|Wednesday, March 29, 2000,
|Militancy in Kashmir
by A. N. Dar
AFTER the take-over by Gen Musharraf militancy in Kashmir entered a new phase. At about the same time the ISI too underwent a change. The earlier head of the ISI, Gen Ziauddin, was taken into protective custody because he was thought to be close to Nawaz Sharif. He might have taken over as chief of staff had Gen Musharrafs coup failed.
Babu of the Jhaal
operations hit image
mission is to rejuvenate IYC
March 29, 1925
FOR Mr Vladimir Putin winning the presidential election in the first round was the easiest thing. Identifying himself with the ongoing military campaign in Chechnya, and recording a degree of success there, he has tapped a rich vein of popular support. That shows in his more than 52 per cent vote share, making a run-off election unnecessary. The obverse side of this is that nearly 50 per cent of Russians voted against him, and fully 30 per cent favoured the resurrected Communists. Socio-economic analysts have said that in the decade-long transition from the old system, abject poverty has become the lot of a third of the countrys population. Mr Putin has quickly realised the linkage between the extent of destitution and the size of Communist support base and said his government would give top priority to stabilise the economy and root out corruption. What is more, he has offered to include the Communists in his government if they take a holiday from political speechifying. What he means is that it is time to get down to work and stop blaming one another for the unholy mess. Mr Putins main rivals are not likely to oblige him because of the excellent reason that as a new entrant into high politics, his policies are yet unknown. With his KGB background and the military success in Chechnya propelling his surprise electoral victory, it is possible that he may establish a sort of dictatorial regime. His unsmiling face lends strength to this fear. In this view, the new Russian President-elect is not so much a dark horse as an untrained jockey, and cooperation will materialise only when he reveals more of himself. He is young (47), energetic (a karate enthusiast), untouched by the many scandals swirling around the Kremlin and open-minded since he does not have a political party of his own. These can be plus points if he builds a sensitive and efficient team and gives his nominated Prime Minister a free hand. But this may be nearly impossible given the advanced stage of decay in the country.
In 1991 when Communism
collapsed in the defunct Soviet Union, the West under the
overall command of the USA rushed to gently guide the
infant to prosperity and popular rule. Dollars poured in
as did ideas for future. Behind all this were two
assumptions. One, the death of Communism automatically
signalled the birth of the most humane capitalism and,
two, the transition would be smooth and painless. This
happy dream has turned out to be an unmitigated
nightmare. What came to replace the old order was rule by
mafia which took over state-owned productive assets
through deceit, stashed away export earnings in secret
foreign banks and set up and ran a flourishing
blackmarket. Simultaneously, law and order broke down and
street fighting among gangs became common. An erratic
President Boris Yeltsin fell sick and in the
post-Communist Russia the state just withered away. A
valueless rouble wiped out the savings of pensioners and
dried up the government revenue. Both the employed and
the unemployed lost their means of livelihood, the first
because the government did not have money to pay salary
and the second because the old social security system had
ceased to be. The Chechen war and terrorist violence in
Moscow itself completed the appalling change-over from
Communist rule to jungle raj. Mr Putin is destined to
become in early May the emperor of this raj and the term,
crown of thorns, will be literally and several times true
in his case. Communists alone enjoy a degree of
credibility as politicians and that is why the
President-elect talks of an effective government and
close coordination with the State Duma (lower House of
Parliament) where the communists are a major force. He
has an excellent opportunity to reset the Russian compass
of governance and development. He needs a lot of luck and
FORMER Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh has played many roles as an out of job Raja of Manda. According to his own admission, the role he was called upon to play in politics came his way more by accident than by design. But who can say that he was not born for it? After a spell of self-imposed exile, forced on him by his medical condition, Mr V. P. Singh has kept his promise of returning to active public life after 1999. He has found in the "plight" of the unauthorised occupants of railway land in Delhi a worthy cause to champion. It must have been a fascinating journey for him from the raj mahal of Manda to the humble dwellings of the residents of the jhuggi-jhonpri cluster in Wazirpur. In between he has made significant stops for charging his political batteries for the arduous journey which saw him reach the top at least once. His first significant halt was in the camp of Indira Gandhi who was palpably unhappy with his elder brother Sant Bux Singh because he refused to endorse the unfortunate decision to slap Emergency in the country. As Sanjay Gandhi's chosen one he became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh when the Congress returned to power in 1980. But the role he must have relished playing was the one which saw the halo of "Mr Clean" being transferred from Rajiv Gandhi to him. The public acknowledgement of Rajiv Gandhi as a symbol of corruption in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections and Mr V.P. Singh's anointment as Prime Minister was part of the same script. However, when the political going got tough for him, he promptly re-invented himself as the Mandal messiah. Evidently his interest in the plight of the residents of the JJ cluster in Wazirpur is part of his parting love as Prime Minister for the Dalits. It is strange, but true, that the record of his political life has quite a few blood stains. As Chief Minister he somehow managed to provoke Phoolan Devi, who is now a Samajwadi member of the Lok Sabha, and other dacoit gangs to go on the rampage. As Prime Minister the Mandal fallout saw a peaceful city like Chandigarh being placed under curfew following incidents of violence. Had the bulldozers not been stopped from knocking down the illegal structures in Wazirpur the beginning of the new cause being championed by him too may have had a bloody beginning.
Now in his avatar as the
"Raja of encroachers" he, to rephrase John
Kennedy's famous inaugural speech, appears to be willing
to pay any price and face any hardship for protecting the
right of the JJ dwellers to the land which actually does
not belong to them. It is amazing that the controversy
has unwittingly made Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee, who
herself enjoys the reputation as the champion of the
cause of the downtrodden, surrender the pro-poor title to
the former Prime Minister just as the title of
"Mr Clean" was taken away from Rajiv Gandhi and
handed over to him! He has already addressed several
public meetings in the encroachers' colony, along with
CPM and socialist leaders, in which Ms Banerjee has been
attacked for the "inhuman approach" her
ministry has adopted for the eviction of the JJ
residents. But why single out Mr V.P. Singh for playing
populist politics? Which party or leader does not adopt
the tried and tested policy of sacrificing the long-term
interests of the nation for short-term political gains?
In the present controversy the Indian Railways is being
painted as black because it has had the
"audacity" to reclaim the land which legally
belongs to it for the expansion of the network. Had the
former Raja of Manda been blessed with the vision of a
statesman, he would have been seen selflessly helping the
government find durable solutions for removing the slum
clusters not only in Delhi but elsewhere in the country.
What President Bill Clinton said during his visit to
India on the wise use of the Internet not only for
maximising personal profits but for removing poverty and
spreading the light of literacy is an aspect of the new
communication technology on which no Indian leader has
taken a position in public. He had a smirk on his face
when he said that banishing poverty actually makes more
economic sense than perpetuating it. By banishing poverty
you place the power to buy goods and services in every
hand. But India is not the USA and Mr V.P. Singh is not
Mr Clinton to have time for enunciating a common sense
approach for finding a permanent solution to the problem
of the slum dwellers in India. His brand of politics
helped him become Prime Minister in 1989. His interest in
the "plight" of the Wazirpur JJ dwellers may be
the first hesitant political initiative for a second shot
at the post which he had to leave in a hurry.
IN our country, to bank on banking can be a major exercise in futurism. Therefore, the information that bank workers have signed an agreement (mainly on wages) is to be imbibed with a fair degree of optimism. The networks, which have come to terms with realism, deserve at least two cheers. These are the Indian Banks Association (IBA) representing 27 public sector banks; 17 institutions also in the public sector; and 11 banks with foreign tags. But do not mistake the accord as a full settlement of the disputes. Three workmen's unions the All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), the National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE) and the Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF) have agreed on the terms and conditions offered to them. The Bank Karmachari Sena Mahasangh (BKMS) has preferred to sign a separate agreement. In effect, the accords stipulate a total wage increase of 12.25 per cent; the earlier dispensation provided for a 10.5 per cent hike. This means reckoning with Rs 4000 crore for five years. The number of those who will benefit is around seven lakh. Shall we say that it means a provision for Rs 817 crore per annum? What is quite important is that an element of thought should be spared for the sick banks too! It was a pity that the negotiations were allowed to drag on for more than a year. An Amartya Sen was not needed to see the sociological and economic impact on the employees and the official negotiators.
If one takes into
account the attitude of the members of the Bank
Employees' Federation of India and of the National
Organisation of Bank Workers, one feels that cheer and
good sense will pervade a large part of the sector. The
fact of the retrospective implementation of the accord
from November 1, 1999 has pragmatism in it.
The coming millennium will thus have a bonanza for
thousands of families and its effect on the here and now
and the future will be spectacular. The enhanced salary
and allowances should encourage the workers to provide
good service. Otherwise getting without giving would
become an indolent luxury for the beneficiaries. The
bringing of some advantage to the subscribing public will
be expected. Society has much to be discontented with in
the banking sector. The long queues and the frequent
strikes, besides holidaying too often and the tendency to
go out for "chai-pani" every hour cause
chagrin, if not anger.
UNANIMITY there isnt, but the consensus on Mr Bill Clintons much hyped visit to the Indian subcontinent is overwhelming. From this countrys point of view, the US Presidents sojourn, lasting full five days, has been positive, productive and promising. For Pakistan, the five-hour halt in Islamabad has turned out to be a shock, though its military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, hasnt budged an inch in response to Mr Clintons tough demands. And Bangladesh is manifestly happy over the first ever visit to it by Americas head of government.
The hype, the hoopla and even a touch of hysteria that marked Mr Clintons swing across India having become a thing of the past the brave new beginning in Indo-US relations needs to be assessed and analysed with clinical objectivity. Even by such reckoning Mr Clintons mission, especially his interaction with his hosts, headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, must be adjudged a success.
For the first time, the worlds most populous and most powerful democracies have an agreed vision of the way to foster closer and more cooperative bilateral relations over a decade or two. Moreover, the vision statement is not just an essay in rhetoric; practicality is its hallmark. Above all, an institutional mechanism has been put in place to ensure that the promise is matched by performance.
What makes this declaration of intent credible is that neither side has made any attempt to hide or paper over differences that persist, most notably on the crucial and sensitive nuclear issue. Mr Clinton has made it clear that while India is the best judge of what it should do about its security. America wants this country to abjure the use of nuclear weapons. Mr Vajpayee has stated that the minimum nuclear deterrent for the security of the country will remain until there is an elimination of nuclear weapons by all.
This is accompanied by the Indian assurance that there will be no more explosive nuclear tests and that this country will stick to its policy of no first use. Consequently, it is not difficult for the two sides to agree to disagree on this particular subject without prejudice to their determination to widen and deepen their relationship that has remained relatively thin for so long. At the same time, the parleys between Foreign Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh and US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott will be kept going. Evidently, in the hope of finding a nuclear meeting ground.
Perhaps, inevitably, a great deal of attention, both here and in Islamabad, has been focused on India-Pakistan relations, especially in the context of Pakistans proxy war in Kashmir. To see to it that tensions between India and Pakistan do not escalate into a bigger and bloodier conflict that could possibly lead to a nuclear exchange is a major American concern. For its part, Pakistan has been doing all it could have to persuade or compel the US to mediate in the Kashmir dispute. India, though opposed to any third party mediation or meddling in the Kashmir issue, does want America to use its great clout to tell Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
Viewed against this backdrop, we have every reason to be satisfied with what transpired during Mr Clintons conspicuously short and sombre stay in the Pakistani capital. General Pervez Musharraf held out no hope of reining in the merchants of terror and murder let loose by his country. On the contrary, he spoke of reciprocal Indian action to lower tensions in Kashmir. However, the US President left him in no doubt about the American position. While India must seize the opportunity for a dialogue with Pakistan, Pakistan must create conditions for the dialogue, leading to a resumption of the promise and process of Lahore. You dont redraw borders with blood were his pithy words to the Pakistani CEO.
Should Pakistan fail to make the correct choice on this issue, as also on the quick restoration of democracy, Clinton warned in no uncertain terms, it would get further isolated. This goes much farther than American position on these two issues so far. But we should not overlook the nuances of Mr Clintons statements and their elaboration by the top officials accompanying him.
Unfortunately, many in this country have not been able to resist the temptation to put a spin on what has been said. All too often it is being claimed that the US President fully endorsed our position on Kashmir, particularly on cross-border terrorism. This is not strictly true. At no time did he use the expression cross-border terrorism or even terrorism in relation to Kashmir. The term used was violence all the time. Furthermore, if he shared our concerns and outrage over the massacre of Sikhs that coincided with the start of his visit (though he never fixed responsibility for it), in Islamabad he understood Pakistani concerns, too. In fact, he stated that however great the grievance, it did not justify support to attacks on innocent civilians. He also voiced his support to concerns about human rights in Kashmir.
In any case, it would be wrong to look at India-America relations and the boost that the Clinton visit has given to them only through the prism of Pakistan. The wider vistas of cooperation, especially in the economic and technological areas, too should be explored. Here again, we have to guard against two opposite proclivities. The first is to remain mired in the old mindset that whatever America does is to be viewed with suspicion. The second tendency to go overboard about the new chapter in Indo-US relations is equally dangerous. We have got to be coolly realistic.
For example, on sanctions, whether imposed after the 1998 nuclear tests or much earlier as in relation to the transfer of dual use technology, the US has clearly stated that their removal would depend on the progress of the nuclear issue, especially on the signing of the CTBT. And though this was not stated publicly, in private Mr Clinton and his advisers candidly stated that Indias permanent membership of the UN Security Council was linked with nuclear non-proliferation.
All in all, both India and Pakistan have got to recognise that the US does not formulate its South Asia policy because it loves one country more than the other. It makes its policies on the basis of American interests and the international context. The US policy was bound to change after the end of the Cold War and the emergence of economics as a principal determinant of international relations. The surprise is that it has taken more than a decade for the change to become perceptible.
Thus it is that the estranged democracies are now constructively engaged at last, while the most allied allies of yore are at odds as never before. The era when army rule in Pakistan suited the US to the hilt is over. No wonder the Pakistanis are bewildered because of the three As Allah, Army and America on which they relied, mighty America is no longer with them. For their part the Americans find that a military regime in Pakistan that came into being against their wishes and despite their warnings continues to defy them.
Let Washington and Islamabad sort out this contradiction between them as best they can. We should concentrate on our relations with the US in the framework provided by the Clinton visit. The impetus provided by it need not disappear with his departure from the White House. To ensure this we have to take a long view and look at the broader picture.
As for our undoubted
difficulties, caused by our own ineptitude and worse by
Pakistans proxy war, we have to overcome them
ourselves. Support by enlightened international opinion
will help. But basically the effort has to be our own.
AFTER the take-over by Gen Musharraf militancy in Kashmir entered a new phase. At about the same time the ISI too underwent a change. The earlier head of the ISI, Gen Ziauddin, was taken into protective custody because he was thought to be close to Nawaz Sharif. He might have taken over as chief of staff had Gen Musharrafs coup failed.
The ISI for all practical purposes is now receiving orders from Gen Musharraf. He obviously feels that after the failure of the Kargil adventure, activating and reinforcing militancy in Kashmir will serve Pakistans interest better as a substitute for war. That explains the renewed ISI plans. The massacre of Sikhs in Anantnag is evidence of its new tactics.
Ten years ago militancy was used as a purely fundamentalist weapon against Kashmiri Pandits. Pakistan thought that the best way to defeat India in Kashmir was through playing the communal card: force the Pandits out of the Valley so that the fundamentalists could take control and hand over Kashmir to Pakistan. This, unfortunately for Pakistan, did not happen. Of course, the administration nearly collapsed, the Valley was overtaken by militants but the state did not fall in Pakistans lap. A war of attrition and bloody carnage followed but Kashmir remained with India.
This phase coincided with Sikh militancy in Punjab. Through volunteers, funds and weapons Pakistan went on supporting militancy both in Punjab and Kahsmir. The fundamentalists in Kashmir wanted to make common cause with the fundamentalists of Punjab . This was the ISI plan. The fundamentalist volunteers in Kashmir coined the slogan: Muslim, Sikh bhai bhai yeh Hindu quom kahan se aiye? (Muslims and Sikhs are brothers from where did the Hindus come?) But this game was defeated because Punjabi Sikhs did not react to it. Militancy in Punjab died down. Around the same time local militancy in Kashmir also slowed down. Normalcy was restored in Punjab and many thought that the same would happen in Kashmir too. Came elections in Kashmir and the end of Presidents rule. The Sikhs supported the national mainstream and this disrupted the ISI plans.
The second phase started when Muslims who supported alliance with India or would in future have helped in strengthening links with India were targeted and eliminated. These tactics acquired a sharper edge later. Prominent victims included savants like Maulana Sayeed, religious leaders like Maulvi Farooq and the Mirwaiz of South Kashmir and many political leaders and workers.
This policy continues even today and active political workers from all pro India parties are being eliminated in the cities, small towns and villages. Among the targets are also the anti-militancy volunteers who played a role in the operations against the militants under Kuka Parey. But they are being eliminated in ones and twos. Why are they not being protected and used better?
During this phase the Sikhs enclaves in Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla districts were not troubled much by the militants. While the few Pandits who stayed back were afraid to move about and were selectively targeted, the Sikhs, comparatively, could move about freely. This explains why the Sikh villages like Chatti Singhpora, where the recent carnage took place, were left unprotected.
Last year before Kargil the situation in Kashmir seemed to be returning to normal. The attendance in the offices improved. The bazaars attracted customers. The gardens were crowded. More important, tourists started coming in droves. During the tourist season the rush was so great that you couldnt easily get a booking.
Then came Kargil. The tourist exodus started suddenly when for 24 hours the airport at Srinagar was closed to commercial traffic. This understandably created a scare. This meant big trouble. Almost all the tourists left within two days of Kargil war. I went to Srinagar after the end of Pakistans Kargil misadventure. I found the situation was still not bad. There was peace in the Valley though bombs did explode here and there occasionally.
After Kargil Nawaz Sharif was dethroned and Gen Musharraf took over. The top hierarchy of the ISI also changed. Gen Ziauddin was put into protective custody along with Nawaz Sharifs brothers.
Gen Musharraf obviously has taken it into his head to prove to Pakistan that he would do what Nawaz Sharif could not do, that is, get Kashmir for Pakistan. He also seems to think that renewed and more violent acts would serve the same purpose for bleeding India. It would be worthwhile to see if President Bill Clintons visit would be able to bring about a change in his thinking and tactics.
A new phase of militancy has started. Local militants are now mainly used or forced to give shelter and hide arms and point out the terrain. The ISI has pushed in large number of foreigners, Pakistanis and Afghans, and equipped them with the latest weapons. One of its methods is to attack the security forces camps and police stations. This is done to instil fear and make ineffective the measures for fighting militants.
The police have now taken on additional responsibilities. This has raised the morale of the local forces and should be welcomed. The attack on the Badamibagh cantonment last year, showed that even the Army has to be prepared for surprise attacks. The militants strongest point is the element of surprise. They can attack at will. During the Kargil operations most of the troops were shifted to the front. This helped the militants to sneak into unguarded areas. The ISI has now sent in trained suicide squads. The Sikh residents of Chatti Singhpora were killed by militant wearing Army uniforms.
Why did the ISI chose the Sikhs as their target this time? The timing was obvious: the visit of President Clinton and the idea was to create a sense of dismay in the Valley. The purpose was to create the impression that Kashmir was on the boil. The first reaction from Pakistan after the Chatti Singhpora attack was to blame the Indian security forces for it! But the world was not mislead. The militants had targeted Kashmiri Pandits in villages last year. A repeat would have caused revulsion but would not have caused as much shock as the surprise attack on the Sikhs the first incident of its kind. By targeting the Sikhs it is also punishing them for not helping the militants. It would have liked to start communal disturbances in Jammu and create disruption elsewhere while President Clinton was here.
of the Jhaal
THE roaring sound of the waterfall, commonly known as jhaal on the western Yamuna canal never seemed to disturb him. He had, perhaps, become used to it. Not even for a single moment during the whole day his ears enjoyed the serenity and calmness of silence. Added to this was the thak-thak rhythm of his Morse code system of telegraphy for sending messages, with short dots and long dashes, in those days. He was the Taar Babu, employed at the Anta Jhaal, near my village on the canal bank.
Taar Babu was a simple man. He could be seen wearing his round collar-coat in winters and a khadi vest in summers. His grey hair added grace to his contented face adorned with a pair of Gandhi-style spectacles. His family stayed with him in a quarter behind the office. The nearest town was about five miles away. Yet he could not afford to leave his place of duty. He was supposed to transmit messages regularly, mostly about the flow of water in the canal provided to him by the staff on duty.
Passers-by could see Taar-Babu tending and pruning the plants in the front yard. The jamun and mango trees grown by him yielded good crops. Vegetables too were grown on a small area. He hadnt grown any hedges, since there was no neighbour and, perhaps, no stray cattle to damage his plant kingdom. A profusion of flowers, mostly marigolds and roses, marked the boundaries of his kingdom. Taar Babu and his family lived there alone, all by themselves.
Passers-by would never miss greeting Taar Babu and in return invite a smile from him. He was a regular invitee to all the social functions in the village. He was always seated next to the Choudharies and was held in good esteem by all and sundry in and around the village. Besides being the village postman, he was also the recognised reader of letters and other documents of illiterate villagers.
During panchayat sessions, he was invited to sort out certain thorny issues. He never took sides but only assisted the panchayat in understanding the technical aspects of disputes.
Taar Babus three children were carried to the village school on a bicycle by a belder. They were the best dressed students. Villagers admired the childrens looks and appearance since their hair was properly combed and well oiled. They were the role models for practising cleanliness, preparing for examinations and showing social graces.
Whenever senior officers of the irrigation department visited the village, or certain sites nearby, Taar Babu was there to bring the problems of the villagers to the notice of the officers. He acted as a committed representative of the simple rural folks.
Years rolled by. Taar Babu retired. He left the jhaal site and shifted to some unknown place with his family. Nothing was heard of him for long.
Last summer a Superintending Engineer visited our village. He expressed a desire to visit the jhaal. He alighted from his car and moved in a very familiar way straight towards a dilapidated and deserted structure. He looked at the forlorn walls and fallen roof with concern. This was the place where the Taar Babu lived and worked about 40 years ago.
jhaal, a colony had come up now. The
Superintending Engineer ordered creation of a small park,
renovation of the structure and planting of marigolds and
roses on the small patch. He was the son of Taar Babu,
one of the three role models for students of the village
operations hit image
DESPITE continuing military setbacks since 1947 and Zulfikar Ali Bhuttos attempts to cut Pakistan armys power and prestige, it hasnt lost its sheen. On the contrary, the Indian Armys attractiveness as a career option dwindled gradually after 1971 when we notched up a significant victory humiliating the Pakistan army.
To overcome the continuing shortage of almost 13,000 officers in the Indian Army the slashing of training at the Indian Military Academy is a decision of consequence. This the top brass would have recommended after deep consideration and even deeper sense of regret, because the Army Chief himself and other principal staff officers concerned notably the Adjutant General and Military Secretary belong to the old school which stresses the need to sweat in peace rather than counting body bags in a limited or proxy war.
But the massive shortage was causing genuine concern along the entire chain of command. The Military Secretary doesnt have enough junior officers to post to units in Kashmir or the North-East or other field areas like Kargil. Because of the high rate of casualties/disabilities, there is a sizeable number of officers in low medical category who cant be posted to operational areas. To top this, the requirement to give a reasonably balanced field-peace profile, puts the Military Secretarys branch in a tizzy.
Bearing the burnt are operationally deployed units with close to 50 per cent or 60 per cent of its authorised officers, in some cases. It obviously tells on the efficiency and even morale when officers cant get their entitlement of leave because they must share the poverty and put in extra operational hours, even though in the military one is expected to be on duty for 24 hours. A flustered commanding officer flashes signals up the chain for deficiencies to be made up, and because the Military Secretary cant make available any more officers the Adjutant General is egged to do something about the dwindling intake.
What you then see flooding the glossy magazine is an advertisement blitz asking young men whether Do you have it in you? Costing upward of a crore of rupees, these advertisements obviously failed to work their charm.
To make the Army an attractive service the recruitment specialists in Army Headquarters may have missed the crunch issue. Research has shown that promotion and pay act as only temporary motivating factors. One jump in any category pushes up the adrenaline for just six months. In any case the Army doesnt have much to offer in these two areas, with a steep pyramidal structure and a just reasonable take-home pay packet.
What works as a true and eternal motivator is job satisfaction. Maslow divided mans basic needs into five main categories in ascending order: physiological, security, social, esteem and self-actualisation needs. Physiological needs relate to basic requirements for survival and acceptable standards of comfort. It means adequate pay and decent working conditions which the Army provides, though prolonged operations in counter-insurgency impinge on the latter. Security needs relate to job security, which in the Army is assured but physical safety in a low-intensity conflict is endangered. Army officers dont mind being killed but are horrified at the prospect of being maimed for life.
Social needs are adequately met in the services and remains a good selling point to motivate the young and ambitious. Esteem needs for respect and recognition from fellow workers are again organisationally assured for those who demonstrate leadership qualities and the zeal for performance in adverse conditions.
Topping Maslows hierarchy of needs are self-actualisation needs. This is what lies behind the desire to do the work which provides job satisfaction. Having achieved high performance ratings, professional skills like skydiving, flying and even higher degrees, most officers peak at the level of their esteem needs being satisfied. With little scope and avenues for the satiation of self-actualisation needs, the man in uniform looks sideways at his civilian counterpart not for his pay and perks and lifestyle, but for what the man is worth. He looks beyond an honour and award, to something in the intellectual plane that will sustain him and Maslows theory.
Successful in killing militants but not being able to contribute towards making a dent in militancy, the Army officer now perceives a certain deficiency in his overall employment. Indirectly he questions his own potential for nation-building in the larger context. He begins doubting his own intellectual faculties and whether he is slotted in a right profession.
Not all officers are psyched to get this ultimate phase right, and when service conditions dont seem to be matching your expectations it resembles a male menopause. You thus have a large number of promising and brilliant officers opting for premature retirement and plunging into second careers midstream. This way the Army has been losing a sizeable portion of its manpower trained at great cost, causing considerable concern at the Military Secretarys branch. Norms for premature retirement are now tightened, but mere curbs to close the sieve result in the retention in service of highly qualified but disgruntled personnel. And the word goes around neutralising even well-conceived advertisements exhorting the youth to don olive greens.
Sadly the Pakistan
armys inability to square up for its successive
defeats led it into waging a proxy war which in turn is
telling on the Indian Army. Now is the time to review the
Armys employment in counter-insurgency, as the Army
Chief has been hinting for long.
manning policy needs change
ONE of the recommendations of the Subrahmanyam Committee on Kargil is that the colour service term of Army personnel should be reduced from 17 to seven or ten years and the personnel thus released should be sent to paramilitary forces.
This recommendation of the Kargil Review Committee stems from its findings that the paramilitary and central police forces are not raised, trained and equipped to deal with trans-border terrorism by well-trained mercenaries armed with sophisticated equipment. The Kargil report also says that over the years the quality of these forces has not been upgraded effectively to deal with the challenge of the times and this has led to the increased dependence on the Army to fight insurgency. The net result of this, the report further says, has been to reduce the role of the Indian Army to the level of paramilitary forces and that of the paramilitary forces, in turn, to the level of an ordinary police force.
The paramilitary forces, the committee recommends, should not only be restructured by transferring the Armys released manpower to them but they should also be upgraded. This, the committee feels, will enable them to deal with insurgency effectively.
Until the seventies, a jawan served in the Army for seven years, the period called colour service in military jargon. After this, he was transferred to reserve for eight years. During this period of eight years he was liable to be recalled to colour service in case of a national emergency. And to keep him abreast of the soldiering skills during his reserve liability period, he was called up for military training periodically; at least once in every four years.
The main disadvantage of seven-year colour service was that a soldier joining at the age of 18 years, was sent home when he was 25 years old. Since most of the soldiers remained unemployed after they were sent on reserve, the colour service was increased to 17 years in the late seventies.
By adopting this system, everyone became eligible for pension, least realising that even affluent countries cannot afford this luxury. Today, for every serving soldier, we have four pensioners. This has increased the pension bill several times. More than 50 per cent of our defence expenditure, in effect, goes towards pay and allowances, billeting, perks and pensions.
If the Army personnel are transferred to the paramilitary forces after their colour service of seven to ten years in the Army, it will beef up the paramilitary forces potential to tackle insurgency in the country more effectively. By overusing the Army for counter-insurgency duties for the past several years, we have hampered its training for war to a great extent. This has also weakened the paramilitary forces psychologically by crippling their resolve to measure up to their task. For, every time these forces confront a difficult task, they know that if they do not tackle it, the Army will come and handle it.
Three more advantages will accrue from the implementation of this recommendation: one, a jawan who is sent home in his thirties from the Army, will be able to serve in the paramilitary forces up to his late-fifties, two, he will be serving in the paramilitary forces on half of his pay, for the other half, in any case, would have been given to him as his pension, had he been sent on pension from the Army, and three, this will reduce the defence pension bill considerably.
Another big disadvantage of the 17-year colour service is that our reserve force, which should normally be two and a half times of the regular army, has been depleted. This is because the reserve liability of a jawan after his 17 years of service is only two years or up to the age of 40 years, whichever is earlier. Our depleted reserve force now will just be sufficient to replace casualties and would not be enough to supplement the Army in a prolonged war.
The history of warfare tells us that a standing army serves only as a nucleus for a much larger national army which has to be raised from the citizenry to fight a long war. In spite of a large Army that we have, if a serious threat develops-except from Pakistan we will have to augment it to meet the operational requirement. At present, we hardly have any such provision. Like most other countries, our Army should have full-timers, i.e. regular soldiers who will form the standing army and temporary hands, those who can be called up during an emergency.
In sum, the
recommendation of the Kargil Review Committee to transfer
the Army manpower, after their seven to ten years colour
service, to the paramilitary forces will benefit both
forces besides resulting in saving to the exchequer.
Would this recommendation, despite its advantages, be
accepted by the government? Frankly speaking, this writer
is sceptical of its because it goes against the grain of
mission is to rejuvenate IYC
THE Indian Youth Congress needs to be rejuvenated and that is my mission, the newly appointed president of the IYC, Mr Randeep Surjewala, said.
My mission is to rejuvenate the IYC and I have chalked out the programme for achieving that goal, Mr Surjewala told The Tribune in an interview.
Accepting the fact that the number of youth joining the IYC had declined over the years, he said: I will try to formulate programmes and policies specific to each state. These policies will address to the hopes and aspirations of the youths of these states and they will be inspired to join the organisation.
Mr Surjewala will formally take over the presidentship from Mr Manish Tewari, who resigned from the post recently. Mr Tewari was an active member of the party in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
The new IYC president is the son of former Haryana MP and PCC chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala.
Mr Randeep Surjewala become the youngest MLA in Haryana when he entered the Assembly in 1996 defeating Mr Om Prakash Chautala. However, in the 1999 Assembly polls, he lost to Mr Chautala from Narwana segment by a narrow margin.
Elaborating on his strategy to rekindle the IYC, he said: I want the youth wing of the party to play two roles political and social.
Mass mobilisation and creating awareness of the wrong policies of the BJP and their allies and politically educating the youths about the ill-effects of these policies could be termed as one sphere of activity, which the IYC had been doing. This would be strengthened, he said.
I would also like the IYC to take up social issues like illiteracy, social evils, relief and rescue operation in areas of natural calamity like Orissa, Mr Surjewala said.
He said: I will ask the state unit chiefs to identify problems peculiar to their area and we will have a brain sorming session to find a solution to them.
Stating the Congress and more specifically the IYC did not subscribe to the second generation of economic reforms, Mr Surjewala said: The opening of economy has severely affected the youth. Rising unemployment is stalking the youths today and immediate measures need to be taken to contain this trend or else it will take a dangerous turn.
My approach will be to strengthen the organisation by giving it a direction, a vision and a dream to strive for, he said.
Apart from mobilising the urban educated youth in the organisation, he said: The IYC will lay greater emphasis on motivating the rural illiterate as well as educated youth, unemployed to share a dream for the nation and join the organisation to achieve it.
WE learn from the latest issue of Young India that total number of members of the Congress enrolled so far is 9,124. We do not know what view is taken of this figure by the leaders of the Congress. For our part we do consider the smallness of the number as a conclusive proof of the failure of the new constitution.
The Congress, to justify itself, must have a larger number of men and women on its rolls. Under the old constitution it would have been easy enough with suitable effort and an attractive programme to have enrolled twice or thrice as many men and women and it is worthy of note that the Mahatma himself at that time aspired to having a crore of members and very nearly reached that figure.
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |