Now, soldiering in India has become unattractive profession

avatar Col Dinesh Kumar (R) Thursday 14th of July 2022 04:53 PM

Indian Army soldiers near the line of actual control with China in Ladakh posing with the national flag.

When soldiers and veterans demanded the implementation of one rank, one pension (OROP), their long outstanding genuine demand, many civilians started vehemently criticizing them and even called names. It was as if the soldiers demanded the moon. Many of those who were part of the cribbers’ bandwagon were members of the current ruling party. The members of the current dispensation often claimed that OROP has been implemented. This is a blatant lie as what was given was a one time increase in pension. Some even made derogatory comments, like “fauji to marne ke liye hi hota hai (a soldier is meant to die)” and words to that effect, including many other maligning comments on soldiers. It almost seemed that it was a campaign against the soldiers of our country.

This “campaign” not only showed those people in poor light but also confirmed their lack of knowledge of what soldiering was all about.

Then, the government shoved the Agnipath recruitment scheme – which many veterans, including star-ranked officers who praised the current government at the drop of a hat – further eroded the sheen of the military and made it a dull-looking liability upon the country. Even this author has written two op-eds [1 and 2] criticizing the government for hastily implementing the Agnipath scheme.

It is, therefore, necessary that these ignoramuses are told what it takes to be a soldier and what encompasses the job called soldiering, including the difference between a soldier’s job and a civilian’s job.

To begin with, let us a peek into the life of a civilian who is either a politician, a government servant or working in the corporate sector:

(a) Comforts of home and office, often in good places.
(b) Hefty compensation and perks, especially for bureaucrats and corporate executives.
(c) Accessibility to modern healthcare for self and family.
(d) Capability to provide good schooling to their children.
(e) Having little or no accountability.
(f) Always with family be it any festival or a family event.
(g) Carefree life with no fear of bullets.

On the other hand, a soldier has:

(a) No comfort of home and office. Life away from the comforts of home. The bunkers, inhospitable terrain, and hostile environment is their “luxury”.
(b) Pay and perks are not as they should be, considering their job.
(c) Normal healthcare while in service, and when it comes to post-retirement healthcare facilities, the less said the better.
(d) Long separation from family is a regular feature.
(e) Good schooling for the children is a dream very few soldiers can fulfil. (I say this with first-hand experience as I failed to send my two kids to a very reputed school as I could not afford it. The deserving denied due to my constraints.)

(f) Always under the shadow of bullets.
(g) Little chance to pursue a hobby barring a few chosen ones.
(h) Fortunate if there is a chance to celebrate festivals with family.
(i) Duty in a strictly disciplined environment.

While there are many sacrifices the soldiering demands, it has few good takeaways as well, like it makes an individual disciplined – a quality which is almost non-existent in civilian jobs. A soldier learns to respect humanity and has no issues with cast, creed, and religion. He learns the values and importance of a family as he stays in a family, which is his unit, away from his own family. His social conduct is almost always exemplary.

In an environment where there are many job options available to choose from, what makes one decide to don the uniform? What is it that makes one choose the path full of uncertainties and danger? This is called “passion”, love for the uniform and the country and a strong desire to carve a name in history. Soldiering is not merely a job; it is an inspiration for everyone. Not everyone is capable of taking up soldiering knowing the risks and hardships involved. It is for only those who “have it in them”.

A good job demands certain qualities in an individual. Here, the very word “SOLDIER” exhibits the following qualities:

S = Self-less
O = Obedient
L = Loyal
D = Disciplined
I = Integrity and indomitable spirit
E = Enthusiastic
R = Reliable

There are many issues which are a hindrance, yet one opts to don the uniform which makes this profession a cut above all.

Therefore, my humble submission to one and all: do not ever berate soldiers, because it is this profession that allows you a free life and peaceful sleep at night. Those who look down upon the soldiers will spoil the hygiene of the surroundings should a bullet go past their ears.

People should know that like civilians, soldiers too have a family and they too desire to lead a good life. Please don’t compare between two incomparable things. Respect soldiering as it is the only job that has no incentives left anymore in our country, today.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of India Sentinels.

© India Sentinels 2022-23


About Us | Contact Us | Privacy | Cookies