Obtaining The Right Relevant Answers – by John Eric Gomes
The military is primarily meant to deter or counter external aggression. Unfortunately it is being used increasingly to quell internal misdemeanours, riots and in internal law and order situations along with the paramilitary and police, due political and bureaucratic use of power.
No nation can afford their army to behave like a government organisation. Government is supposed to be run by rules whilst wars are won by defying rules and conventions. The training and discipline required operating in harsh and all conditions without mollycoddling and unionisation and also to give your life if required is not there in civil government organisations.
It may appear a non-issue for political leadership and bureaucrats to compare military ranks with civilian counterparts, but it used to be sacrosanct for a soldier. Rank denotes authority and in war fast changing scenarios and rapid adaptation, the scope for rigid rules diminishes. Let me illustrate perception by the small example of the salute. When a soldier salutes his superior, it means “sir” I am ready to carry out your orders.
An officer returning the salute means I will lead you till my last breath. Karan Thapar says “I wince each time I see a civilian attempting a military salute. The sad but brutal truth is they don’t know how to do it, which is why the action looks silly. Equally they don’t feel comfortable and the awkwardness shows”. When as a civilian I joined the Navy, the first thing I had to learn was to salute and the right way. We under trainees wore blue socks and the regulars white ones. Any white socks could pull up a trainee 24x7. One day walking in the naval Base I heard the roar of a gunnery instructor “Why did you not return my salute sir!” I honestly replied that I did not see him, leave alone his salute. The parade ground was close by and I had to run two full rounds under his supervision. This ensured I had eyes at the back of my head and I never failed to return a salute coming from any quarters! Today it appears the gap between leaders and those lead is closing.
It was in- dignifying for veterans to go on strike for OROP and the way the government handled it. It was more in- dignifying to hear that OROP would be given to the veterans by taking it from the budget due to poor farmers. The feedback from the veterans and ex- Chiefs of the forces need to be seriously considered since serving personnel must be apolitical, loyal in serving the government and bound by code of conduct.
Their discipline and morale is of primary importance and those nations and their governments which have survived wars and proudly hold their head high go out of their way to honour and nurture their armed forces. I am afraid our government has made a cardinal mistake in comparing military ranks with that of their civilian counterparts. There are a lot of grievances reported regarding the 7th Pay Commission and downgrading before the civil services. A government committee has been formed to look into these matters and hopefully the right answers will be forthcoming.
In the last election Goa had given the BJP the mandate for development and zero- tolerance for corruption. Democracy means all people should always be the high command? Unfortunately for the Congress it is the dynasty and BJP the RSS! This election Goa has the highest percentage of NOTA votes in India and the results showed Congress had majority.
Most of the old war horses Pratapsingh Rane, Churchill Alemao, Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Luizinho Faleiro, Mauvin Godinho etc are back. The Independents supported the BJP and MGP goes where the power is! So the BJP is back with Parrikar as CM. Has the electorate won? Today with post truth and alternative facts, the fake news industry is rampant in the fourth estate and social media. The demonetisation success flies in the face of the crores of new notes ceased during the state elections of UP, Punjab and Goa! When cash was restricted and people stood in lines to get limited cash, where did all this remonitised money come from? What stringent investigation and follow up done of massive election expenses including expensive hiring of choppers and transport, many huge rallies and food and drinks along with “infrastructural” expenses indulged in?
The government has brought down the amount from Rs 20,000 transaction political parties could receive unaccounted to Rs 2000, which practically means nothing for manipulation and accounting as usual. We have not got the right answer to transparency and accountability of party funding as to source and who is giving what to whom, expenditures incurred, all made public and recorded for audit. The election results prove that the people ignore the post truth, believe in and have great faith in Prime Minister Modi. His unique leadership bulldozing changes maybe what is required.
The rich are getting richer, the poor entering the rat race! Those who follow the live talk shows on Television are witness to the evasive answers and falsehoods spewed by the various spokespersons.
A typical answer to a present wrongdoing/ scam will be a cover up or greater one indulged by Opposition in the past, which of course is irrelevant to the question! Hopefully “Sathye Mayve Jaya” (Truth shall prevail) eventually. (The author is a retired naval officer resident in Porvorim.) In the last election Goa had given the BJP the mandate for development and zero tolerance for corruption. Democracy means all people should always be the high command? Unfortunately for the Congress it is the dynasty and BJP the RSS!