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Flawed approach of Congress to Army chief’s appointment

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Saket Suryesh
Saket Suryesh
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Writer, Columnist, Satirist. Published Author of Collection of Hindi Short-stories 'Ek Swar, Sahasra Pratidhwaniyaan' and English translation of Autobiography of Noted Freedom Fighter, Ram Prasad Bismil, The Revolutionary. Interested in Current Affairs, Politics and History of Bharat.

In a world offering unprecedented anonymity to people on social media, and a tempting opportunity of unimaginable dishonesty to people on mainstream media, it is appropriate to make a disclaimer pronouncing my lack of credentials when I write about subjects in which my interest is limited to being a logical and nation-loving Indian. I was not an economist when I wrote about demonetization and I am not a military or defense expert, when I am writing this post about the needless controversy being raked about the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS). I wrote earlier on Demonetization as an ordinary citizen and possibly, as a poet and a writer, with no ax to grind. My intent of writing on the appointment of the next Army chief is similar. I do not know the new Army Chief, Lt. General Bipin Rawat, nor do I know the two officers he superseded, both by all accounts of exemplary merit. We live in odd times. The social media is a lawless arena. It offers great opportunity to naive and lesser knowledgeable souls like me, it also offers those with lies in their eyes and conspiracy in their pen to use this lawless playground into a location for creating fake Frankensteins and set about unsuspecting masses to chase and fight them. So editors would happily write their official designation in their Twitter profiles and then put a remark with asterisk, something akin to declaration running at the end of mutual fund investment advertisement, that tweets are personal. The opposition party out of power, having bitten dust in the last election, though have lost the numerical supremacy in the electoral battle on account of their dynastic politics and unprecedented corruption, insists on continuance of their role in national governance and polity.

We are living in a world of easy information availability and if one were to put his mind to it, truth will easily be out. But then, unfortunately this is also an age of information deluge. Before we could dig into one falsehood and extract the lies, comes another falsehood, more evil, more complex than the previous one. A defeat is a time for reflection and introspection. The problem with Congress is that they cannot do that. Introspection in the context of the grand old party is impossible, because it would mean a change in leadership, thoroughly proven to be incompetent, if not thoroughly corrupt. The dynastic politics prevents any genuine possibility of introspection and improvement. The dynastic heads at the top, Humpty-dumpty, mother-son duo, stay untouched, and beyond questions. The courtiers who derived power from the continuity of the dynastic rule are the most ruffled, and they have no qualms in stooping to whatever level, in order to, in some way, restore the earlier status. They have no respect for any institution, having trampled over all that the narratives built for themselves, post independence. They build narratives, those narratives are echoed with amplification and beyond a point, no one cares what the truth was. It happened in case of Beef Ban, in case of Demonetization, and now they are intending to create a communal angle around the appointment of the Army chief. The apolitical, dignified and selfless nature of Indian defense forces is a matter of pride for an Indian citizen, especially when compared to the neighboring nations. While the respect for the Forces remain untarnished for the common citizen, Congress never cared about the forces. Possibly post-71 war, Indira Gandhi realized that while people respected the political leadership for the great victory, there was some glory to be shared with the armed forces. She did not like it much and possibly the pension for soldiers was altered, pay commission scrapped, within three years of the 71 victory. It was almost as if she was waiting for Sam Maneckshaw, the soldier’s soldier to retire. Even Field Marshal, the Patron-Commander of the Indian forces was deprived of his dues, settled only when he was towards the last of his life.

It is preposterous for such a party to now show concern about the appointment, and cry hoarse about the appointment of Lt. Gen. Rawat superseding two other officers. Two Congressis, Shahzad Poonawala and his brother, came forward, even alleging the communal angle. Now, I will not write a detailed note of how there is a merit in this appointment superseding the two officers in question. It is not for me to answer. This question is aptly settled by Retd. Gen Syed Ata Hasnain in his post on Swarajya Mag. He explains how possibly the experience in North-West and North-East, both with sensitive borders and acute insurgency, of Lt. General Rawat went in his favor vis-a-vis Lt. General Praveen Bakshi, a cavalry officer and Lt. General PM Hariz. In the context of attacks on Army in Kashmir and recently in North East, it does makes perfect sense. The congress on the other hand, not only called this appointment cherry-picking by government of the day, the foot-soldiers of the corrupt queen, ousted from power, even called it RSS design to avoid making a Muslim, that is Lt. Gen. Hariz, head of Indian Army. That their allegation were false and unfounded made no difference to them. They spoke their nonsense into the abyss of absurdity called Twitter, with their blue-ticked soldiers amplifying it dutifully. Only few days back, we had all the media propagandists tweeting how it was unsafe to do financial transactions on-line, on account of hacking of the Twitter account of the prince. What was shamelessly exposing was the fact that they all tweeted tweets which were identical, verbatim. It was also interesting that their Twitter accounts were allegedly hacked, but none of them advocated leaving twitter until the security is improved, they attacked the security of a totally unrelated applications. If modern IT is so insecure, what do we do, send pigeons and fly kites? They would not answer that. The game is clear, this is what Rahul Gandhi meant when Congress lost the Delhi election that they ought to become more like AAP. So it is shoot and scoot game is at play. Poonawala claimed that Lt. General Hariz was superseded since government wanted to avoid a Muslim commander. The dubious duo conveniently ignored that even if seniority was followed, Lt. General Bakshi would have become the chief. If they bring about the argument that Lt. Gen Hariz could have succeeded General Bakshi, that is also not based on facts since Lt. General Hariz is set to retire before General Bakshi. One would breathe a sigh of relief that it is just fortunate that their conspiracy theory is weak on facts. But then it might not have been, what hell would have broke lose in that case.

The argument is so absurd, especially coming from Congress. APJ Abdul Kalam, the late president, also the Supreme Commander of Indian Forces, in his second term, was supported by BJP, but was ditched by Congress because in his first term, he refused to toe the Sonia Gandhi line. No one uttered a word when a Muslim Commander in Chief was replaced by a woman congress leader from Maharashtra with dubious record. Congress had set aside the seniority principle in appointments in their regime as well recently, even if we do not go as far back as the appointment of General AS Vaidya. Admiral RK Dhowan superseded Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha to become Navy Chief in 2014. Outside Army, in 2012, Congress appointed Syed Asif Ibrahim as IB Chief superseding, four officers. BJP was the main opposition, had 159 seats. BJP did not utter a word, not on his religion at least. But Congress, with 44 seats in the parliament and grand illusions of its stature even as opposition would not show even a modicum of decency, would not leave any institution un-attacked. Little do they appreciate how deeply they annoy any nationalist Indian, as their politics continue to revolve around the Mother-son duo, while senior leader in their own party languish in subordinate roles. I don’t care what they do with their ailing institution, I have quarrel with them trying to tarnish a fine institution in their zeal to attack the Narendra Modi government. There will be finer writers and better experts who will blow holes in the fake outrage of the Congress. I am writing to record my protest. I am writing because lie unchallenged will become truth. I am writing to tell the despotic dynasty, with everyday tantrum, Initially the nation was excited, now, it is bored, soon it will be annoyed and disgusted. I had written earlier as well, I urge you once again, let the soldier be.

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Saket Suryesh
Saket Suryesh
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Writer, Columnist, Satirist. Published Author of Collection of Hindi Short-stories 'Ek Swar, Sahasra Pratidhwaniyaan' and English translation of Autobiography of Noted Freedom Fighter, Ram Prasad Bismil, The Revolutionary. Interested in Current Affairs, Politics and History of Bharat.
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