Raw deal for lady officers
in the Army

The Vice-Chief of Army Staff’s remarks against women and his subsequent apology should help the government to explore ways and means to improve the present condition of lady officers in the Army. We are in the 21st century which indeed belongs to women.

Women fare better than men in every all-India competitive examination today. Consider how many women got top ranks in the Civil Services examination this year. The Army, as an organisation, may be good. But surely, it is the male-dominant societal system which is treating women shabbily everywhere, including the lady officers in the Army.

The Army entry test is one of the toughest and when women are appointed as officers, they are the best, smart and self-assured young ladies who command attention and respect; they are in no way less than the male officers. The Army authorities should ensure a cordial and reliable atmosphere for women. Just think about a world without women. You will certainly feel the difference.

SANGITA CHAKI ROY, DAV College, Jalandhar



In our country, defence forces are deemed to be above board in probity and propriety. The civil society feels accountable to none for the decline and cancerous growth of the evils within. Men in uniform are not from a different planet. The bankruptcy of moral values in civil society has dwindled to such an extent that an organisation like the Army has also not remained unaffected.

The Army needs to redouble its efforts to regain its image. Cases of corruption, suicide, professional impropriety and recent incidents pertaining to women officers in the armed forces have put the organisation in a tight spot. We can’t keep blaming the media alone every time reports like the latest suicide hit the headlines.

Lt-Col BACHITTAR SINGH (retd), Mohali


The Vice-Chief of Army Staff’s remarks have been blown out of proportion with the aim of gaining cheap political mileage. Other respectable women NGOs also jumped into it without anyone of them having personal experience in military matters.

Political leaders including the Defence Minister did well for their respective political parties at the cost of an upright general. The Defence Minister probably forced an apology from the Vice-Chief of Army Staff at the cost of the image of the armed forces.

All self-respecting servicemen, serving and retired, would perhaps think if this could happen to a serving General, what would happen to them if they express their individual viewpoint based on their experience?

Brig H.S. GHUMAN (retd), Mohali


Women are looked after well in the Army. Therefore, to hold a contrary opinion about women officers would be wrong. Secondly, Army officers are supposed to take care of themselves. That’s why, they are the officers of the great Indian Army. Perhaps, what the Vice-Chief of Army Staff meant was that the Army could do without women officers being posted in certain areas where conditions are not conducive for them. There is nothing wrong in his statement. Consider Siachen, Kargil, Nathu La or any other difficult area where women officers can’t be posted.

No one denies or belittles the wonderful job being done by women. It is because of their good work that today we boast of about 900 women officers in the Indian Army — more than 450 women officers in the IAF and about 100 in the Navy.



Army — as a profession — is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially when ladies are concerned. One must have a special aptitude and mindset for this job. That is why, interviews conducted by the Services Selection Board are very elaborate, extensive and tough, based on scientific test. Standards set for this interview are not relaxed under any circumstances.

It will, therefore, be relevant to examine the SSB interview records of Lt Sushmita Chakraborty (who shot herself at Udhampur) and ascertain how the SSB had failed to assess her actual mental preparedness and her unsuitability for the Army job. It is time the policy regarding the ladies’ entry into the defence forces was reviewed dispassionately.

Lt-Col ONKAR CHOPRA (retd), Chanankhra (Abohar)

Playing politics

Three consecutive Railway Ministers from Bihar have upset rail travel on the New Delhi-Amritsar section. The actual 444-km distance was inflated to 452 km for an extra kilometre fare slab. The Shatabdi Express gets lot of publicity. And Shan-e-Punjab runs late because of halts introduced under political pressure — Phagwara (Beant Singh), Panipat (Bansi Lal), Rajpura (Chandumajra) and now Kurukshetra (Hooda). The New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express leaves New Delhi after the Shan-e-Punjab Express for providing another “overtaking halt” in Haryana.

When introduced in the early eighties, the Shan-e-Punjab used to leave New Delhi at 7 a.m. and return by 9 p.m. Now it returns only at 11 p.m.!

A.S. CHAHAL, New Delhi

Blowing the trumpet

The Punjab government has been advertising about its achievements. If these are achievements, where is the need for the government to blow the trumpet? The government is expected to do its duty properly. Why should it waste public money on advertisements?

Dr S.P. SINGH, Gurdaspur

Let’s learn from Japan

The Japanese beat the world in good manners. Courtesies like ‘Thank you’ and ‘Please’ are two words they use in their daily routine. They are also famous for their beautiful smile; it is their greatest asset and it enlivens the atmosphere.

Smile goes a long way in winning people, in making them forget their miseries, ailments or loneliness, in making people relax and feel comfortable and happy. That’s why Japan is known as the world’s most courteous nation.





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