Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Keep on saluting Gen. VK Singh?

The current Chief of the Indian Army, Gen. VK Singh has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to declare that he was born in 1951. Of course he has every right to take such an action as a citizen of India.

It is said that Gen. Singh, in his application for admission to the National Defence Academy, has written in his own handwriting that his date of birth is May 10, 1950. Well, it could have been a mistake. In 2006 when his promotion to Corps Commander came up and for subsequent promotions, 1950 was accepted as his year of birth though it seems that in the Adjutant General Branch there is some paper which mentions 1951. Is the large Indian Army (1.13 million?) in the arms of a man who does not know his own date of birth?

But Gen. Singh reportedly says that the issue is one of integrity and honour and that he is tackling the matter in organisational interest. Can we blame citizens if they doubt that the reputation of this great army is safe in the hands of the man who ignores his own handwriting? (That is, if the report and Army records are right.) Or does he want one more year in service?

For determining age there are several ways which includes inspection of teeth. We can be sure that the Supreme Court would decide on the appropriate method. There would be an acceptable and unquestionable verdict.

But what would happen if the decision is that Gen. Singh was born in 1951 and not 1950? Nothing alarming. His appointment as Army Chief was based on the date of birth of 10/5/1950. That tenure ends on May 31, 2012. If the Supreme Court finds that Gen. Singh was born in 1951, the man can be posted for the rest of his service in the Ministry of Defence to recommend a plan for the future of the Indian Army. Or something of that sort.

The honour of the Indian Army cannot be compromised by one man though he has taken part in the 1971 War.

Also please see:


Happy Kitten said...

Was not following the entire news.. but the following article caught my eyes..

There was also this comment from an army officer..


I am a serving army officer, and let me jot down my feelings
and feelings within the armed forces regarding the general going to court.

First and foremost is it effect on the morale of the troops. Many
articles, and TV discussions centred around the adverse effect on the morale.
Let me assure you this one action of the general has indeed boosted the sagging
morale of the men he commands .Last few days when the general was giving
statements like “it is a personal matter” etc, we were under the impression he
has also been bought over by the MoD with some carrots like post retirement cushy appointments!

To understand the words (plight) of the general, one should
understand what honour means in the forces! It is unfortunate that, to
understand what military honour is, one HAS to perforce undergo military
training and don the uniform.

Regarding the often quoted ‘line of succession’ argument,
Army is no royal household to have a pre decided line of succession. Please be
aware that there is no so called line of succession in the army, the senior
most and the most able becomes the general, selection of whom, of course is the
governments prerogative!

The retired generals speaking against Gen VK, i am sure have
some axe to grind, or have been promised of some reward for supporting the nay Sayers!!

Let us not undermine the defence forces or its chief by placing
them on a high pedestal and then denying them justice on the grounds of ethics!

Abraham Tharakan said...

Happy Kitten, thank you. Interesting.

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Sandeep Gupta said...

Are we so naive as to believe that the General has suddenly become so obsessive of setting the record of his age straight shortly before retirement, just for the heck of it or for the sake of redeeming his honour? Isn't it clear as a day that the General wants to be in office a wee bit longer if he can help it? If the General is so sanctimonious about the issue of correctness of his age, pray, why did he accept to adopt an inaccurate DOB in writing, when he sensed the prospect of an immediate promotion? And now he wants to change his DOB again in order to extend his tenure on the house! Can’t we see, the General wants to have his cake and eat it too? He wants to enjoy the benefit of both the DOBs to suit his convenience and use each to his advantage when need be. I would call the entire case, plain opportunism, which has nothing to do with redeeming his honour.

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Abraham Tharakan said...

Sandeep Gupta, a good comment.

I have the following points to add:
1. There is a lot of mention that VK Singh signed the application to NDA with wrong DoB when he was about 15 years old. Angling for sympathy? Every boy who has been admitted to the NDA over the years has made the application when he was around that age.
2. I believe that those days the candidate had to personally fill in the application. Then how can a teacher be blamed for the ‘error’? VK Singh’s father was a mid-level officer in the Army. Didn’t he have a look at the application before it was submitted?
3. The officers have up to two years after being commissioned to have any error in their records corrected. Why didn’t Sigh take advantage of that provision if there was indeed a mistake in DoB?
4. Reportedly, in 2008 and 2009 Sing have given in writing to his superiors that he accepts May 10, 1950 as his DoB. Now he is going back on his word. What kind of honour is that?
5. The argument now is that he had made those commitments because of pressure. A counter argument is that it was done for immediate promotion. In either case it would appear that such a man is unsuitable to command an army.

I my opinion, going to Court against the Government is unbefitting for an ‘Officer and Gentleman’.

Abraham Tharakan said...

love sms, thanks for the comment.

Prasanth said...

I would like to dis-agree with you on this topic sir. I have a close member of my family serving in the army and according to him, Gen V.K Singh is an exemplary officer and he echoed the sentiments expressed by the army officer mentioned in Happy Kittens comment.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Prasanth, thank you for the comment.

I do not know Gen. VK Singh and therefore cannot comment on his qualities. But I do believe that if had gone to Court against the Government after resigning the post of Army Chief he would have been a hero and his honour would have been shining.

Nikhil said...

In my opinion Sandeep's argument is logically flawed. Obviously it would be very stupid of Gen VK Singh to risk all his retirement benefits (he would not get these if he is sacked) just to enjoy another 10 months as army chief. In fact, by going against the government, he has certainly also lost the chance to get some ambassadorial or gubernatorial role, which is a very lucrative sinecure often given to outgoing army chiefs. Thus, in my opinion, Gen VK Singh's motivation to take on the government is certainly deeper than monetary / materialistic greed.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Nikhil, Gen. Singh's motivation to take on the government is not clear to me. It could be that he learned that he may not get any post retirement positions and decided to try for 10 months more in service.

The Attorney General's report which I saw in the print media reveals something shocking. General Singh has given his DoB as May 10, 1950 in his UPSC application and again in the application to Indian Military Academy which obviously was later.

The claim from some sources that a teacher filled in the application form and made a mistake is counter productive. Each candidate had to fill in the application in his on handwriting.

kurien rocky said...

I think he has allready got all the benefits due to him based on the d.o.b he wrote himself and should voluntarily accept may 1950 as his retirement date and let those next in line take over its an unhealthy precedent for the armed forces to follow

Abraham Tharakan said...

kurien rocky, thank you for the comment. I agree with you.

Happy Kitten said...

Considering the way things are being handled even by an otherwise god-fearing man like AK Antony, there seem to be ghosts looming in New Delhi. One is the MNC lobby that is incensed with General Singh’s principled opposition to the deployment of the Army to decimate the tribal population of Dandakaranya forests to hand it over to mining interests. The General had said: “We cannot do this on our own people. Naxalism is not a secessionist movement.’’
Former Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat saw another, even mightier ghost, when he said: “Former Chief Justice of India JS Verma has said Singh had brought in probity and honesty. He is being moved out just when large arms deals are going to be signed. This means that the arms lobby and a few people who are going to be affected are behind this.”

To this could be added the ‘victims’ of the tough stand taken by General Singh on corruption, particularly former Generals involved in the Sukna land scam and Adarsh Housing Society scandal.
This is probably why a specious and non-existent theory of ‘line of succession’ was dug out and touted about for rejecting the army chief’s statutory complaint. The ‘line of succession’ is a concept which is anti-democratic and related to royalty and monarchy. Why then is the Attorney General repeating this ad nauseam? Obviously in support of the MoD’s sinister agenda.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Happy Kitten, thank you for another interesting comment. Let me try to answer point by point to the extent possible.

1. Several theories have been discussed for handling the North East situation. The government did not did not issue any order to treat the matter in the way the article suggests. And Singh could not have been the only one who would disagree “to decimate the tribal population”.

2. Admiral Bhagwat quoting the former CJI can be countered by many other quotes.

3. The MoD has cleared the name of Lt. Gen. Ramesh Halgali ((Sukna scam) and posted him as Dy. Chief of Army Staff.

4. Line of succession is a system to choose a successor and not a monarchic practice.

In my opinion it was Gen. Singh’s responsibility to check how many officers are there in the Army who have duplicate DoBs. Did he do that? Apparently he was bothered only about himself.

Maj. Gen. Handa claims that when he was posted as Dy. Military Secretary, Gen. Singh asked him to change the record relating to Singh’s DoB. According to Handa when he refused to do this, Gen. Singh ‘spoilt’ his Annual Confidential Report. According to media, Gen. Handa is petitioning the Armed Forces Tribunal about this.

The view presently put forward seems to be that Gen. Singh was ill-advised about going to court. Frankly, I feel that he did not win, he was not defeated, and he did not fight. Gen. Singh just surrendered.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Happy Kitten, I missed one point in my response to your latest comment. There is a mention about Gen. Singh being moved out when large arms purchases are due. Just last week we signed a huge contract for French fighter planes.

Rahul said...

Gen. shall not join politics at all. Instead he shall join Shri Anna Hajare and strenghten the anti-corruption movement as well "JANLOKPAL". A,, Ex-Servicemen in the country also shall join Team Anna. And whenever posible all these corrupts shall be given blancket parade in Army style.