires wearing the rank badges of a Lieutenant General and misuses his power and authority to ensure the subversion of law and order while bleeding the country and other people’s assets including clubs and societies, with cars, houses, liveried servants, free bees, and alarm lights and stars reminiscent of an occupying Second World Army!


    • “… a despatch was received by Sardar Patel from a former Mysore Civil Service officer on deputation there. “The Ruby necklace that was declined to the Marchioness of Willingdon by the Nizam was seen around Mrs Chowdhary’s neck”. Wrote Patel on the margin of this despatch….” –
      I have come across such anecdotes a number of times for the Hyderabad operation and tried to verify their authenticities but failed miserably to find the truth. Where did you get the source from the horses mouth ? Try to get your facts in order first before believing such and such said (or wrote) so and upholding that as the penultimate veracity.

      Read more at:

  12. Very thought provoking article.The ills defence forces suffer have been known for quite some time.Neither politicians nor senior generals in service are willing to face the reality on the ground.I blame the officers at all levels.Every one aims at getting Good Annual Confidential Report and is willing to sacrifice the interests of his command.Secondly we are not open to learning from the lessons from various battles/wars we have fought since 1947.We are prone to beating our own drums while the reality may be different.We are hesitant to publish our War Histories lest the facts stated there in are challenged.So it has been and will continue.till we suffer another defeat.

  13. If the Judiciary and now the Armed forces are viewed with suspicion and are gradually losing their hallowed status, most of it unfortunately due to political interference, then we as a nation have to get out of a ‘It directly does not effect me attitude’, and arouse our slumbering conscience, or else a situation will creep up on us before we open our eyes which we wud collectively be responsible for and may be too late.

  14. Peace time soldering is difficult and the problem’s of man management increase manifold. In future there will be no war only low intensity conflict (Lic).The TRG and management of the Armed Force’s has to change.

    A change in our system is urgently required. The monsoon session of the parliament just wasted. Utter disregard for the people.

  15. Sir,
    While i agree that any live and vibrant organisation should review and update its sharp survival, progressive and honing procedures, Col Danvir Singh has not entirely true that the decay has set in totality.
    What militates against his broad brush depiction of a total rot he found in the Indian ARMY MAY BE AS FOLLOWS:-
    A, The times are changing and so also the ethos of the modern day life including the armed forces. So i will be naive and food hardy to expect same what i saw to prevail in life and army around me as i saw say20/ 30 years back.
    B. The values, parameters and ethos of the entire life and society have changed and so also it affects the Army and its personnel.
    C. Remember that the Indian Army can never be living in isolation and the leadership at helm of the nation will affect its ethos, life style and functioning.
    D. We should never forget that we have seen a GRAND decay. downslaught in values all FOUR estates of the the Nation, The Legislature, Bueracracy, The Judiciary and the Print and TV media ; so it is naive that expect nothing will happen to the Indian Army in an inclusive and exclusive manner. After we draw our personnel from best citizens of the Nation!
    Bottom line, while we admit that the nation alongwith the armed forces must regular introspect its ethos, values and future, it will be untrue to say degradation in the armed forces are any more than that of this Great Nation and we can remain totally unaffected and unblemished by what is happening out side the BOX!

    WE for one should not be so gloomy and paint the Armed Forces in a very dark shade of the brush.. with out looking at its enviorns.
    Has even one Defence Minister ever saw war or served the nation in uniform in India.
    All leading world nations have its fair share of guys who wore the uniform for a long time … donning in politico, economic and nations’ leadership role and slots….


  16. ” These officers who are supposed to love their men more than their folks, who were motivated to lead them into battle with a smile and these men who considered their officers as gods, since the leaders could do anything for their well-being and honour. Then the question of, what has gone wrong with our Armed Forces should trouble us more? “……….”It is this bastion that has set in motion to decay, the reform measures if not instituted will one days result in history repenting and the nation weeping.”

    Military ethos which is inscribed in the Chetwood Hall of the IMA and says, “The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time”. have we chosen to forget this ?

    One of the greatest quality of a soldier is to admit one”s fault and tell the truth in a straightforward and direct way, even if the truth is not pleasant . whatever we do, it cant be hidden from the public, coz more than two people is public . And public includes our families at home n colleagues at work place . some of us wont like this article and want to live with false belief that no one knows. anybody who loves our Army will welcome this article.

  17. The author has written a very good article I must say. The present generation has to change or we can say like this they need to groom properly.
    After having spent the major portion of our life in the Army / Navy / Air force for the nation, what the nation in return gives us comparing with others. Always and every time there is a partiality shown wit the three services. Veterans are returning their Medals, once the organization / country decorated for their good service. what is the reason to force them to do so ? . No one is bothered about this including our GENERALS if they( All three) can put their foot down things will be sorted out, politicians worried about their own chair , garbing money from the public fund and their own party. At present so many kick backs are in the air, is any one of the case properly investigated and punished? All these things are seen every day by this younger generation. Then how can we expect them to be sincere ? An example for this is a col of the Indian Army caught in trafficking Narcotic worth 15 Cr ore . We never heard of these thing in our good old days. There was an e mail which I had received regarding a party conducted in one of the offers mess at Ambala Cantt . If the senior officers can set an example (Good or Bad) it will trickle down and will follow by others.

    PGC Nair

  18. The deteriorated standards in our body politic and society, are now being reflected in the services as well.
    The Govt and the nation see the forces as an avenue of employment and purely voluntary.
    Injury, death in battle or training, are occupational hazards.
    The men in uniform are being paid for the same.
    Harsh conditions of service are also to be tolerated , being a part of the professional requirement and are being compensated through allowances for high altitude and so on.
    This being the situation, who are the people opting for this service?
    It is only those who cannot make it in other professions . That is the last choice for any one, be it a soldier or an officer.
    Gone are the days, when son was eager to join the father`s regiment .
    I had a mess NCO who wanted his son to go in for an MBA.
    Men in uniform, be it soldiers or officers no longer encourage their children to join the services.
    This is going to be like this for a long time. The shortages of men and officers can be expected to go up year by year.
    It is alright to ruminate on the shortfalls in officer ma relationship and measures to improve it, but the environment does not lend itself to a quick or text book solution. It looks like a syndicate discussion in the services or a management program.

  19. I wish this goes across to right people who can effect a change. It is not that these people don’t know but the fact of the matter is that they are all the beneficiary of the existing system. It is the sad story – FOR SELF, BY SELF, OF SELF……COUNTRY COMES LAST AND ALMOST EVERY TIME

  20. The real challenge to current leadership is to get work out of a superseded officer – the others will work anyway (till superseded!). Today’s OR will not blindly accept whatever is ordered, because he/she is educated (sometimes more than the Officer). Moreover the OR is aware not only about duties but also about rights. If the skills of a superseded officer are acknowledged then getting the individual to work depends on leadership skills. As far as women in the Services, there is no harm to induct them – but with the clear understanding that there will be no discrimination. My experience with lady officers has been that their conduct encompasses the entire spectrum like their male counterparts – from sincere dedication to scrounging to taking undue advantage of their gender. However, if the Boss calls a spade a spade – and conducts him/herself with fairness, everybody will fall in line. After all, these traits are not gender-specific: only now ladies have the opportunity to display them!!

  21. The article is a real eyeopener and has brought in to light the “CHANGE” which army requires at this point of time. “INTEGRITY” being the USP of the Armed forces is at stake. its time to manifest change in the system which must flow from the top hierarchy to bottom. its better to be late than never to re instill the ethos values traditions and cultures followed by the esteemed organisation by living up to the expectations in real sense , which is attainable .

  22. True Sir ..
    I think the Top Brass can make a significant change if it let’s go the desire for post retirement quango appointments & immoral misappropriations as they are the guiding light & need to be exemplary in their conduct. Just a few more points :
    1. Golden handshake is not the solution I believe, it’s just a compensatory measure. An org structural change is required which ensures service personnel a career enhancement devoid of acute pyramidical one especially when many vacancies are bound to be created if govt goes ahead with setting up of a joint services command. Else,how do we expect worthy youth of this nation to lead the force when he sees his civil counterparts becoming senior to his bde cdr in 14 yrs of their service if in IPS & equivalent to his GOC in 13 yrs if IAS. By that time, he ‘ll just be a Lt Col unsure of wearing the georgette patches unless he has accumulated a respectable no. of 9s & deltas.

    2. A strict & exemplary action needs to be taken against the culprit in the offr vs jawan confrontations which have incr in recent past. Offrs no doubt have to take much of the responsibility for the rank divide within a unit & adhere to the Chetwode credo. On the other hand, the much educated jawan should also understand the strict hierarchy which is must for any war ready outfit . A coy ante room should not be allowed to be converted into a local panchayat where gossip mongering leads to grotesque outbursts. This only serves the ill will of frustrated few & features itself as the ugliest debate on visual media or as tabloid fodder which further leads to demotivation within the org.

    I am sure things ‘ll change if we have more VK Singhs & Vinod Rais !!

    • Hi,
      I admire your candid comment hinting at a way out. I think the best solutions can emerge from wide spread discussions within the org. Out side intervention would be fruitful only if the govt ( politicians & babus) understand the need and facilitate structural changes allow greater space to progress and grow. However internally we have to work a lot towards breaking free from the present mind set.

  23. The five-star culture actually has no place in the Armed Forces. Even among officers there seems to be a cast system emerging – separate dining in the same Mess. Clearly a shameful phenomenon. We need to sustain spartan life-style at all ranks. Also the gap between officers and OR’s must never allowed to become so wide that governance becomes difficult. Officers are responsible to ensure that the relationship with OR’s is at all times correct – based on mutual respect, and not on a ‘caste-system’ at all.

  24. The article actually sums up once again the situation that currently prevails. We need to now look for bad solutions (where presently there are worse or no solutions at all ) to the problem. To set matters in perspective, let us accept that since human nature is not infallible, corruption is here to stay. However, it can be managed – that is minimized and finally marginalized to a point where it does not significantly impair the Armed Forces in the efficient and effective discharge of legitimate duty. Solutions can be at both the organization and individual level. As an organization we have to create and sustain an Armed Forces Culture with the highest standards of professionalism and integrity as is possible – and that process begins at the TOP. It should not be forgotten that while skills are important, values will determine the direction the skills will take. To an extent we must insulate ourselves from the negative aspects of the culture in society in general. Since we draw our officers and personnel from society at large, the process of socialization must be accorded top priority. Socialization, as distinct from ‘socializing’, is a process where the Armed Forces values (assuming they have been created and sustained) must be transmitted to new entrants. Those who cannot accept them must be ruthlessly weeded out at all levels where detected. They may be good people, but are not good enough for the Armed Forces. This process must start at grass-roots level in the training period, and sustained throughout service. An incompetent person can be trained to be competent, but a dishonest individual has no place in our organization. At an individual level, let us not forget the philosophy of MK Gandhi to the effect that in this world there is enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for everybody’s greed.

  25. This decay can not be set correct without external intervention because the internal mechanism has gone faulty. Gen Chandra is an old die hard soldier we are aware but sir the present generation is chasing the glint of the silver, be it a general or otherwise. Course correction may not come internally I fear.

  26. Well,undoubtedly we are retrograding towards the fifties era due to weaknessof our pliant hierarchy coupled with ingress of corporate culture in our daily functioning with bye bye to leadership traits. I as an advocate for the last 18 years can authentically say that our welfare measures are confined only to papers and gaps between what we preach and do is widening alarmingly.To quote- We are still being guided by pension regulation of 1961with numerous amendments one amending another and the latest regulation of 2008 is worst than of 1961. I find officers hesitating extending minor helping hand to a jawan whose parental property gets taken over by relatives with help of our latest political Rajas and Maharajs and their obedient civil servant.. It is sad that a person posted at jabalpur is given only 3 days leave to visit his sick ex Hav father against asking for 10 days at jhunjhunu he returns late by 8 hours and then dismissed from service through SCM and no one to bother. I was shocked when a jawan showed me two days leave cerificate and award of punishment of 14 days RI for AWL for same period purely to makeup to four red ink entries and is discharged as undesireable.Young boys are dying at border leaving behindt disputes between parents and in laws due to our flawed policies.A Jawan gets washed away along with several comrades due to fury of flood in 1991 at tawang at staging camp and widow sanctioned spec fly pension now in jan 2013 the record and PCDA get a dream and stop pension that since his dead body could not be recovered she isnot entitled.The list is endless suffice to say old bonds of comradeship are things of past. The root cause is our inapt politicians busy in amassing wealth for next election and for generations and in this quest they are dependent on and are being goverend by civil servants keeping forces at bay. Things are still under control but a lot needs to be done. Presently in house measures raise hopes. Col S B Singh,Retd, Jaipur

  27. This is a revolutionary article written out of experience, emotion , facts and anger which may appear eyebrow pulling to some but a platform for introspection and reforms to those who genuinely wish to stop the decay in last bastion. It is an eye opener and each & every officer of armed forces has to put in efforts to maintain the ethos and spirit of ” ARMY THAT CARES”.


  28. Long ago (1953), I entered the profession with Ist Div M Sc /electronics and 2nd in the IMA passing out batch. Many Blues and Half blues.

    Within 3 years I realized that a close friend with 2nd Division in the Varsity,who had joined IAS, was already teaching me how to behave.

    In nutshell, we are (or known to be) as the civilians decide.
    I do not waste time in introspection. We still have inbuilt mechanism to correct ourselves.

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