Why India is not a great nation! A discussion

bengalraider

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This is from an article by
Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD, commanded an Engineer Regiment on the Siachen Glacier, the most hostile battlefield in the world. A highly qualified officer (B Tech, MA (Public Administration), MSc (Defence Studies) and a Doctorate in Public Administration) he was also the Task Force Commander at Pokhran and was responsible for designing and sinking shafts for the nuclear tests of May 1998.

As India celebrates 62 years of Independence, one tends to wonder: what makes nations great? Why is the US an undisputed world power? Why has Britain remained undefeated for centuries? Why has India succumbed to foreign rule so often? Why is India still struggling with internal dissensions and fissiparous forces? What does India lack?

A chance meeting with a British army veteran in a train from Edinburgh to London proved highly revealing. According to him, the secret of British success lies in the public support and respect extended to the soldiers.

`Soldiers` loyalty to the nation and readiness for the supreme sacrifice are driven less by material considerations and more by an overwhelming urge to earn love and respect of their countrymen. A grateful nation`s recognition of their contribution to national security acts as the strongest motivator,` he declared.

`Britain never forgets its war heroes. Every major landmark in London is named after distinguished soldiers and not politicians,` he pointed out proudly. To prove his point further, he recalled, `Before World War II, it was not uncommon to see placards hanging outside some restaurants in Paris which read `Dogs, lackeys and soldiers not allowed`. On the other hand, even pregnant women used to get up and offer seats to soldiers in London buses. When the war broke out, France capitulated in no time while Britain remained undefeated.`

In an article written two days before the swearing-in of US President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle devoted 515 out of 863 words to the soldiers and their families. `So as I watch Barack take that oath, I`ll be thinking especially about those members of our American family who stand guard across the world and the loved ones who await their safe return... My husband and I are deeply grateful for the sacrifices that these families make to protect all American families. And we join them -- today and every day -- in praying for their loved ones and their safety. They don`t ask a lot in return, just a Washington that understands the challenges they face as part of their extraordinary commitment to our country... My husband understands that commitment, and he will ensure America lives up to its end,` she wrote.

`On Tuesday night, my husband and I will tuck in our daughters like we always do. Their bedrooms will be different, their home unfamiliar. But they will drift off to sleep protected by that same sacrifice that has kept all of our families safe and safeguarded our freedom for generations -- the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and their families...For that, we could not be more grateful -- or more proud,` she added.

Now let us compare the above with the state of affairs in India. Can anyone recall a similar expression of sentiments by a national figure? Except for perfunctory platitudes on Independence Day, the Government has singularly failed to show compassion for the soldiers or tried to redress their genuine grievances. Apathetic political leadership and bureaucracy have made no attempt to understand the intensity of sense of hurt of the soldiers at their continued neglect and deliberate degradation.

Despite repeated representations, India still does not have a war memorial in the capital to honour independent India`s martyrs. India wants to ape the West in all sundry aspects, but not in matters that affect the well-being and morale of the armed forces. The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington in Washington, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Cenotaph in London are admired by all Indian visitors. Yet the absence of a suitable war memorial in New Delhi does not appear odd to them. Surprisingly, it does not even hurt the conscience of the nation. There is no other country that can be so apathetic to the memory of thousands of soldiers who have laid down their lives for its security.

Our Urban Development Ministry is more concerned with the vestiges of the British rule, and opposes a war memorial near India Gate in the name of preserving heritage. India Gate was built in the memory of soldiers who died in World War I during the British rule. India has fought five wars since Independence and over 40,000 soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice. Opposition to a war memorial on frivolous grounds is an affront to the memory of martyrs and displays shameless insensitivity to the feelings of those who have lost their family members. But then, no political leader or bureaucrat can be faulted for their inability to appreciate these issues as they never send their progeny to the military.

Look at the treatment meted out to India`s tallest military leader, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, the architect of India`s greatest victory ever. It took the Government decades to determine and release his dues. India has not found him worthy of its highest national honour, the `Bharat Ratna`. No political leader thought it necessary to attend his funeral.

In Britain and the US, heads of the State with full national leadership would have made it a point to be present to pay a nation`s grateful respects.

Nelson`s Column at Trafalgar Square occupies the pride of place in London. London boasts of numerous statues of military heroes. No statues of political leaders are seen in the developed countries. India, on the contrary, has not found it necessary to honour Field Marshal Manekshaw`s memory whereas statues of political leaders (many with dubious credentials) dot New Delhi.

It will not be out of place here to recall the speech of President Obama at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention at the Phoenix Convention Center on 17 August 2009. He said, `You have fulfilled your responsibilities. And now a grateful nation must fulfill ours. Whether you've left the service in 2009 or 1949, we will fulfill our responsibility to deliver the benefits and care that you earned.` He described America`s commitment to its veterans as sacred bonds and a sacred trust Americans are honour bound to uphold.

`You have done your duty - to your fallen comrades, to your communities, to your country. You have always fulfilled your responsibilities to America. And so long as I am President of the United States, America will always fulfill its responsibilities to you`, he declared.

Contrast the above pledge and assurance with the apathetic treatment meted out to the ex-servicemen in India. In the recent past, India was witness to the most unfortunate sight of numerous military veterans returning their medals to the President to register their protest against the Government`s indifference to their pleas. Medals earned during active service are the proudest possession of soldiers, and their being driven to surrender them should have made the Government sit up and take note.

But true to its wont, it remained totally unconcerned and unmoved. Not a single Government leader or official has considered it necessary to talk to the protesting veterans to resolve the issues. This episode will certainly go down as a dark chapter in the history of Independent India.

India won the Kargil War of 1999 at a huge cost -- 527 officers and soldiers sacrificed their lives while over a 1,000 sustained battle injuries, many maimed forever. Yet, a senior Congress leader, Mr Rashid Alvi, had the impudence to state that commemoration was not warranted as the war took place due to an intelligence failure of the BJP Government. Every Indian soldier, both serving and retired, was aghast at the brazenness of the logic.

A notion has been deliberately perpetuated that the military must be kept under control through the bureaucracy lest it acquires political ambitions. Examples of Pakistan and Bangladesh are quoted to implant the fear of a military takeover in the minds of gullible and ignorant political leadership. A systematic and well planned strategy has been orchestrated to downgrade the military`s standing. The Sixth Central Pay Commission was the latest master stroke.

Although the public at large still holds the military in high esteem, a deliberate media campaign is being orchestrated by some elements with vested interests to show the military in a poor light. Instead of appreciating the military for initiating prompt disciplinary action against defaulters -- handful acts of misdemeanor and indiscretion in a 1.3 million strong organisation -- such cases are sensationalised to paint a negative picture of the services.

Historically, India does not have a culture of valuing its military. That is the reason that every invader succeeded in defeating and enslaving the sub-continent. If India survives today despite inept political leadership and the self-serving bureaucracy, it is only due to the unquestioned loyalty of the military and enormous sacrifices made by the soldiers.

Denigration of the military always proves fatal in the long run. Any country that discredits the status of its soldiers loses the moral right to expect them to die for its security. Great nations are distinguished by the esteem in which they hold their military.

No nation that stubbornly declines to honour the martyrs, respect the soldiers and care for the veterans can ever aspire to be counted amongst the great nations, slogans like `Mera Bharat Mahan` not withstanding.
 

AkhandBharat

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The reason why India is still struggling is because of a myriad of reasons:

1) Appointing incompetent people through reservations (to make up for past amends ofcourse) who cannot do their daily job inefficiently. Most of them are in governmental positions of power and breed corruption. The country is bleeding its best minds to foreign nations that promise them decent standard of living for their contribution to its economy while at the same time appointing incompetent people to administrative positions!

2) Corruption is so rampant, its like a third degree cancer in India. The tumor has taken over the normal cells. Every government employee expects some form of tribute to be given even if he/she are doing daily jobs. It has not changed even with the pay commission revisions providing decent salaries to public sector employees thus negating the notion that meagre salaries are responsible for such behavior. People will commit crime if they are given the chance to, which means the judicial arm should be powerful enough to dole out justice in a timely and efficient way, to reward the hard working and weed out the corrupt.

3) No access to quality education in rural areas, leading to two worlds with a wide chasm amongst them inside the country itself.

4) No access to health care, leading to massive malnutrition, leading to inferior growth. Ever wondered, why a tiny island ruled a nation so vast? The reason was the same. There was a big difference between the elites and the have-nots leading to the policy of everyone looking out for themselves, ultimately culminating into traitors at first, and then wars amongst the kingdoms themselves.

The big question is: Every political party in India is still playing the same game with China breathing down under our neck.

What little we have achieved, is despite the governance of the state. There is very little innovation in the sciences and engineering because there is no collaboration between the educational institutes in India and the industry. The so-called IITs are not ranked in the top 100 institutions of the world, despite them attracting the best talents amongst a billion people. The same students do a lot better when they are picked up by foreign institutions, but cannot perform well in the country because of bureaucracy which has spread even in the private sector.

The private sector is not at all concerned with innovating, because it is busy filling up the pockets of the rich elite and they don't want to take any chances by investing in innovative projects for fear of losing even a small chunk of stash. Big industrial powerhouses only invest in projects that are successful overseas and then bring it as a low cost production to cater to people in India. Enterpreneurial risk is very low amongst enterprises, while it is cut-throat in western world. The state did take risks in key projects early on, like launching its own space program, which started small, but is now sowing results and competing with the likes of Nasa and even collaborating with it, even though they operate on 1/10th of its budget.

In my opinion, the change has to come from the ground up, if we are to be successful as a democracy. For that,

1) The minimum requirement is education, health care and food for all. We have lifted a quarter of our people out of poverty and just look at how much the nation has transformed! Imagine where the country can go if the rest are lifted out too.

2) The people themselves have to take the initiative to uncover the corrupt people in the administration. Once a few are dragged to jail, the rest will fall in line. But that would mean, elimination of parallel black economy, which again requires the people to come up clean and pay taxes

3) Eliminate reservation. If reservation has to be given, it has to be only to the economically backward people, because that is all that matters in todays world. Moreover, these positions should be in non-crucial administration jobs only. This also means that education has to be provided to the masses so they have equal opportunity atleast until high school. People that show promise can always be provided loans/scholarship depending on their aptitude level.

This has to be a grass roots movement if we have to survive against a nation that is ruled by an iron hand. Only then can we be the next united states keeping the communist neighbor at bay.
 

anoop_mig25

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This is from an article by
Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD, commanded an Engineer Regiment on the Siachen Glacier, the most hostile battlefield in the world. A highly qualified officer (B Tech, MA (Public Administration), MSc (Defence Studies) and a Doctorate in Public Administration) he was also the Task Force Commander at Pokhran and was responsible for designing and sinking shafts for the nuclear tests of May 1998.

thanks for article man but our article title is misleading india is great not a great nation agreed but i don`t think either USA OR UK are.yes we don`t treat our soldiers and their family properly but this largely because of us i mean people of india they allow politican to do this :thumbs_thmbdn::thumbs_thmbdn::thumbs_thmbdn:. and why we are n`t having war memorial yet. isnt india gate memorial indian? it was made in the memory of indian soldiers died in ww1
 

bengalraider

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@ Mods i had staretd another thread on the same in the defence articles thread, could the two please be merged into DFI HQ keeping only the high quality posts.

Please delete this post at your discretion!
 

Energon

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The premise that valuing soldiers and military establishments somehow assures "greatness" of a nation or explains the success of the British and American societies is false. The article itself has very little value because the author has done a pisspoor job of making coherent arguments. He has addressed an assortment of genuine concerns without providing any valuable insights and then wrapped it up with a false conclusion.

If honoring the military establishment was the most critical component in the making of a "great" nation then the world order today would be run by the Soviet Union, Pakistan, North Korea and Nazi Germany. Obviously this is not the case. Fawning over the military and obsessing over a military culture has turned the Pakistani nation into what is currently the biggest disaster on the planet. The Soviet Union lost its empire through its hallowed military; there is very little if anything to be said about North Korea where the military is worshiped, and Nazi Germany was the monumental disaster that preceded AfPak.

There are many reasons why the Western civilization has been successful, in the case of the US and Britain some of the more obvious ones being modernity and success brought about by the industrial revolution, adopting the rule of law, the establishment of a solid financial system accessible on the basis of meritocracy, investments in state of the art institutions and of course impressive literacy rates.

Also, it seems that the author is unaware of the American public sentiment during the Vietnam war or the steady decline in the public perception of the military in not only Britain but all of Western Europe after WWII; it is also worth noting that post war pacifist Japan became far greater a nation than during its stupendous militarization phase.

This is not to say that there isn't a very serious problem in regards to parochial attitudes in the Indian society which has in the past fueled internal turmoil making it susceptible to foreign invasions and/or colonization. It is also highly evident that a substantial part of the Indian society is almost detached from its military until something bad happens. None of this however is a direct result of not respecting the military establishment in the way the author wants.
 

GokuInd

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Military and Democracy

I think the problem is not about the Indian Armed Forces being apolitical or their unswerving loyalty to the Indian constitution but lack of democratic control over issues of National Security and Military Affairs. From what I know, the military budget in other democratic societies usually comes under close scrutiny and is subjected to intense legislative debates.

If I ain't wrong that's not the case in India, where it is solely an issue between bureaucracies of defence and finance. That system is prone to inefficiency and has no consideration for priorities (e.g. weapon systems).

The final budget presented to the parliament is of no use since the MPs have no details about the specific procurement measures given the excessive secrecy surrounding the civil military bureaucracy. What makes it worse, the government itself is ablle to abdicate from any responsibility since they are not supposed to divulge information for reasons of National Security.

So I think that may be one of many reasons why there is lack of trust in the Armed Forces.
 

NSG_Blackcats

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I do not agree with the title of this thread. I do not know from where this title comes from. I want to know what the definition of a great nation is. If any member can provide me name of some great nations I will be grateful. For me no country, no society and no system are perfect. It is up to the people who are part of that country or society or system to try to bring necessary changes in them.

I feel the author is really confused. He started with United States of America and also mentioned that it is the undisputed world power. So the question is does US is a great nation? The answer will be yes and no.

Why yes? Because of less corruption; political system is more accountable; standard of living is very good; education system (especially research and development) is good. Why No? Because it is the only country that had used nuclear weapon; partly responsible for training terrorists; killed many people in many parts of the world; double standard on NPT and CTBT; etc.

Now we cannot compare India with US. Because of the following reasons:-
1. US do not have a neighbor like Pakistan and it will never face cross border terrorism.
2. There is a big difference between the population of US and India.
3. US got its independence some 233 years ago. India got its independence 62 years ago.

Again the author asked a question “why has Britain remained undefeated for centuries?” I do not know what he want to prove. I hope everyone is aware of the fact how many people are killed by British all over the world. So there is no relation between being remain undefeated and greatness of a country.

For me there is nothing more to say. I know India is facing a lot of issues and we are trying to resolve them. But I am proud to be part of a country and a Civilization which never invaded any country in its history.

If the author has based his argument on level of corruption, standard of living, accountability of political system, criminal justice system in India that would have been great.
 

StealthSniper

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In my opinion India is a great nation, it's just how people look at it or percieve it. For example it's very easy to look at the corruption, the pollution and the negative factors of a growing country. Also people that think of a "great" nation think of a country that is rich and powerful. But if you look a little deeper into India, you see that in 62 years we have done extraordinary things. We have a large multidimensional population that for the most part gets along, we have a young bright willing population that doesn't take no for an answer and we also have done things indigenously without much help like our space program that has been hugely successful. We worked hard to get the world to notice us, although we have done hard things in the past without much help.

In the end sure I wish their was no corruption and India was in a better positon in regards to the poor people in India, but if you look at the last 62 years, I believe that the people of India have and will continue to show the world that a young democracy can overcome hurdles and find ways to make India even more successful in the future.
 

ajtr

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india is great and powerful.only thing is that like hanuman we dont realise that we r powerful.we need someone to tell us about our power.another thing is we dont know how to use our power for fear of morality which we care about a lot but we dont realise we dont ve any morality too....hamam main sab nange,so y care about morality?
:twizt:
 

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