Beyond the News - FACT Analysis

Saffronization of Armed Forces

Harjap Singh Aujla

The forefathers of the constitution of India wanted to keep a multi-cultural and multi-religious society. That is why they chose a secular all inclusive constitution. The Sikhs in 1947 opted for a diverse India, where they could feel the glow of liberty, rather than a parochial Islamic Pakistan. The father of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah offered a lucrative Sikh-Islamic confederation with an offer to the Sikhs to opt out. But the Sikhs spurned all such offers and preferred Nehruvian and GandhianIndia. In 1947, the Sikhs considered their decision more right than wrong.

Had the Sikhs anticipated a situation like Agni-Path category of soldiers, they might have opted out of India. India was all along expected to be a stable democratic society, the people of this country have accepted this system. They don’t want any drastic alteration in it. Unfortunately the present government feels ill at ease in this equilibrium and is itching to put its own stamp of change. Obviously when the people see a change every now and then, they see it with suspicion. In a poor dissatisfied country, every day changes in the governance breed unrest in its inhabitants. It is far better for our rulers to keep the changes in the system to the minimum. Perhaps our present day rulers don’t think it that way, they think their changes are minor, but the people don’t think it that way and they erupt like a bomb. First without a reason or rhyme, de-monetisation of higher denomination currency notes was contemplated, which seriously inconvenienced all and sundry. The much publicized Central Vista scheme was also not popular, though they took in stride.But the farmers stood resolutely against the three farm bills.

This name Agnipath does not sound acceptable to this brave nation’s soldiers and general public at large. They feel they are proposed to become a cannon powder in the event of a military fire fight with our neighboring countries. The four year duration of service is outrageously short for any youngman to serve the nation. Some of our soldiers come from the Muslim and Christian background and they hate the idea of burning to death or to burn their dead. For them Agniveer is a dreadful idea. Why are we hell bent on annoying our minorities.

Some aspirants of military service and their well wishers believe that the idea of giving regular military service to only 25% Agnipath personnel is unacceptable to them. They think discarding 75% of the Agnipath personnel without pension and other benefits is an unacceptable proposition. More over the four year term of service is awefully short. The Agnipath workers will not be able to be trained adequately in four years. There is also a fear that in order to select 25% persons for regular service will lead to discrimination with their fellow workers. Some of the objectors go to such a length that they consider the loyalists of the political philosophy of the ruling party as the chosen few. This fear is most dangerous omen for the democracy.