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Two views on corruption

by Harwant Singh
WHO cheats? That is a question posed by two well-known economists, Levet and Dubner. Then
they go on to answer: Well, just about anyone where the stakes are right. You might claim that
you don’t cheat, forgetting the time you cheated! The golf ball you nudged out of a bad lie or,
‘forgot’ to sign for the last drink in a crowded bar.
Cheating may or may not be human nature, but it certainly is a prominent feature in just about
every field of human activity.

Levett and Dubner claim that cheating is a primordial economic act: getting more for less. So it
isn’t just the lowly babu who pockets a few thousand to move a file, or the high-profile bureaucrat
or mighty minister who collects a large sum to clear a project or take a portion of an illegal
building or a doctor who takes entrance exam on behalf of a duff candidate for his entry into a
medical college for a few lakhs. From teachers who want to show better performance of their
class to cricket players in match fixing, or an athlete who takes a drug to win a medal, to
sanctioning the change of land use, or reducing the import duty to favour a cartel etc, bending
rules in the process, cheating is across the board and the list is endless and the spread is far and

Executives and other dignitaries cheat out of an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. Whatever
the incentive, whatever the situation, dishonest people will try to gain advantage by whatever
means necessary. To them a thing worth having is worth cheating for. The corrupt people, like
thieves, have a bonding amongst them. They cover and protect each other. Thus a Defence
Secretary Bhatnagar when charge-sheeted by the CBI in the Bofors case was sent as Lt-
Governor, placing him beyond the reach of the long, but palsied arm of law. Prosecution
witnesses, the whole bunch of them, in corruption cases can turn hostile, if the incentives are

Where there are pools of corruption and malfeasance, even non-swimmers can safely dive in:
without the fear of drowning. When the environments are clean and chances of being found out
are high, there is a disincentive for cheating, but where the chances of being pointed out are low
or absent, one may commit murder, knowing that get-away is easy.

There is a tale, ‘The Ring of Gypes,’ from Plato’s ‘Republic.’ A student named Glaucon offered
the story in response to a lesson by Socrates. He told of a shepherd named Gypes who stumbled
upon a secret cavern with a corpse inside that wore a ring. When Gypes put on that ring he found
that it made him invisible. With no one able to monitor his behaviour, he seduced the queen and
murdered the king and so on. Glaucon’s story poses a moral question: could any man resist a
temptation of evil if he knew his act could not be witnessed! Glaucon thought the answer was no,
while for Socrates the answer was yes. Such are the two views on corruption.


Defence Matters, Hindustan Times Chandigarh, 23 – 02- 2011
L t G e n V I J AY O B E R O I ( R e t d )

LEARN FROM THE ARMY. Justice is prompt in the Indian Army; there is no shielding of a person
on account of his rank or stature. It's time babus and politicians were put through similar scrutiny
When Lt Gen Sahni, a three star general, is dismissed and awarded a prison sentence, one can
conclude that the army does not baulk in punishing its defaulting personnel, irrespective of their
seniority. It also calls for introspection by the society on larger issues.
Why is it that it is only in the Indian Army that justice is prompt; that there is no shielding of a
person on account of his rank or stature; that meticulous care is taken in selecting the presiding
officer and members of a court martial; that there is a higher authority that scrutinises the
proceedings in great detail before the verdict of the court martial is finally confirmed; and why
every chance is given to the accused to defend himself fully, including nominating an officer of the
accused's choice as a defending officer?
Why does this not happen elsewhere in the country? I well remember the Tehelka exposé of
2001, when I was the vice army chief. Here was a case where professionally capable and highly
regarded personnel of the army, some of flag rank, were inveigled into accepting baits, in what
can only be described as entrapment, so that the media could make a point. Yet, instead of
quibbling over the illegalities of this entrapment, the army moved swiftly to punish the concerned
What did the government do about political persons and bureaucrats similarly entrapped? The
then defence minister was forced to resign, but continued to head the coalition; no action was
taken against his party leader caught red-handed on camera or against any of the bureaucrats.
The latter were instead promoted, with one additional secretary becoming a secretary and later a
governor, perhaps to give him immunity from any future prosecution!
The military has the reputation of punishing any and all crimes that are found out or reported. It
may be a lowly misdemeanour like filching something or a grave crime like murder, assault,
espionage and the like, but punishment follows swiftly and inevitably. The reason is simple. The
military would become ineffective and instead of being a disciplined force, it will turn into a rabble.
Why does this not happen in our civil society? Why do the political leaders and the civil officials in
the Centre and states dither and look for escape routes, delays and ultimately forget to
It is unfortunate that in the last six decades of independence, the system of governance has so
evolved that there is no accountability and consequently no punishment. Bureaucrats and police
personnel are routinely suspended and then reinstated. Is this punishment or a farce? For
political leaders, a similar action is known as resignation, which actually implies a sabbatical, for
very soon they are not just reinstated but even promoted! In the case of a minuscule few, a
nominal punishment is awarded after decades, thereby losing its entire impact.
The end result is more crimes, criminals not getting salutary punishment and the fear of the law
It is the main reason for the extremely bad governance the common man rues everyday. In the
long term it affects the vitality and security of the nation.
In terms of crime and punishment, our country can be divided into three categories. The first
category consists of the well connected who are neither accountable nor punished for any crimes,
either because of the position they occupy or because they are so filthy rich that money power
white washes everything. The second category comprises the common citizen, who becomes a
cog in the wheel in our overloaded judicial system and who can only hope to get his case
finalised if he oils every Amar, Akbar and Anthony of our governance system.
The third category is the army, where no crime goes unpunished and where promptness and
justice prevails. Why don't the others learn from the army?
A related point is that the media come down hammer and tongs whenever a few misguided army
personnel commit offences, but always play down and seek justifications for powerful individuals
like politicians, bureaucrats, police, judiciary, media barons and corporate honchos. There is no
doubt that expectations from the army are extremely high, but is that the whole story? Many in the
army have often speculated that behind such banner headlines, there is a concerted effort to
show the army in a poor light by those vested interests who are practitioners of the well known
Indian crab syndrome -pull down the best to their own gutter level!
The expectations of the public from the army are undoubtedly extremely high, but why are crimes
by others condoned? It is nobody's case that the few army personnel who commit crimes should
not be punished, but the law, procedures and accountability must be the same for everyone. Is
anyone listening?

(The writer is a former vice-chief of the army)

Shooting Ourselves in the Foot Services Style
Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD
Every organisation has its archetypal character and traits, some positive and some negative. The
services are no exception. They have numerous good attributes but one major failing is their
penchant for making a change for the sake of change. For no ostensible rationale, well tested
practices and policies that have stood the test of time and served the services well are disturbed
and altered. In the bargain, the services end up shooting in their own foot.

It is commonly said, making mistakes is not as bad as persisting with them. Like all bureaucratic
organisations, the services find it extremely difficult to admit the blunders made, thereby making
their rectification impossible. Instead of extricating themselves boldly from an untenable abyss,
they try to justify their actions through frequent policy amendments, thereby getting sucked further
down in a deep hole. Three issues are discussed hereunder to illustrate the point.

Raising of Entry Criteria for the National Defence Academy

Shortage of officers in the services has been defying solution. As stated by Defence Minister AK
Antony in the Lok Sabha in August 2010, there is a total shortage of 14,244 officers in all –
11,500 in the Army, 1,507 in the Navy and 1,237 in the Air Force. It is often said that adequate
number of suitable youth are not coming forward to join the services as other professions have
become more lucrative. Under-subscription of seats at the National Defence Academy (NDA) is
cited as a proof of these assertions.

Unfortunately, the primary cause for the above under-subscription is of the services’ own making.
Till 1980s, NDA enjoyed the ‘first pick advantage’ and attracted the brightest youth. As Class X
was the minimum qualification for entry to the NDA and the age group was 15 to 17 years, entry
into NDA was the first ever career option that became available to the youth. Understandably,
parents encouraged their sons to sit for NDA examination and be settled in a career at the
earliest. As no other career option was available at that stage, most bright boys considered it
prudent to give NDA a try. Resultantly, NDA gained and the quality of intake was always very
Further, as the average age of candidates at the time of joining NDA used to be between 16 to
161/2 years, their trainability quotient was very high. Periods of early adolescence and middle
adolescence are undoubtedly the best for imparting training and moulding trainees as per the
requirements of the services. With motivational levels ruling high, young cadets of impressionable
age developed necessary mental and physical robustness with ease.

NDA cadets, after four years of training, got commission at an average age of 20 years and kept
the age profile young at junior levels. Moreover, they served the services for longer period.
Resultantly, for the same quantum of resources invested in training an officer, the services got
better returns by way of longer service span.
In a blunder of monumental proportions, entry qualification was raised to 10+2 and consequently,
the age group rose to 161/2 to 19 years. The fallout of this ill-advised move was quick and
severe. As youth had the option to try other careers and avenues, NDA became one of the many
choices, if not the last one. Most candidates sat for the NDA examination only after failing to
make the grade elsewhere. Thus, NDA lost the unique ‘first pick advantage’. Instead of catching
the bright sparks young, it ended up competing with other careers.

With average age of over 18 years at the time of entry, cadets are near-adults. With well set
mindsets, habits and behavioural traits, they resist change and are difficult to train. Since normal
age at commissioning has climbed to 22 years; service span has got correspondingly reduced.

As can be seen, raising of entry criteria proved highly detrimental to the services’ interests.
Justification given for the misguided move is laughable. It was averred that entry qualification of
10+2 is essential to grant graduation degree to cadets at the time of passing out to help them in
seeking second career after retirement. Can there be a more ridiculous reason? While selecting a
young boy, imperatives of military career are being subordinated to his post retirement
resettlement after 30 years or more of military service. Trust the services to harm their own
interests through misplaced priorities and thoughtlessness.

Induction of Women
In early 90s, when the euphoria on induction of women was still raging, a group of Junior
Commissioned Officers (JCOs) was overheard discussing the issue in all seriousness. The oldest
JCO in the group remarked, “The Army has enough problems at hand. I do not know why another
one is being sought.” Another JCO made a confident declaration, “The Army is going to rue its
decision in near future.” There was a rare unanimity in the group – they were all convinced that
the move to induct women was ill-conceived and totally unwarranted. Events of the last few years
have proved their apprehensions to be prophetic. The said group of JCOs could foresee what the
top brass of the services failed to.

As the recent events have shown, the services are in serious trouble and are struggling to contain
the damage. Instead of earning kudos for giving women a chance, they are getting flak from the
judiciary, media and self-appointed experts. Demands are being made to grant permanent
commission to women in the combat arms, a demand that is unprecedented in any army of the
world. Worse, some have gone to the ridiculous extent of demanding constitution of all women
battalions. A matter that critically affects the health of the services has been belittled as one of
‘equality of sexes’. True to their propensity for damaging their own cause, the services are in a
deep mess which is totally of their own making.

The decision to induct women, taken in the early 90s by a service Chief, was neither need-based
nor well thought-through. No attempt was made to study likely long term implications of multiple
issues involved. In other words, a decision of colossal significance was taken in a totally cavalier
and hasty manner. The first batch of women Short Service Commission (SSC) officers joined in
1992. As the other two services did not want to be seen as ‘male-chauvinists’, they followed suit.
Soon a race got underway between the three services. It is only now that a plethora of complex
issues are getting thrown up with resultant adverse fall-out.
To date, no one has been able to justify the decision to induct women in the services – it was not
a need based policy. Low-tech Indian military is totally dependent on raw physical strength of its
manpower. With their abysmally poor physical fitness standards, women just cannot perform
these tasks. Moreover, they suffer from frequent back problems, pelvic injuries and stress
fractures. As very few desk jobs are available, most commanders are at a loss to employ them
Instead of contributing to the effectiveness of the organisation, they have become an
encumbrance as considerable resources are diverted towards ensuring their comfort, dignity and
safety. Worse, every commander runs the risk of being accused of sexual discrimination,
harassment and even exploitation. It is no wonder that no commander wants them as they are
considered a liability.

To start with, the tenure of Short Service Commission (SSC) was five years, extendable to 10
years. It has since been increased to 14 years. One does not need to be a visionary to
understand that grant of SSC to women at 24 years of age is the most impractical proposition.
That is the time for them to get married and raise their families. With standard two child norms,
they spend most of their service tenure in producing and nursing children. For every delivery they
are exempted physical activities for a period of three years. Thus a woman SSC officer is hardly
ever available for military activities.
Interestingly, champions of sexual equality are very selective in their demand. No demand has
ever been made to induct women as soldiers. Women want to join only as officers, in the
erroneous belief that officers’ job is soft and easy. When reality dawns on them, they resort to the
standard ploy of the weaker sex needing special dispensation. As regards their acceptability as
leaders, most soldiers consider their induction to be a political gimmick that merits no serious
deliberation. “How can a leader, who is unable to carry her personal weapon and equipment and
keep pace with us, be expected to lead us in war?” is a common refrain of soldiers.
Cadre Review and Mushrooming of Senior Appointments
With a view to improve promotional prospects of officers and to offset effects of large scale
upgradation of civil appointments, the services resorted to creating a huge number of senior
appointments. Comparisons are often made with police appointments to justify the same.
Admittedly, every state police has dozens of Directors General of Police (DGP). State
governments can upgrade or downgrade any appointment to accommodate chosen incumbents,
job content notwithstanding. It is always a political decision. While a DGP may be looking after
purchase of 100 computers and another one may be assigned the task of purchasing furniture,
the services cannot follow them.
All higher headquarters have become highly bloated and overstaffed. With overabundance of
General Officers - red tabs and stars have lost their exclusivity. Standing and stature of senior
ranks have got diluted. Every alternate room in the Services Headquarters (SHQ) is occupied by
a Brigadier or a General Officer. It is a sad sight to see them flitting between various offices
clutching bundles of files in their hands.

A job done earlier by a Brigadier is being carried out by a Lieutenant General now. Further, he
has a Major General as his deputy and two to three Brigadiers to head different sections. Thus, a
Brigadier has been substituted by two General Officers and two/three Brigadiers. As the job
content has not changed materially, functioning has become totally bureaucratic and decision
making is the main casualty. Decisions taken by a Brigadier earlier are now taken by a Lieutenant
General. Emergence of multiple tiers has increased paper work. As every link in the chain wants
to remain in the loop and retain its relevance, urgency becomes inconsequential.
Indian army follows a system of command and staff streams. After doing mandatory command
tenure, officers are sidestepped into staff appointments. As command appointments are limited, it
has become a challenge for the organisation to accommodate all aspirants. Consequently,
duration of command tenures have been considerably curtailed, affecting continuity of command

The services never tire of claiming uniqueness and dislike comparison with other central services.
Yet, they have diluted their contention by demanding parity with the civil services. The Warrant of
Precedence (WoP) cannot be adequate justification for seeking more senior appointments. As is
well known, revision of WoP is a regular exercise and every review invariably results in lowering
the status of service officers. As the services cannot go on upgrading appointments to keep pace
with the rate at which WoP is revised, it is a futile and self defeating exercise.

Reasons for the Above

The services are rigidly structured organisations with authority well delineated. Such
organisations invariably become one-man shows with commanders at every level enjoying
overriding powers. Dissonance and difference of opinion cease to exist. Whatever the
commander says goes, with all subordinates abiding by his decisions knowingly or unwittingly. In
the absence of any contrary perspective, commanders tend to acquire misconceptions of their
infallibility, resulting in faulty decision making. “Yes, Sir” culture is the primary cause of the
malaise of shooting in the foot. For example, it is inconceivable that no staff officer could foresee
adverse fallout of inducting women and not caution the cavalier Chief against taking a critical
policy decision in a slapdash manner.

Due to steep pyramid-like structure, the environment in the services is highly competitive. To
ensure advancement in career, one has to not only excel but outshine others as well. In the
absence of any quantifiable and measurable performance matrix, performance is measured in
terms of initiative displayed, howsoever misplaced it may be. Recognition as the initiator and
author of fresh ideas fetches credit and good reports. Therefore, every aspiring officer strives to
score brownie points by pretending to be an original thinker. He wants to suggest something new
– it may be a scheme, concept or programme. The sole aim is to impress senior bosses by
displaying original thinking, assiduousness and thoroughness.
In the absence of ability for genuine original thinking, the only alternative available to an
ambitious officer is to tinker with existing policies and suggest changes. Further, prolonged staff
tenures make many officers lose touch with ground realities. They start living in the make-believe
world of files and notings. They fail to visualise fallout of the suggested policy changes. Decisions
to increase NDA entry standards, induct women in the services and upgrade senior appointments
can be solely attributed to this weakness.

The Way Forward

All over the world the ruling mantra is to ‘catch them early and catch them young’. All corporate
houses go to professional colleges to have the first pick in campus interviews. The services have
irrationally surrendered the same advantage and now have to do with what is unfairly called ‘left-
overs’. A graduation degree cannot be enough justification for forfeiting opportunity to pick the
best youth for the services. Therefore, entry age and educational qualification for admission to
NDA should be reduced to the earlier standards. It is ideal for the services to select candidates
during early adolescence, train them during the period of middle adolescence and induct them as
commissioned officer during late adolescence.

Grant of SSC to women should be totally stopped, protestations of self-styled champions of

gender-parity notwithstanding. It is a most wasteful and retrograde policy. Women have made
creditable contribution in the medical, dental and nursing services. They have done India proud.
Grant of permanent commission to them in legal and education departments of the three
services, accounts branch of the Air Force and constructors of the Navy is undoubtedly a sensible
move forward.
The services should stop chasing the mirage of retaining parity with the civil services.
Bureaucrats govern the country and call the shots. They will continue to concoct ingenious
stratagems to maintain their supremacy. It is a losing battle for the services. By rampant
proliferation of top brass, the services are harming their own cause. It is time a stop is put to
further upgradation of appointments.

Although acceptance of own mistakes and fallibility is yet to acculturate the system, the top brass
must show sufficient moral courage to admit that the present mess demands a holistic review of
the related policies. It is much better to accept mistakes honestly rather than continue with them
indefinitely to the detriment of organisational interests. Defence matters cannot be treated in a
slipshod and sloppy manner. Most importantly, no decision that affects the primary role of the
services should be taken as a compulsion of populist expediency and without studying its long
term consequences.


India was blessed with selfless and dedicated leaders of intrinsic value who secured us our
independence. What followed subsequently makes one wear a shroud of shame at the
shamelessly selfish and greedy demeanor of the inheritors. In the last six decades they have left
us where we now find ourselves. Over 200 millions of us below poverty level and near illiterate
attribute their miseries to their karmic debts.

A sea change has emerged in the definition of a nation’s security. The vulnerability to military
might of foreign powers ceases to be the prime consideration, and no longer can form the final
template for strategic or tactical anticipation. The parameters of the last millennium though
relevant are being overshadowed by eruptions of a new variety of imponderables. An unhappy
citizen becomes a de-motivated seed and in due course sprouts as a militant’s veil of frustration
casting a disruptive influence that impinges upon a nation’s security. Our existing and future
threats to India have been staring us in the face. These have continually been put under the
carpet for decades.

All this not withstanding, internal political squabbles have kept the politician much too
preoccupied to apply his mind and attention to the dark and threatening clouds that have already
cast their ominous shadows of the turbulent decades ahead. Our political arena is in the
doldrums, cleaving and clawing. To our west, Pakistan is in turmoil and on the verge of a
breakup. The terrorists, breeding and sprouting in a cascading pattern there, are menacingly
positioned to strike eastwards after finding sanctuaries in J&K and lastly, an emerging
unstructured nuclear threat from that country is very much on the cards. This aside, India is
unquestionably vulnerable to the numerous termites flourishing within--- the Maos and Naxals
spreading from Nepal to Chattisgarh; The ULFA and the other insurgents, weakening our Seven
Sisters to the East; The numerous sleeping cells of the Al-Qaida; well dispersed, biding their time;
Poverty and corruption seeping deep into our guts; And the law of the jungle pattern of existence
competing with ‘organized chaos’ style of governance. Each of these is evolving its own
menacingly alarming portrait of Satan.

We have already forgotten that for eleven long centuries our lands were continuously under
rapacious foreign rule. No other region in the world with an odd exception perhaps can claim
heritage to such a deep destroying humiliation and curse. Within 60 years of gaining
independence, our conduct across the board has ripened this region for being plucked once
again and losing its present day ‘Kohinoors’ and ‘Peacock Thrones.

The nation, in its present self destruct mode, needs war like responses to transform itself into a
revival and a survival syndrome. To simultaneously achieve financial affluence and security at
minimal extra cost. The core issues that need out of the box correctives are as given below.


The region continues to be cursed. After 1100 years of foreign domination we have succumbed to
a ‘law of the jungle’ existence spawned by a lackadaisical legal system that takes years if not
decades to dispense justice. This has acted as an agent provocateur for the criminal and the
corrupt to flourish and sprout and to commit repeated criminal offenses undeterred. This appears
to be one of the main causes for ‘The Law of the Jungle’ kind of existence which has become our
country’s exclusive patent.

We must achieve speedy dispensation of justice. Why can’t the courts run two shifts per day?
And have their long vacations curtailed? Recruit large additional judges and supporting staff?
Reemploy retirees up to the age of 70 years? Resolve government and other cases out of Court?
And minor cases speedily dealt with summary trials on a day to day basis?

The promotion of speedy justice would require an autonomous prosecutor and investigative
agency akin to that in the USA but accountable only to the Parliament. This unpalatable pill has to
be administered to bring about all around improvement speedily.


You are probably aware that even now not more than 20% of the funds, subsidies and benefits
allocated by the government actually reach the beneficiary in the rural areas, the balance being
siphoned away by the greedy and the unscrupulous that shelter under unaccountability. What sort
of governance is this that knowingly and yet unashamedly allows the continuance of swindling of
the illiterate, below poverty line citizens?

Similarly, an ‘Organized Chaos’ form of governance has become the bench mark of our
administrative acumen. It happens to be the source of perennial and regular lucre for the non
accountable administrators in urban and rural areas. The citizens of India are blackmailed into
subservience on a regular basis in full awareness that no accountability or corrective action shall


We have an elite and dedicated civil service called THE INDIAN ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE. Is
this the best they have produced in 60 years. You know why? Because they are totally
unaccountable and because 95% of them end up as Secretary Government of India, irrespective
of their dedication or work. They consider the politician a transitory aberration trespassing upon
their birth rights as masters of all they survey, and they have the cheek to treat the nations
elected leaders accordingly. This lodestone of misery around the nation’s neck has to be brought
to heel. A constitutional amendment is necessary to hold them accountable and to sack the mal
administrator, the mala fide decision maker, and the corrupt. This needs to be enforced even if it
involves sacking a significant number amongst them. They are no longer the steel frame of India.
It would be more appropriate to call them the distorted aberration of India. THE INDIAN
MALADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE. A citizen’s referendum would undoubtedly uphold this

The nation needs to review as to whether it should continue to mortgage itself by reposing trust in
the non knowledgeable amongst them holding post of Secretary Government of India in ministries
of which they have scant knowledge. For instance the Ministry of Defence should have all joint
secretary and above posts tenable only by armed forces officers, police officers, and scientists.
Similarly the Home ministry should be
manned by police officers, army commando trained officers, naval and air force officers. The
scientist, the engineer, the doctor and others should similarly head their respective ministries.


We must make it a Policy of State to bring back as much as possible of the alleged over 1400
billion US dollars of Indian money dishonestly lying in safe havens abroad. As per western
conservative estimates India’s dishonest have stashed away around 1400 billion US dollars of
their ill gotten money in safe tax havens in countries like Switzerland, Austria and others. To find
out details of such money shall now be possible as these countries are enacting new laws
whereby their banks can make full revelations about such deposits. This money is the amount we
would probably spend on the next ten to fifteen, 5 year plans. An ideal Indian resource of our
becoming a superpower in the next 50 years. The nation must use every conceivable incentive
possible to wean this money back for the overall and total benefit of India by even giving the
owners special relief’s and pardons and may be benefits. This is a surer way of getting some of
our money speedily, than taking recourse to Courts etc.

The nation’s prime instrument of sovereignty, its Armed Forces must be restored their ‘IZZAT O
IQBAL’ their honour and their glory, their order of precedence, their pay and perks etcetera.
There has been serious country wide turmoil in this regard. This issue needs to be paid attention
to at the highest level speedily and their status restored in conformity with the internationally
followed time honored cost benefit equation between the upholder of a nation’s Sovereignty and
the rest of the nations government servants.

The nation’s leaders fail to understand that the umbilical chord between the serving and the ex-
serviceman is as strong as that of a mother and child. The interests and welfare of one cannot be
trespassed upon without impacting the other.

You shall be amazed to read what Katauliya advised King Chandragupta Maurya regarding this
2000 years ago. The entire advice is magnificent. Being a bit long, I am sending you a small
“It is my bounden duty to assure you, My Lord that the day when the Mauryan soldier has to
demand his dues or, worse, plead for them, will neither have arrived overnight nor in vain. It will
also bode ill for Magadha.
For then, on that day, you, My Lord, will have lost all moral sanction to be King! It will also be the
beginning of the end of the Mauryan Empire”
The Chief of Defence Staff system of military advisors to the government on all matters military
and its governance and management has been pending since over a decade. This needs to be
urgently introduced to enable us to preempt in a professional and effective manner the numerous
external and internal threats to the nation.
The present adhocism has time and again failed because of its shallow ineffective knee-jerk
responses. This was revealed in abundance at our first humiliation in the 1962 debacle with
China, our tardy responses in the Mumbai militant attack and so also in our timid and slow riposte
in Kargil.
It is totally incomprehensible how the political leaders of 1962 in an arrogant manner announced
publicly that they had directed the Army to THROW the Chinese out. Unbelievable but true, a
letter signed by a junior official, a Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Defence was received at Army
HQ’s with these directions. Did they not know that China was on of the victor countries of the
Second World War. They had even forgotten that in recent preceding years the Chinese had
brought the great American military might to a stalemate in Korea and yet we had with total
ignorance of matters military thrust unforgivable shame and humiliation on us all. On the other
hand and as an exception, the brilliant military leader of the 1971 War prevailed upon the then
political leader to bring about the greatest military victory in nearly 2000 years of India’s military
In our present system we have a Minister of Defence who is generally not knowledgeable about
the Armed Forces, having seldom seen a battlefield or the armed forces weapons in battle array.
He has no knowledge of what it feels to fire a bullet in action. He even does not understand the
élan of a soldier or the significance of the espirit de corps, the winner of battles. To outmatch him
he has as his prime advisor an IAS officer who is equally not well versed in most matters
concerning a nation’s security. Because of this the nation’s leaders are deprived important inputs
when evaluating options before adopting international postures and relations. It is surprising that
we as a nation continue, in rash ignorance, to mortgage our security to such faulty procedures,
without even batting an eyelid. With newly emerging threats from China and Pakistan time is
running out in adhering to a slow and indecisive tactical or strategic decision making principles.

In full awareness of the internal threats that confront us and may continue to do so for a decade
ahead, the primary role of the armed forces should additionally be made to include dealing with
insurgency and all manner of internal threats whether Naxals or Maos or any threat which
tantamounts to waging of war against the nation and its people.
A nation’s security stands threatened when its political masters lose their firm resolve to withstand
or meet threats that impinge upon its security and welfare. This invariably happens when the
morale of its fighting force is trespassed upon or trampled. Our present self destruct mode of
governance is very successfully achieving this undesirable result.


Whenever we as a nation or as a people have been physically hurt or humiliated our tragic
response has been slow and tardy as that of a tortoise. We go into our shell pull our limbs in and
hope and pray that the menace shall disappear. Our response to the numerous terrorist attacks
culminating in Bombay, to the numerous attacks on our students in Australia, the treatment of
Indian passenger’s in Paris by Air France and even to the strip search of our Defence Minister
during his official visit to America speaks volumes.

As a policy of State we must adopt a Hornet’s Nest response. The fear of a deadly sting should
put the fear of God into our adversary. They must be made to understand that if they hurt one
Indian they should be prepared to receive the anguished response of a billion humans. ‘I DARE
YOU’ should be our riposte and guide stone. Humour aside, I think we need to have an
accountable all powerful ‘Hornet’s Nest Quick Response Agency’ at the Centre and the States
directly under the PM and state CM’s


Get rid of DEAD WOOD in a graded manner. Start with the Cabinet, then the bureaucrat, the
armed forces, the police and then the Public Sector. Let no one believe that the Government
employees are ‘Son’s in Law’ of the nation. Once the government announces this policy the
private sector shall pick up courage too. Such a policy would effectively deal with the ones that
have so far prospered on coercive blackmail.

This problem shall persist for at least a decade if not more and till such time the AL-QAIDA and
the TALIBAN exist.
The subtle hand of China cannot be overlooked. It is succeeding above expectation in getting US
deeper into the quagmire in Afghanistan, Pakistan and now in North Korea. India too is a part of
this hidden but not so subtle policy.
Our police forces have yet to develop élan and capability to successfully tackle future threats of
counter insurgency.
We all are aware how 10 terrorists held a nation to shame and ignominy for over two days till the
valiant army in the garb of NSG restored some semblance of dignity. Till such time as the police
reach a level of competence the army’s prime role should include counter insurgency and for this
purpose we should to begin with, immediately raise and allot one commando battalion to each
State. This may subsequently be increased on as required basis. This shall ensure an effective
and a reliable deterrent capable of speedy response all over India. For this purpose we should
reemploy young commando ex-service-men. Once the police and the Para- military forces are
adequately trained and confident they should assume their rightful role.


Police reforms have been kept in cold storage for far too long and needs to be resolved. This is
critical to our nations well being. The nation’s investigative agency should be made autonomous
and accountable only to the parliament. This shall give it more teeth and achieve acceptable
levels of credibility. The Para military forces too should be given their due as uniformed defenders
of the country. This they rightly deserve.

11. MEDIA.
More often than not the media has come to depict itself as the present day ‘GOBBEL’S’ puppets.
The days of stalwarts like Arun Shourie appear so distant a past. Nowadays media time and
again gloss over issues of national import and highlight, out of proportion, issues of little or
peripheral consequence. Not many, in a serious and determined manner, have discussed issues
of deep significance touched upon above because probably none of these shall get them a plot in
‘Vasant Vihar’? or a Membership in the Rajya Sabha?.


The Lowest Common Denominator IQ level corrupt politician but with an astronomical level
of GQ (Greed Quotient) has at his beck and call a self serving corrupt and dishonest bureaucrat
well versed in how to steal the ‘KING’s TREASURY’. They hand in glove achieve their ends and
then on a ‘you scratch my back and I scratch your back’ equation shelter each other from the
wheels of justice and even browbeat and befool the investigative agencies to secure tardy
responses from them that assure themselves judicial protection. In recent years ‘Gobbel’s’
puppets have sprouted, at regular and appropriate times, to veil this shame and to deflect the
nation’s prime attention from the important matters of state to peripherals. They are, in recent
months, going hammer and tongs to demoralize the country’s armed forces and its judiciary the
only relatively untarnished institutions.

China’s and Pakistan’s combined efforts would not have been able to achieve such success in
the subtle decimation of India as is being brought about by our SELF DESTRUCT MODE. God
bless this happy panorama of the modern dance of self destruction that would even put Shiva to


To defang the well entrenched, the younger generation of India at the district level upwards must
form itself into ‘A MORAL VIGILANTE FORCE’ taking recourse to the Right to Information; and
the Public Interest Litigation; as some of the means to peacefully bring about reformation and

The younger generation of leaders should aspire to seek out off the box solutions and for this we
need to raise special cadres at state levels for effective vigilantism. Here is some food for
To destroy all termites, of corruption, of maladministration and poor governance, of mala fide
decision makers, of indiscipline, lethargy and selfishness, which are eating into the very core that
would otherwise make a strong and a rich India.
To make every citizen of India rich spiritually, morally intellectually, mentally and physically.
May 2009