Monday, October 20, 2014


After a gap of nearly two months between the de-classification of promotion board results for the rank of Lt Gen, the Army HQs has finally released the posting orders of some officers along with the posting orders of those whom they are relieving.

It is surprising to note that the number one on the merit list, Maj Gen PS Mehta, armoured corps, has not been posted as a Corps Commander but has been promoted in situ with local rank of Lt Gen.
He is at present posted as MGGS Western Command and this means that he will continue to hold this appointment in the rank of Lt Gen. This also means that for some time the HQs Western Command will have three Lt Generals posted on its strength with a three star General functioning as MGGS. It is not fathomable why the General Officer has been denied a appointment as a Corps Commander in this first lot of postings.

The other postings include that of Maj Gen Amarjit Singh as GOC 2 Corps. He is from the Bihar Regiment and is at present posted in the COAS Secretariat.

Maj Gen Rajeev Tiwari will move as GOC 9 Corps. He is posted at present in Army War College and is from armoured corps.

Maj Gen Sarat Chand moves from the RR directorate as GOC 4 Corps. He is a Garhwal Rifles officer.

Lt Gen P Bakshi, the present GOC 9 Corps, will move as Chief of Staff Northern Command while Lt Gen AK Ahuja, GOC 4 Corps, will move as DCIDS (PP&FD).

Saturday, October 11, 2014


One really must hand it to 61 Cavalry. Their devotion to the game of Polo surpasses anything else. It really does not matter if the morale and discipline in the regiment is in tatters after the alleged brutal beating up of a jawan by some officers. It also does not matter if the Indian and Pakistani troops are engaged in a confrontation on the International Border and the Line of Control which threatens to spiral out of control. For 61 Cavalry, Polo comes first. Which is why perhaps, disregarding the situation within the regiment and on the borders of the country, a contingent of the regiment rushed to China to take part in a Polo match with Pakistan.

It also does not matter that the Indian Polo Association, on whose behalf the 61 Cavalry takes part in Polo tournaments, is not even recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. This amazing fact has been admitted by the Ministry in a RTI reply. However, more of it later.

In the circumstances prevailing on the country’s border, it should be eminently avoidable for any Indian Army contingent to take part in a direct match with Pakistan. Leave aside the fact that such matches have no sanctity in the eyes of the Indian government, the Indian Army itself as well as the Quarter Master General’s Branch should have been seized of the gravity of the situation and should have called off the participation of the Indian Army officers in the team.

The fact of the matter is that India and Pakistan played in the Zone ‘D’ play offs in China where Pakistan today defeated India to qualify for the World Cup to be held in Chile in March 2015. The teams of India and Pakistan arrived in Tianjin city of China on Oct 7 where the match was played Metropolitan Polo Club. Horse draw and team meeting  was held on Oct 8, a practice match was held on Oct 9 and the actual match was played today i.e. October 11.

The Indian team comprised Lt Col Ravi Rathore (61 Cav), Maj Vishal Chauhan (61 Cav), Simran Shergill, Abhimanyu Singh, Naveen Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Team Manager Lokendra Singh.

Interestingly, the Commandant of 61 Cavalry, Col R Pattu was the manager of this team and had very nearly left for China but for the unfortunate happenings in his unit and he was dissuaded from leaving at such a crucial juncture. A Court of Inquiry is taking place into the incidents in the unit and as per media reports an FIR has also been filed by the wife of the affected jawan, naming four officers for assaulting her husband brutally.

While there can be an elaborate discussion on the command and control situation in 61 Cavalry over the years and the manner in which the image of the regiment is being affected, but that should be the subject of another post. This regiment has no other person that the Chief of Army Staff Gen Dalbir Singh as its Colonel of Regiment by virtue of his appointment as the Army Chief. Therefore, all steps taken by the regiment must be keeping in regard the high office that the Army Chief holds.

Again, it is a matter of a long discussion as to why the Indian Polo Association is not affiliated to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. I have elaborated on this earlier in my blog too. However, to put it in a nutshell, the IPA did not appoint any Public Information Officer under the RTI ACT, as demanded by the Ministry, therefore it seized to be affiliated to it and does not get any funds from it.

This reluctance to be a part of the RTI Act is also exhibited by the Army Polo and Riding Club which has successfully stonewalled all attempts to gather information about its activities despite the fact that it uses all assets and personnel of the Army and comes within the definition of a public authority.

It can be nobody’s case that when it comes to encouraging sports activities, the Indian Army is doing a great service to the nation. It also cannot be denied that if not for the Army, the nation would be nowhere in the game of Polo. However, it is quite clear that the higher echelons of the Army are being kept in dark about the actual position of the IPA vis-à-vis the government.

The lack of transparency is a bane and since 61 Cavalry is deeply involved in all Polo affairs of the Army it is only correct that all facts should be out in the open and nothing should be concealed or hidden.

It is, perhaps, also time to debate the relevance of a horsed cavalry unit in the Indian Army. 61 Cavalry needs to be better utilized. For purposes of tradition the President’s Body Guards are enough as they too are horsed. The 61 Cavalry Regiment should be mechanized so that its traditions and history are not lost, but it certainly should do more than just parading down the Rajpath once a year and its officers taking part in Polo matches under the auspices of a association which is not even recognised.  

Lekin ye qissa phir kabhi.


Thursday, September 4, 2014


It was a simple RTI query filed by me on the process of the system of procurement for the Bi-Modular Charge (BMC) System for the Bofors 155 mm Guns of the Artillery which went unanswered. It went unanswered by the Public Information Officer as well as the Appellate Authority who declined to answer it citing secrecy rules. It was quite inexplicable why the Army was stonewalling my query and so I decided to up the ante and file a appeal with the Central Information Commission which was kind enough to hear my appeal on July 18 this year and ordered the Army to provide the information regarding the process of procurement of BMC within 4 weeks of the receipt of the order.

The Army was present in full strength to defend its case and was represented by a Brigadier, a Lt Col as well as a Major. The Lt Col was from the tender committee which was dealing with the procurement of the BMC and it fell upon him to brief the CIC on the reason why a veil of secrecy was being thrown on the procurement process.

The very first line of defence adopted that the information could be misused by the enemy could jnot convince the CIC who said that it was not a cogent reason. Thereafter, there was no real defence left for the representatives of the Army but to admit that the reason why they were unable to give out precise information was because the procurement process had not yet been completed! Now this was an amazing fact accepted by them given the fact that several years have lapsed since the procurement process of BMC started and it is inexplicable why the tender has not yet been finalised.

On one hand the Indian Army has not been able to upgrade its artillery by purchasing new guns due to bureaucratic red-tapism and other assorted factors and on top of that comes this shocking admission that we are also unable to procure charges for our artillery shells of 155 calibre due to unknown reasons.

Now I do not know how this might affect the operations capability of the Army and I do not want to hazard a guess but I do feel that something is amiss somewhere and someone must be held accountable for this lapse.

Meanwhile six weeks have elapsed since the order was passed by the CIC and I am yet to receive the information that was ordered to be provided to me by the Indian Army. There has not even been a single line written to me to assure that the information is on its way or that it might be delayed.

I will of course, resort to filing another application before the CIC, but that is not the issue on hand. It is high time that antiquated procurement procedures are amended as well as transparency is brought into the entire system so that those responsible for delays on procurements are taken to task.

And hiding everything behind a fictitious veil of of secrecy is also ill-advised. We are all working in national interest. A holier than thou attitude while dealing with RTI applications and first appeals must be shed.

The sooner the better.

(Pic courtesy

Friday, August 29, 2014


Well, there is not much to say. The letter says it all. Ignore the first part of it. That makes perfect sense and is in accordance with sanity.

Concentrate on Para No. 3.

Look at the dichotomy of the serious security need guideline in the preceding para and this succeeding para .
While there is nothing wrong with the intention of getting a ladies meet photographed by a lady, it is the suggestion of the use of a Lady officer for the same which is stupid.

Suggests a mentality of a particular kind.

In my view it means: "You may be an officer. But your being a lady changes it all".

But it's just my view. If you readers feel otherwise, do let me know.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


The two letters attached with this post clearly show that Finmeccanica and its subsidiary companies were not persona non grata for the Ministry of Defence or the Indian Army even after the Augusta Westland scam hit the headlines and the investigation into the case was ordered by the government.
These letters show how the Army invited the subsidiary company of Finmeccanica for user trials at a military location. Now we learn that the MoD has issued a set of guidelines to deal with Finmeccanica and its subsidiary companies. But why the delay? You can make your own guesses.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Here is the list of officers who have been selected for promotion to the rank of Lt Gen in the Command and Staff Stream as well as Staff Stream alone. Many congratulations to all General Officers in the list and may they have successful tenures in the days and years to come.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


The repeated denial of information under Right to Information Act regarding the activities of the Army Polo and Riding Club (APRC) and the manner in which it is conducting its business using Army resources with virtually no transparency, has finally led to the filing of an appeal in the Central Information Commission and a hearing has also taken place in the case.

The appeal came up for hearing on July 18, 2014 with the appellant, Ex-Major Guneet Chaudhary appearing in person in the court of CIC. The Army was represented by Brig Sumar Vir Singh, CPIO/DDG RTI., Lt. Col. Suryanshi, Nodal Officer and Lt. Col.Rohit Dagar, OC 'B' Squadron of 61 Cavalry.

Maj Chaudhary insisted that APRC is an Army Club and it is using the sources and resources of Indian Army. The Chief of Army Staff was the President and all other officials are also from Indian Army. It has got civilians as members apart from Army personnel. He also presented details of the funds collected from the civilians and army personnel by APRC.

He informed the CIC that the horses of APRC are from the Indian Army and private horses of the civilians are also stabled in the area, which is a defence area. He also raised the issue of organizing the Delhi Horse Show, its sponsorship by the corporate groups and even name the Horse show in the name of corporate Groups. Maj Chaudhary also raised the issue of foreigners being the member of the Club, which itself is a security threat.

The Army stated that it will give  written submission about the status of the Army Polo And Riding Club.

The CIC passed an order of giving two weeks time to the respondents to file their written submission regarding the status of Army Polo and Riding club and thereafter Appellant will take two week time to file  his reply. 


The APRC is functioning since 1995 as an unregistered body under the control of the Indian Army. The Chief of Army Staff was the President of this Club till May 2013. After that Quarter Master General of the Indian Army is the President of this Club. This change in the leadership occurred on the basis of the application filed by Major Chaudhary under RTI Act 2005 to CPIO of Indian Army to know the status of the APRC. In response to the RTI Application, CPIO informed that APRC is not a Public Authority, so no information can be given regarding the functioning of the Army Polo and Riding Club.

This reply, thus, makes it clear that despite enjoying all the facilities of the Army and having senior Army officers as its office bearers, the APRC has been deliberately kept outside the purview of a public authority. This raises serious questions about the motive to keep it out of the ambit of public scrutiny.
However, the Army’s reply regarding APRC not being a public body may not stand legal scrutiny on the basis of the following facts:

1.    The Chief of Army Staff was the President of the Army Polo and Riding Club till June 2013.

2.    The Quarter Master General of the Indian Army is the President of the APRC at present.

3.  APRC is located in the premises of the ‘B’ Squadron of 61 Cavalry of Indian Army.

4.       A serving Colonel of the 61 Cavalry, its Commandant.

5.  Army Polo and Riding Club is an Army Club, and has approximately 861members. Interestingly, Army members(retired and civilians are 343) and civilian members are 465 in number.

For a civilian to be the member of the Army Polo and Riding Club he has to purchase an Admission form ( price printed on the form is Rupees 50/-) but it is given for Rupees 150/. The details of the fees collected from the Army personnel and Civilians are around Rs 2,13,90000/- and monthly subscriptions are Rs 10,95,400. 

The basic issue concerning the membership of APRC is whether the Army, being a government body, can allow membership to civilians and foreigners

6.   The sources and resources of the Indian Army are fully used for the functioning of the APRC.

7.      APRC uses the services of RVC Doctors for the medical treatment of the Horses and RVC provides medical cover to APRC during the conduct of polo matches.

8.  There are reportedly a number of private horses are stabled in the stables of APRC. Either they are the private horses of the Officers of Indian Army or the horses of corporate groups. The misuse of ration of Army Horses of 61 Cavalry can not be ruled out for feeding the private horses and private owners are charged for it .The government manpower is used to maintain these horses. How and under what rules, the private horses are stabled in Army Polo and Riding Club? No answer for this. A surprise check can be conducted to see how the government resources are being misused for personal benefits.

9.    The APRC organizes polo season every year from October 15 to December 8. Interestingly, the Club allows team, whose players are playing members of the Indian Polo Association (IPA) through a Club or Associations affiliated to IPA. 

    Interestingly, IPA itself is presently not a recognized sports body by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has admitted this in a RTI reply. Interestingly, Chief of Army Staff is the President of Indian Polo Association. The intertwined relationship of the APRC and the IPA can be gauged from the fact that the Commandant of the 61 Cavalry, is also the Honorary Secretary of the Indian Polo Association (IPA) and Chief of Army Staff is the President of IPA and all other officials of IPA are senior officials of Indian Army.

10.The matches are played at the Army Equestrian Centre in Delhi                    Cantonment, which is located in an area allotted to Army by Defence              Estates. What is the status of Army Equestrian Centre? 

11. Army Polo and Riding Club organizes DELHI HORSE SHOW  every year          and collect huge amount of sponsorships from the Corporate Groups. The        sponsorship is to such an extent that Horse show is named in the name          of Corporate Group ( The Anand, Delhi Horse Show 2013).  As per the              Defence Estate Rules no commercial activity can be undertaken at the            Defence land.

12. A number of Foreign individuals are also the member of the Army Polo            and Riding club, which is functioning entirely in the Defence Area.

13. The APRC officials take the message for the brochure of Delhi Horse Show from the Supreme commander of Armed Forces, Hon’ble President of India, under the cover of being an Army Club. This further reiterates the fact that it is a Army Club.

14. Despite this clear use of Army resources, the Army claims in its RTI reply that the APRC is not a public authority which flies in the face of the definition of public authority under the RTI Act 2005.

15. The  foreign teams are  also permitted to participate in the polo          matches organized by the APRC. The club is not exclusively for         personnel of Indian Army but also have civilians and foreigners as its member. The basic issue concerning the membership of APRC is whether the Army, being a government body, can allow membership to civilians and foreigners.

16.The APRC also takes sponsorship from corporate houses for organizing polo matches. The sponsorship amount is in lakhs for different matches. There is no independent audit of the funds collected for the sponsorships and all audit is through an internal auditor of the APRC. Needless to say, the counting procedures are in gross contravention to orders, thus undermining the image of the Services.

17. The fund collected by IPA are used for the overseas visits of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and other senior members of the Indian Polo Association and Army Polo And Riding Club. During the year 2010-2011 as per the balance sheet of the IPA, Rs 18 Lacs were spent on the visit of the then COAS( Chief of Army Staff) and then Quarter Master General(that too after his retirement) to Argentina.

Interestingly the CEO of APRC Col Navjot Singh Sandhu has gone to Argentina on 02 December, 2013 for attending the meeting of FIPA ( Federation of International Polo Association) on the expenses of Indian Polo Association.

All the above facts make it clear and an independent and fair probe is needed into the activities of the APRC and the IPA in order to ascertain how Army facilities are being blatantly used without any transparency at all.

 16. Interestingly, there is another organization in the name of Army Equestrian Centre, fully controlled by the Indian Army and an Army Establishment operating from the Defence lands and public funds to the tune of Rs 1,18,53000 have been allocated to it by the Army headquarters. 

Interestingly, AEC has no Army Horses neither any staff posted or located for the purpose of training towards achieving any medals at National or at International level. AEC is basically a special purpose vehicle created  for accommodating the civilian members  of the APRC and for organizing  Polo matches, which are being conducted on behalf of IPA by APRC.  This organization provides venue/infrastructure facilities/polo grounds for the IPA and APRC events and it is directly under the control of Quarter Master General’s Branch of the Indian Army. The access to civilians is permitted for the events of IPA. Foreigners can use these facilities under special permission of the Army authorities. 

It is interesting to note that one officer of the rank of Major was court-martialled last year for having contact with a foreign lady visitor to the APRC and disciplinary action was also  taken in the same case against an officer of the rank of Brigadier. It is a big security threat under the present circumstances to give easy access to Foreigners in the high security Military area.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports generally gives grants to the different Sports Federation of India and in its order dated 21 April, 2010, it directed all sports bodies to bring transparency in the functioning of Sports Federation by appointing Public Information Officer for RTI Act, failing which no grants will be given. Amazingly, IPA refused to follow the transparency and did not appoint a PIO without caring for the grants and had refused to take any grants since 2010. It might be argued that the IPA chose not to receive grants in order to avoid appointing a PIO under the RTI Act.

All the above facts make it clear and an independent and fair probe is needed into the activities of the APRC and the IPA in order to ascertain how Army facilities are being blatantly used without any transparency at all. It also needs to be inquired whether there is any complicity of the higher brass of the Army in order to ensure that the dealings of APRC and IPA remain opaque and they are kept out of the purview of the RTI Act for this purpose.

Given the fact that senior Army officers are involved in the dealings with both these organizations, it will augur well for the Service to order a probe immediately on the role of its own officers in these organizations.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Here is the detailed letter written by the Major's wife whose husband is posted in Faridkot and whose case has been reported in the media for the past two days. The General Officer Commanding of the Division visited the station yesterday and attempted to effect a compromise which was not acceptable to the lady who is demanding a impartial inquiry into the conduct of the Brigade Commander. The Army, on its part, has assured proper investigation and punishment to anyone found guilty in consonance with ethos of the service.

Friday, August 1, 2014


Despite being pointedly out repeatedly, the incorrect usage of the term 'retd' persists within the veterans community as well in the civilian hierarchy. The media too has joined the band wagon and the term 'retd' is increasingly used after the rank of the officer while it should be used after the name and decorations, if any, of the officer.

The American use of the term seems to have been caught the fancy of those who make the incorrect use of the term. Now, the Army HQs has stepped in and the Directorate General of Staff Duties has now issued a letter on July 24, 2014 stressing on the correct use of the term.

The letter correctly points out that the rank given by the President is not only for life but after life too and this is a rare privilege accorded to the officers of the military.

A copy of the letter is attached with this blog and this must be disseminated widely so that the 'babus' and the ignorant, in or out of military service, too realise how to use the term correctly.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


The Army’s promotion board results for the ranks of Major General and Lt General have been inexplicably delayed which may result in many deserving officers losing their chance to get promoted and many may retire in their present rank itself.

The Army had conducted a selection board for the promotion of Major Generals to Lt Generals in April this year. It is learnt that there are around 17 vacancies for the rank of Lt Gen in the Command and Staff streams. As many as 65 Major Generals were considered for these vacancies.

According to sources in Army HQs, the Military Secretary’s branch had completed the formalities at the Army’s end and forwarded the board results to the Ministry of Defence in May itself. After the MoD gives the nod, the appointments are then put up to the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet for the final approval following which the promotion board results are de-c classified and the officers are promoted as per their seniority and merit.

These officers who will be cleared in this promotion board results will be cleared to pick up appointments in the Command as well as Staff Stream as per their merit. Those approved for Command stream will go on to command a Corps while the others will be posted to staff appointments in Army HQs or static formations like GOC of an Area, Chief of Staff of a Command  or a staff appointment in Army HQs.

Normally the promotion board results are out within a period of two months. However, since the board results have been delayed by at least a month and, sources say, are not likely to be cleared within the next one month too, many officers stand to lose their chance at promotion because their date of retirement is approaching. Thus even if they are approved by the promotion board, they will not be able to pick up their rank.

The predicament is also acute for many officers who may not be able to command a corps despite having been approved in the Command Stream. This is because an officer needs to have a residual service of at least three years on the day the board results are declared in order to get the appointment of a General Officer Commanding of a Corps.

In fact, this is not the only category of officers affected by delay in announcement of promotion board results. Sources say the promotion board results of Brigadier to Major General rank have also been delayed.

In this instance, the board was held in the first week of May this year. There were 45 vacancies of Major Generals for which 125 Brigadiers were considered. Here again many officers will retire from service if the MoD does not de-classify the results soon.
Sources in MoD say that while the initial delay in declaring the results was because of the general elections and the wait for a new government to take over, the present delay is unexpected

Needless to say that many officers lower down in the merit for the rank of Major General and Lt General will immensely benefit if those in higher order of merit either retire from service or are over-age for some key appointments.

Sources inform that several officers are now planning to approach the Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal in New Delhi to seek legal remedy and to force the MS Branch of the Army HQs and the Ministry of Defence to get speedily on this issue.


Thursday, February 27, 2014


On May 16, 1996 Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda shot himself dead. He was then serving as the Chief of Naval Operations of the US Navy. He joined the US Navy as an enlisted sailor and was the first to rise to this high rank. Admiral Boorda killed himself to spare his service further ignominy when a investigation carried out by the Newsweek magazine found that he was wearing certain decorations on his uniform which he was not entitled to wear. The investigation by a journalist, David Hackworth, revealed that Admiral Boorda was wearing two Combat Distinguishing Devices on the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal service ribbons on his uniform and that he was not entitled to wear them. The Admiral killed himself fearing more adverse publicity for his Navy. He could have waited for official inquiries to exonerate him but he did not do so. He knew what he had done. Accused of an illegal act, he took what seemed to him as a honourable way out.

On February 26, 2014, Admiral DK Joshi, Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy resigned after a spate of accidents hit the navy causing damage to a large number of surface and submarine vessels. There has been plenty of adverse publicity in the media following these accidents and the fear that more lives had been lost in the immediate accident turned out to be the last straw for him. Admiral Joshi could well have taken the other route for this controversy. He could have sacked some fairly senior Naval officers for their failure to exercise adequate control over their fleet. But Admiral Joshi chose to take blame like a Captain of a ship. Like Admiral Boorda, he too felt that his honour was at stake. And while there are debates raging on the culpability of the bureaucrats and politicians, he has left his service proud as indeed left his reputation unsullied.

One cannot but help compared the acts of these two honourable men with what re-course a former Indian Army Chief of Army Staff took when faced by an alleged act of illegality committed against him. Gen VK Singh had been aggrieved fairly early in his career by what he found to be an incorrect appreciation of his date of birth. He correctly represented against the anomaly as he understood it to be and asked for redressal. He did not get any. Ultimately, having achieved a fairly senior rank and finding himself to be well on his way to the highest rank and appointment, he acquiesced. Till be because the Chief of Army Staff.

And then he represented again to the government. A highly debatable act at that high level of seniority, yet he did so. And once again his representation was turned down. Now here was his chance to take the honourable way. If he believed himself to be correct, he should have immediately resigned and shown his commitment for what he believed to be right. But no, he went on to challenge the government in the Supreme Court which led many to conclude that he was running after ten extra months in service.

I cannot interpret this in any different manner but that Gen VK Singh missed the chance to be known as a trailblazer for posterity in the Indian Army. Just as General Thimayya, for all his brilliant qualities, is still remembered more for having withdrawn his resignation under pressure from Nehru, Gen VK Singh, for all his sterling qualities, will also be remembered for having taken his government to court as the Chief of Army Staff.

Men in uniform are synonymous with men of honour. Till they prove it otherwise. Admiral Joshi has proven that he is a man of honour. He has foregone 17 more months in service. He may have been criticized for his handling of the spate of accidents but his final act as the Navy Chief deserves our salute.

Fare Winds and a Following Sea,  Admiral.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The first reaction may be to read and laugh. But the issue is much more complex than it appears on surface.
On one plane it is just an example of military bureaucracy which is often not very different from the civilian bureaucracy.

However, in the present instance, the authority issuing condoms to units wants to make sure that it knows the number of "eligible couples" who have been issued and also the number of condoms "utilised" during the month along with the number left in balance.

Now this should be very tricky information for the recipients to divulge, to say the least. And also it is quite unfathomable why this largesse of distributing condoms should only be limited to "couples". Why not to every person who asks for them? Are there questions of morality which are afflicted the medical authorities who are responsible for distributing condoms? Should they not be more worried about the practice of safe sex and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS even if it means distributing them to the average single Officer/JCO/Jawan serving in the unit? Or is the job only to prevent unwanted pregnancies?

No doubts ethics and morality are issues which are evolving in the society at large and the military is just a reflection of that society. But even in the open society issues of protection against sexually transmitted diseases has transcended the blinkered views reflected in this communication given above.

Change can take place within the military if there are open discussions within the military and the will to move forward. This is 2014 not 1944. It is high time the powers-that-be take immediate steps to bring in the change.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


In some respects our services are still living in a colonial era with much of their ethos dating back to that period. While there is nothing wrong with retaining some good factors of that period, there is certainly no need to behave like our erstwhile lords and masters used to do in the pre-Independence days.

Unfortunately, today's blog brings out yet another aberration in the system wherein the 'system' has become such that each senior officer blindly emulates what other senior officers have been doing, particularly those who preceded, with the cumulative effect that many of their doings not only look incongruous to the present day rank and file, but they also look positively ridiculous.

In the present instance we have a letter which has been circulated to the subsidiary units of a formation in order to inform them of the diet preferences of the General Officer Commanding lest he visits their unit and they have to host him.

Take a look at the minute manner in which each of his preferences have been spelled out. Right from what he would like for breakfast to the type of 'Dal' he prefers (Arhar, Chana, Dhuli Masoor, Dhuli Moong, Sabut Masoor) and the manner in which his tomatoes must be cooked (without the skin).

To an outsider it looks nothing short of a joke, but rest assured, all this is quite normal in the olive green world. However, questions have now begun to be raised over such inane stuff being put forth to cater to the whims and fancies of senior officers. Let us further examine what the General Officer likes to consume.

The AAG who has sent off the letter further amplifies that under no conditions is coriander to be used in cooking and that the General is quite partial to chicken tikka and chicken seekh kabab as snacks. These snacks he presumably enjoys when he is having a taste of Napolean brandy, Vat 69 or Teachers. However, during official briefings he restricts his like to "assorted biscuits" and tea.

Not a frugal eater, he also likes to have a dish of chicken or fish during lunch and dinner along with the routine dal, vegetables, salad, chapati, rice etc.

The letter also specifies that these are just basic guidelines which have to be adhered and for anything specific the Staff Officer to the GOC can be contacted.

What day and age are we living in? Can we not move forward and focus on our job at hand? Even if such ambiguities had crept into the system is it not possible to do away with them and keep up with the times?
The other day I wrote on the hilarious Santa orders. I received a tirade in return. Some of it, which was publishable, has been published in response to that blog. Getting brickbats for telling the truth is not a problem. Closing our eyes to stupidity is.
Wake up and smell the Green Label tea, er, I mean coffee. Before it is too late.