Sunday, 5 April 2015

Is it all about the money, honey? by Navdeep Singh

Some observations are painful. Some battles lonely.

It is particularly painful to observe how the military community raises a big hue and cry whenever there is a controversy related to a matter involving monetary benefits, but the guns fall silent when the issue is equally, or even more pertinent, important and urgent but then it does not affect people financially. These are insidious matters which affect the rights and privileges of the fauj as a whole but many of us are not bothered.

It is because of this very attitude, especially prevalent in the officer community, that we are where we are. We get what we deserve. To take an example, the recent post on the biggest blow to your fundamental rights since independence which is going to affect you for the rest of your lives resulted in only about 8 published comments on the blog but the pensionary arrears flowing out of the decision on the pension fixation arising out of the 6th Central Pay Commission evoked about 50 published comments. The op-ed on the way the system is shabbily treating our disabled soldiers, especially of the lower ranks, evoked just 4 comments but "One Rank One Pension" or the rank pay decision of the Supreme Court resulting in financial benefits to officers resulted in 125 comments.

The above is testimony enough that our priorities are aimed in the wrong direction and we are turning selfish by the day. From the thousands of emails I receive, rarely are there some that refer to or speak of or offer help in taming the malaise that has set in on a macro-level in some of these key issues. Mostly the calls and communications seek information on the amount that is due- nothing for others, everything for self.

I would request the defence community to wake up and move beyond wallets and purses. There is lot more to cover. You have to sensitize the society at large and stand up for those who do not have a voice, especially veterans of the lower ranks, disabled soldiers and military widows. You also have to sensitize the government and work hand in hand with the establishment to lift up the unsung and the unheard. YOU have to do it by rising above your own personal gains.

I hope we remember what Martin Niemöller said:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Socialist. 

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me-
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Folks, come around...speak up for the men!!!

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