L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Media must stop Army bashing

Lt-Gen Vijay Oberoi’s (retd) article “Media going overboard” (Nov 18) has aptly brought out that the recent media hullabaloo over Adarsh Housing Society case has been based on distorted, incomplete and misinterpreted facts and that this has affected the image of the defence forces. The electronic media in their race on reporting first, has picked up bits and pieces and later filled the blanks with half-truths.

At times it does give the impression that they are being guided by some powerful lobby or fed some concocted story to malign the defence forces. I wish to reiterate that the Directorate General of Defence Estates has been entrusted with the task of management of defence lands. This directorate is manned wholly by the defence civilian staff and has no uniformed army, navy or air force personnel. They directly interact with the Centre and the state governments with regard to the defence lands. In Adarsh Society case, it was a defence estate official, RC Thakur, who initiated the society and got the land allotted with connivance of the Maharashtra state government. Secondly, the society was formed for providing housing for serving and retired defence personnel. How 70 per cent civilian members were enrolled is a mystery.

There was no mention of Kargil heroes as initially hyped by the media. May I request the media not to concentrate on the black sheep? The freedom of the Press must be guided by responsible reporting based on verified facts. The defence forces have already initiated immediate action to punish/weed out the black sheep.

Brig JOGINDAR SINGH (retd), Chandigarh


While not glossing over the presence of stray black sheep in the defence forces, Lt-Gen Vijay Oberoi has rightly called into question the gross impropriety on the part of certain sections of the media, particularly electronic, in indulging in wilful and mischievous campaign of consistently maligning and tarnishing the fair image of the Armed Forces en bloc.

Obviously, treating the military personnel as whipping boys comes handy to our TV channels intent on increasing their viewership ratings and also currying favour with those who for personal selfish motives want to divert public attention from serious issues confronting the country or adversely affecting the well being of the citizens. Such garbled, irresponsible and vile discussions and debates, etc aired day in and day out, primarily for raking in moolah, if allowed to continue unhindered, may leave permanent scars and distort the polity of the nation sooner than later apart from weakening the morale and operational efficiency of the Armed Forces. 

In a veiled reference to the existence of Trojan horses, we at times come across snatches of conversation among the people expressing dismay at the devious and deviant way the media reports on matters pertaining to the military establishment. It seems there may after all be something much more to it than meets the eye, to remind us of the maxim: “God, save me from my friends, my enemies I can take care of myself!” I may also take this opportunity to state, in all sincerity and humility, that The Tribune has always been free, fair and patriotic in projecting news and expressing views. I am sure the paper will maintain this time-honoured tradition and continue to mirror public opinion in future. 

Wing-Commander SC KAPOOR (retd), Noida


Why blame the media when the signs of existing malady of corruption rot are easily visible? Any amount of rationalisation and white-wash of corruption in the Army, highlighted by the media, is not going to cut any ice with the discerning intelligentsia in particular and polity in general. The primary question is that who is responsible for this overdrive? The veteran senior ranks of services are more than willing to appear on the small screen and newspapers to play to the tune of interviewers/coordinators to concur with the views of “still wet behind the ears” reporters. As military analysts, nobody is stopping the senior rank veterans to express their studied views on welfare and military strategy.

In fact, their expert views are more than welcome. However, the incidents of corruption and indiscipline must be left with the Chief of Army Staff to ‘carry the cross’ to the best of his abilities. Why make his burden heavier by playing to the demands of the media?

Col K D PATHAK (retd), via e-mail

Ragging menace

The editorial “Anti-ragging measures” (Nov 18) has rightly highlighted that while the death of the victim is the most virulent form of ragging, even otherwise ragging leads to severe psychological trauma which is impossible to quantify. Ragging leads to such scars on the body, mind and soul of the victim which creates frustration in every sphere of life.

Ragging started as a custom to introduce juniors to seniors and make them familiar, comfortable and cosy with the atmosphere of the colleges in the days to come. With the passage of time this healthy tradition of introduction has turned intolerable, ugly and inhuman.

The fact of 19 ragging related deaths in the last academic session clearly depicts that despite much hyped measures initiated by the government, educational institutions have failed to curb the menace of ragging. The quantum of punishment given to culprits in the Aman Kachroo case is appalling and inadequate and has failed to send the right message to the wrong doers.

The apathy of the educational institutions, the regulatory bodies like the UGC, managements and teachers in curbing ragging is deplorable. Non-implementation of anti-ragging measures, suggested from time to time, have proved to be futile in the absence of will to implement it in the right earnest.The editorial rightly said, that there is an urgent need to use all possible measures to deal with the problem which has serious ramifications for the 40 million plus student community of India. I would suggest that ragging should be added as a specific offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment of minimum 10 years.


Educable and trainable

The editorial “No college for them” (Nov 19) was apt. Actually the system needs to modify/change itself to address this very important issue from national perspective and the future of our country as it involves the quality of future human resources.

In order to remedy the present stalemate we have to differentiate between the “educable” and “ trainable” as well as identify those who can be trained and educated to impart further education and become teachers and vocational trainers. All this needs to be done by testing them from Class VIII onwards. The educable should be encouraged to carry on further studies by subsidising their education and the trainable should be put into vocational streams.

Here comes the logjam of gradation of our job vs pay structure system in which blue collar jobs are placed at the lowest end of the spectrum. We need to address our industry’s as well as society’s mindset in which it will be possible that a blue collar worker will be able to earn as much as a top grade civil servant/ executive with equal experience.

Only then will the talented trainable segment be encouraged to move towards vocational jobs. Otherwise, the societal mindset will continue and keep churning out graduates with no job avenues. Instead of producing unemployable graduates, what needs to be done is that universities should be in touch with the local industry and involve them to take the initiative to dovetail, change and modify their syllabus to award degrees that guarantee jobs.

Lt-Col JASJIT SINGH GILL (retd), Ludhiana



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