Monday, 31 August 2015

Respect For The Indian Armed Forces

Disclaimer: The author of this post does not intend to disrespect anyone from the Indian Armed Forces and appreciates the sacrifices they make for the country and the risk-laden lives they lead. The author also doubts whether the Indian Armed Forces deserves the ‘glorification’ they receive and is merely stating a question rather than strongly opining against them. 

They keep us safe. They fight our enemies. They die for the country. They go through rigorous trainings and develop near impossible skill sets to function the way they do. They sacrifice a normal life to ensure regular citizens like me can live in peace. They survive in uninhabitable conditions and truly define what ‘discipline’ means. 

All of the things mentioned above are true, right? So the Indian Armed Forces do deserve the respect they get. Or not?

My problem is more with the civilians than the Armed Forces themselves. The civilians are the ones who have put the Armed Forces up on a pedestal. Showing respect is one thing but glorifying takes it to another level, which is where they lose me. 

I’m pretty sure everyone in the Indian Armed Forces is just doing their job sincerely, trying to make it through a tough day, working hard for their country and their families, and making sure that we get to sleep at night peacefully. Well, maybe not everybody. I’m pretty sure even the Indian Armed Forces is not perfect. But I’m not going to hold that against them. 

But… But, wait. Is it only the Indian Armed Forces doing the things I just mentioned? Don’t you also do that? Let’s say you’re an artist. You studied many years to develop and hone the skills you posses today. You’ve been working for a few years now and have been through tough times yourself. You’ve seen the ups and downs but are now in a happy place. You still have your bad days but you’re also serving someone and need to get shit done. You even try to do good for others in your own little way every now and then. But when you step out in your uniform, say a kurta pajama partnered with a jhola, you most definitely don’t get the respect that a Major would get, would you?

Showing respect in this country for other people is another blog in itself. We don’t know how to respect others. We judge people based on their caste, how they look, how much money they earn, which strata of society they belong to, what they do in life, how well they speak in English, so on and so forth.

Given our country’s history (fight against the British Rule) and age (independent India’s age), we’re born and brought up with the concept of seeing the Indian Armed Forces on a pedestal and picturing them as demi gods. We don’t question this concept and we don’t try to understand it any further. We accept it as fact and move on with our lives.

Have you ever wondered that even the Armed Forces are simply doing their jobs? It’s their job to wake up early in the morning and stay fit. It’s their job to know how to use a gun and know how to shoot one when required. It’s their job to train hard and become mentally strong to face any adversity they face during their journey ahead. They knew what they were getting into when they signed up for this gig and risking their lives is just an occupational hazard. And that probably is the biggest differentiator between them and us mere mortals. 

They risk their lives to get the job done.

So do the cops. Do we respect the cops enough? In Delhi, we simply refer to them as a ‘thulla’ and believe that each one can be bribed with a 100 odd bucks. So do the other groups like CRPF, BSF, etc. We don’t seem to see them at the same level as our Army or Navy or Air Force. In fact, we don’t even respect the jawans enough as compared to the ones in senior ranks. Can someone explain why?

People are not forced to join the Indian Armed Forces. People do it out of choice. It’s a good thing, no doubt. I’m also quite certain that not everyone who joins is doing it purely because they want to die for the country and defeat the enemy. There must be people who do it because they had no other choice. There must be people who do it because it runs in the family. There must be people who do it because they want to fly jets. There must be people who want to have the lifestyle they get. And there must be the ones who do it for the style – the uniform, the medals, the aviators. Maybe not so much for the last reason…

Whatever the motivation be, fact is that not the entire strength of the Indian Armed Forces is constantly at the border or in sensitive areas fighting the enemy and risking their lives. If that’s the biggest reason why we should glorify them then we’re failing miserably. There are many others in the country who risk their lives but don’t get the same amount of respect and there are many who get way too much respect even if they don’t risk their lives. I have a problem with that imbalance.

There are many people who are helping run this country in a sincere and honest manner. There are plenty who are making sure our country prosper and are making sacrifices and compromises in their lives. The country can’t solely survive because of the Indian Armed Forces but other essential services are ignored when compared to them. Be it doctors, engineers, scientists, professors, administrators, police, economists, etc. none of them will ever get as much respect as someone from the Armed Forces.

So, what if a doctor today becomes one for the money and not for saving lives? He is still doing his job, right? He is still helping someone in need. His motivations may be different but who are we to judge them? He studied hard, worked hard, and now enjoys a drink at home after a hard day at work. Don’t you think someone from the Army does the same thing? It’s not like they have a bad deal. It’s not like they are constantly risking their lives every single moment of every single day. They get all the respect one could imagine. They live in a ‘developed nation’ within our underdeveloped nation. They probably lead some of the most comfortable and classy lifestyles across the country. Don’t think they compromise one bit there, do they?

I’m not saying they don’t deserve it. They’re humans too. Everyone has needs. But everyone has a job to do as well. Some may seem important and some may not. Some may seem that they’re done just for the money and some look like are done for the passion. At the end of the day, let’s respect each and every honest human being who is out there trying to earn a hard day’s living and feeding his or her family. Everyone is risking something or the other every single day. People die of multiple reasons and one doesn’t need to join the army to face that risk. Let’s respect all our heroes equally. 

I wanted to touch the topic of army kids but I think I should let that one be given the amount of douchebags I’ve met or heard about in my life. I’m not trying to generalize here but in my experience I’ve seen they’re not the smartest bunch of the lot. 

Let me sum up by saying that I have immense respect for the Indian Armed Forces but I have immense respect for my father as well who still works his ass off at 70 years of age even after having had 3 heart attacks, a surgery, and a device under his skin. There are heroes all around us. Let’s not ignore the ones without uniforms.

PS - I know this blog will not make everyone happy and may probably piss a lot of people off. I haven't written this to create any sort of controversy neither do I deliberately want to hurt anyones sentiments. Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I would love to know what people think. Also, I will be heading the Jantar Mantar next weekend (if the agitation is still on) to know more about the OROP issue. Meet me there, maybe?


  1. Hi Rachit,

    Nice post.Before commenting anything i want to tell you that,my dad was in Army,grandpa was in army and his dad too,so many of my friends are in army,airforce,navy,crpf and bsf.I am graduated from military school too.I understand what you want to say here.And i completely agree with you.

    I want to add few things from my experience.Its not for or against this topic,its just my personal view. I think more then respecting its about disrespecting. When someone meets an Army guy they simply cant disrespect them.Its also to do with their WARDI..wardi is directly propositional to killing,border,enemy,guns,tanks,medals etc etc..That is why the most common question asked to an army guys is, how many have you killed so far..Also media (tv and newspapers) plays a big role,they never show bad stuff about ARMY, unless its really big news like (bofors kand,mig,chennai rape case,bangladesi killings etc).I believe when people dont know something bad about someone they cant disrespect them,because they just know one thing about them,Army kill enemy and keep them safe.It relates to their patriotism,desh bhakti etc..Politicians make sure that they hide army news as much as they can. I have seen worst cases and bad behaviors by army people around me, bribes,child molestation,eve teasing etc.On the other side Police,doctors,engineers,IAS etc they are always on news for doing something bad..all of these people must be getting their due respect where they work and where they live but in the crowd one cant identify them easily.Doctors never go around with their dress same as others.IAS is only famous when he clear IAS exam or when he dies..Recently pawan hans chopper case.IAS kamlesh joshi was my 2 year senior from military school..may be no one knew him in the crowd but now he is getting all respect..An army guy when not in wardi is treated same as others.Thats why its common that they write Army on their bikes and put their I card with the silver chain around the neck.Because they want to be treated same as when they are in wardi. A captain in civil dress was beaten brutally in front of me for eve teasing..when the crowd found his id card they all ran away as if he was a ghost.But same guy in wardi goes in a train or bus always gets a seat.Because people their dont know anything about him,they just see his wardi and make their brain movies him killing pakistanis.But you dont know one thing, its not same everywhere.If you go gujarat, normal crowd dont respect them as other places people do.They treat them very normal and also talk to them normally like they do with other people..Because gujarat is a dry state and army supplies alcohol everywhere illegally.They are in local news always so people their know what army does..Army guy is not respected or disrespected same everywhere..It depends on what people know about them.If army chief does some deal with ISI,you see next day everyone will start disrespecting army..But on the other side there are army people who take voluntary postings in field areas (jammu,kasmir,leh etc),just because they want to protect people and india..Its all politics,media and news i think.If they start covering every single thing army does, like they do with police and others, people will know more about them and they will react accordingly.

    I forwarded this page link to some of my army friends, they agree with it too.But they said we are not respected everywhere,its not same.its different in different areas of india. depends on the situation.its a 50/50 thing they said..

    respect discrimination of Sipahi and Officer is a different subject.i will try to write some other day.

    Would like to know what you think.

    You should write about Army kids too.It would be fun to read.

    - Anshul Chauhan

    1. Gajab. Is angle se nahi socha tha. What you have written makes a lot of sense. And is an insight for me. Something I didn't know. And in fact, on the topic of Sipahi and Officer, I drove past some Army area where there was a big loo with big board outside pointing at 2 different entries and one saying "Officers" or something and the other said "Jawans" or something... Terms kuch aur the but that's what they meant and I was like ye kya hai... Apne andar mei bhi itni discrimination ki toilets bhi alag alag use karein... Too much respect is being given to the seniors. :P

      But you're right. It's a lot about 'disrespecting'. Interesting take on this. And yaar honestly army wale ko izzat dene mei koi galat baat nahi and banta bhi hai. Kai baar to mujhe lagta hai ye IAS n sarkari officers ko itni izzat kyu milti hai? Like seedha dekhte hi log sir sir karne lag jaate hain... Ispe bhi blog likha tha I think.. Milega to share karta hu...

  2. I agree with every single word you wrote. Considering all the previous blogs that you've written, someday I want to sit with you and just listen to you speak. You write a LOT of sense. :)

    1. Thanks so much man. Aisa kabhi kisi ne ni bola mujhe. I just hope I don't leave you disappointed. :P