Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Armed Forces

I have the highest regards for our Armed Forces. 5 wars (1947,62,65,71 & 99)....won 4 of them. Countless young men giving their lives up for a country and cause they believe in. I am bias towards the Armed Forces for obvious reasons- my father & father-in- law served in the Army and my brother-in-law is currently serving. Heard the news last night where our esteemed Finance Minister declared that there will be no hike in the Armed Forces salaries and that the Defense Minister was going to meet the PM to tackle the issue. Am not here to bitch about the PM/FM/lack of respect for the forces etc. Am here to clear a few issues that have plagued civilians about the "privileges" the Armed forces get.

1) Ration: "You guys get free ration every month", is a taunt I got from most of my civilian friends in school. The ration was always low quality and was given away to house helps most of the times. Cheese,butter and eggs is something I wont complain about.

2) Free accommodation: This is a myth. No one get free acco. It is subsidized to a large extent but NEVER free.

3) Canteen facilities: IF you shop for 2 months of supply you end up saving Rs 200. Thats Rs 2400/yr over 30 years...Rs 72000/-. Bravo. Canteen is a good facility but hardly a "savings" instrument.

4) Medical facility: Yes. Agreed. Full medical coverage for the officer and his/her wife/husband for life. As far as yours truly is concerned that privilege was revoked when I turned 25 yrs old.

5) Salary: What can I say? I have seen officers who served for 35 years taking a Rs 50k loan when they retired to build a house. 35 yrs of hard work does not assure you a good retirement....what is the point of work?

All of the above to tell a man to walk into an ambush. Motivating men to give up their life is way tougher than motivation them to take one.

1) I have changed 8 schools due to my dad getting posted around the country. No complaints. Wonder how many protected "civilians" would like to get yanked out of their comfort zones every 2-3 years.
2) Dad served 3 yrs in the north east, 6 years in the Valley etc. No mobile phones at that time and limited connectivity. It was horrible to watch him not sleep peacefully for 5 years after he returned. Wont get into more details.....

This is not to show that the Armed Forces are better that the rest. Its an attempt at awareness.
Honor, spirit and respect is what drives them I assume. When I asked my dad about this post he said " I would rather work for 5k and have respect than 500k and be someone's bitch". Sounds filmy but coming from him I know its solid.


Archana Narayan said...

This post seems to have several underlying emotions attached to it... Armed forces deserve all the respect and "privileges" they get. Absolutely no doubt about it...

Coming to privileges other government agents get... Again they deserve it too... Compare the salary of a government employee to that of a non-government employee and you will understand why I am saying what I am saying.

The only thing I see irony in is the fact that when these government employees retire, certain benefits like the transport and the extra help at home is withdrawn. By this time they are so used to having these around that life becomes very difficult. Also, after retirement is when they need the extra help...

Meghana said...

yeah, its important to present our side of the story. as an army kid i remember less of the 'privileges' and more of the absence of my dad, mom struggling alone to manage us kids, very few family get togethers involving dad, lots of different schools...
however, i consider myself privileged coz i got to see practically the whole of India, met people from different walks of life and learned about differences and similarities in people in my country!