Friday, March 14, 2008

Plight of an Indian Soldier

There are just some things which make me feel so mad sometimes. Take for example the apathy that people show to Indian soldiers after they have completed years of duty in keeping us citizens safe. I feel everyone is equally responsible for this mess. The Indian government, the Indian armed forces and most importantly, the Indian People at large. Why is it that people talk about a very big divide between Civilian and Military life. Why is it that the seamless integration is not possible.

I will just recount a story here. In our apartment complex, we had a guard called Joseph for a month when i had shifted recently. The first day when he spoke to me, i was stunned. That guy was so fluent in the English Language that it was odd from the word go. He asked me about where i am from and all the other merry weather questions and then apologized for being inquisitive....inquisitive...I was stunned!!

I then found out that he was a security guard now but earlier he had been a Indian navy petty officer. Its just that he did not have any money after retirement to feed his wife, he had to take up this job where he felt so humiliated saluting some arbit people living in the apartment instead of the Indian Flag and his beloved Navy personnel. He looked as if the weight of the entire earth was on him. He looked much much older than he actually was. My heart went out to him when he talked about "having a job just to keep the pot boiling" and i felt so helpless. If i give this man just money wouldn't it be like treating him like a beggar and taking away any self respect that is left.

Why does it have to be like this. Why can people respect the fact that a person who has served his entire life with so much distinction his entire life has to live his last few years like he is the most unwanted piece in society. Why cant we have support structures for this kind of a problem. After all Joseph cant be the only one facing this problem in a Military of close to 1.5 Million Soldiers.

They deserve to be respected...


Anonymous said...

Date: 2 Oct 09

Scene: Flood relief activities (Karnataka)

Dad gets a call to help the Indian Air Force. It's 10 pm, I offer to drive to the Air Force base. Dad needs more assistance. So he calls his senior officer. He says he's drunk and can't help!! (I find him useless at his job in the administration department. I got an alternative career plan for him; graze donkeys)
With limited resources they managed to do a good job. We return home at 3 am.

Next day, dad asks a subordinate to stay back late night to work with the armed forces. The uxorious moron says his wife has asked him to get back home by 6 in the evening; they got to attend a wedding reception. And he promptly leaves at 4!! (why not become a 'house-husband'??)

And while the army was at Bijapur, helping the victims, the district administration made no arrangements for their food! The apathy of the administration is baffling. The few who worked for relief hardly slept in days. The others always slept.
I wished water flooded the houses of the apathetic officers 'neck-deep' and they were stranded without food, sanitation,sleep ...for days and were afflicted by the diseases the flood-hit people feared...(I know, I couldn't have got more evil.. but...)

The armed forces provided every possible aid, as they always do. When they need help from the civil services, it's really sad that the administration shirks from its responsibility.

Later, an Air Force personnel was telling my dad that his baggage was stolen by a civilian driver assisting them...How sick can it get!

A captain who had broken his leg (while playing basket ball) told me that the medical facilities provided by the govt were abysmal. He had to take a transfer to private hospital. Someone who would not think before laying down his life to save you, deserves much better.

This comment is looking as big as your post itself... Hope you don't mind!
And, me starting to blog- will think about it.

- Sri D J

Robin said...

DJ, there are somethings in India that will never change and one of it is the lip service that we give to honour our armed forces. Lip services and nothing else....I sometimes feel that it is better that most of our forces are away from civilian life particularly urban...they are busy guarding us at the borders of India and that is where they will be happier. If they ever try and understand the mainstream, they will all pack their bags and leave in disgust because of this ungrateful nation.

Thanks for sharing request is OK if i post this comment as an article on my blog as Part of Indian Soldier part 2.