Army chief General VK Singh is slowly turning ‘absolutely stupid’ not only in front of a government that had questioned the sanctity of his birth year but also in front of the entire nation that has started eyeing him from a duty-bound protector of the nation to a person who is turning from silly to stupid. Like his reaction to The Indian Express article, which he could dismiss off as ‘absolutely stupid’ VK Singh’s reactions and comments lately have evoked similar reactions from people at large.
The Indian Express carried the strangely controversial story of the suspicious troop movements, suggesting a coup attempt by the army, at such an ill-opportune time that many were left to wonder why it was reported on the full front page of the paper the events of what happened on January 16th. It seems the story though cannot be dismissed as completely fabricated was published to satisfy the vested interests of certain people. However the motive is yet to be unearthed. But the crucial fact remains the relations between the army chief and government have soured so much that now anybody could have done it to further the continuing discomfort between the two conflicting bodies. But interestingly enough in this cold duel General Singh is the one who would lose out not only literally but otherwise as well. For a man who is supposed to be the emblem of self-sacrifice, General Singh after serving the army for so long has failed to realize the greatness of institution and the fact that self-glorification has no place when it comes to serving the nation.
When the controversy regarding the sanctity of his year of birth in 1950 was questioned over 1951 as his birth year written in his admit card, went on to make a mockery of the Army Chief leading to his defeat in this respect, VK Singh perhaps took a mental resolution to rock the relations between the army and government even further in the limited time that is left for his own retirement. So instead of epitomizing the greatness country as is the wont of army chiefs, VK Singh thought of putting his own ego before the vested interests of the nation.
The first sign of this defiance was when he approached the Supreme Court against the entire defence ministry after he failed to convince his stand to the government that his date of birth in the admit card in 1951 be held true over 1950 his actual year of birth. It was not that some injustice had been done to him or some false charge given over him that could malign his career at large. Neither was his promotion unjustifiably withheld because of some reason nor was he told to leave without much explanation. The issue was just that he was told to serve the term that was actually his tenure in the army and not exceed the allotted number of years by showing some admit card birth year. He was also due to receive all the post retirement entitlements. Yet he decided to malign his nation and ever since he lost in the court hearing his intentions to highlight his ego have more amply been apparent to the nation.
The next step was his remark to a television channel where he spoke of a bribe of Rs 14 crore that was offered to him to favour an equipment manufacturer. Strangely enough he started narrating events held long back just after he was left in the back foot by his adversary that was none other than the government of the country that he has been serving for so long. Is it worth to malign the government of a country of which you are the army chief for so long? And moreover when he himself is the army chief was it not his responsibility to go deep into the matter and investigate it then and there rather than keeping the matter unsolved so that he could embarrass the government later on the same issue.
He decided to highlight one issue after another to embarrass the government that had denied him one more year to his term as the army chief. His next move was to leak his letter to the Prime Minister of Indian about the lack of defence preparedness. Even though he denied the matter of leaking, it is amply clear that either he or somebody sharing similar interests did the damage. And then comes the larger issue of defying the protocol. When he is the head of the army, he should have addressed the letter to the defence minister first rather than the Prime Minister. If then also the issue was not resolved the norm was to seek a personal meeting with the minister. If everything else failed he could have sought the help of the Prime Minister. But he made a complete mess of all the protocol.
However, in this respect as General Singh is trying his best to malign the government in some way or another, he is failing to understand that he is actually maligning his credentials as an army chief and jeopardizing all the brownie points that he had gathered during his respectable tenure. All we can do is feel sorry for such a man who is brave enough not to resign in the face of so much tamasha that he is creating. Let us hope he stops at this and does not create any more drama before he finally retires.
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