Saturday, April 7, 2012

Indian Army: Caesar's Wife Must Be Above Suspicion

It's bizarre to say the least. All that talk of the Indian Army attempting a coup on January 16, 2012.
We don't subscribe to the Indian Express at home, and we didn't learn of this incident early in the morning. On reaching office, I went in straight for a meeting. In the course of the meeting at about 12 noon, I got a few Twitter updates talking of a coup attempt. I was shocked - a coup attempt in India? Have we lost it? My first impression from the Twitter updates was that it was actually happening at that moment.
Since I could not slip out of the meeting, I frantically sent a few messages to check what was going on. I received messages from friends and family that there was no coup attempt ongoing at that moment. It was a troop movement, way back in January, which was overblown, by the Indian Express, into the bizarrest of rumours, of a coup attempt, without calling it a coup attempt.
In the evening I caught up with the news on television. Retired army officers were on the air clearing all suspicions. The Indian Army is a million-strong professional force. It is an army that has time and again adhered by the mandate set forth by the political leadership, even in precarious situations. This is only army from the developing world that had set highest standards of non-interference in politics which is admirable. Venerable Generals of the Army like Field Marshal Maneckshaw, Field Marshal Cariappa, General Sundarji, Lieutenant General JFR Jacob and a lot of others have respected that Lakshman Rekha. And for their dignified public conduct as well as the hardwork the Army has done, they have earned immense goodwill and respect from common Indians.

Any person who has lived in or around a garrison town would know that army movements are usual. Growing up in the small town of Jagadhri, which is nestled between Ambala Cantonment and Roorkee Cantonment, I have witnessed movements of army convoys having at least 100 vehicles - trucks, jeeps, APCs, artillery gun trailers and what not. These conveys used to pass Jagadhri at least twice a month and had become a part of our lives. It always used to be a treat to watch the convoys pass, seeing our brave men in uniform waving and smiling at kids, who used to throng the roadside.
So movement of troops from Hissar towards Delhi to test mobilisation preparedness in foggy conditions is a plausible argument. Let's accept it that the Army has to function in an autonomous fashion. If they were to be make every decision on routine exercises after bureaucratic assent, it would be disastrous. Not only is bureaucracy stupid and sloth-like, but is also prone to embarrassing leaks, and would give our enemies a smooth walkover.
Now making all kind of insinuations at an army full of brave motivated fighters is unfair to say the least, for we enjoy our freedom because of them. The Indian Army has always stood up to their reputation and done whatever was required to defend our homeland. Given their stellar track record and immense respect and goodwill that our army has deservingly earnt, suspecting their basic intent is not only criminal but also lowers our guard. Shouldn't Caeser's wife be above suspicion?
The political and civil establishment needs to mend its ways, so does the Indian Express. The people have already had enough and this news of a coup in the making is disastrous and symptomatic of how ridiculous and churlish our system can get.

The establishment must realise that if the Indian Army were to actually decide to takeover, they would not need units from Hissar - the units stationed at Delhi would be sufficient. The file-pushing IAS bureaucrats and pot-bellied politicians would not be able to do jack shit about it. And if it happens, there are decent chances that they would get public support.
Let's not even tread this path. Instead let's clean up our system, not doubt the Indian Army and give them all the support they need to defend our homeland, for Caesar's wife is and must always be above suspicion!

1 comment:

Major Bhargava said...

A sad but true fact is - armed forces are shown the respect and importance they deserve only when a disaster strikes - life has become too comfortable and complicated without a war or an external aggression.

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