Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Discontent in the ranks: a report from India

The National Herald has this report cataloguing complaints by Indian Army enlisted personnel. Excerpt:
A growing clamour of jawans complaining against orderly or batman or sahayak-system in military and para-military forces—thanks to smart-phones and social media revolution—marked year 2017. 
Even though Indian Navy and Air Force have abolished the orderly system, the military and para-military forces refuse the change. Notably, neighbouring countries like China, Pakistan and Bangladesh employ civilians as helpers in armed forces. UK—from whom India inherited the practice—did away with orderlies after World War II like many other European countries. USA uses ‘enlisted aides’ for Generals. 
Currently, many jawans have been facing internal inquiries for taking to social media for airing their grievances despite a warning by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat earlier this year. Unfazed, the disgruntled jawans continued to share videos showing soldiers recruited in combat roles doing menial jobs that range from washing and ironing clothes of an officer’s family, polishing shoes, cooking and serving food at the homes of officers, baby-sitting, watering plants, walking pet dogs and even escorting the officer’s family members, all through the year.
The discrepancy among service branches seems unsustainable. Also noteworthy is the impact of personal tech and social media on traditional expectations of discipline.

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