No mean feat to get defence ranks right : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

No mean feat to get defence ranks right

No mean feat to get defence ranks right

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



Sumit Paul

I knew a Calcutta-based retired Major General who saw action during World War II, the India-China war (1962) and the 1965 India-Pakistan war. The veteran soldier chose to stay unmarried; his logic was that he could defeat enemies but would never be able to subdue a nagging wife. ‘At home, even a General is a mere soldier and his wife is the General,’ he would say. Fond of reading and writing, he used to send articles to newspapers.

Once, he sent a piece on his war experiences to a leading English daily. After a fortnight, he received a rejection slip. The Editor regretted not being able to use the article as there was no slot for it in the daily. The war veteran was naturally dejected, but he became furious when he noted that he had been addressed as ‘Dear Major’ instead of ‘Dear Major Gen’. This was really a faux pas on the part of the newspaper. The Major General barged into the office of the newspaper and accosted the Editor. He gave him an earful on Army designations and highlighted the huge difference between a Major and a Major General. The Editor apologised unreservedly and to atone for his gaffe, he said that he would carry the piece in the Sunday supplement. The unsavoury episode ended on a happy note. The Major General continued to write for that newspaper and his pieces were never rejected. Nor did the Editor address him as Major ever again.

It’s no exaggeration that civilians hardly know anything about Army designations and the defence hierarchy. Even some journalists are not aware that Lt General is higher in rank than Major General. The ranks in the Navy and the Air Force are even more perplexing for civilians to understand and memorise.

Dwight David Eisenhower, who served as the US President from 1953 to 1961, was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War II; he attained the rank of General. He preferred to be called Gen Eisenhower than ‘Mr President’. When a journalist asked him why, the proud soldier said: ‘Because I earned my ranks by the sweat of my brow.’

Defence officers in India and abroad are justifiably very particular about their ranks and want people to mention their correct designations. And there is nothing wrong with this straightforward insistence. The onus is on us to be careful in this regard. We must not mix up the epaulettes and stars of those who serve the nation with pride and distinction.

#China #Pakistan


Top News

Delhi High Court stays bail granted to Arvind Kejriwal in money-laundering case linked to 'excise scam'

Delhi High Court stays bail granted to Arvind Kejriwal in money-laundering case linked to 'excise scam'

High Court says trial court did not apply its mind while dec...

Om Birla likely to be repeated as Lok Sabha Speaker, Rajnath Singh dials Opposition

Om Birla files nomination as NDA candidate for Lok Sabha Speaker's post

Rajnath Singh tasked to engage opposition says he spoke to C...

A 1st in history: Opposition to contest Lok Sabha Speaker post, K Suresh files nomination

A 1st in history: Opposition to contest Lok Sabha Speaker post, K Suresh files nomination

Venugopal and DMK's TR Baalu meet Rajnath Singh and Amit Sha...

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange to be freed after pleading guilty to US espionage charge

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange to be freed after pleading guilty to US espionage charge

Assange not expected to face new prison time, to return to A...


Cities

View All