Thursday, October 1, 2020
Home Opinions Open Letters Aakar Patel, you are wrong on far too many counts

Aakar Patel, you are wrong on far too many counts

Also Read

rohitagarwalhttp://www.rohitagarwal.in
A former Army officer, now a Learning and Development consultant, Author of 'Delhi Durbar 1911 - The Complete Story', 'Riding the Raisina Tiger', 'Brave Men of War - Tales of Valour 1965', 'In the Line of Fire' and 'Academy - Bonded for Life'. He was also part of the panel  engaged by Ministry of Defence for writing official history of India's participation in First World War. Follow Rohit on Twitter @ragarwal
 

Dear Mr Patel,

This is in response to your piece published in today’s TOI under a presumptuously named column ‘AakaarVani’. I’m writing this to correct you on some factual and a lot of perceptual errors that seem to behind almost every sentence in the piece. I’m writing in the hope that you may correct these, unless of course these aren’t inadvertent, but deliberate spin that you want to give to bolster the argument you make in the title of the piece.

Let me start by pointing out the irony in the title itself, since having written it yourself, you obviously didn’t spot it. That an article criticising the army and saying a lot of things about the faujis is titled “Nothing can be said about our faujis, they’re above criticism”. If irony was alive in India, it may have died another death – though even now it must have turned a little in its grave at this.

As regards the assertion itself. I don’t see the basis of the sweeping statement that the army is above criticism. By whom? By the media? Haven’t you heard of the ‘Ketchup Colonel’ or rather read criticism of his actions which was widely covered by the media. As are any instances of wrong doings or corruption, rare though they are, whenever they do come up – like this report about a recent case.  By the judiciary? Courts regularly pass adverse remarks and judgements affecting the armed forces, as in this case. By the government? The fact that they have ordered a probe to investigate lapses, if any, in the Uri attack is a clear indication that not just criticism, the army isn’t immune to adverse action either.

Although I’m sure that wasn’t the thought behind your assertion, but let me point out the reason why there is a sliver of truth in it. Yes, by and large the army IS above criticism, and that is because by it’s performance and conduct, it seldom leaves itself open to it. Whether fighting terrorists in Kashmir, rescuing victims of natural disaster in Uttarakhand, or displaying it might and pomp during the Republic Day parade, it performs its job diligently, effectively and without fear or favour.  In a country where we are usually resigned to indifference, inefficiency, nepotism and corruption, such conduct probably sets it apart and hence by and large above criticism. Except, of course, the occasional black sheep, such as the cases I’ve already cited above.

To answer your question, probably that’s the reason why “in India this respect has changed to reverence.” As regards the “cult of Army worship that we have built so successfully”, there hasn’t been a single instance of a newspaper or TV channel being attacked or journalist shot (a la Charlie Hebdo) for adverse reporting on the army – above mentioned or otherwise. Unless of course, you yourself feel that your own or anyone else’s adverse opinion about the army is above criticism and feel anyone expressing a view countering it is a ‘worshipper’.

You have raised two other points, both of which indicate either an incomplete understanding of the issues, or a deliberate attempt at misrepresentation. First is about pensions. You say, “Why should retired soldiers insist on getting what retired teachers and clerks and postmen do not?” I would request you to read a little more on what OROP is all about. It’s actually about retired soldiers insisting on being brought UP to what retired teachers, clerks, postmen – and bureaucrats – are getting, and NOT about getting MORE than them. Soldiers serve up to 35-45 years of age (because of the organisational requirement of keeping the army young) while all others serve up to 60, and as a result of missing out the corresponding number of increments and promotions, their pensions were much lower than others. This has been rectified to a great extent in OROP, and they have been brought up to a place where they are at less of a disadvantage – still not getting more.

The second is about “some minor rule which equates an Army officer with a bureaucrat of similar rank. But why must soldiers insist on this parity?” Again, complete lack of information, or deliberate obfuscation. The order you refer to has, in fact, downgraded army officers vis a vis bureaucrats from the previously existing equation, and hence it is the bureaucrats who are insisting on revising the parity, not the army officers, who have represented to the MoD for restoration of status quo.

One can understand your angst against the army by reading the very first paragraph of your piece – “Every day, on my way to work, I go past the headquarters of the Madras Sappers in Bengaluru. A tank in desert camouflage is at the gate, its cannon overlooking the pretty Ulsoor Lake. I’d like to row on it but civilians are forbidden.” So, since the army regulations prohibit you from enjoying this, you decide to write a bunch of lies and half-truths to vent your frustration.

I would love to challenge your views on the bit you have written about the battle honours, mercenaries and pre vs post-independence army. But I’ll save that for another time, as I think this is more than you can digest in one go. If you are up to it, I can debate that in writing or face to face at your convenience.

Sincerely,

A fauji who, unlike you, is NOT above criticism.

  Support Us  

OpIndia is not rich like the mainstream media. Even a small contribution by you will help us keep running. Consider making a voluntary payment.

Trending now

rohitagarwalhttp://www.rohitagarwal.in
A former Army officer, now a Learning and Development consultant, Author of 'Delhi Durbar 1911 - The Complete Story', 'Riding the Raisina Tiger', 'Brave Men of War - Tales of Valour 1965', 'In the Line of Fire' and 'Academy - Bonded for Life'. He was also part of the panel  engaged by Ministry of Defence for writing official history of India's participation in First World War. Follow Rohit on Twitter @ragarwal

Latest News

Tejasvi Surya and ideological commitment

In his (still) short Parliamentary career, Tejasvi Surya has raised voice on various issues of both national and regional importance. This includes subjects ranging from- the use of Kannada language in banking to his views on broad Banking sector in recently completed session.

Courts are not always heroes and Legislatures are not always villains

Is the constitution a strait jacket? No, it leaves a plenty of room to change and it makes no attempt to regulate every aspect of human life.

Amnesty or travesty

Why they are afraid to disclose their funding? Why only 10% registered NGOs file their balance-sheets with Registrar of Societies? No NGO is ready to answer these questions except for playing victim card.

“माल है क्या?” देश में माल की कमी से जूझता ड्रगवुड, प्रधानमंत्री क्यों है खामोश

2014 से पहले मुझे बराबर मेरा माल मिलता था लेकिन जब से आपकी सरकार आई है तब से धीमे धीमे माल की कमी से मुझे जूझना पड़ रहा है। साल 2017 तो मेरे लिए इतना खराब रहा कि नशा पाने के लिए मात्र फोन से ही काम चलाना पड़ता है।

Reforms needed in Indian education system post-COVID-19

The present scenario has jeopardised the educational ecosystem to achieve its objectives. In this regard, multifront reforms are needed for the efficient functioning of the education system in the post-COVID-19 era.

Influence or ignorance?

Finding Bilkis Dadi in 100 influential people for 2020, I started my research on her and was astonished to see except for a convenient interview with Rana Ayyub, she literally has no idea what she is fighting for.

Recently Popular

Daredevil of Indian Army: Para SF Major Mohit Sharma’s who became Iftikaar Bhatt to kill terrorists

Such brave souls of Bharat Mata who knows every minute of their life may become the last minute.

पोषण अभियान: सही पोषण – देश रोशन

भारत सरकार द्वारा कुपोषण को दूर करने के लिए जीवनचक्र एप्रोच अपनाकर चरणबद्ध ढंग से पोषण अभियान चलाया जा रहा है, भारत...

New Education Policy- Winning the world with the Bharat centric Values

The NEP is an ambitious document, which is focused on the holistic and overall development of the students to make them Aatmnirbhar and to enable them to compete with the world while maintaining the Bharat centric values and culture.

सामाजिक भेदभाव: कारण और निवारण

भारत में व्याप्त सामाजिक असामानता केवल एक वर्ग विशेष के साथ जिसे कि दलित कहा जाता है के साथ ही व्यापक रूप से प्रभावी है परंतु आर्थिक असमानता को केवल दलितों में ही व्याप्त नहीं माना जा सकता।

You will be shocked to find who testified against Bhagat Singh in the landmark case ‘Union of India Vs Bhagat Singh’

The two men who witnessed against Bhagat Singh were Indians and their descendants enjoy a healthy social positions.
Advertisements