Was Ravindra Babu Pandula, the Telugu Desam Party Member of Parliament, speaking from experience and familiarity, or was he simply trying to grab his 15 minutes of fame, when he questioned the sanctity of the Indian army? In a debate on a popular television channel, Ravindra Babu said that the Indians who join the army are after free liquor, food, medical treatment and long holidays. It was pretty audacious of Ravindra Babu, who has been under attack from all quarters ever since.
While the politicians are baying for his blood to gain political mileage, the civilians appear genuinely annoyed. How could this lowly politician from an obscure village in Tamil Nadu say such nasty things about the Indian army? Has he ever faced enemies with killing machines? If not, why judge?
As Indians, we are extremely emotional about the Indian army. If anyone says negative things about them, we get all riled up, ready to defend the defenders. Tragically, we do this without actually being privy to the ground realities. I don’t think the Member of Parliament woke up one fine day and decided to take the army on. There is never a smoke without fire, but we are programmed to avoid tampering with our deeply entrenched mindsets, we don’t want to know about the ugly side. We don’t like to unsettle our minds. If there are issues with the army, we don’t want to hear it. This is an escapist attitude.
While we should salute the Indian army for all its bravery and dedication, we must also question them
I don’t believe that the Indian army is about free perks, though. I don’t believe everyone joins the army to get subsidized booze. Most of us want to wear the uniform to defend India. Quite a few of us prefer to die for the country, even. However, there is also an ugly side to the army, where hearts don’t beat for India. And this breed is only growing in number.
Such men join the Short-Term-Service. They get in and get out without a fight, but continue to enjoy the incentives and almost free booze and food. These men are in great numbers today; let’s not get too emotional to ignore this. They are a harsh reality and it can only be tackled if the Government shows the will.
One of my college friends from the olden days is a captain in the Indian army. He is with the Rajputana Rifles and was recently in town on a holiday. During our friendly chit-chat, I asked him something that had been on my mind for quite some time.
“What do you guys do in peace time? What does the Indian army do when it’s not fighting?”
He didn’t take any time before the shocker! “Lots of drug testing, DUIs, power points, hating your life, and of course, blackout-drinking from Friday till Monday morning PT.” Surely, he was kidding me…. He wasn’t done. “There are uniform inspections, regular hair-cuts and baby-smooth shave every day. The military police is a pain… they show up at our barracks and God help us if they find a cigarette butt lying around… as a punishment, its 10 rounds of running around a very large field under hot Sun.”
He added: “There are table tennis tournaments and funny talent shows at the barracks. And we also do unskilled tasks, like ensuring that our military vehicles, which haven’t moved in a long time, still turn on.” My friend said he’d rather fight than lead a boring life in peace time…
There’s not much that the army does from the looks of things, but there is so much that the Indian army can do!
How about assisting the Delhi Traffic Police?
According to the Delhi Traffic Police, Delhi’s traffic is very difficult to manage. People are angry at each other all the time. Road rage has put fear in the minds of ordinary, regular people who are scared to venture out.
With just 5,500 men and women dedicated to maintaining traffic, there is a grave need for reinforcement. Delhi needs 5,000 more. The Indian army could deploy a minimum of two army personnel to help the cops in white shirt and blue pants at various red light points. Their presence will likely ensure adherence to traffic signal rules, among other benefits. Cops will feel safer, too. There have been incidents where people have attacked traffic police officials. They are not a very fear-inspiring lot and many criminal elements in our society take them lightly. Army’s presence will prevent such incidents from happening.
Women safety: Army vehicles should patrol Delhi streets after dark
Women in Delhi continue to suffer at the hands of criminals and rapists. The Delhi Traffic Police patrol the streets in their PCR vehicles but it is few and far between in numbers. Every nook and corner of Delhi should be under surveillance but there are no more human resources. The Indian army can step in and join in the night prowl. The Machine gun-toting military men, out there to help Delhi sleep better, will instill fear in the minds and hearts of rapists and murderers. Even if the percentages come down by only 5 percent, it is still worth the effort!
Let army manage Indian elections with full authority to check offenders
The police are not completely reliable. They cannot, and should not, be trusted to ensure free and fair elections. The politicians exercise great control over the police and relying on them alone is fraught with dangers – rigging votes and tampering with the voting machines.
The presence of the army will discourage such unethical practices. The army is considered largely neutral. The army is driven by the sense of righteousness, it is not here to win popularity contest. Their zero tolerance and no-nonsense attitude will help ensure peace during polls.
Increased military involvement in humanitarian aid operations
The army does involve itself in domestic affairs, but their level of engagement needs to reach higher grounds. Earthquakes, thunderstorms, floods and slides, the Indian army need to get into the act with increased manpower and equipments. Their ability to battle it out under the most extreme circumstances should be better utilized.
…………… The military virtues of loyalty, unity, discipline and efficiency should be utilized to its fullest potential during peacetime. The army should not have to be called in, they should already be deployed at key locations to prevent mishaps. They should defend us not just from the outside, but from the various diseases that the Indian society is plagued with.