Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Is there a tendency to show the defence forces in bad light because of OROP?

I've always been an ardent reader of the ToI for quite a few years. It's because, I'd always thought that the paper covered news in an objective manner and had a wide range of reportage. However, of late, from many of the articles that I've been reading, a disappointment of sorts has been building up deep within. The immediate provocation has been the coverage on the 'One Rank One Pension(OROP)' demand made by the defence forces.

The sentiments expressed reminds me of an aunt's reaction to OROP. The well meaning person that she is and I must ascertain, quite fond of me said the other day, during her visit to my house, after a visit to the Guruvayur temple and I quote, "Why're you asking a cash strapped(?) government for so much. You get your free rations, free booze and most of the things subsidised through your canteens that it's preposterous that you should be asking for a yearly hike in pension and other perks". Mind you she's a government servant placed in a good appointment and doing well, professionally!

It was then that I realised that she was ignorant of even the basics. I mean, how do I convince her that I don't get free rations, free booze or subsidised items? If an educated(?) individual like her can harbour such thoughts why blame the many who write all sorts of articles in the newspapers/magazines and those who come up on panel discussions on the various television channels who never care to keep abreast of the facts or research on the subject that they provide opinions on? The case in point is Chetan Bhagat's - unfortunately, the son of a gentleman that had donned the uniform - article on OROP! By now, he must be privy to several angry retorts from a wide section of the society and I don't want to add to it but personally, I still fail to understand as to what made him write that goddamn piece!!

Threats like the paramilitary veterans are also getting ready to start an agitation asking for OROP seem to be meant to tell the armed forces veterans, "Look at what you've done. You've opened up the floodgates of similar demands which is not fair!"

As history points out, the armed forces had graciously agreed to less pay and perks compared to their counterparts, the world over, on the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru's request against the poor economic state of the country at the time of Independence. That it continued to get systematically reduced along with its status in the pecking order by the crafty machinations of the bureaucracy over a period of time - a phenomenon/tussle that exists between the bureaucracy and the armed forces in every democracy - has brought about the present standoff.  

With PM Modi, firmly committed to providing the OROP, I'm sure the end of the unnecessary logjam is in sight.


Earlier, my maman and folks had fetched up, from Thiruvananthapuram, an hour past midnight. The house is full of noise and mirth, after a long time.     

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