A GREAT CHALLENGE TO THE SOLDIERS
It is a great challenge to the soldiers, both serving and the retired particularly their leadership. Manekshaw had won a war for the people of
We look up to the serving Field Marshal Arjan Singh and other senior most Generals, Marshals and the Admirals to lead us to victory to live with dignity. It will be a befitting tribute to Sam Bahadur.
Maj.Gen GS Jamwal
(President J&K Ex-services League)
UNBELIEVABLE OR DELIBERATE ?
It’s incredible the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister did not attend Field Marshal Manekshaw’s funeral. Their presence wasn’t simply a duty, it was a obligation and there was nothing else that could have claimed greater priority. But I’m eve more amazed the President didn’t go. She is, after all, the Supreme Commander of the armed forces and Maneksha was their greatest hero. Her absence is shocking.
Yet it’s not just
Sadly, the lapses in the official response to Maneksha’s death don’t end with the absences at his funeral. How do you explain the fact that even one day of national mourning was not announced ? And why weren’t flags flown at half-mast ? Remember, as a Field Marshal, Maneksha was still ‘in service’. Field Marshals don’t retire.
Forty people have received the Bharat Ratna since it was first awarded in 1954. By my count at least 22 are politicians. A further 13 intellectuals or artists, two social workers and an industrialist. There are also two foreigners. But in 54 years not a single armed forces officer has qualified. Surely Manekshaw should have ? Was he less deserving then M.G.Ramachandran, Rajiv Gandhi, Aruna Asaf Ali, Gulzarilal Nanda, VV Giri, Gopinath Bordoloi and Chidambaram Subramaniam ?
When the Cabinet Committee for Security discusses military procurement it invites civil servants to offer their opinion but the three chiefs, who are directly involved and clearly more knowledgeable, are not called.
Little wonder, then, that the Armed services are aggrieved the Review Committee considering the 6th Pay Commission award for the military does not include a service officer, even though they had insisted on this. The government claims the Defence Secretary will represent them. The three chiefs – and all their predecessors – disagree. It is not the incumbent they distrust so much as the attitude of civil servants. And when the government claims this is how civilian control manifests itself, they reply: this amounts to bureaucratic not political control.
So, through service eyes, the government’s response to Manekshaw’s death is not hard to explain. It is part of a well-established pattern of political behaviour.