Mary (curiously an anagram of Army, the institution being discussed here today) of Magdala (a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee) or just Mary Magdalene was being stoned by a mob because of her sins (particularly adultery; the Army doesn’t have adultery, it has infantry) and that’s the time Jesus came to her rescue and said, “The first stone should be cast by one who hasn’t sinned”. One by one, as per the gospel, they all went home and left her alone. Later, she was witness to Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.

In sharp contrast, we have any number of Indians and Indian political parties who indulge in stone-pelting (physically and figuratively on the national media, for example) against the Indian Army and some of them rejoice in this carefully acquired hobby. Jesus, and for that matter Mohammad, Rama, Buddha, Nanak and others all keep quiet. It is not them but the Army that is being crucified.

The dark humour is in the fact that some of them are the same people who cannot exist in those hostile situations even for a minute without the army directly or indirectly protecting them. However, at the quickest opportunity they take up such issues (without understanding them at all) as repeal of AFSPA or Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

And what is or are the sins that the Army has committed to earn this opprobrium? I can think of a few; you are welcome to add more:

  • It is ensuring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our nation and that’s not to the liking of the vested interests that would like to see this great nation being broken up into fragments.
  • Through elaborate, exhaustive and nerve-racking training, its men and women have become shining examples of discipline, valour, uprightness and patriotism, the very attributes that stand in the way of people who revel in chaos, avarice, cowardice and ill acquired comforts.
  • It has values that the countrymen hold dear and there is a dire need to bring it down to the gutter that some of these people find themselves in. “Will teach these holier-than-thou b____s not to try to be different“.
  • It has been victorious in very war that was thrust on it and come out in flying colours in any task or situation it was asked to handle. “It is high time these s.o.b.’s taste defeat” (“what do they think of themselves?”)
  • It believes in the tenet of ‘selfless-service’, which is ‘foreign’ to self-aggrandizing lot.

In all this, no one has ever thought of the scenario wherein the army says (not that it ever would, with its self-imposed restraint and discipline): “Enough is enough; let them fend for themselves in all situations other than foreign-aggression.” (Please read: Long Time No War, for example)

The politicians and bureaucrats have a quick-fix solution to anything and everything by calling the armed forces to handle internal situations that have been caused by the acts of omission and commission of those who should have been directly responsible for handling those situations. In my essay ‘Identification Of Friend Or Foe In Indian Maritime Scenario’, I had brought out how the Indian Navy was wrongly blamed for the failure to prevent 26/11 Mumbai Attacks and how, post that, it is the only leading navy in the world made responsible for coastal security. Having been made responsible, the Indian Navy personnel even went about conducting census of fishermen in the coastal states to bring a modicum of order in the near chaotic scenario that prevailed. They presented this data to local authorities whose job it was to conduct such census.

The joke going around in the naval circles was and is: ‘Anytime you see water, think of us‘.

It is the same with the army on land.

Recently, my wife and I undertook a trip to Kaza in Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh from our home place in Kandaghat. Roads were alright up to Rampur Bushair, Jhakri and Karcham. But, from there onwards it was an ordeal. There were only three kinds of roads: the good and wide metalled roads (about 10 percent); roads that could be distinguished from khuds and nallahs with a little closer scrutiny; and finally, what I call as environmentally friendly roads: ie, no change from their original condition before the roads were constructed.

In many places, after Powari and Reckong Peo, we came across army jawans having been placed at really bad stretches of roads. Their purpose? Hold your breath – to prevent injury to people from falling and shooting stones!

You don’t find humour in this? Well I find enormous humour in this: these are the same people that people pelt or hurl stones at and these are the valiant men who think nothing of risking their own lives to keep you from getting injured and/or killed!

These are the kind of valiant men (my friends Durga Dutt and Amit Kumar Rana) on which stones are pelted and yet they think of only saving the pelters from injury.

We had lunch with the army at a palce called Sumdo (we cross over from Kinnaur district to Lahoul and Spiti district there). The place is free of all vegetation and there are bald ills (the distant ones had still snow on them). When we were driving back to Malling, we found a Malling Detachment of army men, being posted there in a hilly road of shooting stones, to keep people safe when it is not even their task to do so.

They offered my wife and I hot tea and Good-Day biscuits and said, “Saab thak gaya hoyega” (Saab must be tired).





I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I am giving you my first unadulterated reaction (and please forgive me if it is a little unparliamentary language):

“Bloody ungrateful countrymen”.

P.S. One of the WhatsApp messages going around is about one of our countrymen complaining to the waiter about stones in the rice-pulao he had ordered. The waiter clarified: “It is Kashmiri pulao, Sir”.


© 2017, Sunbyanyname. All rights reserved.

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  1. You have hit the nail on the head: politicians and bureaucrats remember the army when the civil administration (be it the bureaucracy, police, elected politicians) fail to do their duty, natural calamities (floods, earthquake etc), politically engineered riots, terror strikes, civil unrest (Kashmir Valley), war…..Not to forget Elections time when they garner votes of armed forces personnel by making grand promises that are soon forgotten afterwards.
    It is great to see a Naval officer appreciating the work being done by Army personnel in harsh conditions.

  2. Arewe really deserving??? Not the countrymen but our politicians are indeed the most ungrateful lot…. Sad very sad

  3. Sir ungrateful nation and citizens. But afew do acknowledge our services. Too little too late …..
    God bless our country

  4. Few months back was passing thru Gulmarg. Road was as usual covered with thick sheet of snow. Continuously plying vehicles had made the thick snow sheet to crack/melt. On these lines vehicles were driven with due caution. (Any one who has driven in such conditions knows the pitfalls).

    An Innova, full of local youngsters & driven by one, suddenly lost the control & plunged in to a shallow
    & sloping ditch. Luckly though no one was injured but they were precariously trapped. No one could dare to reach the vehicle.

    That’s when a passing Army Truck stopped. Nine Jawan jumped out (it’s as fresh as it was yesterday). first they took those 14 youngsters out of the vehicle, after having made safe clearance around. Thereafter lifted that giant of the vehicle, that Innova is & placed it back on the road.

    & surprise. These people get into the vehicle without saying a word not even a Thank you.

    A while later I saw one Nb Sub approaching me. He gave a nod as if Saluting, which instinctively I reciprocated. Lowered the window as ha pointed out something in my vehicle. All this while my daughter was recording the episode., which I was not aware of. He asked me politely to get that recording deleted. The approach was so heart whelming that none of us, me & daughter took a time to take a decision. She just Hit Delete button. Showed to the Nb Sub too.

    The reply from him still haunts me;

    साब हम फौजियों के भाग्य में लिखा है कि तू जिसे बचाएगा, वही तेरी जान लेगा।

    Nothing said thereafter. Just left the site. एक आंसू कहीं आंख के किनारों पर था।

    1. Penned from the heart, Dharmendra. These army people are from the same villages and towns as the rest of the countrymen. What separates them afterwards are their training, commitment and character. I salute the army for having permanently changed these people for the better.

  5. Dear Ravi – that was an account which would touch the heart & soul of even the nastiest villains trying to spread hatred within our nation. Very confusing these days – as they come in sheep’s clothing too. It is not only outsiders that we need to fear. Our very own Sycophants do it everyday – by their agendas.
    The Army is doing a very tough job – under grave provocation – Internal security is not their task – yet they are forced to patrol the streets, at the drop of a hat. Expecting them to do it with their hands tied behind their backs, is something the nation cannot afford!

    1. John, your comments, as with everything you put your hands to, are always well thought of. I guess weakening the country, in some way or the other, make these vested interests stronger. Thankfully the armed forces don’t fall prey to these machinations.

  6. Well said Ravi. We serve in silence while all’ the can do is talk. Show me one politicians who has India’s interest in mind. They are only interested in kursee. They have learnt the trick of divide and rule from the British , country be damned.
    Do we have a solution for this or just wait for a revelution. TV debates are no use , normally there are approximately ten panelists who seems to be experts on al subjects from women to war.

    1. Thank you, MM. You have hit the nail on the head by referring to ‘divide and rule’. I have written a number of articles about it. Nearly six and half years ago, on the occasion of India’s 62nd Republic Day, I wrote: ‘How Proud Should We Be Of Indian Republic At 62?’ I am afraid, the malaise is because of the way we run our democracy. Instead of giving perceptions, in that article, I gave hard facts. Until we address this, the politician (neta) and the bureacrat (babu) shall continue to hoodwink us.

      Revolution? Well, in case now the present government too fails, we won’t be too far from a revolution.