Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The first reaction may be to read and laugh. But the issue is much more complex than it appears on surface.
On one plane it is just an example of military bureaucracy which is often not very different from the civilian bureaucracy.

However, in the present instance, the authority issuing condoms to units wants to make sure that it knows the number of "eligible couples" who have been issued and also the number of condoms "utilised" during the month along with the number left in balance.

Now this should be very tricky information for the recipients to divulge, to say the least. And also it is quite unfathomable why this largesse of distributing condoms should only be limited to "couples". Why not to every person who asks for them? Are there questions of morality which are afflicted the medical authorities who are responsible for distributing condoms? Should they not be more worried about the practice of safe sex and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS even if it means distributing them to the average single Officer/JCO/Jawan serving in the unit? Or is the job only to prevent unwanted pregnancies?

No doubts ethics and morality are issues which are evolving in the society at large and the military is just a reflection of that society. But even in the open society issues of protection against sexually transmitted diseases has transcended the blinkered views reflected in this communication given above.

Change can take place within the military if there are open discussions within the military and the will to move forward. This is 2014 not 1944. It is high time the powers-that-be take immediate steps to bring in the change.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


In some respects our services are still living in a colonial era with much of their ethos dating back to that period. While there is nothing wrong with retaining some good factors of that period, there is certainly no need to behave like our erstwhile lords and masters used to do in the pre-Independence days.

Unfortunately, today's blog brings out yet another aberration in the system wherein the 'system' has become such that each senior officer blindly emulates what other senior officers have been doing, particularly those who preceded, with the cumulative effect that many of their doings not only look incongruous to the present day rank and file, but they also look positively ridiculous.

In the present instance we have a letter which has been circulated to the subsidiary units of a formation in order to inform them of the diet preferences of the General Officer Commanding lest he visits their unit and they have to host him.

Take a look at the minute manner in which each of his preferences have been spelled out. Right from what he would like for breakfast to the type of 'Dal' he prefers (Arhar, Chana, Dhuli Masoor, Dhuli Moong, Sabut Masoor) and the manner in which his tomatoes must be cooked (without the skin).

To an outsider it looks nothing short of a joke, but rest assured, all this is quite normal in the olive green world. However, questions have now begun to be raised over such inane stuff being put forth to cater to the whims and fancies of senior officers. Let us further examine what the General Officer likes to consume.

The AAG who has sent off the letter further amplifies that under no conditions is coriander to be used in cooking and that the General is quite partial to chicken tikka and chicken seekh kabab as snacks. These snacks he presumably enjoys when he is having a taste of Napolean brandy, Vat 69 or Teachers. However, during official briefings he restricts his like to "assorted biscuits" and tea.

Not a frugal eater, he also likes to have a dish of chicken or fish during lunch and dinner along with the routine dal, vegetables, salad, chapati, rice etc.

The letter also specifies that these are just basic guidelines which have to be adhered and for anything specific the Staff Officer to the GOC can be contacted.

What day and age are we living in? Can we not move forward and focus on our job at hand? Even if such ambiguities had crept into the system is it not possible to do away with them and keep up with the times?
The other day I wrote on the hilarious Santa orders. I received a tirade in return. Some of it, which was publishable, has been published in response to that blog. Getting brickbats for telling the truth is not a problem. Closing our eyes to stupidity is.
Wake up and smell the Green Label tea, er, I mean coffee. Before it is too late.