Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Untouchable Brahmin

Can not talk, when your head is on fire
Converse, when your heart has been ripped out
You keep trying me
I keep forgiving you

In artificial light, beyond waking hours
Drinks of anger, not celebration
A fury in the blood
An anger of betrayal

The pigeons often bury their heads
Pretend they can stall fate
As my yogic breath stops me from oblivion
I take another sip

In the black hole of love
And the merciless jungle of forbidden desire
There comes a moment
When water no longer douses fire

I deny you, familiarity
Punish you for your nonchalance
But on the way somewhere
Never really get my revenge

This is the way of the stranger
Of the lover, no one wants to acknowledge
An untouchable brahmin
No one wants to touch or see.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Connected by Change, the Human Way

There are old songs on the radio
Songs that force you to imagine
Stories of those who went before
As their music lives on.

Musty old books have love, longing and betrayal
Sarcasm and passion of black and white films
Language and instrument
Object and divine.

The song writer and composers stayed poor
Vicious cycle of the writers poverty, brilliance, waste
The shortness of collective memory
The talent of the prodigal.

Living with the feeling its all been done before
Deja Vu days and weekends, and faster years
God we've known each other forever
Do you remember him or her from that year?

The guilt of bad Karma
The fear of being born an insect
Or the expectation of Moksha
It's all been done before.

Philosophical constructs to live life
To know, wrong, from right, ying and yang
Yet, to somehow live in crime, and dysfunction
That perhaps is the human way.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Manohar Parrikar and Disappointed Veteran OROP Hopes - Letter from Brig Vidyasagar

Courtesy Brig CS Vidyasagar:

Dear Sir,

This is what Shri Manohar Parikkar, hon’ble Defence Minister in his interview to The Economic Times says about OROP: "This one-rank-one pension thing is again complicated; it can't be treated as a dynamic thing where every time someone's pension comes up, everyone else's gets revised."

His statement leaves me in no doubt that he has only heard what his bureaucrats have drilled into him. He would not have said this if he heard his Service Chiefs explaining what is their stand on OROP i.e. any increase in pensions to serving personnel to be passed on to past pensioners.

It is to ensure that at any time pensions of past and present pensioners is same. Otherwise the disparity in pensions shall continue. If pensions are upgraded by any other manner it is not OROP. 

Then let the Govt of India not proclaim it as OROP but call it by any other name say Periodic Enhancement of Pension.

I hope the hon’ble RM knows the pension of Pre – 2006 Sepoy today is Rs 5,000 plus and that of Sepoy of Post 2006 retired in Apr 2014 is Rs 8,000 plus. My arithmetic says difference in two pensions is 60% for two soldiers of same rank, same service and same group.

Mind you who is hon’ble Finance Minister? It is the same person as hon’ble part time RM who has emphatically told delegation of ESM Associations in Jul 2014 to LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS ON OROP.

New Raksha Mantri does not agree to this automatic upgradation of pension of past pensioners. So he consigns the definition of OROP approved by Koshiyari Committee and by Shri AK Antony, former Defence Minister in Apr 2014 into dust bin. Have no doubt on this. It is in Black and White unless hon’ble RM says his comments have been twisted and he never said this.

To be very frank his second statement on OROP has left me totally confused. Here is it what he says: We should have a pay scale kind of scheme, where over a particular period you fix a pension - let us not define the period because we are in active discussion on that with finance ministry - and then at the end of the period they can all get upgraded, or rationalised.

My doubts are:

No 1. What is this pay scale kind of scheme for pensions? Are not pensions depend upon pay scale i.e 50%? Does is mean pay scale for serving personnel is different and scale of pensions is different?

No 2. How is this pay scale kind of scheme of pension going to be made?

No 3. If you do not define a period, then how are you going to upgrade pensions so that gap between pensions of pre – 2006 and post 2006 retirees which is vast (as high as 60% for Sepoys) is going to be reduced or bridged. Then is it OROP?

No 4. What has Ministry of Finance got to do with OROP or any other OP? They are just there to give or take away money earmarked in the budget.

No 5. How is pension upgraded or rationalized at the end of a period? What do you mean by rationalization of pensions? You rationalize something if there is vast variation or you find discrepancies or unacceptable differences.

My assessment is :

Forget OROP for the time being. Even if you get it by end of March 2015 (otherwise Rs 1,500 Crores earmarked for OROP will lapse) it is going to be peanuts by these esoteric terms such as Rationalisation or Upgradation etc.

What is likely to Happen;

Now MoD will throw ball in the court of Min of Finance and tell the whole world that any delay in implementation of OROP is entirely due to Min of Finance. 

Hon'ble PM in his foreign visit to improve bilateral relations with Fiji, Burkino Faso or Liberia will say OROP is close to his heart, to Ms Barkha Dutt of NDTV.

Finance Ministry after sitting on the file till Mar 2015 will return it to MoD saying they have no comments to offer since the matter of OROP exclusively pertains to MoD.

It is upto them to implement or not as per their own understanding of OROP. At this fag end of financial year, no more additional budget can be given to MoD for OROP but they will be too happy and grateful to MoD if some Rs 20,000 Crores can be surrendered for Jan Dhan Yojana etc.

Min of Fin says coffers are empty because of misrule of UPA I & II from 2004 to 2014. Foreign Direct Investment has not yet come as much as expected because our cities are dirty, our villages are dirty in spite of hon’ble PM himself sweeping roads whenever he finds time under SWATCH BHARAT ABHIYAN.

Hon'ble PM says in some meeting OROP is come closer to his heart than earlier.
After this CGDA & MOD are quite capable of convincing hon’ble RM that file be sent to Min of Law for their comments.
Min of Law will then sends this proposal of OROP to seek opinion of hon’ble Surpeme Court after invoking assent of hon’ble President of India under Art xyz of Constitution of India.

Hon'ble PM says he is working on OROP as it has becomes closest to his heart!!
After this hon’ble Surpeme Court refers this to constitution bench of 10 senior judges.

RDOA says Mr Justice Rohinton Nariman who opposed OROP can not sit alongwith these 10 judges. Chief Justice of India reconstitutes the constitution bench in 2018.

Finally the constitution bench rules that there is no legal infirmity involved in this case quoting judgment of similar cases by hon’ble US Supreme Court, UK Supreme Court and Australian Supreme Court in their 2,50,789 pages judgment. Then file is returned to Min of Law in Feb 2019.

Hon'ble PM says he will not rest till OROP is implemented as it is touching his heart as closeness is getting reduced in the same manner as our MOM is getting closer to Mars.

The file will lie with MoD in one of the almirahs whose key is lost and a Court of Inquiry headed by a serving Supreme Court judge is called for to pin point the responsibility for the loss of key.

The hon’ble Supreme court says due to countless cases pending they are unable to spare a sitting judge for this inquiry.
Hon'ble PM in combined Commanders conf of 2024 says OROP is very much in his thoughts and his heart bleeds for pensioners who gave everything to the Nation.

Since there is no unanimity in the ministries on OROP, hon’ble RM suggests to get all political parties to be on board for arriving at consensus(after all politics is the art of possible) on how to implement OROP in 2029.

Hon'ble PM says he breathes, he sleeps and he thinks of only OROP in Apr 2029 in Rewari. Veterans give him standing ovation on state of OROP.

Congress party will say unless LOP post is given to them, they will not approve the proposal of RM on OROP.

Then Mr Narendra Modi goes back in Apr 2019/2024/2029 to Rewari, Haryana and seek votes from ESM community with the promise that he will look into OROP.
The story is supposed to be repeated in Apr 2034 in Rewari. By that time the Anti - Incumbency sets in and NDA-III, IV, V etc are thrown out of power.

UPA - III is brought back to power. Pappu Gandhi is no where to be seen. 

Some veterans will pacify the rest saying"Trust our Service Chiefs. They know what is the best for Pensioners. They will never let us down!!".

Gen Dalbir Singh, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Adm Robin Dhowan (all Retired) and in their 90s drawing OROP thump tables in TV discussions that Govt of India has never intended to implement OROP in its truest sense of the term.

They suspected when they were Service Chiefs and now after 20 years, their suspicions have proved to be true. Tch, Tch, Tch!

By that time the pension of Service Chief is made equal to that of Desk Officer in 10th CPC. When Army Chief calls for a file on OROP, the file does not reach him. Adjutant General complains to Army Chief that the Desk Officer dealing OROP is from Inter Services HQ Cadre who has temerity to say that Desk Officer under NFFU draws more basic pay than Service Chief so he is not obliged to listen to even Service Chief.

Sir, Am I not a pessimist? If not then what I am?

With warm regards,
Brig CS Vidyasagar(Retd)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Serially Dispossessed

My father was born here, he said
They still live in the same house
Noises of a lifetime, from grandparents to grandchildren

Ancient trees of wisdom
Cultural sarcasm, fertility and infidelity
These are vestiges of the landed
Of contiguous stories, and alien rants

Fleshed out jealousies, need time
As do, across the fence rivalries
These are things of aspiration
For the serially dispossessed

Shorn naked to nudity of humanity
A few old but clean clothes on the back
Counted paisas, crumpled rupees
Rich with idealism of the serially dispossessed

The sullied discontent of the stable
Meets the durability of the immigrant
The purity of race, meets virility of the interbred

The homogeneous contentment of the inbred
Can be best understood, in the shy smile of the refugee
Mansions and palaces, are incomplete without pedestrians
Without the serially dispossessed

Saturday, 15 November 2014

BADGAM INCIDENT. An open letter from Brig Vidyasagar (Retd)

BADGAM INCIDENT. An open letter from Brig Vidyasagar (Retd)

Dear Sir,
    Further to my mail earlier on the Badhgam incident. The C of I is not yet over. Army has accepted its total responsibility.
    May I request more knowledgeable veterans to clear some of my doubts.
    Doubt No 1. How has Army Cdr Northern Comd found out Army is guilty and is to accept total responsibility for the Badgam incident?
      I hope Angel Gabriel did not visit him in his dreams when the general was in sound sleep in Udhampur and told him that Army men were not finding any target to shoot at and suddenly Allah,the benevolent and most merciful sent this innocent youngsters to speed away in a car even after being asked to stop. If there is no check post, then were the Army men suddenly descended from Heaven? Are we not supposed to stop at every check post, prove our identity and then only proceed after cleared by the check post men. If we can do it day in and day out in peaceful place like Secunderabad, Telangana to enter RSI, Bolarum can not the innocent boys in Srinagar expected to observe the simple rule when terrorists roam freely around as if Srinagar is Muzaffarabad?
   Doubt No 2.  When the C of I has not yet completed, how the Army Cdr says "Mistake has happened"?
        May I remind the venerable Army Cdr when similar incident happened in New Delhi few years back somewhere near Connaught place. Two businessmen travelling in a car were killed by  Delhi Police in similar circumstances after they received intelligence report. The Delhi Police Commissioner refused to accept any responsibility for the incident and squarely blamed the occupants of the car who did not stop even after being challenged to stop. The Delhi Govt on the instruction of Central Govt simply transferred Delhi Police Commissioner to diffuse the situation. No compensation was paid to the next of kin of businessmen.

Doubt No 3. When the All knowing Army Cdr has already announced Army takes full responsibility for the death of two boys, he informs the circumstances of the incident are being investigated. Does it mean the presiding officer of C of I will doctor his findings to see whatever Army Cdr said are duly incorporated by tutoring Army Witnesses.

Doubt No 4. May I be educated as to what these famous DOs and Don'ts are all in this hostile environment when every day one or twol Army men are being martyred by terrorists?
      Am  I correct to say that Army men should not shoot till fired upon. That means let few Army men get killed, then establish that the guys who fired are terrorists and call for reinforcements by which time the terrorists would be safely hidden in one of the houses of countless sympathisers. Then our Defence Correspondent will happily announce five jawans, one JCO and One officer have been martyred by terrorists when a car carrying terrorists opened fire indiscriminately on the check post personnel.

Doubt No 5. May I be educated as to what are the rules of engagement in a disturbed area declared as such by the State Govt because of which Army has been called in and AFSPA was provided to them to safeguard against the ungrateful Kashmiri Muslims who eat Indian food and sing praises of Pakistan. Am I wrong to call them traitors?

Doubt No 6. After the incident has happened where is the necessity for GOC 15 Corps to move out the personnel of 58 RR from their duties helping the hostile state govt to spread the canard that Army has opened fire unnecessarily.

Doubt No 7. Will Army men ever trust their officers to defend them in future if this is the stuff with which COAS, Army Cdr and Corps Cdrs are made of . Why should they risk their lives to hunt down the terrorists?

Sir, to clarify my doubt, I am giving below extract of  press interview of Army Cdr, Northern Command given in Srinagar on 07 Nov 2014.
Brig CS Vidyasagar(Retd)

Yesterday and Tomorrow

Years of strength, and of power.
A glorious present
The heady swagger of muscle
Easy contempt of youth

You look at the children
You look at the old
Forgetting your past
That you too will be old.

Will posterity remember your lines
Your poem
Your book
Or your film?

In twilight, in eddies of subconscious
Ebbing questions of fear, and faith
Will you be here next year
Who will you be next year?

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