The Unpardonable historical sin
Recently at the Singapore Club an interesting discussion emanated in the bar. A veteran RAF officer settled in Singapore mentioned to me that he was surprised at the approach of successive Indian government who never realised that a nation’s prestige and ability to throw its weight around the world depended on the army. He wanted to know, whether the Indian political leadership whether Congress or BJP were aware of this fact.
I was non- plussed for an answer, but the venerable soldier continued. He said the British ruled India on their military might through the Indian army and when they realised that the army was no longer loyal to them as earlier, they left in a hurry. The important point is that control of India pivoted around the army. Bose had realized this. It’s another matter that he sided with the Axis powers and lost.
A look at history will bear this out. The downfall of the Mauryan Empire started with the pacifist policies of Asoka. Many historians do not consider him “great” as he laid the foundation of military neglect which had disastrous consequences leading to the breakup of his empire and subsequent subjugation of India by the Muslims for 900 years.
After 1947 one hoped things would change but a man was foisted on the Indian people - Jawaharlal Nehru who had no concept of military power and its role and allowed the finest fighting machine in India go to seed. The army had its perks and privileges withdrawn and a poorly equipped army lost a border war with China. Nehru later realised his mistake, but the deed was done as India surrendered the leadership of Asia to China.
Over the next 50 years nothing much has changed. We have a man called Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. Let’s us accept the fact that this man has no vision of history or greatness of a nation. Otherwise he would not have allowed veterans to fast for 68 days for a legitimate demand. The man is callous and naïve. When you add these two qualities together, a frightful image emerges of a man who has no vision except his personal grandeur. But so sad, this man does not realize that his personal grandeur in the world polity of nations rests on India military. Look at the USA. It is respected all over the world for its ability to strike surgical operations’ and not on chanting Ram Rajya( which the BJP is to intent on doing).
The veterans and the serving soldiers have an umbilical cord and what happens to the ex-servicemen is a matter of concern to the rank and file of the army. By treating the veterans with disdain and trying to back track on the approved definition of OROP, Modi has lit the fire of discontent in the army itself. Does Modi still think that he will get away by talking glibly? Dies this man realize the immense danger he has unleashed to damage the army morale for all time to come.
China and Pakistan are happy and this was articulated by a Chinese origin army officer in the club. He said what India needs is a Cromwell, who can line up and dissolve parliament. Unfortunately we have men like general Dalbir Singh Suhag who wear a hat and look tough, but failed to act for the benefit of the soldiers who helped him become the Chief. Why did not this bloody man not resign? I have no answer as the agitation goes on.
The damage is done by Modi and the present Chief and I wonder how if at all the old morale, dignity and loyalty of the soldier can be restored. I am reminded of the Humpty Dumpty poem and it is applicable to Modi . " Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great Fall and all the Kings horses and all the Kings men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again"