Saturday, August 15, 2015

Non Approval of OROP : The Enemy is within, the General Staff

Most ex-servicemen were having fond hopes that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will announce sanction of OROP in his Independence Day address, except me. Even the doyen of the movement General Satbir Singh expressed the hope that he was "hopeful", that OROP would be sanctioned.

I was however sure that nothing like this was going to happen and months back I had stated the same. At that time I had recieved a email from a respected member of the Ex Servicemen's Office  bearers that he was sure that the OROP letter duly sanctioning the demand would be out soon.   I was sceptical and I have been proved right.

The non approval of OROP for close to 4 decades cannot just be pinned to the Political leadership or that favorite bashing boy the "Babus" or the IAS lobby.  Let us look inwards and we will find that the fault to a great degree lies within  us and the politicians  make hay of it. In other words they have exploited the weakness of presentation of the demand and  played on the divide of the services. To use a uncharitable word "lack of guts" among the general staff to forcefully present  the soldiers case.

The demand emanated from about 1973 when the COAS was general Bewoor. Under his stewardship the pensions of servicemen were REDUCED and this general accepted  it without a murmur. Probably he was eying an appointment after he left office and did not want to upset his chances. In any case this general shamed himself for posterity and when the history of this movement is written , he will be the man marked out as the person responsible  for  the downslide going.

After he left so many army Chiefs came and went and the the demand for OROP went no where as none of the Chiefs forcefully pressed the point. There is news now, that 4 ex Chiefs have sent a letter to the President of India pointing out the pitfalls of non approval of OROP. That is fine, but these worthies owe an explanation to the rank and file of soldiers and airmen as what did they do when they were in service and sitting in the Chair to further the soldiers cause on OROP. Obviously nothing, as the Chiefs were interested in taking some small steps to please the government like reducing the liquor entitlement by 2 bottles or something like that. These chiefs also allowed a concession of FORM D for travel to be restricted. It was always a down slide and nothing upward came as the Chiefs to use an uncharitable word "feathered their own nests". The soldier be  dammed.

The scenario has not changed. We have the sorry spectacle of the former COAS General VK Singh not showing his face  at the venue of the OROP agitation and there are other officers who are  just small fry and not worth naming here, who  are thinking they have a great political future with the BJP. But they must remember that man proposes and god disposes and the last word on the political aspirations of these turncoats has not been written as yet.

The present army chief  General Dalbir Singh is a case in point. He is sitting in his chair and he is silent like the Spinx. His words to ex servicemen that OROP will be approved and  sanctioned by 30 April are blown away like the small breeze, yet he sits wearing his hat and creating an aura that he is a tough man.  The general should have come to the venue of the site where the ex servicemen are fasting and shown his solidarity, but such great and benevolent things can't be  expected from men who have risen up the ladder by any means and having reached the apex are hoping for another lease of life after retirement.

I will add that undergoing fasts and signing petitions  in blood is not the hallmark of a military soldier, a warrior. These will lead no where and the only way OROP will come is if the 3 service chiefs and some PSO's resign.  Otherwise mark my words , all can live in the fond hope that OROP in the classical sense will ever come.  The enemy is thus within and the COAS is the main culprit down 40 years of the Indian army history.

Lastly people may wonder why I always mention the COAS and not the chiefs of the other 2 services? The fact is that it is only the army that is an organised force all over the country and  other 2 services are just appendages. Look around and you will see in all nations only the army calls the shots: Burma, Pakistan, China, Russia etc.

The present ongoing agitation is another example of the COAS playing a double game. I recently read that General DS Suhag was a mediator between the  government and the reps of the ex-servicemen. I was stumped, how can this man be a mediator , when he as the first soldier and is supposed to represent the soldiers in their  representations to the government. Thus one can see that with like General Suhag, OROP will not come.