CODE OF CONDUCT!
WERE WE DOING IT WRONG?
Maj Gen Lav Bikram Chand, VSM, Retd
I saw a TV interview of Ex AG on social media (not sure if it has been aired on NewsX). The interview gave a feel of categorising all veterans as indisciplined lacking code of conduct and self discipline.
It appeared that, these remarks were based upon a detailed study by AHQ, that they found the cause and a remedy to bad conduct by veterans and thus have arrived at a well informed decision to spell out code of conduct.
Being a third generation fauji who grew up listening to the stories of valour of my forefathers, their units and the men it shook me.
Having retired just about a year and a half back, it made me wonder what has changed in this short span of time? Is my Army so weak that core values deteriorate so suddenly? If not, then how / why did we senior officers miss the initial rot setting in?
My write up is covering the journey of most of my friends from birth in Army life to Retirement and asking some questions.
I was born in an Army (Defence) Family,
It was not my choice; was it God’s? May be!
Did He get his placement wrong?
I heard stories of valour, sacrifice of my father and forefathers in the battle, across continents!(or unit legends for that matter)
Did I Hear them wrong?
My uncles and Brothers had a choice.
Most of them joined NDA, some joined IMA and a few OTA(S). There was no compulsion, they had best education (premier schools preferred Fauji Children then) their hearts and mind drove them to Military training institutions
Did their heart and mind mislead them?
I saw them come home during term breaks, Proudly wearing their crested academy blazers.
In the streets they were looked upon with admiring gazes, Despite excellent results in final board exams;
I too joined NDA, proudly wore the NDA Blazer.
Did I wear it wrong?
I was subjected to psychological evaluation in SSBs, they found me OK and balanced. My DivOs, Platoon Commanders assessed me for OLQ (Officer Like Quality),
If found lacking relegation; separation from your original course was a means of realisation.
No one looked down upon them, they were given honorary and respectful ranks of Brigadiers, Generals and some even field marshals by cadets.
Did they do it wrong? Did they(cadets) get the strength of unity wrong?
We joined the Paltans, our trial by fire was set in motion.
Ustads came in many forms- NCOs JCOs, Senior Subalterns, 2IC, CO, role model Commanders, list is endless….
Did my Ustads do it wrong?
I married, had children, they saw what Insaw in my forefathers.
They appreciated what I had become. Many joined Fauj through career or marriage.
Did they see me wrong?
Now, as I complete or have completed; decades ago my Military Service, my code of conduct is being doubted some questions arise-
Will I make the same choice in next life? Will I tread the same path?
Will I be willing to go through the same trial by fire? Will Intrust my ustads?
Will I willingly follow my Commander unquestioningly into danger and certain death? Will I remain a role model for my Children and grandchildren?
The answer my friends is a Big Big YES!!!
So my Friend, as you publicly sow the seeds of doubt regarding my character that you moulded, I rightfully have some questions too because since I belong to olive greens by birth and hold a proud position in my family tree.
Were the celebrations of Year of Veteran a Farce?
Are the posts of ADGPI acknowledging the work of Veterans a TRP exercise?
Is the warm send off I get from the Chief in 129D South Block a Handshake that I can still feel and visualise fake?
Despite the Fauj making me self reliant on second innings, I still look forward to shake hands with my serving Faujis. Why is this umbilical cord defying laws of nature?
I now have reconnected with my school
friends (and they are our first true friends), can choose who to socialise with, why do I still, so easily connect with any fauji?
I am financially secure, can stay in good hotels, don’t think twice while ordering wine while I dine out. Why do I still feel at home in comparatively frugal Fauji messes? Why does the Fauji rum give a different kick? You think it is free hospitality that I look for?
Is your assessment system not strong enough to weed out most of the unsuitable elements right in the formative years of one’s career?
Is unit dastoor so weak that I have overnight, become indisciplined?
Was the wreath laid on my father’s body on behalf of My Chief a mark of respect acknowledging his valour in WE II, 1971 ops (for that is the last war he participated in) a show? The respect that he (father) gets as Founding Father of 66 Field (now Medium) Regiment a put on?
I am sure beyond any doubt that, the answer to all these is NO!!!
So, my brother in arms, how can you be so sure so as to make a Public Statement on National TV doubting my very foundation and negatively, shaking it (trying to)?
I am ever obliged to Army – since Birth. They made me into who I am (Good Man not “A Perfect Man”).