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Man power management holds the key

In his article “Suicides in the military”, October 26, Lt Gen Harwant Singh (retd), has not touched a very important aspect of man management, which can curb the ever-increasing shortage of officers. Various levels down the hierarchy are accumulating flab by way of attachment of officers for various other jobs, a large number of courses are being run which in today’s context have no meaning and can be done away with. At present, only 6-8 officers are available in a unit whereas earlier 16-18 officers were available to function with efficiency.

Man power management is weaning away as the officers being less in number are not able to have close interaction with the other ranks. However, there are units which have very low rate of suicides because they recognise manpower management skills.

Immediate measures are needed to increase the number of officers in the unit for better man management. The second rung of leadership, the Junior Commissioned Officers(JCOs), are required to be trained in man management to fill in the void created by the lack of officers and take viable decisions rather than passing the buck.

The service conditions in the army are such that everyone including officers have to stay away from families and the possible remedy can be to have family accommodation close to field areas. The concept of modified field areas, as is being followed in the Sri Lankan Army, provides schools and other wherewithal to the families to cut down travel time and enforces a system of weekly-out passes. The problem can be addressed to a greater extent by increasing the number of officers for better man management. The sooner the problem is solved, the better it is for the Indian Army.

Col MALWINDER SINGH (retd), Jalandhar Cantt

Easy being a humanitarian!

Providing basic education (say up to the level of Vth standard) to each and every poor child in India is not an impossible task. As citizens, we can take up this project as our social responsibility. To educate 25 poor children, what is required is only one or two standardised NCERT books, notebooks, pencils, erasers, black board, some drawing material and a dedicated teacher. No particular building is required, they can be taught in open parks, in temples, gurdwaras, rooftops, etc. The total expenditure on 25 children, including salary of a teacher does not exceed Rs 10,000 a month. Any well-to-do person can afford that.

The temples in India, along with a pujari, should employ a teacher, who can teach the begging children at the temple premises itself. The temple can easily provide eatables to such children out of the ‘prashad’ offered by devotees.

PREM GARG, Chandigarh

Urban face of humour

Jaspal Bhatti urbanised crude humour. It was different from buffoonery, silly antics or vulgar double meaning jokes. He never stooped to gutter humour. Before Bhatti, Punjabi comedy was loud, risqué and rustic. Bhatti spiced it with sophistication. His wit and wisecracks transported it from village farmhouses to city drawing rooms. He mirrored middle class sensibilities, socio-political and the common man’s problems. Bhatti experimented with all types of humour. He laughed at others, at himself and with others. But he liked laughing together for living together.

Bhatti’s cartoons and his TV shows ‘Ulta Pulta’ and ‘Flop Show’ introduced the first home-grown face of laughter that pioneered a new class of comedy which earned respect for the genre. It is said for such icons,  “Hazaron saal Nargis apni benoori pe roti hai,bari mushkil se hota hai chaman mei didawar paida”.



To call him a comedian was not up to his stature. He in the real sense was a great satirist whose satires sent waves in the society though these were like soufflé after having the taste of weird blather of the so-called high and mighty politicians and socialites. Rightly said for such souls “Bade Shauk se sun raha tha zamana, tumhi so gaye dastan kehte kehte”.

RK Malhotra, Chandigarh

Coalition dharma

On the principles of collective responsibility and being head of the government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot escape liability of the misdemeanour of any of his  Cabinet colleagues.

Detractors deliberately overlook, unfairly ignore and, on purpose, do not factor in the ill-affects of a coalition government. The Prime Minister does not enjoy the requisite freedom to select his cabinet.

Coalition parties not only nominate MPs but also dictate, pick and choose the portfolios as well. It is true for all coalitions be it NDA, UPA or any other amalgamate.

The foremost concern of such a merger always is to remain viable for 5 years. Moral discourses and lofty ideals apart, when chips are down, individual political parties are seldom ready to put at stake their rule on moral grounds.

UPA II (Congress President and Prime Minister including) has displayed its mettle and put its government at stake twice — at the time of Indo-US nuclear deal (2008) and more recently on FDI in retail.

Lt Col BACHITTAR SINGH (retd), Mohali

AFSPA, a saving grace

It appears the young J&K Chief Minister does not have any touch with ground realities (news item “Situation conducive to phased withdrawal of AFSPA: Omar”, Oct 22). He should understand that it is because of the Indian army’s presence in his state that Pakistan sponsored infiltration of terrorists has been under control. And AFSPA has saved a lot of bloodshed and destruction, not only in his own state but across India.

Despite Union Home Minister’s recent refusal of revocation of AFSPA, Abdullah’s pursuit of phased withdrawal of the armed forces is confusing.





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