Monday, February 6, 2012

Kissa General Ka...

This appeared in Sunday Times.... I understand I have received some seriously nasty mail for this. Theek hai. I have never bothered with abusive comments. Particularly those that are written by cowards hiding behind assumed identities.
I am getting set for my Karachi trip! My session is titled 'Superstar Author', and that has me worried! Should I borrow Bipasha's spangled saree from Riteish Deshmukh's shaadi?? Or get into one of those ridiculous designer gowns flashed by our lovely ladies on the Red Carpet in Macau??? Blogdosts, kindly step in and advise!!
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The General in his labyrinth…

There is something super fabulous about Faujjis. Diehard romantics ( women, in particular) will say it’s the uniform that does it. Perhaps. But beyond the crispness of the ‘vardis’, it’s the aura surrounding our bravehearts that makes civilians go weak in the knees. Our men and women in the Armed Forces represent many things – heroism, gallantry, loyalty, pride, safety, security and just good, old- fashioned patriotism. The sort of gooey, mushy emotion that extends well beyond logic and mundane,everyday concerns.The popular Governor of Maharshtra, K. Sankaranarayanan hosted an impressive Reception on the manicured lawns of the Raj Bhavan to celebrate India’s Republic Day. The guest list was pretty eclectic, with several celebrities ( big and small) dotting the grounds and making polite noises over chai and samosas. Invariably, it was the men in uniform who attracted the most attention. Other invitees sidled up to get photographed with them, while they themselves scanned the crowd looking for prominent personalities they wished to hobnob with. In that beautiful setting, our Faujjis stood out magnificently, and at least on that one evening, they overshadowed all the stars from other fields, who were busy preening and strutting around waiting to be clicked by the official photographer. The Faujjis stole the show - all those medals across broad chests! The proud posture! The attitude! Wow.
And then we get a General who refuses to grow up! Come on. There is something petty about a person who shrewdly times a protest after living with a ‘wrong’ DoB for decades. No matter what Army Chief Gen.V.K.Singh now claims, he certainly has not covered himself with glory by his conduct. And no matter how this drama finally gets resolved, one thing is for sure, the image of the Army has taken a serious beating. Its reputation is definitely tarnished by what appears to be a serious case of bungling ( Government of India) and carping ( General). Without going into the merits of the case ( let the Supreme Court decide), this is how it appears to the Average Joe: many, many moons ago, someone goofed up on a vital date. A birth date. That careless, naughty someone added a crucial year to the all-important birth certificate (1951 instead of 1950). The person ( General-ji) thus wronged had to live with this erroneous statistic, and compelled to make uneasy peace with the key mistake. Despite efforts, this grave error was not resolved. It would have remained yet another technical, clerical glitch forever, had it not been challenged. And challenged aggressively by none other than the Chief of Army , who is the commander of a 1.1 million strong force. Why? And why now? Was it just the question of staying on as top dog for another twelve months, instead of following marching orders, as per existing rules and records? Who knows! But General-ji would have none of it! V.K. Singh proclaimed it was a matter of ‘honour’ that had made him go ballistic about the botched date. All these unsavoury developments were then played out on national television channels and the front page of dailies with legal luminaries debating the main issue at stake - whose honour? An individual’s or the Army’s? Which one is more important?
While this ugly controversy still rages on, I recalled meeting a highly decorated Army Officer at the Republic Day Reception. Without making a single gauche reference to the ongoing debacle, he said simply, “ For those of us in uniform, defending India is our one point agenda. We live by three words – Naam, Namak, Nishan. Honour, Loyalty and Identity. When we salute our National flag , our emotions are deeply stirred - it is the flag we live for and die for. When we lose our men, it is this flag that is draped over the coffins which brings them home to their loved ones.” The soldier had tears in his eyes, as I did in mine. Perhaps, we need to better demonstrate our love and pride towards those who sacrifice so much so that the rest of us can sleep better. We take our Faujjis far too much for granted. Which is why, we feel let down and disillusioned when the Chief himself behaves petulantly, like any ordinary government bloke looking to hang on to his kursi (plus, all the perks) and to hell with larger implications. Undoubtedly, there are wheels within wheels in this story, too. And not everything is what it appears. There will several sleazy tales involving rivals, favouritism, enmity and worse. But sorry! One expects discretion to be the better part of valour at this level. Obviously, the General in his labyrinth has other compulsions. Whichever way it goes, there is something exceedingly tacky and shabby about this controversy. If the guy couldn’t manage to correct an error on a birth certificate, how would he have led India into – God forbid - a war??

24 comments:

goodluck said...

I already posted this but here it will be more relevant.
Shobhaa, I just read the article or blog written by you in TOI which is very well written. Whenever you write something which is not in the line of what BJP or RSS support, the comments that pour in are vituperative, full of hatred and insulting. You are called porn writer, old hag etc.by these haters and it seems moderators at the TOI dont bother to moderate at all and they are sleeping on the job.
It is ok to have different points of view but abusing like this is very painful.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Interesting that for the last 30 plus years every time South Block and later the PMO reviewed the General's file and discussed his officer-like capabilities, to decide if he should be promoted to the next rank, no one took note of his birthdate? Interesting that he did not work harder to fix this before he became army chief. Given the geopolitics of the region, timing is very important with respect to who takes command and when and for how long. So the topic of how long he would be Army Chief never was discussed? R-I-G-H-T!

The pool of people destined to be seriously considered for Service Chiefs are usually noted and earmarked a long, long, long, long time in advance. After all even blue eyed boys need grooming. So everyone was sleeping including the man whose "honor" is being sullied?

I am saddened when the sacrifices of those in uniform are sullied by very avoidable tamashas like this.

Prashant Pacific said...

My connection with the kissa is yet another kissa...

Last week I had a competitive GD (Group Discussion) on the same issue and my problem was my poor gyaan of the burning mudda in the Indian context as I was busy personal blogging and reading aivei baatein...

However, the good end was I managed making some sense to qualify for the next level among to many to be the few...

So the kissa was good in a weird way to me... However, if madam had mentioned about the kissa pehle hi, I might have manged making a lot of reasonable sense there in the GD... Anyway, all's well that ends well and that is exactly what I hope for Mr. singh as well...

चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

As regards dress code, dont worry, Hina Rabbani will be there to guide you, what with, with her famous bag.
Our faujis salute the National flag with pride and alas, it is being burnt with impunity in Kashmir.

Chintan Gupta said...

Someone on twitter had talked about this, I was waiting for this post. I am not offended with this post.

Tsomo85 said...

I'm not offended with this post as well but fair enough!
:-)

Tsomo85 said...

Btw yeah go with your own elegant style. Looking stunning on that red silk sari in your previous blog on republic day!

Tsomo85 said...

Ops I mean "in" typo..

gifts to india said...

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gifts to india said...

Gifts are the gateways that let your heartfelt emotions drive to your loved acquaintances. Gifts make the recipient feel special not just because it can bring the feel good factor, but also because it makes both of you cherishing the quality terms you had with each other. Occasions, no matter whether personal or seasonal ones, gives you yet another opportunity to execute that. A trip to www.gifts-to-india.com/gifts_to_Bangalore.asp will escalate this treasured feel.

Neha said...

No comments on the kissa discussed here. :)

For the superstar dress part, you can glam up any dress for sure. Though saree looks fab on you :)

Pooja Rathore said...

About the dress- This content is from one of my astrological book..If you're going to an important buisness mmeeting or an important social event think about the image you want or need to project, and what image you dont want to project.If you want to present an aggressive image ,wear red,and visualise red. If you choose to present an intellectual image ,wear blue (but not dark blue) and visualise blue. If you want to present optimism,wear yellow or orange and visualise these colors.If you need to present an image of calm ,the one pours soothing oil on troubled waters ,wear green(but not lime green)and visualise green.If you need to be stable ,serious,and disciplined,wearblack and white.If you want to be loved and to project love,wear rose pink or light pink- and visualize these shades of the rainbow.
I hope this will be of help atleast in color department ,style go for whatever you feel like.As month of feb is on ,number 7 if off so play safe and take it easy...be on guard!
I liked your perspective on the General issue .

Balvinder Singh said...

Few years back I approached Army Headquarters’ Adjutant General's Branch to obtain dependent certificates for my sons. As I approached the concerned officer in the AG’s Branch, he noted down my service details and asked me to wait in the visitors' room for a while. Though I was expecting that after submitting my request I would be asked to come the next day or after few days, as it is done in other Government offices, but to my pleasant surprise in just about fifteen minutes time the Subedar Clerk of the concerned section came to the visitor’s room and handed me the dependent certificate (swift action might have been due to the genius of computerization). As I glanced through the document I was surprised to find a different name of my son, although other details on the documents were correct. On asking for the dependent certificate for the second son, the Subedar Clerk replied that my record of service showed only one child.

I thought for a while and could immediately put two and two together.

Both my sons were born at Military Hospital, Jalandhar Cantt, when I was posted there during my Army tenure in early eighties. When my first child was expected, we, in the family often discussed that if it was a boy we would name him Sapandeep and if it was a girl, then the name would be Deepali. While my wife was in total agreement with me on this matter, my mother differed and categorically told us that firstly, she was damn sure that it would be a son and secondly that he would be named Sartaj Singh.

As the D day approached and we were blessed with a son, the grandmother’s wish was honored and the new born was christened Sartaj Singh.

In the Army, the personal effects of an officer like marriage and birth of children are published by the officer’s unit in which he or she is serving, which are called Part Two Orders which are further forwarded to the Army Headquarters for putting them in the record of service of the officers in addition to the official effects like postings, appointments held, training courses undergone, promotion examinations passed, medical category held, battles fought, and honors and awards won.

It so happened that the Unit Head Clerk, while publishing the name of my elder son did not consult me and depended on the informal information emanating out of the discussion which was going on for some time amongst Battalion officers about the name of my first son and published the name as Sapandeep Singh which in turn was recorded in the Army Headquartes too. Another mistake which was committed was that the Part Two Orders were not at all published with regard to the birth of my second son due to an oversight, and in the bargain, my record of service in the Army Headquarters showed only one child and that too as Sapandeep Singh and not as Sartaj Singh, which is his actual name.

I narrated the complete story to the Officer concerned of the section and he asked me to submit two affidavits, one for the change of the name of my elder son giving due justification and second for the birth of my younger son along with relevant documents like class tenth certificate where the correct date of birth is recorded along with the names of both the parents. I submitted the said affidavits and the documents the next day and I got my Modified Record of Service, duly showing all the correct details about my service and my family etc.

Well a mistake can always be committed in documentation due to an oversight but a mistake is also entitled to a correction. I don’t know the actual facts of two dates of birth shown in General VK Singh’s record of service, but if it was a mistake committed by him while filling up his UPSC forms then certainly the mistake needs to be rectified.

Anil Kumar said...

It's shameful that a clerical issue has become war of ego between army and ministry of defence.
Naam, Namak and Nishan is butchered by Raja, Sibbals, Chidambaram and Gyani Manmohan Singh of this country. I would say Army chief is gentleman enough that he has sought legal way to rectify the clerical error.

The meetings at 7 Racecourse road should be to remove the ills facing this country rather than discussing about how to tackle age issue of chief and shows the TRUE MINDSET of bankrupt politicians. Even if the Army chief is greedy and eyeing one more year in service, it's nothing compared to bastard politicians who are in 60s and 70's age group and still milking mother India at all costs with corruption.

You seems to have lost touch with reality Ms De. Try to come back with better logical reasoning and unbiased views.

JAIKEY said...

If anyone things that the promotions in the Army is done based on valor and uprightness then one is mistaken. So, going upto the rank of Chief is not what matters. The problem which could have been corrected by the Army itself with out much of hue and cry, has not been done to do some mischievous to him by all those who were wronged by him. So, it is right decision for him to go to SC to get his record straightened. The battle is fought by Chief and there are various commanders at all levels to ensure that the battle is fought to win. This has got no relation with what the Chief is fighting for. Jai Hind

Jogeshwar said...

Since the issue is concering the Chief of world's second largest Army safeguarding the World's largest democracy, it should have been handled very much discreetly like most defence deals. Army is all about discipline, a subordinate must obey his senior or else face severe implications, leave alone any chance of questioning your superordinate's intention. Of late Indian Army has been witness to the suicides committed by jawans who faced excessive regulation and oppressive discipline. When so much of stress is placed on discipline and chain of command how can the foremost man act so petulantly in public. How can he be so tacky about a mistake made decades earlier when a much lesser rank has no right to question his superior's decision and has to march on in battlefield. General made a mistake or couldn't correct someone else's in over decades, admit his failure and move on.

RAJ47 said...

God, please forgive her, for she knows not what she writes!

raj said...

Perceptions loom larger than facts and impressions thus formed get glued with ego. a story hyped in media attracts every one to air views, specially the intelligentsia. One should attempt a comment on issues related with an institution as important as Chief of Army Staff only after a thorough study of facts and background of the case. Any lose comment would be irresponsible!

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