Only two days back, a diplomat turned politician, whose only claim to fame is fealty to one particular family, said in an interview to a TV channel that an Army Chief, with high IQ should not be selected for the post. This politician has no problems with the IQ of the family members that he serves. Disparagement and hatred for the armed forces is probably part of the political DNA that this politician has inherited. Reproduced below is an article from an Army Veteran, who sources the pernicious DNA.
BY MAJ GEN NC KHANNA (4th IMA Course, Gunner, Former GOC 2 Mtn Div)
I joined the IMA 4th Course on 10th January 1948. My CO had 5-6 years service and the C’Arty 11 years. And the GOC 15 years. The GOC had served as a major only for 3 years. The C’Arty had been a Japanese POW in Singapore as a Captain, who within a few years on return and on India becoming independent found himself getting a quadruple promotion. The B’Arty had gone on a gunnery course in UK as a major. When he returned by ship and landed at Bombay he was received by his BM who was carrying the rank badges of a Brigadier, for his boss. Amazing, but that’s how things were. We further do not know that only about 4 to 6 Indian Officers were given a brigadier’s rank, about a dozen as Lt Cols and the rest of the Indian Officers served as Majors/Captains and below.
So these were the young converts who had scant knowledge of the deep issues involved in management and governance of the Armed Forces. Trust me I saw how the lack of ‘Upper Storey’ wisdom of our leaders of that time, allowed the bureaucracy to creep, slowly trespass upon our rights and privileges, degrade our status, our pay structure and dignity. Today their behavior towards the Armed Forces is not only abrasive but unacceptably insulting.
All this took place because our first PM, with scant knowledge of world strategic and tactical issues or deep understanding or wisdom about affairs of statesmanship, within a month of taking over asked his four star British General who had been specifically detailed to advise him on military matters, to put up a paper to him TO DISBAND THE INDIAN ARMY. The General was stunned and asked him as to how he intended to run and manage his country without an Army? Nehru answered with the POLICE OF COURSE.
Don’t please laugh. It’s all available in the British Archives. Since then, the ICS and the IAS cunningly employed this knowledge to go the whole hog to degrade the uniformed elite of India. Our young military leaders were then too engrossed in their merry making, gleefully gloating their triple and quadruple promotions and allowed all unimaginable trespasses. This carried on for almost two decades till Field Marshal Sam came to the helm.
Here are some anecdotes, humorous but true, that highlight our failings:
- Just prior to a Pay Commission a senior general was told that the Government intended to give officers an annual increment of Rs 25 per month. He huffed and said what nonsense. The bureaucrat then said in that case would Rs 50 per month bi-annually be acceptable. The general said that’s much better. We lost Rs 25 per month for every alternate year till the next Pay Commission.
- They asked if we wanted a deputation allowance? The answer No. We serve the nation anywhere in the world and no such allowance was necessary. The IAS on the other hand wanted a deputation allowance of every imaginable count. Today an IAS Officer of the Haryana cadre when assigned to the Centre gets an allowance of I think about Rs 10,000 per month. This similarly is applicable to all Class One Officers.
- Gen Cariappa immediately after taking over conducted himself as a ‘New Convert’. He overnight reduced the perks of the Army Officers. They lost their marriage allowance of Rs 150 per month; Children’s allowance of Rs 50 pm for each of the first two children; Command or Staff allowance for all majors of Rs 50 per month; an Instructors allowance of Rs 75 per month. This is not all. He then wanted to know from each Officer in writing if they owned a horse/horses, and how much money per month were they paying their ‘Syhes’s’ (householders). What a laugh?
- The national borders were manned by The Border Scouts, army units equipped with MMGs and Artillery. The Army was asked to take over this responsibility. We said NO. The Army’s reasons were totally devious and unfathomable. And the BSF was created.
- During one of the Pay Commissions the Armed Forces had put up TWENTY POINTS for consideration and discussion. This paper had been put up to the PM’s level. The decision was given that if the Armed Forces insist they may be conceded up to 17 points. If they insist on more the matter must be referred to the PMO’s Office. The bureaucrats accustomed to negotiations and bargaining took three days of discussions to concede the first point. Thereafter the next day the next four points were conceded without discussion. On the next day again an acrimonious discussion pursued for a prolonged period. At this the senior Armed Forces Officer got up in a huff and left the meeting along with his delegation saying that we were not beggars to go on pleading point to point. The bureaucrats sighed a sigh of relief and reported that the Forces delegation did not wish to raise any more points. This entire episode was narrated to me by an IAS friend attending this meeting who was amazed to observe the over sensitiveness of our reps and how their ego took precedence over their well deserved points raised.
Note: This hatred of Nehru was despite sacrifices of the Indian Armed Forces in forging Independent India. It may be recalled that when Nehru told Gen Cariappa that India was a poor country and pay of these Officers needed to be reduced, the General acceded to the request but insisted that the King’s Commission Officers (KCOs) should continue with their old pay scales. Nehru agreed. Was Cariappa also a KCO is for the readers to ascertain?