‪#‎BeatingtheRetreat‬

Increasingly the role of the leadership in the Armed Forces shall come under the lens and public gaze. The opening up of the media helps it happen for good and bad reasons, together, like most things. .

Importantly, the so called make-believe, colonial and mechanical understanding of the apolitical role of the military is at the bottom of it all. We have chosen to be commanded willingly by the government of the day in the name of democracy( for the rank and file) while the aspirational commanders were befriending politicians,bureaucrats and parties. This too is in public domain : what was an open secret, otherwise. Most people in uniform in their understanding saw the Congress or the BJP as per their political naivete as nationalistic. nay militaristic.. at different periods of history. Now, the ripped chickens come scurrying home to roost. They pay for their obsequiousness by standing behind in the long pecking order after,being effaced, to become anonymous and unrecognisable having made all the necessary arrangements. That is our station today: lowly paid Event Managers.
As to what is tradition,what is military and what is Indian and pristine and what be the new way forward has become the new crosshairs of military debate.And I am sure the brass would do well not to weigh in with their erstwhile ranks to add value when in sooth, they are passe.This is not to disregard their past contributions.One has the most respects.Let that never be in question ! It is only ,because, there has been a dramatic change in thinking,practices, politics in the civil world that is affecting the prevalent ethos and ideology of the military. The latter have to agree that they are after all a part of the society at large which dominates and determines the soldier and soldiering.And in that ,it is the new and young with other ideas.Seldom too,they have time,inclination or reverence for tired traditions or ideas.What is Indian and Indianisation has to be understood by them.It is they, to be given the sword and sceptre for equally dramatic changes, if at all, to be brought home into the now ossified Armed Forces.An Independent India needs to move on and away from matters British.
It is sad that post retirement all generals become wiser and courageous.The Official Secrets Act was always quoted as the shut-up-document :our Upanishads for producing finished morons who like “Kumbhakaran” wake up when out of the Uniform suddenly brave, far sighted and holier-than -thou. My question is when arms purchases are made, aid to civil power actions taken, aerial bombing done on your own people, the generals scamper around at the mere hint of a moving politician’s finger. why do celebrate? are all deaths caused in the line of duty worthwhile?Memorials, a few ranks,foreign jaunts,overdone parties of the latest in single malt or colours in wine backgrounded with some stale and long forgotten chamber or lounge music are the freebies that the clinking heels, clipped moustaches and twinkling brass is seduced with. We have been jumping jacks for a time longer than I can remember, sir. Cherry picking and self righteousness has served its purpose. Introspection has to be severe and brutal to remain relevant. It is very easy to settle for a place in the sun bargaining for improved status or salaries.At another remove I shall never recommend a gung-ho and macho military.Like someone who is so often misquoted said ” Power comes out of the barrel of a gun.But, politics in Command !” Regrettably,there are substantial issues and more serious, not so easily left to the Generals.

What is to-be-or-not-to-be?

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