Sunday, December 27, 2020

Why the 'Tour of Duty' Army recruitment model is an illiterate idea?

As per a report on Timesnownews, the Indian Army has announced a new recruitment model on a pilot basis that will allow civilians to serve within its ranks on a three year short service 'Tour of Duty'.

Here is the link to that article.

A day after the announcement, the Print has published an opinion piece by retired Major General B S Dhanoa where the model was criticized by the Major General as a 'harebrained idea'. It spoke about putting young minds in a serious situation of real shells and bullets without enough training, questioned the peer support of the regular soldiers that these tourist soldiers would receive, and the possibility of political tourists getting into the ranks of the Armed Forces polluting the apolitical nature of the Armed Forces.

Here is the link to that article by B S Dhanoa.

Apart from the points mentioned in the article attached, , I would like to add a serious fallacy guiding this idea.The ‘tour of duty’ assumes a very flawed concept of ‘duty to the nation'. It assumes that army is the only duty worth for a true Indian. It indirectly signifies that farming, orphan care, old age care, teacher, professor, police duty, construction workers etc are not duties to the nation. It forgets that the pain of a death of a soldier is equal to the pain of a death of a farmer or a police officer. 
Do forgive me for selecting these duties among many others as examples, for I wanted to create an impact to bring home the point. The idea reeks of an appeal to the jingoistic hot young blood of the youths to fill the forces with low cost human resource.
The second point that I want to highlight is a bit shameful one, and a more serious one. One of the points put forward in support of the idea is that the army won’t have to pay them much. There will be no liability of pension and other benefits.Currently, the pension bill is almost 30% of the total defense budgets (I doubt it but that is the number the timesnow article quotes) and so this idea will save cost for the nation. This rationale given for the 'tour of duty' idea is a problem.

Firstly, a Govt that wins UP elections by taking help of the Army in their political hoardings and regularly invokes the prestige of the army for effect, is now being stingy to increase defense budgets for these young boys who would guard the real borders with real rifles facing real bullets. It only brings out the true 'bania' face of the Govt that it only increases its election budgets. All other budgets can be slashed even at the cost of real lives.
Secondly, if we want the young minds of India to taste the discipline of the forces for a time so that they can become better disciplined citizens then why are we not allocating extra budgets for such a novel idea. If the novel idea is to get cheap untrained army soldiers facing real bullets then it is indeed a very cunning self centered idea. It is against the cost of life of a citizen. It is against the citizens.
I would urge the Govt to consider defense decisions strategically from a long term point of view, with a clear vision to keep it as apolitical as possible. If we need more human resources, we need to either streamline operations and save operations cost, or increase budget to hire and train the additional human resources.

This Govt from 2014 has been very particularly visible in terms of taking thoughtless, knee jerk decisions. The worst was the PM saying ‘no Chinese inside India’, the worse was the ‘lock down in 4 hours’ killings 100s and bad was the sudden demonetization killing the entire economy to get it back to an even bigger cash economy!! Then you have the farm bills, removal of 370, breaking J&K into UTs, make in India ventilators, and the 21 day ultimatum to Covid 19 by the PM; and the list is endless.
I am just aghast at the number of stupidities that India has been so proudly executing in the last 6 years. Oh my India.

Saturday, September 05, 2020


Life has been such a ride from the start go. Everyday there is so much to understand.

As a toddler, I am told that I was Utpatia. It means close to a naughty restless kid. Perhaps my first date with life happened then when I flexed my arm to look at a vessel kept above a height to keep me away from the contents. I had to flex the feet, arm and hand to reach the upper rim of the vessel and pull it towards me. 

It had chilly powder. Truth did hurt. I had a swollen bear face and I am told that a litre of milk was poured on my face to ease the hurt.

From then I think it was this urge of knowing that made me open every toy before I did what the toy was meant for. Play.

Slowly, I realised that playing the toy won’t have given me the joy that I used to find opening it.

Some of the most memorable vessels that I have overturned and  toys that I have unscrewed and tasted the joy and pain of truth would be woman (and man), poverty, greed, ambition, career, urbanisation, hometown blues and parenthood.

When I wrote wrong answers deliberately on my compulsory NDA exam, and then refused an engineering degree to study economics in Cotton, it was one of my best search. Quitting my Deutsche Bank career to a life of spiritual growth in Duliajan with my parents was my second best ‘overturning the vessel’ search. 

I am still opening up toys. Only difference is that the toys are adult boring stuff like books, meditation and prayers. You see knowledge gets boring for a lot of people when it gets higher in terms of enlightenment. That is the reason why so few people read books, meditate and pray in the real sense of the word. Among my books, I prefer history, philosophy and spiritual studies. Interestingly, science do not interest me as well. I think the reason may be that I love discovery more than inventions.

For the thirsty, knowledge however is never boring. Knowledge starts with information and data and slowly converge into truths and then finally into one absolute truth.

All these years of search have brought me closer to the absolute truth, the one and only beauty. The truth that is nothingness. A happy nothingness. Every philosopher and spiritual guru has spoken of this one-ness in different languages and manner of speaking. I see exactness in the writings of Gurujona Srimanta Sankardeva, the great disciple Shri Shri Madhavdeva, Plato and even Osho... and so many other intellectuals in search of truth and truth only.

The truth is so blissful that you slowly feel no need for money, material comfort and even moksha.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

::: Board Exams, Success, Happiness and that puff of a Cigarette :::

The mind is kind of naughty as well as mighty. 10th boards is perhaps the first occasion when it starts acting on you, and then it acts as if it tasted blood.

It will try to depress you and make you feel you are depressed. It will try to distract you by pumping adrenaline into your body, and will make you do things that would waste your time. A puff of a cigarette in secret is more exciting that arithmetic any day. Going to the market to get a glance of that special girl is more exciting than your essential work of the day. Sleeping late seems like the best time of the day.

We have to speak back to our minds.

For many of us, the urge that we had felt to get good marks that made us study for our boards is the key to success. Not the marks that we ended up achieving.

For Sania or Sonia or Rishi Kapoor, the urge may have been to play badminton, tennis or to act. Even their minds, naughty and mighty, surely tried to distract them. Every morning, even their minds tried to make them feel that they didn’t want to practice today. The thought blurb “Will do tomorrow” must have attacked them too. But they got a control on their minds and kept working as if it is their  duties - acquired or inherent.

In my experience, one of the important factors to excel in life is to control your mind to make it say, ‘keep working’. The outcome of a particular work is not important.

The outcome is just a goal or an objective. It’s not an END. Missing a goal should make us work harder or do a strategic decision of changing the goal perhaps.

Missing a goal definitely doesn’t mean we have failed. There is no failure in life. Even death is not a failure. It may just mean a rebirth for some, for another goal.

The outcome of the ‘Keep working’ philosophy is important. That is the only truth. The outcome is happiness. Happiness is the true goal and an end. But mind you, happiness is not a high. Snorting cocaine gives you a high. Happiness is not even a low.

Happiness to each one of us is different. I feel happy is an intensely personal feeling. When we KEEP WORKING, defeating the ugly machiavellian plans of the mind, defeating anger, defeating arrogance, defeating lust, defeating even a fighting spirit; we feel happy in our own personal ways.

Some may say, the backbenchers ultimately do well, some say the toppers do well but I say that one who keeps working does well.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Illiteracy only help us to bark..

He didn’t speak
when Dadri happened,
when Gauri Lankesh was shot dead...
.. and was dumbfounded when Palghar happened. He didn’t know what to say.

Now he has nothing to say when Corona is destroying us.

Then I realised he is illiterate, and is scared to realise that he doesn’t know what to say. Neither he has built a core team of bright minds for the fear of being exposed of his own hollowness.

Giving election speeches and one way pep talk is one thing; policy making, strategic thinking and crisis management requires serious education and exposure to concepts.

Illiteracy can only help is to bark.. running a nation is out of the question.