Sunday, May 20, 2012


One is a little perturbed by the relative lack of comment by retired senior Army officers in the various publications on the Nyoma incident and the implications/fall-out it has had on the service in particular and the image of the officer cadre in particular.

Ordinarily, the Generals-turned-columnists are rapid to address any issue in the public domain which pertains to the defence forces/Army, but this time around, their silence is deafening. Is it a studied silence or is it a case of closing the ranks in view of incident which they find is too shameful to refer to? In any case, many would take refuge in the plea that "it was too early to comment", or the more common "let the inquiry finish, let the facts come out". In many other instances where they are quick to write a 2000 word article, such pleas are curiously missing, even when circumstances say they could have been circumspect.

This post on the blog is not about the incident. The details have been in the public domain for a long time now and the bare facts of the case are known to all. How it happened, why it happened and how a cover-up was launched to pass it off as as a"scuffle". Motives are being ascribed to anybody who questions the official line, but then many of us are quite used to it and it now is a great source of mirth to us.

But the silence of the intelligentsia is indeed perplexing. It goes on to show, and, to me at least, prove that the retired officers think-tank pick and choose which issue they want to raise and which they want to conveniently ignore. Issues or incidents where there is very less scope for a damage control exercise, they just side-step with an ease which would put a Gentleman cadet on drill square to shame.

It was left to just two retired officers, Lt Gen Raj Kadyan and Lt Gen RK Sawhney to take up the barrage of questions on television while the regular faces on TV remained a safe distance away. Both officers did a commendable job, needless to say, in putting forth the facts as per their perspective.

But for an average person, a layman, so to speak, the view of the 'other side of the hill' is missing in this incident which took place at Nyoma. It should be interesting to note how the military intelligentsia reacts to this and what faults it finds or what recommendations it has to make. But sadly, we are bereft of their take on the issue at hand.

Reams can be written about the age controversy of the outgoing COAS, words in their thousands can be typed out in belittlement of the media when it takes on the wrongs that afflict the military today, scorn can be heaped page after page on the politico-bureaucrat nexus which is damaging the military, but stone deaf silence prevails when it is time to do some introspection on how a section of our officer cadre in the Army is treating our jawans.

Silence is the only recourse when the situation demands that some urgent analysis and introspection be done on the shortcomings of the training system and mentoring of our officers which allow aberrations to take place in individuals who mistreat their subordinates and assault their own CO.

Make no doubt about it, this silences impinges upon the credibility of the military intelligentsia who address the issues pertaining to the military in print and electronic media. Keeping mum will not help, hunkering down will not make the problem go away. And as Vinod Mehta says in his autobiography, "Credibility is like virginity, it can only be lost once".   


  1. I am a service veteran, and yes a frequent contributor to media, and have commented on the Nyoma incident. Sorry that you did not care to read there is no silence as such.
    Yes you could say that I am a mere retired Colonel....I wish to remind you that I retired as Head of War Studies division, a post held by Joint Secretary, that makes me a General equivalent.....not that I care.
    The saddest thing about some one in media is that you have totally forgotten the compact between civil society and the military....
    Obviously neither you or Vindo Mehta have never heard it........

  2. are off the mark sir.....Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi's blog adequately addresses the issue.

  3. Yes, The Generals are quiet.Not their fault as it is not known how many of them faced or dealt with the mutiny. When mutiny is such is a rare happening how do one expects for expert comments to come. I have faced one, seen one from very close quarter & dealt with a major mass one in Court Martial. All so called mutinies are not mutinies & this particular one is an out come of of cascading 'MISMANAGEMENT' of Armed Forces by the Politicians and Bureaucracy, particularly those from Ministry of Defense since Independence in general & Dilution of RANKs by AV Singh Report in 2004 in the name of cadre review in conjunction with 6 Pay Commission in particular has eroded the skeleton of Armed Forces with 'OSTEOPOROSIS'. NYOMA type of hiccups are bound to happen & may even take a form of routine. Rather than whipping Armed Forces each & every time a minor incident happens , it will be in National Interest to constitute an Armed Forces Commission to sort out the issues of Political Control or Bureaucratic Control of Armed Forces. Till this happens, the Nation will be squatting on the tinder box of ‘ 1857.’ In earnest I appeal this unrest at NYOMA be investigated away from the routine micro angle of MUTINY or MISMANAGEMENT but me examined at MACRO LEVEL of mismanagement of AFs at NATIONAL LEVEL.