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.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sir,
    To clarify, "eligible couples" is a term used in the Family Planning Program of the Govt of India, from where the condoms have been sourced local branches of the Ministry of HFW). And they require that this nomenclature be used n the reports that they need on consumption.
    As per the Fam Plg program "An eligible couple refers to a currently married couple wherein the wife is in the reproductive age, which is generally assumed to lie between the ages of 15-45 years. There will be at least 150-180 such couples per 1000 populations in India. These couples are in need of family planning services. About 20 percent of eligible couples are found in the age group 15-24 years. On an average 2.5 million couples are joining the reproductive group every year. The eligible couple register is a basic document for organizing family planning work."

    And for your info, this register is supposed to be maintained by the unit admin at every major unit!!

    So the young Major was merely following the diktat of the supplier of condoms to send in the report as per format.....

    Who is questioning what is the actual usage of the condom... i.e for Fam Plg or for 'Safe Sex'? Soldiers are routinely advised to use condoms if they cant use better sense!