Friday, January 27, 2012
YELLOW FEVER STRIKES AGAIN
This is the time of the year when distinguished service awards are doled out along with the gallantry ones. The term 'Yellow Fever' denotes the colour of the ribbons of these medals.
While the gallantry awards are more or less fair (some suspicion arose with Siachen fake killings and Ketchup Colonel scams but that is over), the distinguished service awards can make one laugh by their very predictable nature.
There was a time when the award of Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) was done with some degree of selectivity. Not anymore. And this is not a sudden development. It has evolved over the past two decades at least. Army Commanders and heads of services seem to have a divine right over PVSMs. Rarely does one find a Army Cdr or a head of arms/service who retires without the quintessential PVSM. Take a look at the list of awardees this year.
PARAM VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL
1. IC-25434L LT GEN SHANKAR RANJAN GHOSH, AVSM, SM, ADC, MECH INF
2. IC-25457M LT GEN VIJAY KUMAR AHLUWALIA, AVSM**, YSM, VSM, ADC, ARTY
3. IC-25538M LT GEN RABINDRAN KRISHNA SWAMY, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, INF (RETIRED)
4. IC-25544A LT GEN VINOD NAYANAR, AVSM, ARTY
5. IC-25808W LT GEN DUSHYANT SINGH CHAUHAN, AVSM, ARMD (RETIRED)
6. IC-25812Y LT GEN SUBRAMANIAN RAVI SHANKAR, VSM, ENGRS
7. IC-25815M LT GEN GURDEEP SINGH, AVSM, VSM, ARTY
8. IC-25816P LT GEN BIKRAM SINGH, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC, INF
9. IC-25833P LT GEN GOVINDA MOHAN NAIR, AVSM, SM, VSM, INF
10. IC-25901X LT GEN KAIWALAYA TRIVIKRAM PARNAIK, UYSM, YSM, INF
11. IC-27038N LT GEN ANAND MOHAN VERMA, AVSM, SM, VSM, INF (RETIRED)
12. IC-27203N LT GEN SHRI KRISHNA SINGH, UYSM, AVSM, INF
13. IC-27215H LT GEN NAND KISHORE SINGH, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, INF
14. IC-27258X LT GEN RAJINDER SINGH, UYSM, SM, MECH INF
15. IC-27606N LT GEN AJAY KUMAR SINGH, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC, ARMD
16. IC-27616X LT GEN KONGARA SURENDRA NATH, AVSM, VSM, MECH INF
17. IC-27679A LT GEN NARESH CHANDRA MARWAH, AVSM, INF
18. MR-03301P LT GEN GOPALA KRISHNAN RAMDAS, SM, VSM, PHS, AMC
19. MR-03449N LT GEN KUNWAR KARNI SINGH, SM, VSM, AMC, AH (R&R)
Look at the number of Army Commanders and equivalents. It's not that I am targetting these awardees. They may well be deserving. What I am driving at is the bigger ill. Is it mandatory for Army Commanders and heads or arms/services to be awarded PVSMs?
It is quite obvious that they have had a distinguished service, which is why they have achieved that appointment in the first place. Just holding that appointment and completing their tenure should not be a reason for them to be doled out PVSMs. They must show what extraordinary achievement they have had for them to be awarded or the awarding authority must show reason why they have been awarded that decoration at this stage of their career.
The same goes for the AVSMs also. Take a look at the list:
BAR TO ATI VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL
1. IC-25141A LT GEN DEEPAK RAJ, AVSM, SM, MECH INF (RETIRED)
2. IC-27264L LT GEN AVINASH CHANDER SONEJA, AVSM, VSM**, INF
3. IC-27793X LT GEN JATINDER SINGH, AVSM, SM, INF, NDA, KHADAKWASLA
4. IC-27990A LT GEN MUNISH SIBAL, AVSM, INF
5. IC-30137F LT GEN SUKHRAJ PAL KOCHHAR, AVSM, SM, VSM, SIGS
6. IC-30503A LT GEN JAI PRAKASH NEHRA, AVSM, INF
ATI VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL
1. IC-27290M LT GEN RAMESH HALGALI, SM, INF
2. IC-27352F LT GEN MANJINDER SINGH BUTTAR, VSM, ARTY
3. IC-27767W LT GEN PRADEEP BHALLA, VSM, ADC, AOC
4. IC-27942A LT GEN NARENDRA BAHADUR SINGH, VSM, EME
5. IC-30089M LT GEN NARENDRA SINGH, SM, VSM, INF
6. IC-30118W LT GEN ANJAN MUKHERJEE, ARTY
7. IC-30342H LT GEN ABHIJIT GUHA, ARTY
8. IC-30392N LT GEN RAVIKIRAN PRABHAKAR DASTANE, VSM, ARTY
9. IC-30482P LT GEN VINOD BHATIA, SM, INF
10. IC-30507W LT GEN SANJEEV CHOPRA, SM, INF
11. IC-30683N LT GEN RAMESHWAR YADAV, VSM, INF
12. IC-30722F LT GEN VIJAI SHARMA, ENGRS
13. IC-30783Y LT GEN ANIL MALHOTRA, ASC
14. IC-31327A LT GEN RANBIR SINGH, SM, INF
15. IC-33914K LT GEN VIJAY KUMAR PILLAI, SM, INF
16. IC-31638N MAJ GEN OM PRAKASH, SM, INF
17. IC-34356A MAJ GEN NAVKIRAN SINGH GHEI
18. IC-34392L MAJ GEN GURMIT SINGH, VSM, INF
19. IC-34402K MAJ GEN GHANSHYAM SINGH KATOCH, VSM, INF
20. IC-34424H MAJ GEN SUNIL KUMAR GADEOCK, INF
21. IC-34454A MAJ GEN GURDEEP SINGH, INF
22. IC-34600P MAJ GEN SAMIR KUMAR CHAKRAVORTY, SC, SM**, INF
23. IC-34605N MAJ GEN RAKESH SHARMA, VSM, INF
24. IC-34775X MAJ GEN RAVINDRA VASANTRAO THODGE, SM, VSM, INF
25. IC-34890X MAJ GEN SRINIVASAN LAKSHMI NARASIMHAN, VSM, INF
26. IC-35789K MAJ GEN RANJIT SINGH, VSM, AEC
The point here again is not to judge these officers listed above but to question the system of awards. Here again AVSMs seems to be the exclusive preserve of the flag rank. And this while countless deserving officers are fobbed off with COAS or VCOAS or GOC-in-C Commendation cards.
It was not so always. I know of instances where JCOs and ORs have been awarded AVSMs at least for exemplary services. But those days are gone.
I am sure there would be many within the defence services who would like more transparency when it comes to handing out the distinguished service awards. I am not even delving in the issue of Sena Medal (Distinguished Service), an award which did not exist till a few years ago. That itself is a separate topic of discussion. And the Yudh Seva Medal Series too.
The govt must not allow these awards of the defence services to fall into the same category as the Police Medals and Padma Awards series which command little respect in the society at large because of the politicking which goes with them.
A medal which a soldier wears is looked at with respect by the average citizen.
It must be earned......not doled out.