Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AoA: Bleeding For Nothing

On March 7, an e-mail sent out internally by a military veterans welfare organisation to its members called for support in raising funds for a large veterans protest rally planned on March 14 at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar. The e-mail listed out the various elements of the rally that required funds. The usual things: tents, lunch, loudspeakers, that sort of thing. But one of the items was new: disposable syringes, anti-coagulant chemicals. In case you haven't already figured it out, the group plans to get some of its senior members to write a memorandum in their blood to the President of India. A memorandum they hope will finally convince the establishment of just how angry they are. I don't really know that the government will be moved by any of this. If it hasn't been moved by hundreds of veterans returning their service medals on seven different occasions, what good will a blood-spattered piece of paper do?

The protests by Indian veterans have been going on for so long, and with such a staunch refusal to become less intense, that a terrible pathos now clings to everything. To the veterans, it's not just that the government won't address their central lament -- deep-rooted pension anomalies -- but that the government hasn't had the decency to even acknowledge the protests, and engage the veterans in a discourse. Defence Minister AK Antony is a compassionate man, but how does he feel about one of the country's most unhealthy mutinies taking place on his watch? Without any engagement, India's veterans -- at least the ones who plan to congregate at Jantar Mantar four days from now, including a former Deputy Chief of Army Staff -- have been dehumanised, demasculated and, worst of all, isolated.

The scary part is the government doesn't appear to be in the least concerned about what a public relations nightmare the protests constitute for its image. We look more like Pakistan, though of course ex-Servicemen are the cream of society across the line of control. There are those who believe that sleeping over such a large community of disenchanted trained military personnel is sleeping over a strategic disaster waiting to happen, whatever it may be. Loyalty is a complicated thing when you're this pissed off.

From the way things look, it's an intermittent riot of voices through a megaphone from the veterans bouncing off an impenetrable wall that is the government. When things are this bad with your military veterans, you treat them, you deal with them, you address them, you engage them. No matter what anyone says, military veterans aren't just anybody. You invite them over for a cup of tea. If you have to, you tell them why you can't help them. You let them down easy, explain to them why the government cannot do what it cannot do, whatever the reasons are. Get them on board. That's the key. And that's where the government has spectacularly failed. Every time there's been a protest, there are megaphones and banners and television stories with sad music tracks.

So what good is blood?

6 comments :

Anonymous said...

What a shame that our government can pay millions to put up with the shananigans of MP's who insult the Vice President in the temple of India's Parliamentary System where as our veterans who saw their friends and colleagues lose lives, lost their limbs and took hurts and pains so that the country remains secure do not even get a proper standard of living. I wish I was there to give my blood too in that protest.

Anonymous said...

that SOB MMS even refused to acknowledge a problem when the opposition raised it. too busy kissing the ass of his paki friends.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 3:34
I support the veterans in this problem, I am the anonymous from further above.
But you do realize that the MMS you are referrring to is one of the most qualified prime ministers we'll ever have, better than all the Prime Minister's we ever had. He kick started reforms, he stuck to his guns and brought India in the loop on nuclear fuels, without which India would be paupered after two decades due to fuel shortages, his govts response to the Mumbai carnage was responsible. Rather than sending the army to the border and then backing out of it (having your bluff called), India under him went on a rampage diplomatically. I am not saying that he is perfect, but wwho would you prefer as PM over him, I cant think of one person who is more clean non corrupt, well educated to be the leader of this nation. Even if you do not like him or his actions, do not insult a wizened, well renowned, respected man with such words, its against Indian culture itself.

Anonymous said...

dear Shiv,
there is no going back. One rank one pay is the aim. The callousness with which the whole matter is being treated is just not acceptable MMS said about a rift between Govt and Forces. Now for the first time in the history of Armed Forces this Govt has tried to create a wedge between the Commissioned Officers and Men by announcing concessions only for them! He does not know that the IA's casualty ratio of officer to man is the highest in the world. We have seen through the game. we also want what is due should be given to the men first. Let the MPs and Babus send their children to die with their hands tied behind their back. It is not necessary that all should only be officers. Let them get enlisted and after a few years become politicians. Babudom and Politicians claim there is no case to claim one rank one pension when they sanction it for themselves, Well the courts of the country think otherwise. This Govt is getting slapped from every corner but still of no avail. The constitution has declared that the Armed Forces are a special lot whose fundamental rights are restricted. The founding fathers did not spell out the duty of the Govt to look after them because at that time the Armed Forces were having better pay and prestige than babus.The time has now come for the apex court to lay down constitutional procedures for the Armed Forces to be heard if their fundamental rights are to remain curtailed.What the veterans today are saying is very much applicable to those who serve today because every year 60000 of them become veterans.

AK said...

This can easily explain why India has been under the thumb of one or another race for thousands of year. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Shiv,

Whatever happend to the launch of the HAL LCH? Any updates on it?