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Oracle
26 Dec 13,, 18:02
American trainee talks of ‘pretty different’ culture of batmen serving officers

New Delhi, Nov. 1: An American army officer’s account of her time training in Agra has given a glimpse into the class-system in the Indian Army and has stoked once again the debate of assigning sahayaks — or batmen — who are often required to do personal work of officers.

First Lieutenant Laura Condyles’ account, narrated to the US army’s official publicity wing, suggests she had a grand time during her 52-day course at the Para Training School in Agra in August-September.

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But the insight it shares — that the Indian Army differentiates sharply between officers and soldiers and that it operates with poor infrastructure — have made senior officials here take note.

There are exceptions to the sahayak rule — not all officers ask the batmen to do personal work — but that does not shine through in Condyles’ narration.

The Indian Army’s structure “is pretty different,” the US army official wire release quotes the 25-year-old parachute rigger-qualified officer as saying.

“When you are an officer on post, they cook your meal for you, or they deliver it to your room. They clean your bathroom for you every day. They mop your floors in your room every day. They even make your bed for you every day, and they do your laundry every single day,” says Condyles.

The observations make Indian Army officers touchy. Former army chief General V.K. Singh had proposed to do away with the sahayak system and replace them with civilians. He had argued it was not proper for professional soldiers to be forced to do such work.

A parliamentary standing committee has also recommended the abolition of the system dating back to the British Indian Army. The British have done away with it.

But Condyles says that life was difficult in Agra, even with the conveniences. “I had electricity about 40 to 50 per cent of the time,” she says in the account.

The parachute rigger-qualification course trains soldiers in lashing and packaging equipment, including food and hardware, for airdrops. Many of the Indian Army’s forward posts — such as those in Siachen — are “air-maintained”.

Laura Condyles said she was the first foreign officer to qualify with an ‘I” grade — meaning she showed skills good enough for her to be an instructor. “I got it! I’m the first foreign officer that’s ever gotten the “i” grade before, so that was pretty neat!”

“I loved it! I had a great time,” said Condyles. “The cool thing was I’m the first American that went to the course. They had other foreign officers that went to this course before too, one from Sri Lanka, one from Ethiopia, from Nepal, and Pakistan.”

The American officer is wrong when she says a Pakistani was also part of the course. The Indian Army has no personnel exchange programme with Pakistan.

“They drop live animals,” she was quoted. “They put chickens and goats on a platform and drop them in for food”.

Condyles said cows would often enter the air force station in Agra and even the hangars in which the equipment was parachute-rigged. Among the rations dropped during the course were bagged items, tent supplies, bottles, hay, medical provisions, fish, meat on hoof, meat dressed, frozen meat, chicken dressed, chicken alive, fruits and vegetables, and fuel, oil and lubricants.

“At their motor pools they have temples. So, before you get into a military vehicle and drive away, you have to pray to the gods.” Condyles said.

Source (http://www.telegraphindia.com/1131102/jsp/nation/story_17522994.jsp#.UrxtRNIW1A1)

Officer of Engineers
26 Dec 13,, 18:09
“At their motor pools they have temples. So, before you get into a military vehicle and drive away, you have to pray to the gods.” Condyles said.I do that everytime I get into an Itis.

Pedicabby
26 Dec 13,, 18:39
I do that everytime I get into an Itis.


I learned how to drive on one of those!

Anyway, I am an atheist but I sometimes revert back to my Roman Catholic background and pray while on the road in India. The road system is a shambles. Praying to the gods is a good idea on the off chance they really do exist.

Firestorm
26 Dec 13,, 19:03
Anyway, I am an atheist but I sometimes revert back to my Roman Catholic background and pray while on the road in India. The road system is a shambles. Praying to the gods is a good idea on the off chance they really do exist.

And those roads would look like 8-lane expressways compared some of the ones that the Armymen routinely drive on in the Himalayas. Over there it would be a good idea to pray to Jesus Christ, Allah, all the millions of Hindu gods, Buddha, Ktulhu and the Flying Spaghetti monster before you start your journey.


They drop live animals,” she was quoted. “They put chickens and goats on a platform and drop them in for food
This is true. I recently saw this mentioned by someone on BR as well. Well if the soldiers like fresh meat instead of frozen, let them have it I say.

antimony
26 Dec 13,, 20:51
I hate the fact that the batman system has survived on. Modern professional soldiers really have no reason to act as house servants. Yeah, I know many officers do not treat their sahayaks that way, but it is still a system open for abuse

Agnostic Muslim
27 Dec 13,, 22:22
I hate the fact that the batman system has survived on. Modern professional soldiers really have no reason to act as house servants. Yeah, I know many officers do not treat their sahayaks that way, but it is still a system open for abuse
One of the positive changes Musharraf brought about during his time in power - abolishing the use of 'combat troops' as 'batmen' for officers. The soldiers serving as 'batmen' have been replaced by 'Non Combatant Bearers' (NCB), civilians hired for the job.


The president also approved the Pakistan Army's plan to replace use of combat soldiers as batmen of Officers and Junior Commissioned Officers with a new cadre called Non-Combatant Bearers employed on contract.

The change, affirmed by all Formation Commanders participating in the Conference, will take effect in five months' time starting from August 1 this year. By the end of this year, all combat soldiers will revert to their operational duties.
Pakistan to reduce army size by 50,000 - DAWN.COM (http://www.dawn.com/news/393707/pakistan-to-reduce-army-size-by-50-000)

It appears that a similar debate, on abolishing the 'batman' system in the Indian Army, has been going on for a while:

Dismissing the batman - Times Of India (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2008-11-09/india/27928004_1_army-officer-indian-army-sahayak-system)

antimony
27 Dec 13,, 22:59
It appears that a similar debate, on abolishing the 'batman' system in the Indian Army, has been going on for a while:

Dismissing the batman - Times Of India (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2008-11-09/india/27928004_1_army-officer-indian-army-sahayak-system)

To no avail...

Looking at the TOI report, seems there is an active denial from the service itself, with excuses ranging from "the others guys have them" to "but the 99% don't misuse this" to the ever popular "but they enjoy being menial servants":mad:

I am great fan on our army, but this seriously needs to stop

Agnostic Muslim
27 Dec 13,, 23:09
To no avail...

Looking at the TOI report, seems there is an active denial from the service itself, with excuses ranging from "the others guys have them" to "but the 99% don't misuse this" to the ever popular "but they enjoy being menial servants":mad:

I agree - this kind of 'shifting/sharing blame' tactic when talk of institutional reform comes up occurs often in Pakistan as well: "XYZ institution does the same, so why should this institution adopt reforms?" It really is quite maddening to listen to these excuses, and even more maddening to realize that the journalist/media allow these excuses to fly unchallenged.

IIRC, in the early years of the Zardari led government, a senior elected PPP politician actually said something to the affect of, "all the past governments and military rulers engaged in corruption, so what if a few of our people engage in corruption to a lesser degree ..."

I know for a fact that the PPP's Chief Minister in Balochistan for the majority of their term, Raisani, made some pretty ludicrous comments about the government engaging in illegal activity:

"When questioned by reporters investigating false claims of educational credentials in Pakistani politics he stated "A degree is a degree! Whether fake or genuine, it's a degree! It makes no difference!"

and

"he rejected allegations of corruption against him by asserting that there was 'nothing wrong' with practicing this."

Firestorm
28 Dec 13,, 00:05
^^I see that the TOI article is from 2008. So nothing seems to have come out of it. AFAIK, the Air Force and Navy don't have this system of "Batmen" or "Sahayaks" (helpers) as they are called in India. The Army needs to get rid of it as well. Although the officers interviewed in that article are right when they say that it needs to be removed from the IPS (Indian Police Service) and Paramilitary forces as well.

lemontree
29 Dec 13,, 04:36
American trainee talks of ‘pretty different’ culture of batmen serving officers.....

“When you are an officer on post, they cook your meal for you, or they deliver it to your room. They clean your bathroom for you every day. They mop your floors in your room every day. They even make your bed for you every day, and they do your laundry every single day,” says Condyles.


The above statement is pure crap...
- The meals are made in the company/battery/ sqn cook house. The batman would serve it to you in your bunker. In an operational area, in peace time the bachelor officers dine in the officers mess.
- The cleaning is done by the conservancy staff, who are employed for the purpose. That is their trade.
- The laundry is done by the unit washerman not the batman.

The US officer was in a course of instruction where the orderlies were are civilian employees and not army servicemen. She was at the Parachute Centre and no Indian Paratrooper would have been deputed as her batman. She would have a civilian maid allocated to her.

The batman system is a decent buddy system, that is prone to misuse as any other system. No one is at liberty to comment or pass judgement till they have had been part of the system. People are free to have their opinions, that is all.

Agnostic Muslim
29 Dec 13,, 19:27
... Although the officers interviewed in that article are right when they say that it needs to be removed from the IPS (Indian Police Service) and Paramilitary forces as well.
Yes, but the implementation of reforms in one institution should not be made hostage to the lack of reforms in other institutions. If the proposed reforms are considered to be a positive step, the lack of interest for similar reform in the IPS or other institutions should not be an excuse for going ahead with the reforms in the IA.

Officer of Engineers
30 Dec 13,, 03:59
The US officer was in a course of instruction where the orderlies were are civilian employees and not army servicemen. She was at the Parachute Centre and no Indian Paratrooper would have been deputed as her batman. She would have a civilian maid allocated to her.Since when is a 1LT deserving of a maid?

lemontree
30 Dec 13,, 05:07
Since when is a 1LT deserving of a maid?

Sir, we cannot depute a male as her orderly, hence an a female maid employed by the institution is allocated.
The task of the maid is very simple:
- Attend to the up-keep of the uniforms of the student officer - polishing the accutraments.
- Oversee the cleaning on the student officer's room when she is away for classes. The conservancy staff does the cleaning.
- Since we do not have washing machine equipped laundry houses, the maid delivers and collects the laundry for the student officer. We cannot expect the student officer to go to these locations herself.
- The morning bed tea is delivered by the orderly for student officers (due to large number of student officers, the officers mess does not do this duty).

The above summerises the official duty of the civilian orderly for officers (male/female) during a course of instruction.

Between 4-5 student officers - 1 orderly is deputed. In the unit he is your buddy, doing the same stuff.

Tronic
30 Dec 13,, 06:15
Since when is a 1LT deserving of a maid?

lol. Everything in India is divided by the haves and have nots. While most western armies abolished orderlies post-WW2, IA insists on keeping them.


The above statement is pure crap...
- The meals are made in the company/battery/ sqn cook house. The batman would serve it to you in your bunker. In an operational area, in peace time the bachelor officers dine in the officers mess.
- The cleaning is done by the conservancy staff, who are employed for the purpose. That is their trade.
- The laundry is done by the unit washerman not the batman.

For the junior officers, sure. That doesn't apply as you go up the ranks though. Last time I visited family on the base, they had soldiers driving their kids to tennis practice and swimming lessons, watering the garden, preparing lunch, serving the food and washing the dishes. When me and my cousins hit the shooting range, we had soldiers standing by serving us refreshments while reeling in and resetting the targets. They were all really great chaps though. If soldiers in any western army were deputed for such tasks, they'd probably do them cringing and cussing at you in their head. :biggrin:

In my personal opinion, I don't agree that soldiers should be doing personal household chores for the officers. While there is a cultural difference, it has to be recognized that India's social character has changed quite a bit. Back in the days, India's officer corps was mainly composed of the upper classes, while the soldiers came from mainly the illiterate lower classes or from the rural areas. Today, soldiers and officers alike are both coming from the growing middle class, and having one serve another is resulting in egos being bruised and the rise in officer-soldier brawls. I think it would be very wise for the army to acknowledge this change in character and abolish this system, just as the IAF and IN have done.

bolo121
30 Dec 13,, 06:30
Spot on.
I too remember visiting relatives who were in the IA (medical side) and I saw the same thing, he had people for everything.
Must be very disheartening to join the fauj and then be treated as a servant.

lemontree
30 Dec 13,, 06:48
For the junior officers, sure. That doesn't apply as you go up the ranks though. Last time I visited family on the base, they had soldiers driving their kids to tennis practice and swimming lessons, watering the garden, preparing lunch, serving the food and washing the dishes. When me and my cousins hit the shooting range, we had soldiers standing by serving us refreshments while reeling in and resetting the targets. They were all really great chaps though.
Mate, I'm speaking of officer's...not the ones who misuse the system. I have a better term for them, but since you mentioned family I shall refrain from doing so.


In my personal opinion, I don't agree that soldiers should be doing personal household chores for the officers. While there is a cultural difference, it has to be recognized that India's social character has changed quite a bit. Back in the days, India's officer corps was mainly composed of the upper classes, while the soldiers came from mainly the illiterate lower classes or from the rural areas. Today, soldiers and officers alike are both coming from the growing middle class, and having one serve another is resulting in egos being bruised and the rise in officer-soldier brawls.
Absolutely true, it is these "officers" who spoil the system.


I think it would be very wise for the army to acknowledge this change in character and abolish this system, just as the IAF and IN have done.
The batman system never existed in the the IAF and IN.

Officer of Engineers
30 Dec 13,, 06:56
Sir, we cannot depute a male as her orderly, hence an a female maid employed by the institution is allocated.Captain, I know when in Rome and all that stuff but if it was my LT in there and I learned she was being lazy ... well, Thor would be an angel by comparison. We are expected to do our own chores and the only time when we get our food served to us is when we ordered Pizza ... and you better tip the delivery guy.

Tronic
30 Dec 13,, 07:15
Mate, I'm speaking of officer's...not the ones who misuse the system. I have a better term for them, but since you mentioned family I shall refrain from doing so.


Absolutely true, it is these "officers" who spoil the system.

LT, That is the system. What I described is not an exception but the norm. I have yet to see a senior army officer who does not have soldiers chauffeur his family around. Infact, even back in my highschool days in Patiala, all the army kids would show up for basketball or cricket practice with soldiers carrying their kit bags and waiting to chauffeur them back.



The batman system never existed in the the IAF and IN.

Point taken.

lemontree
30 Dec 13,, 10:22
LT, That is the system. What I described is not an exception but the norm. I have yet to see a senior army officer who does not have soldiers chauffeur his family around. Infact, even back in my highschool days in Patiala, all the army kids would show up for basketball or cricket practice with soldiers carrying their kit bags and waiting to chauffeur them back.
Yes they are the scourge of the system. However, my father trained me differently.

lemontree
30 Dec 13,, 10:49
Captain, I know when in Rome and all that stuff but if it was my LT in there and I learned she was being lazy ... well, Thor would be an angel by comparison. We are expected to do our own chores and the only time when we get our food served to us is when we ordered Pizza ... and you better tip the delivery guy.

Sir, different armies different systems. Its not the question of being lazy or active.
If we had the facilities that your army had, then the same system would be followed.

Please help me out with this simple query:-
- How many Canadian infantry units are deployed in high altitute, where water can only be brought up by Mule GS, in 2 x 200 ltr cans from a natural spring?
- How does your company commander carryout his adm functions? Does he carry his own buckets or does someone help him?

Officer of Engineers
30 Dec 13,, 15:09
I'm an engineer, Captain. I'll be damned if I have to carry a bucket like an infanteer. I have my own hole, thank you very much ... even if I have to blast one myself.

But to answer your question, it's whatever the service battalion gives us. The SQN OC or the BN CO does not get an assistant to help him carry toilet paper.

However, while I can understand the need for such an aide in the field, especially a body guard for the OC or CO, this is on base for one of our 1LTs. She better be doing her own chores.

antimony
30 Dec 13,, 17:30
Mate, I'm speaking of officer's...not the ones who misuse the system. I have a better term for them, but since you mentioned family I shall refrain from doing so.


Absolutely true, it is these "officers" who spoil the system.


The batman system never existed in the the IAF and IN.

Captain,

My beef is not only with officers abusing the system, but with a system that can be abused.

Lets look at it this way. You are in civilian life now. Would you like your companies rules to allow your supervisor to use your services in a personal capacity? He does not have to do that, but if the rules allow him, it is bad.

Or lets look at it this way, should a general be allowed to have a captain wash his clothes? If no, why should an LT (or group of LTs) be allowed to have an orderly do the same. And a cop out by referring to civilian bureaucrats is not ok (even though it is as despicable). The babus have civilian staff attending to their needs, not professional soldiers.

Firestorm
30 Dec 13,, 19:01
The batman system is a decent buddy system, that is prone to misuse as any other system. No one is at liberty to comment or pass judgement till they have had been part of the system. People are free to have their opinions, that is all.

Captain, first of all that is a bit unfair. We pass judgement on the political and bureaucratic systems and criticize them all the time, without being a part of them so to speak. We even criticize other systems prevalent in the Armed forces, like the procurement system. Why should this be any different?

Secondly, you admitted yourself that the system is prone to being misused. So why not change it especially if it is easy to do so? We don't need to get rid of the Sahayaks, just employ civilians who know what they are going to be doing when the accept the job. Employing regular soldiers for these jobs is just wrong. I doubt the young men who throng IA's recruitment drives are looking forward to delivering food for their officers.

lemontree
31 Dec 13,, 04:03
I'm an engineer, Captain. I'll be damned if I have to carry a bucket like an infanteer. I have my own hole, thank you very much ... even if I have to blast one myself.
Fine sir, please do so. If you follow your systems in one of our forward defended localities. The company commander will be busy, cooking, washing, fetching water, and cleaning - I wonder when would he get the time to command his company or carry out ops. Either that or he will look like an inmate of Stalag 17 in a months time.

Sir, with all due respect, toilet paper does not help prepare food, wash or clean. Water does that, and it has to be collected from natural sources that are potential ambush points.


But to answer your question, it's whatever the service battalion gives us. The SQN OC or the BN CO does not get an assistant to help him carry toilet paper.
We do not have a service battalion to spoon feed us, each unit has to carry out its own adm functions.


... this is on base for one of our 1LTs. She better be doing her own chores.
I hope that this point is specified upon when there is another of your officers comes down here. We will follow your system for him/her.

Officer of Engineers
31 Dec 13,, 04:12
Fine sir, please do so. If you follow your systems in one of our forward defended localities. The company commander will be busy, cooking, washing, fetching water, and cleaning - I wonder when would he get the time to command his company or carry out ops. Either that or he will look like an inmate of Stalag 17 in a months time.Yes, Captain, I did washed my own underwear.


Sir, with all due respect, toilet paper does not help prepare food, wash or clean. Water does that, and it has to be collected from natural sources that are potential ambush points.If you talking about an FOP, a detail is designated to do that but it's water for everyone, not just the OC.


We do not have a service battalion to spoon feed us, each unit has to carry out its own adm functions.I just did a quick google. I am actually very, very surprise that you don't have service battalions.


I hope that this point is specified upon when there is another of your officers comes down here. We will follow your system for him/her.The kids will do what the kids will do. Hell, the Chinese did tai chi.

lemontree
31 Dec 13,, 04:15
Captain,

My beef is not only with officers abusing the system, but with a system that can be abused.

[QUOTE]Lets look at it this way. You are in civilian life now. Would you like your companies rules to allow your supervisor to use your services in a personal capacity? He does not have to do that, but if the rules allow him, it is bad.
You cannot compare civilian life to military life. The job of the batman was to take care of the officer's uniforms/horse/saddle in the old days, while today it is limited ti his uniform and as a buddy in war, and that is all. Those who misuse the facility are at fault not the system.


Or lets look at it this way, should a general be allowed to have a captain wash his clothes? If no, why should an LT (or group of LTs) be allowed to have an orderly do the same.
That is not his official duty and those who get that done are poor officers and fare poorly in combat postings.

lemontree
31 Dec 13,, 04:22
Yes, Captain, I did washed my own underwear.

So did I sir, but my uniforms went to the company washerman.


If you talking about an FOP, a detail is designated to do that but it's water for everyone, not just the OC.
Same with us sir. Only my batman would keep one steel bucket for me, and during winters I refused and forbade him to do that because all the streams were frozen, and ensured that the men got their water supply first.

Just as you must have done many time, I melted the snow snow for shaving and tea.


The kids will do what the kids will do. Hell, the Chinese did tai chi.
Sir, your system is an egaletarian one and works for you.
Our system is a remanant of the feudal system, and works for us, because our regimental system is based on caste/community and creed.

Officer of Engineers
31 Dec 13,, 04:27
Sir, your system is an egaletarian one and works for you.Who manages the ammo train?

Blademaster
31 Dec 13,, 04:37
lol. Everything in India is divided by the haves and have nots. While most western armies abolished orderlies post-WW2, IA insists on keeping them.



For the junior officers, sure. That doesn't apply as you go up the ranks though. Last time I visited family on the base, they had soldiers driving their kids to tennis practice and swimming lessons, watering the garden, preparing lunch, serving the food and washing the dishes. When me and my cousins hit the shooting range, we had soldiers standing by serving us refreshments while reeling in and resetting the targets. They were all really great chaps though. If soldiers in any western army were deputed for such tasks, they'd probably do them cringing and cussing at you in their head. :biggrin:

In my personal opinion, I don't agree that soldiers should be doing personal household chores for the officers. While there is a cultural difference, it has to be recognized that India's social character has changed quite a bit. Back in the days, India's officer corps was mainly composed of the upper classes, while the soldiers came from mainly the illiterate lower classes or from the rural areas. Today, soldiers and officers alike are both coming from the growing middle class, and having one serve another is resulting in egos being bruised and the rise in officer-soldier brawls. I think it would be very wise for the army to acknowledge this change in character and abolish this system, just as the IAF and IN have done.

You are so far off based that the above post makes you less credible. My father came from a lower class and he says nothing like you described existed in his regiment. Everyone was treated equally and performance demanded. It would be helpful if you do your research so you come across more credible. Throwing up some baseless conjecture actually doesn't help your point but makes you sound less credible.

lemontree
31 Dec 13,, 04:46
Who manages the ammo train?

Army Ordinance Corps .....forward ordinance depots - collected by HQ Coy of the unit

lemontree
31 Dec 13,, 04:55
You are so far off based that the above post makes you less credible. My father came from a lower class and he says nothing like you described existed in his regiment. Everyone was treated equally and performance demanded. It would be helpful if you do your research so you come across more credible. Throwing up some baseless conjecture actually doesn't help your point but makes you sound less credible.

His views are of what he has seen. Without sounding judgemental, I have seen this happening in certain units where the officer and men come from the same area/ village. They tend to extract unwarrented services that help then in the social standing in their native villages. This was one of the reasons that the army did not commission officers native to the regimental caste in that regiment. Many of my Sikh coursemates ended up in the Madras Regiment - I landed up in the Sikh Li. Only those officers have parental claims got the regiment of their choice (parental claim means - your close blood relative has either commanded/ killed in action/decorated in action - in the unit).

Blademaster
31 Dec 13,, 04:59
His views are of what he has seen. Without sounding judgemental, I have seen this happening in certain units where the officer and men come from the same area/ village. They tend to extract unwarrented services that help then in the social standing in their native villages. This was one of the reasons that the army did not commission officers native to the regimental caste in that regiment. Many of my Sikh coursemates ended up in the Madras Regiment - I landed up in the Sikh Li. Only those officers have parental claims got the regiment of their choice (parental claim means - your close blood relative has either commanded/ killed in action/decorated in action - in the unit).

Whatever, he is making sweeping generalizations that are far off the mark and he had the gall to tell me that in another thread. Well he needs to take his own medicine because based on what my father told me, Tronic is way off the mark and made some unkind words against Tronic when I asked my father about it. My father pretty much think Tronic comes from a village that is missing its village idiot.

Bigfella
31 Dec 13,, 05:20
Whatever, he is making sweeping generalizations that are far off the mark and he had the gall to tell me that in another thread. Well he needs to take his own medicine because based on what my father told me, Tronic is way off the mark and made some unkind words against Tronic when I asked my father about it. My father pretty much think Tronic comes from a village that is missing its village idiot.

Says a lot about the quality of his source of information.

Blademaster
31 Dec 13,, 05:53
Says a lot about the quality of his source of information.

Do not know if this is addressed to me or not. But the quality of my source of information is good especially when he was a former combat veteran and retired Captain in the Indian Army.

My father served for 5 years and rose up to the rank of captain and he says nowhere he saw that kind of system that Tronic was referring to and that was back in the early 60s to late 60s. Everybody was treated on merits. Furthermore, he said batboys were needed because they had no service companies that would handle large scale back end service as Lemontree alluded to and furthermore, batboy system were instrumental in teaching the basic tenets of soldiering in the field and a time honored way of passing along soldiering skills to batboys who could not serve in combat roles due to their young age or whatever reason such as disability but needed to stay in the army as a source of income. Furthermore out in the field, batboys were more trusted than civilians hired as help and could be relied on to bring intel from the locals since batboys would be needed to interact with the locals to secure the supplies and the locals were more talkative to batboys than to the officers.

My father says that after the Independence, there was a great drive to make the Indian Army equal and the IA went on with zeal to demolish the martial race theory and one of the best way to do it was to treat everybody equal. My father said he even saw a person from the upper class serving as batboy to a lower class officer.

He said batboys went on to serve as officers and senior NCOs after learning the basics of soldiering.

Sure when I visited my dad's regiment base, there were soldiers saluting my father and running around to get refreshments and doing a couple duties that would be normally reserved for domestic help but given the security situation, such access to crucial base functions could not be left to the civilians. Soldiers and officers need to feel that they are in a secured environment and not in bandit country. So hired help from the outside were confined to duties that would not impact the security scenario.

I visited the home of an active IA general several years ago and he had one or two batboys in his house but they served as the head of the staff and would direct the hired help. They were not doing menial chores.

Tronic's impression is vastly different from mine and does not speak for my experience or others.

Bigfella
31 Dec 13,, 06:24
Do not know if this is addressed to me or not. But the quality of my source of information is good especially when he was a former combat veteran and retired Captain in the Indian Army.


So much for having me on ignore. Good.

It refers to the basis on which your father formed his opinion of Tronic - what you've told him. You stalk people across threads simply to 'square up' for some real or imagined sleight. I can't imagine a less reliable source. Using that as a basis to name call is pretty tragic stuff.

Blademaster
31 Dec 13,, 06:41
So much for having me on ignore. Good.

It refers to the basis on which your father formed his opinion of Tronic - what you've told him. You stalk people across threads simply to 'square up' for some real or imagined sleight. I can't imagine a less reliable source. Using that as a basis to name call is pretty tragic stuff.

And unlike what you do in other posts do not amount to stalking? I do recall several posts of yours that could be rightly attributed stalking but I do not have the time to do a search for it because you are simply not worth my time. And furthermore, that didn't stop you from denigrating or patronizing other people's posts when you criticize me for denigrating Tronic's post (rightly so because his post was so far off the mark and painted IA in a bad light that it did not deserve to be).

By the way, if Tronic makes a mistake, I am well within my rights to call him up as obviously he saw within his rights to call me up. By the way, if you are so concerned about my posts why didn't you do the same who make such posts against me.

Yes I should have kept you on ignore because you are very typical of being two faced about it. It is my fault for believing that you could have something else to say than make a ad hominem attack and being fairminded.

Back to the ignore list.

Tronic
31 Dec 13,, 08:22
His views are of what he has seen. Without sounding judgemental, I have seen this happening in certain units where the officer and men come from the same area/ village. They tend to extract unwarrented services that help then in the social standing in their native villages. This was one of the reasons that the army did not commission officers native to the regimental caste in that regiment. Many of my Sikh coursemates ended up in the Madras Regiment - I landed up in the Sikh Li. Only those officers have parental claims got the regiment of their choice (parental claim means - your close blood relative has either commanded/ killed in action/decorated in action - in the unit).

My observations come from an armoured regiment, which is all-India all-class composition.



Whatever, he is making sweeping generalizations that are far off the mark and he had the gall to tell me that in another thread. Well he needs to take his own medicine because based on what my father told me, Tronic is way off the mark and made some unkind words against Tronic when I asked my father about it. My father pretty much think Tronic comes from a village that is missing its village idiot.

Oh, how very suave. :rolleyes:

Here's more for you and your pops to chew;

I was in the Air Force and was once admitted to the military hospital for an eye injury. A jawan who was in the same ward appeared fit and healthy. I asked him, after a couple of days, why the hospital did not discharge him. He said innocently that although he was fit to be discharged, he had been given the duty of fetching milk for the family of the colonel (eye surgeon) every morning. He would be discharged after the colonel saheb got a sahayak [batman].

Sanish Chandra,

Bilaspur

I am a sailor with the Indian Navy, presently attached to the Army. Sahayaks have to obey not only the officers to whom they are attached but their entire families. What kind of work they do is better left unsaid. All army personnel are government servants; some of them should not be made personal servants of officers. As for those who support the Sahayak system (including those who argue that sahayaks are like family members), I have a question: will they or their family members do for the sahayak what he does for them — even for a day?

Upender K. Pandey,

Kochi

Sahayak woes - The Hindu (http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/sahayak-woes/article4567611.ece)



Your story has so many holes, you can drive a truck through it...


Do not know if this is addressed to me or not. But the quality of my source of information is good especially when he was a former combat veteran and retired Captain in the Indian Army.

My father served for 5 years and rose up to the rank of captain and he says nowhere he saw that kind of system that Tronic was referring to and that was back in the early 60s to late 60s. Everybody was treated on merits. Furthermore, he said batboys were needed because they had no service companies that would handle large scale back end service as Lemontree alluded to and furthermore, batboy system were instrumental in teaching the basic tenets of soldiering in the field and a time honored way of passing along soldiering skills to batboys who could not serve in combat roles due to their young age or whatever reason such as disability but needed to stay in the army as a source of income. Furthermore out in the field, batboys were more trusted than civilians hired as help and could be relied on to bring intel from the locals since batboys would be needed to interact with the locals to secure the supplies and the locals were more talkative to batboys than to the officers.


The argument from the army for keeping batmen is that it is a "buddy system", just as LT alluded to in post #9, i.e., the officers are banking on the sahayaks to cover their back in combat, not "passing along soldiering skills to batboys who could not serve in combat roles due to their young age or whatever reason such as disability but needed to stay in the army as a source of income." :rolleyes: (Besides, since when did the army started recruiting and then excusing recruits from combat roles "due to their young age". :biggrin:)

And first time hearing Bat"boys", nice play of words there..


My father says that after the Independence, there was a great drive to make the Indian Army equal and the IA went on with zeal to demolish the martial race theory and one of the best way to do it was to treat everybody equal. My father said he even saw a person from the upper class serving as batboy to a lower class officer.

He said batboys went on to serve as officers and senior NCOs after learning the basics of soldiering.

I have no idea what sahayaks/batmen have to do with the martial race theory. How they demolished the martial race theory was by reducing the number of recruits from the "martial races" and recruiting them on a population-proportion basis.


Sure when I visited my dad's regiment base, there were soldiers saluting my father and running around to get refreshments and doing a couple duties that would be normally reserved for domestic help but given the security situation, such access to crucial base functions could not be left to the civilians. Soldiers and officers need to feel that they are in a secured environment and not in bandit country. So hired help from the outside were confined to duties that would not impact the security scenario.

All soldiers salute officers, that has nothing to do with batmen or sahayaks. The issue here is about orderlies assigned to officers for their personal benefit.


I visited the home of an active IA general several years ago and he had one or two batboys in his house but they served as the head of the staff and would direct the hired help. They were not doing menial chores.

I could be wrong, but I don't think your "active IA general" is even allowed to have two batmen in his house to start off with.. :whome:

lemontree
31 Dec 13,, 08:44
My observations come from an armoured regiment, which is all-India all-class composition.

I had taken a wild guess that it would have been an armd unit, but did not mention it at the risk of sounding judgemental :)


The argument from the army for keeping batmen is that it is a "buddy system", just as LT alluded to in post #9, i.e., the officers are banking on the sahayaks to cover their back in combat,
Were the hell did I give you an idea that they will cover the officers backs in combat - it works both ways?


The issue here is about orderlies assigned to officers for their personal benefit.
No officer is allocated a batman for personal use. It is the misuse that needs to be corrected.


I could be wrong, but I don't think your "active IA general" is even allowed to have two batmen in his house to start off with.. :whome:
You are wrong. A serving general will always have one batman from his parent regiment/battalion and one from the formation that he is commanding.

Tronic
31 Dec 13,, 08:59
I had taken a wild guess that it would have been an armd unit, but did not mention it at the risk of sounding judgemental :)

Alright, though the troops were not from the same villages, or even from the same states. They ranged from Kangra, UP, MP, and the driver was from Southern India, a Keralite.


Were the hell did I give you an idea that they will cover the officers backs in combat - it works both ways?

Ofcourse, I didn't mean to imply that it's only one way. Just try explaining to BM what a buddy system is.


No officer is allocated a batman for personal use. It is the misuse that needs to be corrected.

That's easy to correct. Actually outline the duties of the batman to be used only for assistance in official duties. Polishing boots, tending to uniforms, etc, are not official duties but personal. What construes as "misuse" is quite hazy when the army itself has not strictly defined the role of the batmen.



You are wrong. A serving general will always have one batman from his parent regiment/battalion and one from the formation that he is commanding.

I stand corrected. So is being in the General's house, tending to guests, acting as head of staff for the hired help, part of their official duties?

lemontree
31 Dec 13,, 09:14
Alright, though the troops were not from the same villages, or even from the same states. They ranged from Kangra, UP, MP, and the driver was from Southern India, a Keralite.
I am aware of the the units that belong to 1 Armd Div. I was giving an example of how things existed and how the army has tried to change things.


That's easy to correct. Actually outline the duties of the batman to be used only for assistance in official duties. Polishing boots, tending to uniforms, etc, are not official duties but personal. What construes as "misuse" is quite hazy when the army itself has not strictly defined the role of the batmen.
All the duties are outlined. What is missing is the forum to raise a complaint. Now, in a fighting arm this is another problem, if you complain against your seniors then this is taken as detrimental to unit dicipline -meaning "will you also question the commanders decision during combat".


So is being in the General's house, tending to guests, acting as head of staff for the hired help, part of their official duties?
For senior flag officers, that was how it existed in the old days. You dont get to see this now. There are many unwritten traditions followed in combat arms, that do not exist in the services.

Tronic
31 Dec 13,, 09:55
I am aware of the the units that belong to 1 Armd Div.

33rd Armoured, not 1st Armoured.

I'm not talking about the local cantt in Patiala.


I was giving an example of how things existed and how the army has tried to change things.

Fair enough.


All the duties are outlined. What is missing is the forum to raise a complaint. Now, in a fighting arm this is another problem, if you complain against your seniors then this is taken as detrimental to unit dicipline -meaning "will you also question the commanders decision during combat".

That is ofcourse an issue and a very widespread one at that. However, what I am saying is that the duties should be outlined as "batman to be used only for assistance in official duties." The duties which are outlined are personal duties, not official. The officers can tend to their own uniforms, and maintain their own weapons. Abuse happens the moment the Sahayaks are ordered to serve inside an officer's home.


For senior flag officers, that was how it existed in the old days. You dont get to see this now. There are many unwritten traditions followed in combat arms, that do not exist in the services.

Old days was colonial culture. Batman and orderlies are remnants of the colonial past. It has to be shed.

antimony
02 Jan 14,, 18:59
You cannot compare civilian life to military life. The job of the batman was to take care of the officer's uniforms/horse/saddle in the old days, while today it is limited ti his uniform and as a buddy in war, and that is all. Those who misuse the facility are at fault not the system.


Captain, I beg to differ. I cannot comment on combat postings, but for peacetime locations and postings I do not see why sahayaks should be made available. Even for combat postings, since most if not all armies have done away with them, I do not see how this role is indispensable but will withdraw to your judgement for now.



For senior flag officers, that was how it existed in the old days. You dont get to see this now. There are many unwritten traditions followed in combat arms, that do not exist in the services.

If this is not misuse, I don't know what is.



Sir, your system is an egaletarian one and works for you.
Our system is a remanant of the feudal system, and works for us, because our regimental system is based on caste/community and creed.

And this is my biggest beef. Since 1947, we have been trying to shed our colonial past to become a modern democratic egalitarian society. Obviously we are not there, but in the army it seems these old repressive traditions are being clung to rather than discarded. We promise ourselves of this more open society, and then we deny it to those sworn to protect us.

On a side note, I hope you would not take my criticisms of the system personally. I have not doubt that you have kept the dignity of your position.

Officer of Engineers
02 Jan 14,, 20:04
And this is my biggest beef. Since 1947, we have been trying to shed our colonial past to become a modern democratic egalitarian society. Obviously we are not there, but in the army it seems these old repressive traditions are being clung to rather than discarded. We promise ourselves of this more open society, and then we deny it to those sworn to protect us.Believe me when I tell you that the army is a reflection of society. Some after a service in the combat arms wants to be a cook or a truck driver (ie Service Battalion). There are some, even in my army, who are abtly suited and wants to be batmen.

Or you can have the Pentagon disease where Majors and Colonels serve coffee and snacks.

Of course, no such thing at NDHQ. We have to buy own coffee. Even the Chief of Defence Staff.

antimony
02 Jan 14,, 21:53
Believe me when I tell you that the army is a reflection of society. Some after a service in the combat arms wants to be a cook or a truck driver (ie Service Battalion). There are some, even in my army, who are abtly suited and wants to be batmen.


Col,
That may be so, but to me, making professional soldiers do household chores is an absolute misuse.

As I said, I will not comment on that suitability of the system in a combat location, but in noncombat/ peace locations I am sure that there would be MOD employed civilian employees, who would perform some of these functions for the civil service officers. Unlike the servicemen, they would also have their own unions, which can tighten the screws if there is any abuse.

Of course, I personally hate this office peon/ orderly business. Like you, I get my own coffee, so I can't see why others cannot do that either.

On a tangential note:
I did not get a chance to weigh in on the Khobragade issue before that thread got locked. Although I fully believe the US officials were wrong in violating her diplomatic immunity, I cannot sympathize too much with her notions of needing househelp, when in our house we do our own stuff.

Officer of Engineers
02 Jan 14,, 22:04
Of course, I personally hate this office peon/ orderly business. Like you, I get my own coffee, so I can't see why others cannot do that either.Actually, I was making a joke that we're too cheap to have office coffee. I was a two pots a day person.

Doktor
02 Jan 14,, 22:22
Of course, no such thing at NDHQ. We have to buy own coffee. Even the Chief of Defence Staff.

Hmm... this is a bit in contrast of what our guys said for your guys over here. Allegedly your guys have filled fridges with soft beverages that are unlocked 24/7.

Not sure about the coffee machine. Maybe that's how they keep the fridges 'free':matrix:

antimony
02 Jan 14,, 23:55
Actually, I was making a joke that we're too cheap to have office coffee. I was a two pots a day person.

Well, it struck a chord.

Personal story : At one point of time I left a lean mean mid sized tech company to join a bank. I was amazed to see an office peon getting me my morning coffee and keeping track of my paperwork (suddenly there seemed to be a lot of actual paper moving around, but that's more of a testament to how business happens in India). After some time, this practice of bringing coffee, which I view as outdated and colonial, came to an end, and there was muted discontent among my colleagues, who saw it as a "perk".

Then I moved to another large Multinational tech company, where again it was all egalitarian self help, until I had a chance to have coffee with a close colleague. While I got my own coffee, someone brought him his cup, as he was one level above me and that is apparently one of the "perks". Weird!

Firestorm
03 Jan 14,, 00:25
Antimony, we have to realize that because labor is so cheap in India, this is not going to completely go away anytime soon. Even the office peon, who probably has minimal education, needs a job to feed his family. Unless the vast majority of the population gets better education and access to better jobs, these "perks" will continue. The difference in this case of course is that the peon knew exactly what kind of job he was being hired for. He can't be compared to the batmen in the Army who are basically regular soldiers like anybody else. They aren't peons and should not be treated as such. The Army can hire civilians to do their jobs. Civilians who know what their job description is when they join up.

Officer of Engineers
03 Jan 14,, 00:32
Hmm... this is a bit in contrast of what our guys said for your guys over here. Allegedly your guys have filled fridges with soft beverages that are unlocked 24/7.Didn't like all that sugar and coke really does not go with cigars.

lemontree
03 Jan 14,, 03:11
Captain, I beg to differ. I cannot comment on combat postings, but for peacetime locations and postings I do not see why sahayaks should be made available. Even for combat postings, since most if not all armies have done away with them, I do not see how this role is indispensable but will withdraw to your judgement for now.
......................

And this is my biggest beef. Since 1947, we have been trying to shed our colonial past to become a modern democratic egalitarian society. Obviously we are not there, but in the army it seems these old repressive traditions are being clung to rather than discarded. We promise ourselves of this more open society, and then we deny it to those sworn to protect us.

On a side note, I hope you would not take my criticisms of the system personally. I have not doubt that you have kept the dignity of your position.

We have an army that is based on regiment/ clan system. This is a feudal system.
You cannot get rid of baggage of history, this history has given the armed forces 300 years of tradition. The reason men died and fought to the last man and last round, in Badgam 1948, Namka Chu, Chushul and Razang La in 1962 is because of the ethos and traditions of the last 300 years. We are an open society.

No system is bad, no army/ regiment is bad - there are only good and bad officers.

antimony
03 Jan 14,, 06:00
Antimony, we have to realize that because labor is so cheap in India, this is not going to completely go away anytime soon. Even the office peon, who probably has minimal education, needs a job to feed his family. Unless the vast majority of the population gets better education and access to better jobs, these "perks" will continue.

And we have not been able to provide that better education after 60 years of independence. Shame on us

We need to drive in the view that government jobs are a drain on the economy. The real productive jobs get generated in the private sector, and there you have less of this menial work thing



The difference in this case of course is that the peon knew exactly what kind of job he was being hired for. He can't be compared to the batmen in the Army who are basically regular soldiers like anybody else. They aren't peons and should not be treated as such. The Army can hire civilians to do their jobs. Civilians who know what their job description is when they join up.

My point exactly

Doktor
03 Jan 14,, 07:53
Didn't like all that sugar and coke really does not go with cigars.

I feel with you.

On a side note, some might say that the sugar, not derived from Coke, is good for brain activity and muscles. Coke, OTOH is good as a WD-40 replacement.

Blademaster
03 Jan 14,, 07:53
Captain, I beg to differ. I cannot comment on combat postings, but for peacetime locations and postings I do not see why sahayaks should be made available. Even for combat postings, since most if not all armies have done away with them, I do not see how this role is indispensable but will withdraw to your judgement for now.



If this is not misuse, I don't know what is.



And this is my biggest beef. Since 1947, we have been trying to shed our colonial past to become a modern democratic egalitarian society. Obviously we are not there, but in the army it seems these old repressive traditions are being clung to rather than discarded. We promise ourselves of this more open society, and then we deny it to those sworn to protect us.

On a side note, I hope you would not take my criticisms of the system personally. I have not doubt that you have kept the dignity of your position.

You may not realize but many butlers in US can be former US servicemen and can make quite bit of money.

Sahayaks were not ordered to served in the generals' homes. They did of their own volition because the pay was better and they were managing staff despite what Tronic thinks. The general's home that I have been to, the sahayak was in a position of authority among the staff and was dressed impeccably. And there was a strong sense of camaraderie between the general and the sahayak.

Some people don't realize that some soldiers prefer to serve in the role of sahayak because it provides a steady stream of income and some of them are disabled and cannot do other tasks or gain meaningful employment outside of the army and the only jobs that they can find. My father told me that he knew an officer had a sahayak serving as a household staff and it was done on the request of the sahayak, not at the officer's request because the sahayak had sustained a disability and the disability money he was getting from the army was not enough so he needed the extra money and could only get it by continuing to serve in the army but as part of the household staff.

So there is more to the story that meets the eye. Remember in the western armies, disabled veterans get quite a healthy compensation in contrast to disabled soldiers in India. Surviving on disability payments in India is not even possible especially when you have family to feed. By serving as a sahayak and domestic staff, you get access to free lodging, free food, free medical care, and all other benefits that one would not get after he was done with the army service.

Agnostic Muslim
03 Jan 14,, 17:00
It would appear, from the article below, that the Indian Army is going in the same direction as the Pakistan Army in abolishing the Sahayak/Batman System (with Sahayaks sourced from within the Army) and contracting civilians for those tasks. However, given Lemontree's expressions of support for the existing system, I am unsure as to whether the proposal has moved any further than a 'positive response from the defence minister'.

Army gears up for life without its 'buddies'
Josy Joseph, TNN May 3, 2012, 01.13AM IST

NEW DELHI: It's a system that is often decried as colonial, but evokes considerable nostalgia among children of Army officers who grew up thinking of the 'Bhaiyyas' as members of their extended family. Now, in a surprise move, the Indian Army has come up with a proposal to end the 'sahayak' system, or deputing trained soldiers to do personal work of officers.

The proposal was submitted to the defence ministry in early April, and has received a "positive" response from defence minister A K Antony, sources said.

Estimates vary, but at least 30,000 combatants, more than an Army Corps strength, are believed to be deployed to assist serving officers and their families as part of the buddy system.

The Army headquarters has suggested that the 'sahayaks' be replaced by civilian personnel. Sources said Shimla-based Army Training Command carried out a detailed study of the concept of buddy system existing in major armies around the world. The study was ordered by General V K Singh early on his tenure as Army chief. The training command submitted several scenarios, from which the final 'solution' was submitted to the ministry.

Besides instances of misuse of these soldiers, there has also been concern about the kind of jobs they are made to do, and it being an affront to soldiers' self-esteem. The parliamentary standing committee on defence had called for its end, and Antony too has been in favour of abolishing it.

The Army proposes to replace soldiers with two kinds of civilians - Service Assistants (SA) and Non-Combatant Assistants (NCA). It would require 2,358 SAs and 22,620 NCAs to replace sahayaks. The Army has projected a monthly expenditure of Rs 3.54 crore for the SAs and Rs 11.31 crore for NCAs. The annual expenditure for the civilian setup to be brought in place of 'sahayaks' would be Rs 178.20 crore a year, according to Army estimates.

The proposal is to provide service assistants to all the 'flag ranks', officers above the rank of brigadier. There are 1,510 officers in the flag ranks of brigadiers, major generals, lieutenant generals and general.

Of the 1,414 colonels holding command of battalions, the 848 who are in family stations would also be entitled to SAs. Together, 2,358 SAs would be required, Army says. Each of these SAs would cost the exchequer Rs 15,000 per month.

There are 30,450 'field ranks' (major, lieutenant colonel and colonel), excluding the 1,414 colonels who are commanding battalions. Of them, 18,270 are in peace stations while 12,180 are in field stations. The Army has proposed that those in peace stations (18,270) would be authorized a non-combatant assistant each. The NCAs can be hired on a contract of Rs 5,000 per month, the Army suggested.

In the rank of captain and lieutenant, the Army has a sanctioned strength of 14,500 officers. Of them, 8,700 are in peace stations while the remaining 5,800 are posted in the field. Only those posted in peace stations would be entitled to NCAs, that too two officers will share one NCA. This would mean that 4,350 NCAs would be required for captains and lieutenants.
Army gears up for life without its 'buddies' - Times Of India (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-05-03/india/31555612_1_army-gears-colonels-sas)

antimony
04 Jan 14,, 00:24
You may not realize but many butlers in US can be former US servicemen and can make quite bit of money.

"Former" US servicemen, as opposed to "serving"



Sahayaks were not ordered to served in the generals' homes. They did of their own volition because the pay was better and they were managing staff despite what Tronic thinks.

And you know this definitively for all/ majority of sahayaks across all/ majority units, serving all/ majority of officers ?



The general's home that I have been to, the sahayak was in a position of authority among the staff and was dressed impeccably. And there was a strong sense of camaraderie between the general and the sahayak.


He is serving the General, he had better be presentable



Some people don't realize that some soldiers prefer to serve in the role of sahayak because it provides a steady stream of income and some of them are disabled and cannot do other tasks or gain meaningful employment outside of the army and the only jobs that they can find. My father told me that he knew an officer had a sahayak serving as a household staff and it was done on the request of the sahayak, not at the officer's request because the sahayak had sustained a disability and the disability money he was getting from the army was not enough so he needed the extra money and could only get it by continuing to serve in the army but as part of the household staff.


For soldiers who are more enamored in serving as household staff, I suggest they resign and take that up as their vocation. As a country we will get more bang for our defense budget buck if we actually have soldiers fulfilling the role of soldiers, not house staff.

antimony
04 Jan 14,, 00:25
It would appear, from the article below, that the Indian Army is going in the same direction as the Pakistan Army in abolishing the Sahayak/Batman System (with Sahayaks sourced from within the Army) and contracting civilians for those tasks. However, given Lemontree's expressions of support for the existing system, I am unsure as to whether the proposal has moved any further than a 'positive response from the defence minister'.

Its a two year old article with zero action after that, what do you think?

antimony
04 Jan 14,, 00:26
We have an army that is based on regiment/ clan system. This is a feudal system.
You cannot get rid of baggage of history, this history has given the armed forces 300 years of tradition. The reason men died and fought to the last man and last round, in Badgam 1948, Namka Chu, Chushul and Razang La in 1962 is because of the ethos and traditions of the last 300 years. We are an open society.

No system is bad, no army/ regiment is bad - there are only good and bad officers.

I beg to differ. Armies with regiment/ clan system and with illustrious battle records have done away with it, I don't see why we have to hold on to this particular tradition.

Agnostic Muslim
04 Jan 14,, 19:30
Its a two year old article with zero action after that, what do you think?
What is the BJP's position on the proposal?

Perhaps, given opposition to the proposal from elements within the army (and former Army officials), the Congress led government chose to put the issue on the back-burner with the elections in mind. The current Indian government is already facing 'broadsides' from the BJP over being 'weak on national security', and this issue could have been distorted into an 'attack on the Indian Army and national security' by the political opposition.

antimony
06 Jan 14,, 05:54
What is the BJP's position on the proposal?

Perhaps, given opposition to the proposal from elements within the army (and former Army officials), the Congress led government chose to put the issue on the back-burner with the elections in mind. The current Indian government is already facing 'broadsides' from the BJP over being 'weak on national security', and this issue could have been distorted into an 'attack on the Indian Army and national security' by the political opposition.

To be honest, in the scale of problems facing the country, this would rank 25th among the top 10 issues. It just rankles me that even though comparatively it is a smaller issue, it is still thoroughly unjust.

I expect zero movement on this issue, unless something drastic happens.