Thursday, February 11, 2010

What does a soldier fight for?

Recently one of my articles got published in Sandesh, a mainstream Gujarati daily. I have posted English version of the same to reach a wider audience.

What does a soldier fight for? I am sure most of us would say for his country. Correct. But then what is a country? A country is not only a landmass but it is made up of living beings like you and me. Simply put, a soldier fights for me and you. He does not want to kill, but he has to so that we stay safe. He feels cold and heat too, but he learns to live with it to keep us comfortable. And some of them also make supreme sacrifice while protecting us. And how much do we care for them? Ask yourself this question and see what answers you get. Many of you might say that we give respect to them. But the question is, is it enough? Can you buy a decent house with respect? Can you pay for your children’s education with respect? Can you lead a comfortable life after disability/retirement with this respect? Answer to all these questions is a big NO. I agree that soldiers are not so shallow to fight for money. In fact if they wanted to make money then they would have joined some giant corporate and made money there. But they chose their profession because it is noble and responsible for our safety. So isn’t it our duty to ensure that when they need help, we help them with tan-man-dhan? We Gujaratis take pride in being businessman. Nothing wrong in it, in fact we are damn good at business and entire world acknowledges that. We are so good at business that we forgot that we also need guardians who’ll keep these businesses safe. Those guardians are our sentinels in the armed forces. It is high time that we understood the importance of armed forces and do our best by contributing to strengthen them.

The point of venting out is an announcement that left me with mixed feelings of joy and pain. On 25th of January, 2010, names of gallantry award winners were announced. Even though I personally know many of the winners, one name stood out. That name was Major Jagmal Singh Vaghela of 11 Jat Regiment. This young officer belongs to our Ahmedabad. He is awarded Shaurya Chakra for gallant action against hard-core terrorists. Not only did he eliminate those terrorists but also kept his unit members safe without any harm falling upon them. As such the number of Gujaratis in armed forces is low and number of gallantry award winners is really rare. But sadly state of Gujarat has no cash allowance for such brave men. Cash allowance given by Government of Gujarat is given below:

Now compare this to cash allowance given by Governments of Punjab. State of Punjab also known as "Shield of India" contributes a good chunk in the Indian Armed Forces. In fact it can be safely said that there is a soldier from every street in Punjab. But still government of Punjab rewards "Punjabi Munda" as mentioned in the link below. Many other states offer similar compensation to gallantry award winners.

We keep on saying that Gujarat is a prosperous state and shows the path of progress to others. Isn’t it shameful for our government and all of us Gujaratis that other states like Haryana and Himachala Pradesh offer better allowances to their brave sons? I personally feel ashamed more than anyone. These brave men make so many sacrifices for protecting us, sometimes paying with their lives for our security. So morally it is our responsibility to take care of their families whether they are present or not. If our CM Shri Narendra Modi can rush to offer Rs. 1 crore to Late Hemant Karkare’s family then why can’t we reward our brave boys too? Let us not wait and blame everything on government, but let us wake our spirits and do something for our sentinels. Help need not always be in form of money, it can be in form of sharing knowledge, skills or any other such deed that makes life better for them.

So, how will you help?


  1. @vishal
    thanx a lot, for raising this burning issue!
    we seating in our AC cabins, can never feel the problems our soldiers have! its also a profession, n they also have family! along with DESHPREM one needs money to run house and family!
    keep up good work vishal!

  2. Hi Vishal:

    Indeed a wonderful article and probably true for a class in the army.

    I dont want to sound a non patriotic idiot to you or whom so ever reads my comments but definitely like to express my prespective towards what you have blogged. With all due respect to armed foreces.

    Correct if I am wrong a major is just a mediocre rank in the forces, have a look at the list of benefits entailed to them and then relook on what you have projected as a pitiable state of sentinals. All cannot be majors but then there is a test for every graduation. Some deserve mental strength and some physical.

    Why just treat the armed forces as something that defend the country which is actually not in one prespective. You could have considered how all the big business with their policy makes are safeguarding the economic stabiliy of the country. The scientist are dealing with radio active elements risking their lives developing weapons arent they.

    So some where down the line there is a high degree of involvement by different components of a country. Give credit to forces but not all of it. If you go by the rule of probability at present the risk of army man dying in accident is way to less than a ordinary man on road, or a worker in mining or just be a farmer in india ... serve the country for nothing and still the probablity of suside is what ... 100 %... that was exaagareted ... so i preseume our army is better off... and in a profession that is self choosen and one of higly influenced by power and politics ... i dont feel there are underprevilaged or deprived. they do a great work and they have previlages for that ....

    Thanks you....

  3. Dear Sherin,

    As usual you come up with your own twisted logic. I am not talking about any rank in particular. The compensation I mentioned is same across all ranks. An officer gets rank of a Major after around 10 years of service. And what they do for physical security is one of the most important thing.

    You talk about economic stability of country, but can it come without physical security? And those who ensure our economic stability are paid very handsomely. Don't you agree on that.

    As far as scientists are concerned, they have safety procedures and equipment to ensure that they are protected from radiations and all. They do not run around carrying radioactive isotopes in their hands or anything. So please use your head before making such retarded statements.

    And where did you find the statistics to support your rule of probability. For same sample size, a soldier has higher risk of being shot by insurgent bullet or falling prey to the hostile surroundings.

    Whether you agree or not, armed forces do not get what they deserve in India. You can believe otherwise, but that is not going to change the reality. Compared to equivalent ranks in other services i.e. IAS/IPS they get a raw deal and thats the truth.

    What politics and power are you talking about? If Indian armed forces were so involved politics then we would have military dictatorship instead of a democracy. Our neighbour Pakistan is a very good example of that.

  4. Very touching and tragic article, got shock to know abt.the compensattion, a solider is getting!!! Indeed there is a large or say huge gap between compensation paid by Guj. and Haryana as Guj. is more financially and industrially developed. Appreciate ur effort.

  5. wow wow..... there u come my dearest knight.... i still understand your sentiments and your emotional inclinations towards the armed forces. With all due respect to your mental tendencies let me englighten you on the facts that seem to your as retarted logic.

    Fact one: Lets talk about a lieutanant. clearing a cdc makes an individual eligible for a lieutanant directly, no tenure required. Now look at the benefits associated to that post. Social security, medical, old age benefits, housing, childrens education, insurance, quota for jobs even after leaving army, internal exams to shift to banking and other services , 5 servants, and above all traning worth lakhs of rupees. All this definitely for a cause that they indeed toil for our country.

    Now think about a country where only less than 10% people are insured and have security or any sort of benefits to secure their future or support the family.

    In a country that tops the WHO list of highest number of people sleeping hungry (we have exceedingly superseeded somalia) you feel that our armed forces are the deprived lot.

    Let me expalin the probablility part. My dearest knight our armed forces does not mean the boder security forces alone, they have three years of withing the city positng and three years of border posting, now lets compare it with war situation that has come up in say time 10 years. And even in case of an incident the acess to immediate free treatement and trained doctors for a soldies in way a 1000 times more than an average mediocre indian ... who is a part of the 80% indian population that dont haev access to basic health eminities.

    I presume that your thoughts and ideoligies are skewed towards the india that has developed and your are thoroughly ingorning the major lot.

    So that now I have given your a thought on how your bench marks were not correct againest whom you compared the present state of the soldiers.

    Now In any walk of life there are ranks and corresponding benefits a cleark cant claim for what a CEO is entailed isnt it ... so a cleark gets what a cleark deserves and a CEO get off course what he deserves.

    Finally the stability aspect. any defence system may it be in india or any part of the world cannot sustain without economic stability. defense is only a subset of a economically self sustained country. we are already compromising on n number of mandatory social provisions supposedly to be extended to the deserving indians by extravagantly spending on the entire defence system.

    So kindly have your horizons of your thoughts expanded to a broder visualization of facts and then compare, then definitly you will feel, with what our great country can afford with all its economic, natural and political crunches our forces are better off.


  6. Very Good.
    ur blogs are very touching and meaningful.
    take care.

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