There is no real need for senior leadership to personally monitor routine administrative issues. It will only encourage more Tej Bahadur Yadavs. But let these be handled at the appropriate level of leadership
Last week, the power of the social media struck the Indian Army with a sort of vengeance. Starting with the ‘watery dal’ episode, video after video appeared of jawans accusing their officers of all kinds of dishonest and belittling behaviour. Media channels jumped in with enthusiasm as they brought in retired jawans to spew venom against a retired Chief of Army Staff. Having recently hung up my uniform, I watched bewildered as media discussions made it known to us, that as officers we had not understood how Dal, Chai, Sahayaks and boot polishing were critical elements of the military character.
What about what I have seen and experienced in my 40 years of service? The ethos where officers and men share everything together? The captain who lives, sleeps and eats with his soldiers. He leads patrols and ambushes and dies at their head. He is the first person to step into the dark corridor of the EDI Pampore building, and die in a burst of terrorist fire. Undeterred, the second young officer does the same, and dies.
The commanding officer of a Rashtriya Rifles unit, Colonel Santosh Yashwant Mahadik, is killed while leading his men in an operation in North Kashmir. His wife Swati Mahadik decides to continue his legacy. Nine years overage, she seeks exemption, leaves her young children behind and joins as a cadet in OTA.
We have great and motivated soldiers because we genuinely care for them. Their food, comfort and welfare is our primary concern. Army life is very, very tough. In Kargil, a soldier walks up to his 19,000 feet-high post in November, gets snowed under, and comes down only in the month of May next year. In these six months he battles the most treacherous of conditions – 40 feet snow, -40 degree temperature – and the huge sense of isolation. We make sure that he remains motivated and comes down in good shape because he is the most valuable asset of our Army and we need him.