Surgical strikes and the soldier: Give him the praise, but give him his dues too

His selfless service to the nation is being praised at every forum, political or social. Not since Kargil has this kind of effusive praise been directed at him.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Updated: November 2, 2016 1:49 pm
surgical strikes, india paksitan, india surgical strikes, pakistan surgical strikes, indo pak, indo pak border, india pakistan border, jawans, bsf, indian army, indian soldiers, soldiers These days everything is attributed to being done for our soldiers at the front. (Source: PTI)

The political environment in the country today can be a bit puzzling for the average soldier. Ever since the ‘surgical strikes’ took place he is being eulogised. His selfless service to the nation is being praised at every forum, political or social. Not since Kargil has this kind of effusive praise been directed at him.

However, on the other hand, there are issues concerning his status, rank, pay and pension which do not match this hero worship. That his services have always been in demand and always praised, be it in war or in peace, has never been in doubt. But the dichotomy between words and the action on ground is remains a mismatch.

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Making political gains out of military exploits is not a new phenomenon. However, the sharpness and singularity of purpose with which it is happening ever since the surgical strikes took place is quite interesting to note.

These days everything is attributed to being done for our soldiers at the front. If MNS takes on Bollywood producers over Pakistani actors in their movies, it is for the soldiers. If the producers have to pay a fine of Rs 5 crore, it is for the soldiers and is, of course, meant for ‘Army Welfare Fund’. Politicians and prominent personalities are tripping over each other on national television to speak-up for the soldiers on this issue. So it is not surprising to see posters praising the exploits of the soldiers plastered all over, with the right mix of political personalities being credited for helping them conduct their exploits. Even the RSS has got its share of praise by the defence minister for the surgical strikes.

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A news channel has set-up a war room in its studio to give an accurate description of what happens on the border with Pakistan. Not to be left behind, the editor of a television channel dresses up as in BSF uniform while doing his show. Field reporters reach the house of a widow of an Army jawan and ask her to sing a patriotic song. All this is for the soldier. He has done his bit for the country. We must take care of those he left behind.

But does the soldier care if he is being made into a commodity? He definitely likes the attention he is getting –earned with his blood and sweat — but what about the tangibles? A serving soldier knows that the government is yet to give a firm commitment on the anomalies of the 7th Pay Commission, he knows about the fuss being made over the disability pension he gets if he contracts a medical condition in course of his military duties and he knows that those who served before him and retired are still not happy with the definition of One Rank One Pay (OROP) that has been adopted.

A soldier’s trust in the political leadership strengthens when he is given credit for doing his job right. Conversely, it wavers if his rights are not protected. Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, the British Chief of Air Staff during World War II, once famously said about the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill, “Churchill will fight to the last ditch, but not in it”.

Our officers and jawans fight to the last bullet. They deserve more than to be left with just a song and some praise.

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First Published on: November 1, 2016 5:45 pm
  1. J
    Jai Kumar
    Nov 1, 2016 at 6:45 pm
    As a nation we do not respect our soldiers. How may of us decided to burst crackers rather than display solidarity with those who dies. Do we even think if contributing to the welfare of these dead soldier's families. We do nothing and blame the government . No wonder we were enslaved for centuries.
    Reply
    1. K
      Khushminder
      Nov 1, 2016 at 9:06 pm
      PM is busi picnic in Lahaul spiti, and UP elections or making frivol jokes about our Senior judiciary.
      Reply
      1. K
        Khushminder
        Nov 1, 2016 at 9:12 pm
        PM is w making jokes of senior judges. Forget Soildiers. Their status comes last in his ictionary.
        Reply
        1. M
          MG Sekaran
          Nov 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm
          True to the hilt
          Reply
          1. M
            MG Sekaran
            Nov 1, 2016 at 12:46 pm
            Well written article expressing sentiment of the general public.
            Reply
            1. S
              Sudhip Kumar
              Nov 1, 2016 at 2:27 pm
              Those who are ready for any consequence must know that those they may leave behind are well protected and secure. Probably the one insution in India which is consistently respected overall till today despite many things having gone wrong.
              Reply
              1. M
                module
                Nov 1, 2016 at 1:14 pm
                How much Modi govt spends for various ads, that could have give to Jawans. 7th PC implementations still pending, only partially OROP given. Since beginning, how this govt started giving ads on every occasions/events, it's quite shocking. Anyway, it's their days.
                Reply
                1. A
                  abd
                  Nov 1, 2016 at 7:11 pm
                  Despite being financially weaker country, in Pak officers and jawans are much more happy and satisfied. Long live Pak army.
                  Reply
                  1. N
                    Narender Balda
                    Nov 1, 2016 at 11:55 pm
                    Crooks of the first order don't know what Congress did for the last 40 years to the Army withholding OROP, but the mine new government stated doing something good they heap abuses.
                    Reply
                    1. D
                      dd
                      Nov 1, 2016 at 8:55 pm
                      IE should pay decent ry to its reporters and writers to avoid any fake news. IE's chief editor should donate 75% of his ry to IE's low grade workers..
                      Reply
                      1. K
                        krishna kumar
                        Nov 1, 2016 at 1:59 pm
                        Hope people in govt and decision makers read and act accordingly. If not, forces with low morale may be a liability.
                        Reply
                        1. P
                          PseudoSecular
                          Nov 2, 2016 at 4:38 am
                          I support Indian Express in what is said here.It is really a shame that undeserving civil service employees are enjoying the increased pay and pension but the soldier who is laying down his life for the country is still waiting for his dues.
                          Reply
                          1. G
                            gk
                            Nov 1, 2016 at 9:44 pm
                            Buddy stan is modern day Pussia, there army owns country as opposite to rest of the world.
                            Reply
                            1. L
                              L D
                              Nov 1, 2016 at 2:40 pm
                              Hope PM is listening and discerning.
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                mathimathi
                                Nov 1, 2016 at 1:59 pm
                                At least. surgical strike soldiers must be honoured in an Punjab goa gujarat manipur UP in a Jumla party Hustings.
                                Reply
                                1. M
                                  Mohan
                                  Nov 1, 2016 at 7:28 pm
                                  During Nehru's rule when the Chinese attacked India in 1962 -- our jawans were sent to fight the Chinese on snow clad slopes dressed in SUMMER UNIFORMS -- well that was the level of respect Nehru had for the Indian soldier ( refer the archives of THE HINDU for the Sunday Magazine of 14th October 20012 for detail )
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    Mohan
                                    Nov 1, 2016 at 7:25 pm
                                    The building now known as teen murti bhavan was flag staff house the official residence of the Commander of the Indian army even after 15th Aug 1947 when Englishman General Boucher was retained as the head by Nehru and Co So when the Englishman left after sometime it ought to hav e gone to the First INDIAN commander of the Indian Army General (later FM) Cariappa BUT OUR MAN NEHRU MOVED IN -- that shows what kind of respect he had for the soldier
                                    Reply
                                    1. E
                                      Ex SS
                                      Nov 1, 2016 at 12:51 pm
                                      Please do not forget the Short Service Officers (5- 15 years of service) who give their prime period of their life and get nothing absolutely nothing. No pension no medical facility. During their service they take the same risks and carry out task as an regular officers. After their service they look for a new career wit no help from the army or the government. The selfish regular officers after getting so much pension and perks never speak anything for them but always cry about themselves.
                                      Reply
                                      1. X
                                        xyz
                                        Nov 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm
                                        “Churchill will fight to the last ditch, but not in it”.Fits perfectly our beloved 56 inches.
                                        Reply
                                        1. R
                                          Rathiraj
                                          Nov 2, 2016 at 3:58 am
                                          Thanks to BJP for their concerns over DROP which Congress had kept ignored. But the main issues of DROP not addressed. Armed Forces are yet to get their ries as per 7th CPC. The present government also continued to degrade the forces in status and stature, deny equality with civil counterparts specially with CAPF which leads to serious functional problems in combat too. The denial of NFU is also a matter of concern. What's the use of all talks when actually soldiers are degraded and unhappy?
                                          Reply
                                          1. R
                                            Rathiraj
                                            Nov 2, 2016 at 3:49 am
                                            Thanks, at last some newspaper published it. Soldiers are at a fix now over whether they will get their ries as per 7th CPC or not while all other central government employees have already started getting it couple of months back. Even the Defence Civilian employees are getting their new pay.lt;br/gt;If the above doesn't erode morale of soldiers then what will? The praise for soldiers is certainly a political double-speak where only words are used and not sensibility.
                                            Reply
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