Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Guards of Honor

There are some things we would do out of passion, some for honor, some to keep us from being idle and some merely for money. Materialistic as it may sound, the fact remains that working for passion and honor alone without money enough for happiness (not greed) will slowly eat through to the very roots of that passion and honor. And, even if not for any noble reasons, should we not as a nation in our own self interest pay our uniformed men enough to sustain their selflessness and stop them from walking out on us?
Indian army was once hailed as one of the world's best trained armed forces. Men serve in the army for only one possible reason..they care so much that allowed to stand guard is their biggest honor. We read and talk about wars on Siachen, but how many of us stop to think about the army men as humans with emotions, families, and dreams ? We have gotten so used to the strife around our borders that we have begun to take too much for granted. What men once considered as honor above everything else have understandably woken up to the fact that no honor can be sustained without money.
Another pay commission, another let down. Everyone saw noticeable pay hikes (everyone: read IAS officers, etc) except our armed and paramilitary forces. Am I wrong in thinking that it should have been the other way round? Sadly enough, our bureaucrats make enough money outside their pay checks. Did the government stop to think or did people bother to question what would happen if our armed personnel began to look for underhanded ways of making a living? A mental run on all our borders leaves little room for imagination...
It is still not too late to make amends, in my opinion..the worst that has happened yet is that people are quitting the army prematurely and young blood is not even interested in joining. The NDA and the IMA which are still very difficult to be recruited into is not going to remain so for long. Last year, both these prestigious institutions saw only one third the number of applicants (not recruits) as the number of vacancies. Officers are quick to frankly point out the fundamental problem...the job is not remotely lucrative. Colonels after 27 years of experience can hope to take home a meager 25000 Rs a month. After all the tough years of sacrifice and hardship, all they ask is to be treated on par with IAS officers (although in my opinion they deserve even more), and our government thinks it is unreasonable, and our people and media were more concerned with who was going to win the elections in the USA than addressing this more important problem. I think we have trained ourselves to address an issue only when it gets out of hand and beyond the reach of a simple solution. Unfortunately this is one of those issues which have to be nipped in the bud. We simply cannot afford to have unskilled or dispassionate personnel in our BSF or in our defense forces. We will be ripped apart from every single direction and left with a country half our current size. If we want to continue having an army to fight for us, for once we civilians should fight for them, and keep their dreams and passion alive.


Jeetesh Jadhav said...

I , totally agree with you. Even my father was in the Indian Airforce and what he use to get as a salary was a very miserable amount. The government is just not bothered about our defense personnel at all.You remember the MIG crashes that are happening for years and many IAF pilots have lost their lifes. George Frenandis once flies the aircraft and says that its safe. How ridiculous is that. I pray that plane should have crashed and george fernandis should have died. Our soldiers fight their life out at the border for us and actually we don't bother about that at all.

Vacha said...

What you say about the army is true for all "common" govt jobs. People who work as government doctors and engineers earn one eighth or one ninth of what they would if they were in private sector.

But bad is the condition for teachers and policemen - even worse than army folks. They build the very fabric of our society by teaching our young and guarding us from crime. In return, they get 3-4k a month, posting in remote villages, and all kinds of work hours since they are severely understaffed.

lakshmi said...

Both of you are right. The reasons I am talking about army here is that:
1. They are noticeably leaving the army for lucrative jobs, and those still in are going on strikes, and given our country's tense border situation, some action needs to be taken.
2. Corruption in army or BSF could lead to far worse consequences than corruption among teachers.

Priyank said...

We unfortunately live in society full of contradictions. Abhinav Bindra gets money in eight digits (Not to take away anything from him) for 'national pride' and martyrs of 26/11 get peanuts. Political parties never agree an anything except the bill for revision of their own salaries.

But the thing also to be seen is the pocket out of which all these forces, govt staffers and development programmes come out of. India is the country with one of the highest tax-evaders. All of us want the roads to be pothole-free, but do not give a damn to filling the pocket which will enable some poorly paid guy to do it.

Hope things will get better with development in infrastructure and eventually more people contributing their bit with taxes. And about salaries of generals, I am not sure whether the figures are right... the 25000 is the 'basic' salary. There are other perks which amount to a lot. But I am not sure.