While I had other ideas for this post, I just could not prevent myself from writing this one before proceeding further. What started with one BSF Jawan is slowly becoming a trend where in-service and retired military personnel are uploading youtube videos of themselves speaking about the bad treatment and corruption they have been bearing during their service. The media has a strong gag order against publishing or discussing this state of military personnel reaching out to the larger audience for the sake of equality in treatment and supplies they need. Well, let’s take a look at the videos they refuse to discuss before we come to a conclusion:
This is what got the trend started. Here’s BSF Jawan Tej Bahadur presenting the sufferings of his and that of his colleagues:
For those who do not understand Hindi, Jawan Tej Bahadur says the government is providing the supplies but him and his colleagues get very little to eat and what they get is of poor quality. His claim is that something happens across the ranks of the officers that they end up receiving limited supplies which results in less and bad-tasting food.
Here is Air Force Jawan Solanki presenting his travails within the force:
Again, for those who do not understand Hindi, Jawan or Lance Corporal Solanki asks why the British-era practice of unfair disparity between ‘Officers’ and ‘Jawans’ is still live and legitimate in the service. He quotes many examples where the Jawans get less than half the entitlements and allowances in comparison with the Officers. To quote some of the instances, he says Jawans need to serve in the force for about ten years before they become eligible for purchasing a car via the tax-free canteen facility but the officers enter the service with the eligibility. He also says, the Officers’ Mess looks like a star hotel where 50-60 Jawans are engaged just for its upkeep while the Jawans’ Mess remains relatively shabby with the food different and bad from what’s served in the Officers’ Mess.
Here is retired Air Force Jawan Suresh Yadav presenting his validation Jawan Tej Bahadur’s accusations and his observations from his service:
Summarising the key aspects of his testimony, he says when jawans/officers make any official effort to bring the discrepancies/discriminations to their superiors’ notice, they get threatened with ‘Form 10 Consequences’. Apparently, when they fill out Form-10 and execute disciplinary action against any Jawan/Officer, the concerned person will be declared as mentally unstable for further service in the force.
Here’s a testimony from CRPF Jawan Meetu Singh Rathod:
Summarising the key points, he says, for every soldier posted at high-altitude/cold regions, the per day oil allowance is about 20 litres but in practice they get 15 litres every 3rd day. This is the condition of soldiers operating at negative temperatures as per Meetu. He also lists the names of honest and corrupt officers based on his personal observation and opinion. He does mention the ‘bad food’ scene in his force citing an example where flour is added to the ‘Dal’ to make it thick. The rest of the bad food story is about the same according to him.
There are many more similar videos where Jawans from different military services claim they are being made to maintain the dogs of their superior offices, polish their boots, wash utensils and even take their kids for sports activity.
On a different note, if you remember, a submarine went down with 18 sailors. Here is the link:
Oh, if you also remember, an air force aircraft went down with 29 personnel onboard, guess what, the search was called off and they were declared ‘presumed dead’. Here are the links:
Now that we have a few instances of oddities from all major services in the military, we need to peace it together.
The military can’t make sure their personnel get proper food.
The military can’t make sure their personnel get treated fairly.
The military can’t make sure their personnel are engaged in tasks they are actually hired for.
The military can’t make sure their sailors are safe in submarines even during peace time.
The military can’t make their planes land safely. When they don’t the military will call off the search and declare the missing personnel dead.
If this is the state of their ongoing operations, how on earth are they going to know when and where the enemy will attack?
If you don’t have the ‘intelligence’ of your own personnel’s welfare and safety, what is the basis for your ‘actual military intelligence’ capabilities? No wonder the Pathankot base was attacked. Not surprising at all, trust me, it shouldn’t be surprising.
Why do you think the Indian territory in J&K is incomplete and segmented? Why do you think there is a PoK and a CoK?
If they can’t deliver a simple ‘Dal’ to their personnel, why should one believe, they have the ball [never mind the second one please] to stand up to the enemies?
We as tax-payers have been funding this nonsense called military in the name of national security.
What kind of a force is something that can’t predict and prevent its submarine from sinking, that too during peace-time, when nobody is attacking?
An aircraft went missing and the search was called off. If you can’t recover and deliver the dead bodies of your own personnel who died during peace time, why should one believe, you won’t desert them during battle? What are you using your surveillance systems for? Tracking deer and cats in the bases?
A $38 billion defense budget and all we get is 18 sunk sailors, 29 officers presumed dead, lost and incomplete northern national territory and Jawans taking care of officers’ kids and pets. Feel free to add the rest of the deaths and nonsense you think will fit in.
At what point are we going to admit, we the taxpayers are funding the death of our own airmen, sailors and soldiers?
At what point are we going to admit, with $38 billion budget, we don’t have the capacity to maintain a submarine or track a plane within our territorial regions?
At what point are we going to admit, we the taxpayers, are funding the organised disparity and inequality among military personnel who signed up to protect us? What makes the services believe, the Jawans have a little less haemoglobin or a kidney less than that of Officers from the academy?
At what point, will this nonsense end?
If this is just going to continue, I say, let’s stop defense spending, convert the military into disaster response services and have the respective states have access to a service that can actually make a difference. I am afraid, this discrimination and neglect will continue even in that scenario, as it is the same set of people we are talking about.
Considering this, I think, burning the money we allocate for defense spending can produce some heat/flame. We can use the flame/heat productively to clear failed crops from the lands and keep cold regions warm. The byproduct smoke can be used to clear-off disease spreading insects and the ashes can serve as manure [not sure if this one is valid for all crops, just being fair you know] while the military personnel migrate to become civilian entities with relatively higher safety, respect and morale. Never mind the borders, why stand along a fence that keeps moving towards us anyways? The infiltrators will realise, it is expensive to keep people alive at those altitudes and they will eventually move down to their side and focus more on feeding and engaging their population with sustainable employment opportunities.
Summing up, the secret of our national security: Really bad food, ill-treated Jawans, ill-maintained equipment and last but not the least, complete disregard for the servicemen who sink or go missing during peacetime.
It is about time, we stay away from vacations along the borders. What if the enemies and infiltrators are well fed and well equipped? What if they get fair treatment from their management? We will be taking pictures and they will be taking our lives. Our servicemen will try but given that they don’t have good food or boat or plane or morale, chances are we will be dead and the media will close the news of our death as ‘Tourists Who Violated Restrictions Got Shot by Terrorists.’