General Douglas MacArthur once made this famous comment, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” He was probably talking about a time when honour, bravado, chivalry were facets to live for & die by. Not anymore, I guess.

   I came across this article in the newspaper a couple of days back of Captain Bana Singh , the only living Param Vir Chakra awardee today who happens to make do with a “princely” sum of Rs. 166 a month as honorarium from the state government of J&K.  General MacArthur couldn’t have been more apt…it is only today that Captain Singh is in the news. Am very sure our generation or even the generation of yore never heard of him & his breed.

      Then there was this issue of whether the serving chiefs of the armed forces(Army, Air Force & Navy) should be exempted from security frisking at the airports. Much to the anguish of every sane & rational Indian, the Ministry of Home Affairs turned down this petition filed by the Defence Ministry – citing reasons that this request might give rise to other “similar” requests from other quarters. To add insult to injury, our honourable politicians & MPs – who very often have a dubious background & in certain cases even there extended family members are exempted from this “ordeal”.

        Fathom this – Our government is not very comfortable trusting people who have been entrusted with the job of ensuring the country’s security!!!

         I met up with a close friend of mine from school after almost a decade! He is a Major in the Infantry arm of the Indian Army currently posted at the front. When I asked him for his comments on all this….he gave me a curt reply,” Writs, am not there to fight for my country, am there to ensure the safety of the men under my command!!” Incidentally, the credo of the Indian Military Academy goes like this “The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.”

   The times they sure are a changin’…….!!

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