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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Let’s stop cribbing and concentrate on ‘homework’ : A wake up call

Charity begins at home they say. While we continue cribbing about the treatment meted out to us by others, what have we done to set our own house in order ?. Cynicism is something I detest and the aim of this is not to be critical, I’m looking for insight on how things have come to such a pass and I’m sure many of us are on the same trip. Seniors and juniors alike, it’s our collective responsibility to restore the past glory of the forces. Especially in public, we should stop cursing the system, our seniors, our bureaucrats - all and sundry, there is so much lack of positivity around us these days. We must realise that we are this so called 'system'. We could definitely do with a little more optimism and project our services in a better light.

How we behave with our own people becomes a benchmark for others to emulate in life outside the cantonment. While we tend to compare our status, stature and salaries with other services, isn’t there an underlying negativity in behavioural patterns being displayed with impunity by us ? Are we setting the right example for others to follow or sending the right signals ? Are we projecting our service as a hallmark of pride of the nation ?. The answer is definitely in the negative. Our internal organisational behaviour ultimately extends to how we are treated by the outside world and we definitely need to improve on how we interact with our own. There is no dearth of examples as to how we dig our own graves. How often do we see more than one Commissioned Officers being bunched into below-status single rooms in Messes on the ground of non-availability. I, for myself have seen situations where ample accommodation is available but still officers being asked to stay in small living spaces on the pretext that the (abundant) vacant accommodation is a contingency back-up for (imaginary) ‘VIPs’. Do we see the same on the civil side ? Do we see SDMs who are equivalent to Lieutenants of the Army being asked to live and stay in rooms like we do ? Never. Often we see junior officers being asked to travel in heavy trucks despite the availability of respectable light transport, why do we do this? Do we expect people outside to be impressed by a strapping young Captain in Combats sitting in a Three Tonner ? Do we, by this action, attract youngsters to join the services ? No amount of ‘Do you have it in you ?’ campaign would work unless we bring the pride, the glamour and the respectability back into our uniform and the so called ‘baboos’ are not responsible for this, the problem lies closer to us than we think – each of us is to blame. Honour has no rank. A Subaltern is much more capable than merely looking for an apt place to put the shamiyana in the Mess lawn. That Subaltern’s civilian counterpart - an SDM or an Addl DC/DM with the same education and from the same recruitment pool, looks after the revenue, executive, administrative, law & order and quasi-judicial functions of an entire sub-division and sometimes even a district and we are not even able to trust our own guy with a Light Motor Vehicle !

How we behave and conduct ourselves outside ultimately has an indirect effect on how people in uniform are perceived and it percolates down to the last rank in the file. PB-4 or no PB-4, the Indian military officer is not badly paid but still we see senior officers in uniform driving around scooters and mobikes to save a few bucks. I’m not such an elitist to be against officers driving two-wheelers out of passion, but we should not project such a miserly picture to the outer world. Officers can absolutely afford respectable means of personal travel. And still we see Commissioned Officers using such means of public transport definitely below their status and class, why ? Irrespective of remuneration, it does not happen in the civil services so why in the defence services ?. We sitting in Headquarters try to impose restrictions on our own people, for example in travel and accommodation guidelines even when the govt does not. As you read this, someone sitting somewhere would be working on how to impose an in-house restriction on the new TA-DA regime introduced after the 6th CPC !, on how to ensure that officers are not able to draw thousands per day for hotel accommodation and to ensure that they continue staying in small rooms in messes with three other roommates clamouring for time in the single attached bath.

Excessive ‘Sirring’ outside the organisation should also cease. While ‘Sir’ may just be a substitute for Shreeman for us, it does not have the same connotation outside. It is a symbol of servility in the civil world. Broadly speaking, in my humble opinion, constitutional appointments and senior civil officers elder in age and with an established longer length of Group-A service should only be addressed as ‘Sir’ while ‘Mr should be the correct form of address for others. We are so naive that we ourselves first pamper others with our servility and then curse when a Pay Commission degrades our status. When a Major calls up his counterpart in a civil department, he talks less and Sirs more and when that civil counterpart calls up a Colonel, he addresses him as ‘Colonel Sahib’. And once you sir them, they would expect all officers of similar rank to behave likewise. The problem is that to get a piece of work done, we stoop to any level, don’t we ? And in the bargain end up damaging our service for personal short-term gains. There are, on the other hand, also examples of military officers not sirring their own seniors in length of service (who are junior in rank) within the services but displaying servility towards junior civilians. I’ve also seen selection grade officers not sirring senior time-scale ones, where are we going ? Have we forgotten the age old adage that in the defence services, irrespective of rank, ‘once senior is always senior’ ?. Sirs and Ma’ams, I do not mean to talk sharp but to earn respect from outsiders we need to first respect our own juniors and seniors.

So friends the time has come to get out of the cocoon, be aware of what’s happening around us and finally WAKE UP in the interest of our dignity and the pride of our respective services. There should be prudence all around but not such silliness that we reduce all our privileges, facilities and benefits provided to us by law to a poor joke. We need to stop cribbing about ‘baboos’, they are not that bad. On the contrary, we need to take pride in our uniform and what we do, we need to put more responsibility on the shoulders of our youngsters and redeem our self-esteem, ego should be shunned but self-respect has to be granted its utmost due. Let us do our homework.


Anonymous said...

i generally, am just a 'reader' of all the blogs and never have been compelled enough to contribute. this piece does compel me to say that i agree like never before. the views are fine, but do we have a way to put it across to people who have to listen. unfortunately, the generation which needs to see these views, is not exactly net savvy, at least not most of them. anyways....thatz for some other day, some other time.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,

Your skills of analytical thought & perceptive reasoning should not stop at this blog. This article deserves a broader targetted audience. The three chiefs need to formulate policy guidelines for apprpriate behavior now (as we seem to have made subservience a virtue in the Ind Army).
The most servile of the lot gets to move up, becomes a leader & then, is directionless because he has never been capable of independent thought & bold action. The forces eliminate leaders at the first selections (these boards are more aptly called rejection boards). Why, because all those who question, chose to stand up to oppose what is wrong are inevitably slaughtered by the hubris of the IO,RO,SRO et al.
You are right, things will have to change. A start can be made by fighting nepotism. In your next blogs pl let us know if a redress mechanism is in place to address internal complaints (apart from the infructuous ROG procedures, designed only to obfuscate) like the one in place for the govt at http://pgportal.gov.in/
Lets just stop talking now, get legal direction 'n move things.


Anonymous said...

dear navdeep,
i fully agree with you on these aspects. A very well written and thought provoking article.

Anonymous said...

I agree in toto.
The current allround cynicism is very dangerous.

Anonymous said...

I do agree.

The late FM Manekshaw is described to have said that there is only one civilian who can be called "Sir". That is the president of India. The field marshal never referred even to the PM as "madam" or "sir". Always "Prime Minister". If you meet a secretary in the government, they must be addressed as "Mr. Secretary", or "Mr. Gupta", etc.

It has been my misfortune to see a Major General feteing a district magistrate in a small UP town, because he had wanted to settle some land dispute of his over there. The DM was chief guest at all manner of functions which the General attended. Such a heinous breach of protocol shows poorly upon the officer concerned.

The malaise in the armed forces, and particularly the army, in my opinion, comes from the kick down and lick above syndrome.

Major Navdeeps comments on the status of the lieutenant are also pertinent:

The SDM, or the DSP are 'burra sahabs' even today. It is the armys own fault that the Lieutenant of today is treated like the havildar of yesteryear. There was a time in the Indian army that subedars used to be good enough to command entire companies, at a pinch. Today, what is the status of the JCO or even the junior officer?

Indeed, vis-a-vis the civil side also, army officers are shy of upsetting the civil adminstration with the problems of their men. So much easier to turn a blind eye or order someone to shut up.

Again, Major Navdeeps comments on the issue of officers behaving like chintzy scooter-tutor cheap varieties of person are pertinent.

1. Proper transport should be authorised for all officers.

2. Officers should take care to project the correct image.

Standards have fallen: officers messes no longer strictly adhere to the rules which had once ruled the roost. Spouses and children not allowed,

Im sure that some degree of introspection is required. Mid level army officers are so used to being treated like dirt when they were lieutenants that they do not understand that the office of commissioned officer is a hallowed and ancient one, and deserves respect. This is also the result of relatively poor material making its way into the services, which needs to be retired out.

Anonymous said...

hi Navdeep,
a wonderful write-up.we need to sort out intra org issues first. there is a long list of such issues. while we blame others for diluting status / stature , we do not care for our own offrs , particularly " the bulge". promotions being far, few and mysterious (both for those declared fit and unfit), before we demand equality with IAS/AIS according to length of service , we need to do the same within the org . we are still in master - slave concept . there is no thought for organisational devp and our policies with regard to HR AND OFFR MANAGEMENT ARE JUST HOPELESS . so as u said first put the house in order.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,
Your article is as always most appropriate. But this needs to be communicated to the service chiefs and to the other "Jokers" at the headquarters who (more often their wives too) demand nothing but servility out of the juniors. My personal observation is that servility is one essential QR for going up the ladder.Professionally competent, able officers who did not have this "essential QR" had to forgo their promotions, became superseded and had to put in their papers in disgust.These very senior officers at the HQs who expect servility from young officers themselves stoop down to such low levels while dealing with the junior bureaucrats ar the MOD, sering them a thousand times....Another issue is corruption at the higher levels...I have found it to be rampant among the people in authority in our set up. ...it is only a few people who get caught and court martialled.In fact for every guy in authority who has been caught, a thousand chaps have escaped..There have been instances where a peron has been recommended for a presidential award only to be caught later on grounds of corruption or conduct"unbecoming of officers"...leading to utmost embarrasment.
These are the reasons why I chose to quit the organisation after close to a quater of a century....yes of course on cooked up compassionate grounds...I had no other choice. We need to have bold Service chiefs to bring about these reforms...but I doubt if it would ever happen...afterall it is those people with the "essential QR" who have made it to the top !!!
But Navdeep we need people like you to at least create awareness..your pen is any day mightier than the swords of these incompetent guys at the top ! God bless you and keep up the good work that you are doing ...

A Lt Col,who took up PR.

Anonymous said...

A thought provoking article indeed.But I would like to add on .To improve the transportation from home to office and back at delhi army had inducted AC buses .A very good example to be set on how the comforts of transportation can be improved besides reducing the pollution levels through the mass tranport system,reducing the congestion on delhi roads and at charges which are very affordable.I hope the same sense prevails to other govt offices and learn from the army by taking this case as a case study to get rid of jams at delhi.This example of mass tranport system if followed by all offices at delhi , delhi would be soon free from jams.

Anonymous said...

Maj Navadeep

I am amazed why a Colonel cannot be addressed as " Colonel" by a Major ?

Is there any ruling over it in Army Act or Army Regulations?

To be addressed by rank should be an honour in itself to the officer and to rank !

Only IO, RO, SRO culture promotes the "sirring"?
I shall be highly obliged to have factual and legal position.

Anonymous said...

Like always, a "to the point" writeup by Maj Navdeep. Sometime back there was an article in one of the newspapers, written by a retired senior officer. This article was about need for internal reforms in the armed forces. This article was pro-reforms. There was one thing that stood out for me in the entire article.

"Reforms can only be brought by officers at the top by issuing appropriate orders and setting tradition breaking precedents. However, the officers responsible for bringing these reforms do not want to be reformed."

That i feel is the crux of the problem. The people who make it to the top have gone through various methods of grind or pure yesmanship. Such people will absolutely be not able to see what kind of reforms are required. The fact that they reached the top by following certain practices, will make them believe that the practices they followed are foolproof method of "making it" in the armed forces.

I feel what is required is highly inter-active information sharing setup where a junior doesn't feel threatened on making a tradition altering suggestion. This will be worthwhile only if this setup does not become just a lip service to reforms.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navneet ,
Some sugestions:-
AIRFORCE says 'Jai Hind" as greetings and not GM/GA.Army should follow the same.
WE should have difference of rank only for official purpose not in personal way. A room/Guest room/Holiday house will not be avlb to a rank wise even if rooms are avlb as we say upto lt col so and so room.
col so and so...
brig so and so...
vip ??? so nd so...
we all are brotehr in arms lets behave that way....
goood article

Anonymous said...

My dear friends, i am just a curious reader of your blog. One of the factor in seniors not looking after their juniors in a service is the lack of their selfconfidence. The poor training in HR and inferior job allocation contributes. One syndrome which i noticed as a onlooker to Defence and Civil services is; while a civil servant delegates most of his functions to his junior and pulls him up if he doesnot perform, an Army officer restricts the power of his junior, becomes accountable for his faults and then is scared to take action against him. Secondly he gets hardly any time in a short tenure. Such practices destroy trust,faithfulness and uprightness and, lowers the image of leadership. The powers of lower officers have not been upgraded in line with seniours.Junior officers in Army are powerless. And when they get it most donot know how to handle it and fall in the loop of taking decision at whims, having lost all their formative years in only running around as directed on day to day basis. MAY I REQUEST THE SENIOUR ARMY OFFICERS TO HAVE FULL FAITH IN THEIR JUNIOURS AND NOT MICRO MANAGE THEM. I will not name a famous administrator who told me early in service that Gentlemen there is no difference in your knowledge and mine , your capability and mine except that you can deliver things faster and better than me. This world move ahead only because sons are better than father. Thanks for good article Maj Navdeep s.

Anonymous said...







Anonymous said...

very well written .i only hope the star plate people read it and think about the change which is over due is made, wish they come out of thier little shell of which i am not very sure,but in the long run with the new gen growing up i am 100% sure change in thinking will come or some one somwhere will stand up and ask these sr offrs as to why? the day is not far.

Anonymous said...

Nothing could have been more apt than this write up at a juncture when we desperately need an introspection of our work culture and services as a whole. Time to set things in order before we fall prey to deliberate blindness.

Anonymous said...

Servility in todays army is practised mainly due to the ethos that prevails in the offr cadre of the 'largest combat arm 'of the army.As their task is most difficult and thankless they are in the line of duty not expected to say no to anything professionaly.Unfortunately this very fine professionalism is blatantly misused to meet personal requirements by the chain of command who take obediance of orders as their birthright to do what they feel like.As such the line between personal and pvt gets blurred.Servility can go only if we are servants of the system and not of an indl(as we learnt in NDA )

Sat said...

Dear Navdeep

A very apt and thought provoking article and echoed the same sentiments which has been trying to well up over the years. Well when I commanded I treated my officers with all the respect that they desrve, many a times even my official vehicle was given to fetch them, gave them the best of the cabin in my mess when available. But then that's all one can do and if it is not followed by our senior officers, situation would not change. I don't know whether your blog has a reach to our chiefs or not, in case not pse do something that it reaches them as while in service one seldom speaks such things out.

Regards, Satish Yadav

devanand roy said...

Dear NAV,
It is very apt ,timely and hard hitting. We deserve it and need to make quick amends to live upto our seniors expectations and aspirations.
kudos to Media and people like U who R using Technology very positively for one and all.

jo said...

Agree with you totally, navdeep. This should be compulsory reading for all officers of all ranks

Anonymous said...

I have just learnt that the Govt have issued orders raising the pension of maj gens and lt gens to 26700 and 27700 respectively, as was indicated by Navdeep on 14 Jan.It is also learnt that the Supreme Court has rejected the petition of the Govt to review their judgement regarding pension granted to to pre 96 retired maj gens.They will now get the arrears with 10% interest as had been ruled by the Court in its judgement on 9 Sep 08.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with you on these aspects but so will be all the junior/young officers say Col(TS) and below. The tragedy of our system is that when we are juniors we resent the humiliation but do not object to it and when we become seniors i.e. Col(S) onwards we do not wish to change it.My personal experience has been that those junior/young offrs who objected to the incorrect practices in the past or even now are left isolated as their colleagues do not hold their hands. The seniors on the other hand who have passed through the same unfair practices know this weakness very well and are happy with this system continuing. Therfore there is a need for our junior /younger offrs to communicate collectively to our seniors that its hightime that the system has to be revamped. It is the young offrs only who will be able to bring about a change. My all coursemates who resisted the unfair practices during younger days have done NOTHING to change them when they became Brig and above as they feel as to why should they? When cornered by me they have a sick reply that it has been happening for ages and what is your problem. From the seniors point of view I can assure you that they will do NOTHING unless not less than COAS is personally involved in it. To ensure that the COAS takes punitive actions the younger offrs will have to politely yet FIRMLY convey their views so as to BRING ABOUT A CHANGE IN THIS VERY STRONG SENIORITY BASED SYSTEM.GOD BLESS.

Anonymous said...

please somebody tell top brass to allow expressing views without restrictions on dreamers club...


IndianACE said...

Wow and wow again!

A hard copy on every officer's table.

Just don't let go. Please.

How true about the servile mentality of a segment of the lot which is entrusted to make decisions which effect us. Not one has come on to this site or any other and even asked us to keep faith, what to expect any clarification. This is the fog creation, taught at Wellington.

At Pragmatic's, there is a debate on over the AWWA and self (An Old Friend)seem to be waving a lone flag for the services. Everybody is bashing the org- civilians and servicemen alike. There is too much cynicism, even among the bloggers from the services. Makes one wonder whether is there anything we can lean on to fight back.

Has it all got rotten under our very feet? Can't be!!

I propose that a 360 degree appraisal be instituted forthwith for the officers of the army, since the present arrangement has turned us into petty jobbers rather than those pursuing a noble vocation.

Anonymous said...

i am impressed with your writing and expressions,but it is to idealistic,Probably you have not witnessed the poor pay conditions before fifth pay commissions,even today affording a flat in any metro appropiate to your status will be defficult.
Being a surgeon i have blown so much fuel and money during training and temporary duties have never been and can not be replaced.
lt-cols were already falling in to pay band 4,but baboos have deliberately ceated the confusion and our superiors have also been not proactive.

Anonymous said...


As usual, here comes another extra-ordinary article from Maj Navdeep. May this article completely opens the virgin minds of the three musketeers sitting.

As expressed by bloggers, the audit objection should never be link with the performance of the unit. This point should be removed by the adm inspectors. Or less the commanders will continue to stoop before the auditors of a lower status.

The adm inspectors came, inspected and rated my unit as H Av. Let me tell you, given a chance, I would rate them (the inspectors) as BELOW AVERAGE for all the illogical and worthless observations.

One thing I know for sure is that the three chiefs will never bother to change the system. Don't we know how they become chiefs? Now its their turn to treat junior officers like dirts as they have happily & willingly faced the same treatment to become where they are now.

Pls keep feeding the chiefs with the bread of wisdoms.

Anonymous said...

Its real worth reading the blog.. we al lagree but how many would follow it, how many would listen to it?Hope someone listens. in our lifetimes atleast.. Jab Jago tab Savera.. Its a time to wake up and must tell you its not just morning.. its already past noon..

Anonymous said...

When I was in the State Govt civil service (before volunteering for military service in the wake of the Chinese aggression) I used to hear from my immediate Senior level and senior colleagues a lot of criticism about the way the Head of the Department other immediate Senior administrators functioned and bossed over them.And,then the same chaps started behaving in the same ,identical manner as soon as they got the opportunity to occupy those very same chairs which were till then manned by the objects of that criticism ! If u all can remember the story of the Throne of Vikramaditya -- it is the chair that apparently makes the individual's behaviour and attitude. There was a film in my younger days in which a police constable arrives at a wedding as an invitee and he sits down in the front row in the only vacant chair. When the Sub-Inspector of police (SI) arrives, the constable jumps out of the chair for the SI to occupy it. As soon as the CI arrives the SI surrenders his chair to the CI , and the chain reaction continues till when the SP lands up in the marraige pandal. So this attitude or subservience we are talking of is not unique for the SERVICES.Even ACRs are not limited to the Serv ices.Performance evaluation is a requirement any where to decide about the concerned individual's capabilities. Even a maid servant in our domestic environment is observed and evaluated by the housewife and if not found to perform the functions expected of her the housewife looks out for a better performer. All such evaluation should not be subjective. But is it possible for a human being to not be biased as per his own perception? What I mean to convey is that the chain of Command and Control does confer an attitude of powerfulness but it is for the individual who enjoys that power to use it in a dignified manner and not in a dictatorial way. Earmarking a room for a senior and clubbing together a couple of juniors in a room cannot be a grouse to be spelt out in the requirements for reforms, I feel.It was only in Sewagram, where I served before joining Govt service, that the equality of all persons, irrespective of their functional heirarchy, was observed and implemented. The crib against the Civilian Babus is not about their bossing over the Services but it is about the indignities they have been heaping upon the Services. Let us not give them a stick to beat us further with, by washing our linen in public.Whatever reforms we want please spell them out in an objective manner and not by asking why a lieutenant has to travel by a 3 tonner!

digvijay said...

We will have some bad ,some good & some excellent people in an organization , it can be made out by the comments till now , we got to make efforts to improve the system , even a slight bit is good , never fear you do your bit & things will turn out good , dont take nonsense , dont practice nonsense , that is all that is required , be positive

Anonymous said...

well, well ,well. you have again opened the pandora box.
it will always be a catch 22 situation.as long as the Damocles sword of ACR is there, you cannot expect objectivity.you see the dictionery meaning of Good in "ACR" means "not so good".similarly satisfactory means "not at all so".so how do you intrepret it. If by chance one IO is good enough to rate you"Exccellent" the RO is bound to either negative it or discard it.
So it is a difficult situation.
coming to other aspects,the govt is always willing to consider and give you the legitimate dues,But unfortunately it is our own people who do not let you get your entitlements ,because if they do "you will be setting a Precedent" .so since any form of dissent will be reflected in the ACR, you just lump it.
in this context "pragmatic euphony" god bless him will back me up.The govt gives so many "grants to the sevices", but then these are held back and given piecemeal like favors.
There should be a system(independent of the service) by which Govt should ensure that whatevever is given reaches the beneficiary.
Lets hope that wisdom will dawn on ALL concerned and mend matters before it is too Late.

Anonymous said...

It is all a matter of exposure. An IAS officer is exposed to a very broad vista at a young age and therefore matures faster. A Subaltern is not and future exposure is deliberately slowed down, therefore equivalent level of maturity is reached much later. Our standards of evaluation are also weird. Most army officers will bear me out on this. We require a major system change which is not possible as history weighs heavily on us. The services will decline. I do not foresee anything in the future of the scale of 1971 (Not in that specific context) which will restore what has been lost.

Anonymous said...

Well Navdeep, what is here today on this blog by you is fact. And not only amongst officers it is shown more by the better halves, to which we have been burying under the carpet in the name of ethics and chauvinism. "YES WE NEED TO SET OUR OWN HOUSE IN ORDER"
I know of a Officer who just appease his wife made a his 2IC travel in Stallion despite the availability of light vehicles. And he is still going up in this carrier of OURS. And You can imagine where his 2IC would be today with that ACR for two years.
Now the question is who is going to set the house in order?
The ones who have gone up or who are left behind?

Unknown said...

I agree with Lt Col Kameshwara.

The cause of the current simmering discontent and cynicism is the inexplicable degrade of commissioned ranks by the IAS. While we may crib about a thousand things, I suspect this post may be deviating from the fight at hand. I may be wrong.

However, the fact that we have to fight for what should have been ours in the normal course of things coupled with uncertainty regarding the Chiefs' strength of purpose has made the most cheerful soldier sullen and cynical.

Nothing , not even a bunch of 'senior self serving selfish uncouth officers desperate to degrade themselves and their service' justify this surreptitious degrade of military rank in the SCPC. Period.
So let's have something uplifting rather than inadvertently turning the heat on ourselves.

After all, as somebody on this blog said elsewhere - if the military leader loses his self esteem there will be precious little to reform in the military.

As a rif coy cdr I rarely moved around in a jeep - somehow that didn't do any damage to my self esteem(I did crib, though). I am not sure whether a grade pay of 6600 for a field officer can be brushed off with the same cavalier attitude. And to even remotely suggest that a major deserves a 6600 GP because he brooks doubling up in the Mess or rides a 3 tonner takes the bloody cake!

So, forgive me, Navdeep, to fail to see any bloody-good in this look inward policy.
But, for the record, Navdeep, I can not thank you enough for the tremendous effort in bringing us all together on this blog. Even for a crib. As you said- fight on.
Tally Ho!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Navdeep.There is so much of crap all around us showered on the junior lot as well as senior lot by those who are in power. Even pidly (sorry for the word)Lt Cols/ Wg Cdrs disrespect their seniors where I am posted.They totally misuse and abuse their closeness to senior offrs.Though they themselves behave like servants even in public appearances. Its really shocking.

Anonymous said...

if the report that army expressed its inability to fight under whatever context is not understood by this goct then..god save this country..for the first time ever in the history of india the armed forces have taken this stand..because unlike the earlier times this times we ve been not even denied eqpts but also the motivation to fight...

the IZZAT and SHAAN..is missing..i m sure v all feel this..

Anonymous said...

Hi..i am giving my comment on your blog for the first time. yes..you cant be more apt in painting the current scenario..But have you ever wondered how come the same CO Sahab forgets everything so quickly after putting on Lipstick.How come he becomes so oblivious to the officer's feeling which he used to feel so passionately about Few days back..Yes i agree with the previous comments that majority of the problem lies with our senior officers..today everything is VIP oriented..Oh come on.. since when we started having so many VIPs in army..On a positive note,lets hope we face these facts and have a mechanism to couter such cynicism at the earliest before its too late..

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,

You have rightly brought out the malaise affecting the Indian armed forces today. The system gets what it rightfully deserves.There is no doubt in my mind that we (the system) are to blame for the mess that we are in. There are numerous examples of how we have degraded our social status by making in house and archaic rules and forcing officers to follow them. A routine job which was handled by a JCO/Junior offr earlier is being handled by a Ltcol/Col (eqvt) and the reasons being cited are that the job is very critical. We are very much instrumental in stunting the growth of officers at junior level.
A very well written article. Hope it finds way to the top echelons.

Anonymous said...

let us not be so one sided when we hold all senior offrs responsible and give ourselves a clean chit.it is us who are equally responsible for the mess.the seniors are only an extn of us.it is we who do not have courage to stand up for what is right.even today the majority of our Generals our honest and straightforward.I feel sorry the day my generation which is only selfish and critical starts wearing lipstick.

Anonymous said...

hi Navdeep

Your blog should be made the home page to all who come under the ambit of MoD, civil and mil, we may eventually get somewhere !

Well for one I can guarantee you that you have atleast one person who is in a positon, however small it may be, to implement these just and fair suggestions in his own unit !

GOD bless and keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Dear friends,
one cannot but agree on the blogger's views. As a young bloke I was taken to task for extolling the virtue of Mao as a military leader and for recommending the book " Crises in Command" for all to read. I still feel what is written in that book holds good to a great extent for our Forces also if the powers that be are willing to face realities and find solutions.

Unknown said...

Dear Maj,

All points are happening and hence no need for anybody to agree or disagree.

Even officers do all sorts of nonsense with station HQ staff (Civilians), BSO, MES staff, bribe meter reader to get electric bills lesser, openly offer liquor to TTEs, argue with institute staffs over minor things like a peg of liquor, etc, leave alone 'Sir'ing civilian govt officials. Some pamper the media people to any extent to get their names appear in the paper. I know about a general, who made a Dy Secy level state official to lay a ceremonial wreath at "War Memorial". The list is endless.

Like many others, I also am thinking how to put it across top brass.

The malice of pampering Sr ladies, again the list is endless ( accompanying them for shopping, CO waiting for Sr ladies and opening the car doors, JCOs wives doing Arati when CO's wife arrives for ladies meet, jawans' wives throwing rose petals on her from both sides as we see in mahabharath serial, etc).

I request you to keep this topic open and seek more views on this so that a solution automatically emerges.

Thnx for the timely (already over delayed) write up

Anonymous said...

As usual you hit the nail on the head; but pardon; for the first time I disagree with you on a particular matter.
what is wrong with an officer commuting on a 2 wheeler.at least when NOT wearing uniform.it is fast and convenient besides not hogging road space.and yes, it is not compulsory to abuse mil tpt to go buy sabzi or drop kids to school.
one has to just stand at a road crossing in a cantt to see wives going for shopping/ ladies club/ schools/ work on their husbands quota of service vehicle.The CO and 2Ic alonwith the QM of the units are the worst culprits in the matter.
we also should have some pride in using personal vehicle and not the army vehicles.
i really cannot be party to your view on this. regards.
do not mind please.

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep Sir

Although i agree with your views in this article but i am in disagreement regarding mode of personal transport. you might be well off with gods blessing and may be driving a so called decent mode of personal transport when u were in army but that may not be the case with everyone. We in army come from different backgrounds and everyone brings along with him many assets or liabilities from his life before army. Those unfortunate once who come with more liabilities than what they can handle end up driving those indecent personal means of transport. so i dont agree that they do so for saving some bucks. think over it sit. will like to get a reponse from you.

Unknown said...

Dear Navdeep and my dear bloggers,
I have opened the blog late hence will make observations in brief.
1. While the problem is genuine only some of the points made are actually relevent. 2. Major problem is most of us are actually very weak to face our superiors or even if we have the courage then our method and reasons are not appropriate. 3. Like Gold which comes out brighter and purer and does not lose its properties when faced with fire, a soldier must also not lose/compromise the qualities of a true soldier.
4. I have faced numerous situations where I could effectively interact with senior civilian officers without compromising the izzat of armed forces. 5. Money, Vehicles and accomodation are not the true reflection of what you actually are. 6. Behaviour and conduct of one towards each other is surely an important factor which decides the worth of each one of us. If this was not so then armed forces would have never enjoyed such massive trust, love and affection from comman man in India.
With love & best wishes to all.

Anonymous said...

Having read through the writeup of Navdeep and all those 32 comments, let me add:-
1. there is nothing like LT COL(TS) or COL(TS) as used by the bureaucracy in Army. These ranks are substantive promotions on completion of prescribed svc in yrs -Ref DSR ,P&A Regs 1954 .
2. Some officers (about 30%) get promotions to those rks early(about 10 yrs before),by so called selection/rejection process ,and they are called ACTING rks till they become sub.
3.Both these streams are substantive ranks after 18/26 yrs svc. that officer who was not promoted around 16 yrs due to limited slots , gets promotion after further svc of about 10 yrs.
4. The bureau in army have coined this terminology of TS by suffixing to the rank. It is derogatory and unwaranteed .This is deliberate insult to those officers
5.Some accounts officers read/interpret this in diverse meanings as temp scale/Terr Army rk ....etc.
6 It is time the bureaucracy in Army respect their own comrades particularly those Generals whose collegues (those soldierly rifle coy cdrs who stood shoulder to shoulder in those fdls during Wars and left behind without pro for life )

this is precisely WE SHOULD SET OUR HOUSE IN ORDER .
Further why is this derogatory expression " pre-mature retirement".. It is voluntery retirement . The bureau in Army has to learn.... .to use correct words/phrases as used in other CENT govt services
In this process of interaction we should awaken the people and raise PUBLIC OPINION for the good of the MILITARY AND NATION
Many thanks to NAVDEEP for doing so much . We support you fully in this effort.
ID..... abgreddy1@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Exceptional exposure of facts. I have been carrying these feelings since last 45 years. It was only the cruel cituation of the single offices accommodation that forced me to marry. I could adjust to everything in Army except the Mess accommodation. I couldnot sustain more than 7 years of my forced transparancy of privacy. I could never go on leave without winding up my single living set up, dump it somewhere and hand over the keys to the Mess Havildar. Meeting an unexpected unwanted room mate when return for lunch was too common. Will our government ever improve the condition and allot a decent single accommodation to an youngster the way married accommodation is allottted ?
Financial stringency of officers are likely to improve defenitely if the PB-4 is implemented for Lt Cols lest an officer does not have to be bothered too much for his rainy day.

Anonymous said...







Anonymous said...

Ours is the only organisation where officers can be written off.How derodatory is the term to be used for the officers who do not get into the select list.If at any stage an officer is missing his promotion then it becomes the end of road and he is termed as written off.Officer takes few years to adjust to this new terminology and then soon starts behaving like written off.Different officers will take differ4ent time frame to adopt this new awtar..LET US STOP TREATING ANY ONE AS WRITTEN OFF.AFTER TIME SCALE PROMOTION GIVE HIM AGAIN AVENUES TO GROW SO THAT HE CONTRIBUTES TO ORGANISATION.A begining is made by MOD to give Col (Time Scale) the same grade pay as that of Col (Select List).It is now up to the armed forces to treat Col(Time Scale) at par with the Col(select list) albeit with seniority of the date of promotion.Giving him oppurtunity to grow from then on if he can.Give him the perks and facilities of Col(SL).Get rid of the term "WRITTEN OFF"

Anonymous said...

dear navdeep,
well said, though i disagree with one point and would like to add one point.
i've read from you more than once about officer-like mode of travelling. when u want all offrs to travel by car to prove their dignity, the likes of Prof Hermann Knoflacher would feel uneasy. today if our cities are crowded the reason is methodical elimination of public transport by cars.... the Europeans have woken up, the Americans are waking up and we are in deep sleep to this fact. so, your notion that not traveling by car is to only save a few bucks merits a review (Go through few articles by abovenamed gentleman before).
secondly, i think our bearing is something that makes the first impression on the general public. a military officer can not have ponch! we all can highly spare three - four hours a week to keep ourselves fit.
my compliments on a apt article!

Anonymous said...

hats off to the blogger who said that he had to marry due to third rate single offr accn the army gives.it is true even today when with 25 yrs service I face the same predicment(as a forced bachaleor)which I faced in my initial service.Even God cant save us.

Anonymous said...

The 'Senior Lady' syndrome has already started leaving its fall out. The younger generation of ladywives are deenitely of better quality due to their difficulties in getting better husbands in civi crowd. These new gneration ladies try to become working women to avoid a confrontation with the so called 'Senior ladies',As a result they are seldome available to fulfill their Regimental Obligations.

Anonymous said...

As usual an excellent article by Navdeep. This blog should be converted into a paperback for posterity.

Navdeep, I (Air Force chap) differ about your idea of using 2 wheelers. I am fully for pooling cars and travelling by 2 wheelers when you are going into a civil area (narrow lanes etc). Hell! I will like to go by a cycle (16 geared graphite one though) if I could save an ounce of petrol and pollution.

I heard that during the petrol crisis the Prime Minister of Japan asked his citizens to stop using vehicles in a speech. Next day, even the CEOs of some of the top organisations were pedalling their way to office. That is national character that we should emulate.

What do you say when the Metro comes to Delhi. I would say even a General should have no hangups to travel in that (with a jacket over the uniform). We guys do lack dignity and have a false sense of pride (based on outer embellishments). I know of one Commandant in AFA who used to ride his scooter every evening to the gate outside (6 kms) to get subzi. Never once did he use his staff vehicle. We respect such guys.
Jai Hind.

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...

@Rajax and others who have touched on the 2 wheeler topic.

Absolutely I agree with you.

If you look closely, what I have stated is that I am not opposed to the idea of driving a two wheeler out of passion (or for ecological reasons or even for practical reasons). My only objection is to driving a two wheeler in uniform in order to save money. Let me clarify, I'm not an elitist but the impression that we pass on to the neighbourhood guy or a civil employee say the cop on the street is that these guys are big 'becharas' and cannot even afford to own a car or travel by a four wheeler. If you see travel guidelines and the compensation offered thereto, officers ARE expected to travel by car / taxi. We need to inspire people around us (including our troops) and not dissuade or discourage them from being in our shoes. I for one would love to ride a bicycle or a metro to work if possible or practical.

I thought I needed to amplify this.

We definitely need to portray our services in a better light in public.

Anonymous said...

all concerned!
please go to cgda web site
http://cgda.nic.in and then click on 6pc ciculars . you will get updated and latest instructions issued by the TOP CDA Boss.
thanks Navdeep for your updates.
looking forward to your blog.

Anonymous said...

@Maj Navdeep.
Sir, Even though your thoughts have been commended by one & all, it is heartening to see most of the comments again pouring in comparison with IAS, IPS and other civil counterparts. it is high time for our senior leadership And senior ranking officers to understand that the majority of the problem lies within and it is all of us who can set it right. For e.g. a junior officer who is to function as a duty officer for the entire station in off working hours is denied a light vehicle at times and is expected to go around for guard checks, checks in the messes of men and DSC guards in a DCPT or a 3 tonner.
AN officer of even a Capt/Flt Lt rank wont have an office suiting his standards.
The quality of the food which is served in officers' mess or the standard of accomodation which is provided by mess is known to all.

All this and many more things can be set right within the organisation. This will provide a big boost to the self eteem of an officer and to the pride with which he is supposed to to carry himself.

IndianACE said...

I earnestly request that at least one out of the top officers of the armed forces must respond to the blog and the comments therein.

I believe that some of the top officers do read this blog (Or please convey, if you happen to be his staff offr) and so to indicate that you are concerned about what the environment is thinking, I request a response before this post is a 100 comments old.

I am sure you will be able to find some time out of your busy schedule. If you so wish, the response may be on the intranet.

This post is already 57 comments old.


My dear bloggers- I am sure Navdeep composed this post to elicit responses which may show a way ahead.

Suggest solutions and not necessarily share your cribs/ cynicism.

I sincerely hope the respected seniors respond. It’s been a long time.

Anonymous said...

And if u want anything to improve, it should always be a top down approach and not bottom up. if our seniors start behaving and show some moral fibre and cgaracter, things will improve.
Young Officer

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,

What u have written about really fits to the T as far as the situation in th Navy goes.Accomodation is never available in naval messes and many a times in places like Chennai and portblair we have to take help from Army.IN most messes,Officers are doubled up and even tripled up.

Civilians form 50 percent of the naval work force and they take the systems for a ride.NO one holds ur hand in the navy and this was once told by a VCNS In public forum.

JUnior Officers and sailors onboard ships who are unmarried stay on ships in inhuman conditions and are not provided accomodation ashore.THey do not even get HRA.

Why,the navy has put a spoke even in the AVSC II and implemented it to make it disadvantageous to its Officers.only silver lining has been the positive stand taken by CNS.

Officers do not get transport to pick them up an drop them even for Ty Duty leave alone other times.

Navy is in real trouble.God knows where this is all leading to

Haran said...

Before 6cpc, a civilian with 12000 basic could fly on TD. But a military officer had to become a Lt Col to fly though even a Maj should have been flying. Why?
In the Navy if a person reports at a new station with seniority in accomodation roster, his seniority is cut to half. Why?
What all restrictions are going to be put in place by the senior officers of the military after the 6cpc will have to be seen.

Anonymous said...

@ Haran,
friend, services have already given clearance for major to fly. Check this link for letters.

Anonymous said...

absolutely true and relevant to every officer and they should practice both in word and spirit.

It is natural in humans to have diverse or varying opinions . Our ultimate is same in everybody . therefore , let us look at brighter side rather than waste time in small-minded comments.

Those values and ways of LEADERSHIP practiced for centuries(successfully) need to be upheld and followed to achive - victory in battles/war by the valour of these young officers/leaders.Therefore everything that has been brought out and expressed in this forums needs to be supported.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,
At the on set itself let me join the chorus and congratulate Maj Navdeep for an excellent article which forced me too, to leave a comment (something I've never done till date).

The article in itself is complete and all that one can do in addition to agreeing to almost all the points raised by the owner of this blog (well almost because I too have a slightly differing opinion when it comes to riding 2 wheelers) is add a couple of practices being followed in our organisation which one thinks need a rethink.

Take the case of accommodation allotted to the officers while doing MTech or on study leave etc. Why is it so that in almost all the stations there are local orders passed that such officers, irrespective of their ranks (and the junior most amongst this lot by the way is a major)are allotted Captain's accommodation. I have personally seen officers' of the rank of Cols having to do with such accommodation, trying unsuccessfully to somehow manage their stuff in the awfully short space. Is it so that by the virtue of being on study leave or pursuing higher qualification these officers somehow lose their seniority?

The list is endless but alas are those high and mighty in the seats of power listening....

Anonymous said...

hi, Navdeep
Its for past few days I have started reading blogs. I must complement you for bringing your ideas on a paper. You would agree, because of uniform Persons in the army do not give such ideas as decision are taken at different level and one does`nt hav a say. You have mentioned about light veh not given to a subltn but the reason sited by you are not correct. The veh are limited in no and every one cant go in a light veh and also a subltn must know how these vehs perform and what degree of difficulty these vehs have, at the end of the day we are prep for defence of our country. you have also mentioned about scooters/ bikes being used by offrs but again gave wrong reason. I know we all have capability to own a mid size car but do have enough parking space specially in small places or markets? Best of parkings (3 to 4 layers) are not able to take load of vehs during peak hours!!. thanx. Keep posting your views its nice to read them

Anonymous said...

Dear all,
i agree with most of what Navdeep has written. in this regard, i must bring to your notice the ad which has come in the newspapers on the eve of the Republic Day by Delhi Police. the park and ride facility is applicable to officers of Dy Sec level and below and ARMED FORCES OFFICERS OF COL AND BELOW. come to think of it, the R-Day parade invitations are sent out by the MoD and not by any other ministry. i suspect this is because the same has been going on all these years and everybody kept quiet, but after all the water that has flown from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal on the SCPC parity issue, i thought better sense should have prevailed. if indeed there is shortage of parking space, then the dispensation should have been applied EQUALLY. it should have been at least Dir and below and Col and below (though IMHO even that is not EQUAL going by FCPC). btw, who has a higher population in delhi? i am sure there are far MORE OFFICERS in the JS and above CATEGORY in Delhi than MAJ GEN/ equivalent and Above. So if parking IS A PROBLEM then WHY ARE WE ALLOWING SO MANY VEHICLES OF DIRECTOR level officers to come all the way to RAJ PATH and stopping the Col and Below officers way outside and asking all of them to ride in Low Floor DTC buses. where is the decent private vehicle to travel decently?
anyone any views.....

Anonymous said...

@annony..if col are feeling so strongly for it then they should simply not go...for the parade..BUT THE QUESTION REMAINS WILL THEY DARE TO DO THIS..LET US SEE

Anonymous said...

@ anony at 9:21am 25th jan..

sir ur justification doen't stand the logic of not sending an offr to civil area/office in dignified vehs..

and i feel this thought process needs to be changed altogether..

i couldnt register my objection in more decent manner..so if u feel offended..my sincere regrets...

Anonymous said...

I think the article by Maj Navdeep is very realistic. The reasons of Youngesters not given light vehicles are as follows-
(a) Light vehicles attached with higher HQs.
(b) CO keeping three vehicles for himself, one main second stand by and third for his Memsab.
(C) Sadistic thinking by their seniors since in their time vehicle wise units were not comfortable.
It is a sad affair we must think big.

Haran said...

Hi Anonymous,
You are mistaken. Till Sep 08, Maj and below were entitled to 2AC only. They could fly WITHIN the cost of 2AC. That is not the same as entitled to flying as was the case for civilians with 12000 basic.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article.

Anonymous said...

Maj Navdeep,

One request. We will have enough time to introspect on the functioning of defence services. May I request you to continue the good work on the major issue of grade pay. I am sure these departmental things can be taken up a little later. Moreover, by introspection now, nothing is going to change as far as awards of 6 cpc and COS and GOM are concerned.

Also, I do not entirey agree with your article. Do we mean to say that Govt has rewarded civilian officers and subordinates & CPMF, PMF with respect to defence forces because these people behave better than armed forces personnel or they travel in bigger personal vehicles to work/shop. How many DM, SP etc we have seen using their own transport ever to commute even on personal work. Even a daroga does not.

I am sure u will understand

RK said...

I do not agree to certain views posted o the blog! I am a select grade Colonel who never ever fails to 'Sir' my seniors always following the concept of 'once a senior always a senior'. Though I do not consider myself worthy of being overlooked, but as the system be, I am overlooked for past six years and still serving. Though, I fall into category of senior offr, I do not think senior offrs alone are to blame for the ills of the system! I think it is rather a matter of opportunity! To exemplify, I find the so called junior officer's children going to school on service transport and officer's milk being ferried by the DR of the unit. This is becoz service transport is available to that officer! On the other hand, I being averse to using service transport for personal ends, use my scooter for the market as the market is very congested in this station! In any case, I am on an appointment, which does not have a service transport! So i guess, it is rather opportunity than anything else. We all come from the same stock!

Anonymous said...

The Chambers Dictionary says:
Sir - n- a word of respect used in addressing a man; a gentleman......
O Fr sire, from L senior an elder.

New Webster's Dictionary of the English Language says :
Sir, n.{ Shortened form of sire} A respectful term of address used to a man.
Sire, n. O Fr. L senior elder.

So why are we cribbing about the use of "Sir" ? Where does this all take us to? A younger or junior person addressing an elder or senior as 'SIR' is appropriate. But it is the way in which the elder or senior treats the younger or junior as if he is subservient needs remedy. And the younger or junior kowtowing to everything the elder or senior says/does, needs a change.There are many occasions where the judgement of a senior is inappropriate and the junior's say must be given due thought and weight. I had advised my ADMS not to proceed with an idea, which he was wanting to do, without discussing with the GOC. I resisted it so much that he yielded and discussed with the GOC who disagreed with the proposal and convinced the ADMS to drop it. Of course my ADMS appreciated my stand .

Anonymous said...

Navdeep has very well explained the problem. however, at 63 yrs age with 31 yrs in Defence services and 9 yrs in private sector I feel the core problem is slightly different. It is not specifice to defence services. The crux of the problem is in our thinking ...attitude...
A signboard in Cecil hotel pre independence governs our attitude and thinking. The signboard was "Dogs & Indians NOT Allowed"
Now while british have left India by 1950, our mindset is like the british....
We think we are britishers and rest below us are part of dogs & indians....
IAS feels only their cadre is British and rest are part of D&I (Dods & Indians)...In Air Force Fighter pilot feels his type are B (british) and rest all specially ground duty officers are D&I....down below an officer feels he is B and PBORs are part od D&I...
The chain continues even in civil life
The chain continues in MBA grads
IIM grads feel they are B and rest type MBAs from lower grade colleges are part of D&I.
The HR dept treats people on these lines..
Till the tiem we get out of B vs D&I...the sad state will continue...
Such attitude is not in UK amongst britons but India has in Indians..
When will we be normalized in outr thinking ??? That is a tragedy as it has no answer.....
The research is to be deeper and at countrymen level. Someone simplistic like RAHUL GANDHI needs to give the call to indians to get rid of Bs abd be indians.....
and the solution to be found is not difficult.....
Wake UP call is for those who know they are being treated like D&I by so called B and are silent...WAKE UP INDIA ...wake up Indian ...you are better than the B...Prove your self in performance and bypass the B types ...

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep,
Whatever is written in this article could not have been more true. I think you have done great service by writing what you have written BUT are the great INDIAN ARMY OFFICERS going to emulate all this.

They think the light vehicles are their families' preserve OR may be they think their families, dignity is the thing that can be preserved only when they travel in official vehicles (Light) OR may be their budget does not allow to hire a taxi or an auto. So, they would rather send an officer in a 3 Tonner. For them, to hell with army's dignity, me,my family comes first always and every time.

Anonymous said...

A very well written article and how true it is. But it will remain just one of the many well written articles.
Gen Sundarji did try to change a lot of things, including excessive "sirring" but has anything changed? No way. My impressions as an officer from a sister service, says that in a rank conscious service like the Army, it has only increased.
Each CO of a unit, thinks differently when he is a Major or a Lt COl, differently as a Col and much more differently as a General. Each wants his pound of flesh when he reaches that coveted rank since he has seen things happening that way and also"ab meri bari" syndrome.
Who has the courage to change it. Not the present set of staus quoists. We may rave and rant day in and out, but when it comes to THAT document called ACR, all is forgotten and we fall in line.
Good luck to you and likeminded people. I hope you all can be the crusaders of a change.

Anonymous said...

hi. am generally a regular reader of this blog as well as pragmatic. i have a querry for which i wish to seek answers. its regarding the exit policy in armed forces. i understood after reading couple of articles that the officers desirous of putting up resignations are not being spared.
but to the best of my knowledge, most of the offcers joining services are cadet entry i.e.,through National defence Academy/ Naval academy etc., where in candidates join after completing 10+2. Therefore most of the cadets joining academy are below the age of 18 when they join. this means that the bond for permnant commission is signed by them as minors. This bond is also signed/countersigned by the parent/guardian of an individual.Now does this bond which is signed when the candidate is a minor has any locus standi? can a parent decide the life time bonding of his child towards an organisation when he is minor? has any officer desirious of leaving service approch court with this point? awaiting clear and complete answer from the experts of this blog.