Saturday, June 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Soldiers’ status: pride then, disappointment now

Much has been written on the proposed post of Chief of Defence Staff. Neither the Chief of Defence Staff post has been upgraded to five-star status nor there appears to be a clear cut case of his place in the warrant of precedence. On the contrary, the post of Defence Secretary is being raised to Principal Defence Secretary. The constant corrosion of the defence services has shaken the sense of pride a soldier had during the pre-partition days.

Now the defence services have become a mere military exchange for the employment of those who don’t get a job elsewhere. Some continue the military culture from generation to generation. It is not self-praise but my grandfather, Thakur Achala Singh, who was pensioned off on January 31, 1879, and whose discharge certificate still hangs majestically in my drawingroom, has left a legacy of military tradition for the generations to follow. Since then we have been serving the armed forces with a sense of pride. Of course, I switched to the Indian Navy with my both sons following me. What I saw when I joined the service reminds me of the discipline and dignity of the olden days. The armed forces enjoyed special status before Independence.


Major-Gen Shaukat Riza in his book “The Pakistan Army War in 1965” has narrated an interesting experience which bears similarity with the situation in the Indian armed forces. Writes General Riza: In 1927 Hon. Captain Ghulam Muhammad Khan, Sardar Bahadur OBI, ADC to the King, sought an appointment with the Deputy Commissioner. His grandson, Aslam, also accompanied him. As Sardar Bahadur reached the gate of the DC office, he was received by the Personal Assistant of the DC and a peon. The DC welcomed the Sardar Bahadur outside his office and took him inside where tea was laid out. The job for which the Sardar Bahadur had come was finished within a minute. His grandson Aslam watched all that with wishful eyes and decided to join the defence services.

Later, during the second World War Aslam was commissioned into the Indian Artillery and won a battlefield military cross fighting the Japanese in Burma. In 1948 Aslam, while commanding a field battery in Rawalpindi, made an appointment with DC in connection with a licence for his shot gun. No one greeted Aslam, and he was made to wait in the PA’s office for more than half an hour. By the time he was called in, he was already red-faced. He narrated the experience and respect with which his grandfather was received in 1927 by the then Deputy Commissioner and walked out of the DC office.

Until bureaucrats are made to serve compulsory in the armed forces for at least five years, woes and worries of soldiers, sailors and air men will continue. Glory to our democracy where the corrupt are housed in air-conditioned bungalows converted into jails while soldiers die fighting for the honour of the nation.


Injustice by SSC

The Staff Selection Commission advertised posts of Investigator in Employment News requiring a Bachelor’s degree with economics or statistics or maths as the eligibility for appearance in the Investigator’s Exam. I am a B.Com with economics as the main subject. I applied for the post and appeared for the examination held on 12.11.2000 (Roll No 1511442). The result was declared in Employment News in April. I was declared successful.

To my utter surprise, I got a rejection letter from the commission disqualifying my candidature on account of lack of academic qualifications. I contacted the commission office in Sector 9, Chandigarh. I was told by the dealing assistant that the academic qualification is BA with economics or statistics or maths and not B.Com. Only those candidates who are BA with economics or statistics or maths are being called for interview whereas in the advertisement only Bachelor’s degree with economics or maths or statistics was required. It is gross injustice. There must be other sufferers also.

ABHA SETHI, Chandigarh



PMT exams

Thousands of students appear annually for the PMT exams. Every institute/state conducts its own examination and on an average every student appears for almost 10 examinations. Expenses incurred on one exam turn out to be about Rs 1,000 (excluding the cost of transport and stay). So every student ends up dishing out more than Rs 10,000.

Often the centres are very far away (e.g. Bangalore and other South Indian cities for North Indians and Delhi etc for South Indian students).

All this causes physical and mental exhaustion and tension to the already anxious students and avoidable financial burden on the parents.

Can’t some respectable institute such as the Medical Council of India/ CBSE conduct one examination on the basis of whose merit the student can be given admission in an institution?


Clearing house move

This refers to a news item “Banks decline move on clearing house”. At a time when banks are going for seven-day banking with extended business hours, the refusal of six Malerkotla banks to accept the proposal of the State Bank of Patiala to start a clearing house on Saturday on the plea of staff shortage on account of the VRS is a retrograde step to say the least.

The VRS in banks was a well thought-out plan to have a balanced age profile, providing for mobility, development of skills and increase in productivity and profitability.

The banks should give a second thought to the proposal. In the post-VRS scenario the banks need to bring innovative techniques, sharpen the skills of available manpower and reorient their strategies to cope with the ever-increasing customer expectations rather than turning a blind eye even to their bona fide requirements on the VRS alibi.

R. C. DHAND, Faridkot

BBA result

We are students of the BBA final year of Kurukshetra University. We are facing a problem. We have already cleared the entrance test for MBA and are going to appear in counselling sessions in different universities.

Every university demands from students that they should prove their eligibility of having passed the qualifying examinations. The final examination for BBA had been conducted in the middle of May and ended in the last week of May.

Early declaration of the result would be a little difficult, but not impossible. As the future of many students is at stake, the university should pay urgent attention to this matter. Every other university has already declared the final year results. We request the university authorities to declare the result by the last week of June.

STUDENTS OF BBA, Kurukshetra University

CEDTI posts

The Centre for Electronics Design Technology of India (CEDTI), Mohali, advertised posts of Design Engineer and Deputy Engineer in March, 2001. The institute had also asked for Rs 100 for the post of Design Engineer and Rs 50 for Deputy Engineer. Three months have passed. Neither any acknowledgement nor any call letter for a test or interview has been sent.




Trekkers’ travails

THE tourist resort of Triund has been widely advertised by the H.P. Government as a place worth visiting near Dharamsala. From McLeod Ganj trekkers steadily ascend to a height of 9,325 ft to reach Triund. It is a base camp for trekkers, including foreigners, to the peaks of Dhauladhar and beyond to Chamba district.

We trekked to Triund on June 12, 2001, after getting a room in the forest rest house booked in advance. The track covering 7 km from Dharamkote is rough, uneven and strewn with stones. After a strenuous walk, one expected restful stay at the rest house. But our visit proved a shocking experience. Can anyone think of a rest house without a water closet? It is a misnomer to call it a rest house. More distressing was the revelation that there was no water supply at this habitat and one had to walk further downhill for 1 km to fetch water.

Although Triund had a heavy downpour before we reached there in the afternoon, but the idea of collecting rain water as an alternative to regular water supply had not passed the imagination of the authorities concerned. Stinking rooms, worn-out furniture and smelly beds reflected neglect and chalta-hai attitude. This Urdu couplet escaped our lips: Bahut shor sunte the pehlu mein dil ka! Jo cheera to ik katra e--khoon nikla. While the government plan to provide a ropeway between McLeod Ganj and Triund is a far cry, trekkers would be happy if a good pavement with locally available material is laid from Dharamkote onwards.



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