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Sadda Haq Aithe Rakh


vijaykumar-grand-welcome

My understanding of the way performance and rewards work is as follows. Performance deserves reward, commensurate to achievement and based on established norms. The organisation  enables performance through provision of resources and infrastructure, while the performer provides sweat and talent – knowledge & skills – towards attaining success. Having attained success, the performer justly expects reward. Apropos Subedar Vijay Kumar, so far so good. But what if the performer, even without waiting for the reward system to kick in, starts making demands for rewards with  a underlying threat of quitting the organisation if the demands are not met?

There is no taking away from Vijay’s laudable achievement, and he truly deserves to be rewarded in the best possible manner. However, his conduct in making an announcement through the media, even before landing back in the country, that he would quit the Army in case he is not promoted to a level equivalent to an IAS officer, has been a little jarring. The pre-emptive ultimatum was a demand for reward, made with a gun held on the Army’s head. Implied was the insinuation  – ” now that I have arrived, the Army needs me more than I need the Army”. What Vijay does not comprehend is that no matter what his achievements and contribution, an individual can never be bigger than the organisation. Specially in a situation where the organisation’s support and nurturing has been a vital factor behind the  achievement, such an attitude smacks of arrogance and ungratefulness.
Doubtlessly, Vijay’s status as a Subedar would probably not be in keeping with his new found standing and affluence as an Olympic medallist – a problem not faced by then Maj Rajyawardhan Rathore who won an Olympic medal the last time around. But expecting the Army to supersede existing norms and precedences to overcome this disparity is not fair. An anticipatory threat of resignation is even more unfair because it presupposes a few thing. First that the Army is obliged to elevate him to an officer’s rank. And second that such a thing will not happen in the normal course – borne out by his statement that he hasn’t received a promotion in the past six years. Glossing over the fact that the same Army has promoted him four times over the rank he would ordinarily have held. Most significantly, it also presupposes that now onwards he does not really need the Army’s backing and support to pursue his sport.
But by his immature utterings, arising probably out of immaturity and sense of insecurity, Vijay has marred his moment of triumph in the eyes of many like me. Had he been a little more mature, he would probably have waited for the Army to declare what they planned for him. Then, if that did not meet his aspirations, he could have represented, or put in his papers and taken up one of the many opportunities that are available to him.
The Army authorities find themselves in an acutely embarrassing position as a result of Vijay’s immature premature statements. On one hand they are constrained to follow the rules regarding out of turn promotions. On the other hand they would not like to lose a poster boy, a potential source of motivation for recruitment. Now, even if Vijay is promoted through a special dispensation, the Army would come out looking as if it buckled under pressure and did something they would not otherwise have done. Any which way you look at it, the Army comes out being embarrassed.
Vijay Kumar is not the first outstanding sportsman that the armed forces have produced. Olympians like Maj Dhyan Chand (who did rise from the ranks to retire as a Maj ) and Col Rajyawardhan Rathore (who has got promotions only as per his turn) to Everest summiteers, to unsung heroes like Commander Dilip Dondethe first Indian, and amongst a select club of about 175 people world wide to carry out solo circumnavigation of the earth in a sailboat– who also, incidentally did not receive any out of turn promotions. Nor is he the last – people will continue to make the forces proud with their achievements long after Vijay’s moment in the limelight is over.
The best way for the Army to deal with the situation now would be to announce the rightful rewards due to Vinay – promotion as per rules, and also an AVSM in keeping with what it gave Rajyawardhan Rathore. That done, it should allow Vijay Kumar to go in his quest for pastures greener than the Olive Greens.

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53 Responses to "Sadda Haq Aithe Rakh"

  1. guess says:

    Vijay by hi pre-emptive bid has not only upset the environment in the Armed Forces but also put everyone concerned in a difficult situation. I agree that had he waited he would have got much more. He would be considering himself to be like MSD,ST and KD who despite having no links with the forces were given Hony rks for cheap popularity by the people in the say.His point of view must be considered. In case he so desires he also may be retired and given an Hony rk. After all he is more disciplined than Dhoni who had the gall to skip an award being conferred on him by the President, yet considers himself to be(an OFFICER) a gentleman.Vijay’s aspirations which seem too much for men in uniform may therefore not be unjustified after all.

  2. Maverick says:

    It’s sad and ungrateful… I agree with the editor, let’s give him what he deserves and politely ask him to consider his options….Army should continue to remain a way of life ….

  3. H.Balakrishnan says:

    Vijay Kumar owes his success to the Army – and the Army alone. Not the other way round. If he had not been in the Army, I am sure he would not have been in London. If he wants to leave the Army, the Army should help him in his objective !! And, I would like to see where he lands in Rio 2016 !! Regards

  4. Sword says:

    @Guess – MSD, KD and ST have been granted honorary commission in the TERRITORIAL ARMY – they are not regular service personnel unlike Vijay Kumar. Also, there is a minimum qualification (graduation) which they meet. Notwithstanding that, Vijay can be made to retire from regular service and given an honorary rank in the Territorial Army, which would be good for everyone around.

    Also, it is not Vijay’s aspiration which is galling, but the manner in which he has gone about it, embarrassing the organization responsible for his success in the bargain. After all, hundreds of PBOR become officers every year through RC / SC / SL and other commissions, so there is nothing to seem ‘too much’ in Vijay wanting to be an officer too.

  5. Brig (retd) kartar singh says:

    I am of the opinion that he can be put through the required procedure as an incentive as he is already a Subedar. In case he is found to be of right material he can be given SCO rank. In case he is not found suitable to be an officer material then he may be asked to exercise his opinion. He can not and should not demand it. That way Rathore could have asked for a flag rank.

  6. Zahl Tantra says:

    An extremely well written article ( as always) . From outside a civilian would not be able to comprehend what an absurd demand this Sepoy ( elevated to a Subedar) due to his performances in the international arena . But for so many service persons it is extremely absurd , ill informed and outrightly condemn able utterance. The status of ‘discipline’has been compromised by this individual , in totality.

  7. B C Shekar says:

    Let us not compromise the ethoes of the Armed Forces.Even for bravery awardees, out-of-turn promotions are not given, but only a deserving award. The immature behaviour displayed by Sub Vijay Kumar has really cast a shadow over his achievemnets; not expected from a “Subedar”! His un-called for demand should be negated !!!

  8. WG.CDR.V.SUNDARESAN(RETD) says:

    Dear all, I fully agree with the author.This way of blackmailing MUST NOT be allowed at any cost. If he thinks that army is not treating him well then he could have even put in his papers earlier also. who and what has prevented him.
    I do appreciate the earlier recipient Maj.Ratore’s dedication.HE DID NOT ASK FOR A FLAG RANK?
    Only if he is found to be an officer potential, he should be made the promotion. what if the other private concerns take him as IAS Officer’s rank? HE wants to rule the service as a civil babu rules now?
    By the by what he meant as IAS officer’s rank?
    The army should not buckle under his pressure.
    Of course already there are political pressures on to thew army
    v.sundaresan

  9. LT GEN VIJAY OBEROI says:

    I fully agree with the thrust in the above article. I had said the same on NDTV news on 07 Aug 12. It is unfortunate that our netas in their exuberance for populous measures and focus exclusively on elections have started this business of giving doles, as they have no other policy measures, thus raising such demands.
    Except for talking about what he wants – money, commission, rewards etc, Subedar Vijay has not uttered a single word about his desire to continue his quest for a gold in the next major competition. As is well known, our regiment (Maratha Light Infantry) had fielded three stalwarts in the winning national hockey team – Shantaram Jadhav, Bandu Patil and Shankar Laxman, but not one asked for any reward. They were no doubt rewarded as per norms and there was no heart-burning. Same is the case with all earlier army personnel – Dhyan Chand, Milkha Singh et all.
    The army must not and should not be pressurised in this manner.
    The army has well laid down SOP’s and norms for rewarding talent. I am sure the army would take suitable action in this case too.

  10. Winco Batra says:

    When Sports Minister offered class one officer job in SAI to all medal winners, Vijay decided to take option of being an Officer in Army. There is nothing wrong in asking for his dues… He could have opted for SAI job too… He has been time and again saying that he has been grateful to Army for making him reach this stage. I think by opting for Army Officer’s job, he would like to pay back his gratitude by training youngsters in sports field. People tend to forget the medal (accept for GK test for NDA UPSC exam) but rank as an Officer will be remembered through out his life. I remember, a wrestler from IAF (a sgt) got a good ranking at Teheran Asian games, was made Plt Offr by IAF. When Govt can make cricketers Gp Capt, Col etc ( who do not need this status being a rich and celebrity by all standards), why not Vijay. You can not have two standards one for one shooter (Bronze) SAI Class I and other Vijay (Silver) Class II Sub Maj. Have a heart fellows. His did his country and countrymen proud. Why we get bogged down in “not found suitable to be an officer material”. He is going to used for sports only at various training centres and not lead the troops. I strongly feel that Army will benefit by his experience at shooter and train sports persons for future competitions… If he leaves, Army will loose more than what Vijay will.

  11. Lt Col V P Verma says:

    As per the instrs on the subject already approved by the cabinet, he can get max of three promotions in his carrier one by one and not in one go. He being a Sub now, can be made to Sub Maj, The question of making him a commissioned officer will arise only once he gets medal in his next performance. I think he has not been briefed properly because otherwise he would not have made a demand, which is not due to him. It seems to be wrong interpretation of existing instrs.

  12. Sword says:

    @H Balakrishnan Sir – Agree with that sir. That is why his statements seem so ungrateful.

  13. Sword says:

    @Brig Kartar – Agreed sir. But unfortunately he did not have the patience to wait for the system to function. Now, even if he is given something that he deserves, it will show the Army in a bad light because – A. It may not be perceived to be enough. B. It would be seen to have been done out of compulsion.

  14. Sword says:

    Thanks Zahl. He probably has not really functioned in a proper military environment to appreciate the folly of what he is doing.

  15. Sword says:

    @ BC Shekhar sir – He could have waited for the system to function and then see if he was dissatisfied with the outcome, he could have put up his papers gracefully.

  16. Sword says:

    @ Wingco Sundaresan Sir – it is quite possible that the Army may bow to political and popular (media) pressure and give him something that is not as per existing norms. It would be a sad day indeed – not because of an individual being rewarded, but because of a system being undermined.

  17. Sword says:

    @ Gen Oberoi Sir, its an honour to have you comment on my blog. Just to add to what you have rightly stated above, I think part of the blame rests with the sports minister, who made an announcement that sports persons winning medals will be given a post equivalent to IAS rank. If the government or Sports Ministry wants to offer him a post of that stature, the Army should allow him to accept. Irrespective of anything, he has erred in his approach – by trying to blackmail the organization he has made it a lose-lose situation.

  18. Maj Gen (Retd) GS Narula says:

    We have had many olympians before who have been part of Gold Winning teams The Indian Army has an ethos and traditions A commissioned offr is to lead men giving a rank cannot be awarded as prize as prevalent in other org He went to London because of the Army His attitude is totally unofficer like He is not fit to be a Sepoy If he wants to go let him go but stand for no nonsensical demand

  19. brig shyam lal says:

    Dear friends, vijays utterances smack of impulsiveness and immaturity and should be ignored. His i-view to the media should not be held against him and he should be given his due for having won the Army and the country accolades. Nevertheless he needs to be admonished and advised about his uncalled for remarks.He should also be informed that his success is mainly attributable to this great Army and he would not BE where he is if it was not for this.Our previous medalists incl sqn Ldr Rakesh Sharma for whom a promotion was announced did not get any out of turn promotion. however the Armed Forces also need an internal self appraisal in terms of better compensations for the olympic winners so that it is commensurate with what the people get outside.

  20. Sword says:

    @Winco Batra Sir – it is not for him to take up an offer that is not available – of being promoted to an officer, out of turn. If the government is offering him a Directorship, both he and the Army should be glad to take this opportunity. He has already outgrown the uniform – in his attitude and not in his stature. The point here is that no individual should get away with an idea that he is indispensable to the organization, or is larger than the organization.

    As regards the honorary ranks given to cricketers, those are ranks in the Territorial Army, while Vijay is a soldier in the regular army.

  21. Sword says:

    @ Col Verma Sir – thanks for the input. I wonder even if he is given three promotions from the existing rank, wouldn’t that amount to him being made an Hony Capt, and not a regular commissioned Capt?

  22. Lt Col Ajay Madan says:

    Vijay’s manner of making his demand smacks of arrogance even if his promotion could be justfied, which I dont think it is. How do we compare his achievement with the sacrifices made by other soldiers(offrs/JCOs and jawans) who even die for the country in line of duty? They die unsung without any rewards. It would leave a bad precedent if the Army bows to his demands. He could be considered for RCO in due course. I feel that should be incentive enough for other jawans to continue to try to excel in sports because the only negetive is that if his achievment is not duely recognised and rewarded, it may make some of the talented and budding sportsmen in the army not to try their best.

  23. Sword says:

    @Gen Narula Sir – Agreed. Apart from sports, there have been other achievers like Everest Summiteers and Solo-circumnavigators as mentioned in the post. Also, as someone has mentioned, the gallantry award winners’ achievements and contributions are more significant. So if people like Bana Singh never asked to be promoted to an officer, how can Vijay Singh demand that as his right?

  24. Sword says:

    @Brig Shyam Lal Sir – Agreed that his actions / utterances stemmed from his immaturity, and possibly insecurity owing to his humble origins. However, the point is that he has won the medal for the nation, not only the Army. So the rewards can be from both, the Army and the nation in general – as is already happening. As for the Army, it must – and am sure will – give him whatever is his due as per the laid down rules and norms. Incidentally, he has already received four out of turn promotions – his crib was that he has not received a promotion for the past six years – meaning that he has been a Subedar for the past six years, while all his contemporaries must be Jawans / Lance Naiks. So what people are getting outside may not be given to him by the Army, but yes, he should be free to accept whatever best he gets.

  25. Sword says:

    @Col Madan – Agreed. I feel that he will not stick around long enough to be considered for RC. And that would be for everyone’s good.

  26. JS BUDHWAR says:

    An extremely well written article, compliments to the author.

    A good debate making a big issue over a small tissue. (hope you know the reference- have a laugh…read what I have written in a cheerful positive manner, it is to look at ourselves and our attitude, approach to life in general…now you can continue with a smile)

    I never knew that with passage of time, we have really become so narrow minded that we look for small issues & start comparing things to justify why a new thing should not be done while missing a god given opportunity to army and the sense of appreciating performance of others…..and then we complain… one of the reason is that we are not able to foresee the likely pattern of forthcoming events and surely are not ready to exploit the success (remember old basic tactics lessons – after capture – exploit).

    Just remember Vijay is the STAR, just 26 yrs old, what were we at that age ??

    Instead of appreciating his achievements we have started going for him. Come on …be big hearted and recognise arrogance in this age specially with such an achievement. And remember media feeds the words in your mouth to make an issue over……yo know what.

    Let me take you along on a old story – a jawan is blessed with a son who studies up till sixth class and joins army at the age of 16. He plays during night duty shifts, gets noticed and start playing with coy team, soon gets selected in Bn team as he is the best in Inter Coy Matches. Bn wins Bde Championship due to his contribution and sooooo on he reaches army team level in four years. He is still a sepoy.

    He goes for a friendly foreign trip, gets acknowledged internationally and finally gets promoted as Lance Naik and later is selected in national team. He rises with time and later is captain of national team for almost 10 yrs, in due process becomes a Major and is also awarded Padam Bhushan.

    Yes, your guess is right he was Dhayan Chand, who rose in ranks during British rule ….way back in 1920’s to 1947. It was not his education in some public school or fluency in english or his high grades in written exam / SSB that made him a officer…it was his personal talent and the recognition of his outstanding contribution that in 1938, he was honoured with the Viceroy’s Commission and promoted to an officer’s rank.

    When World War II broke out, the British officers did not allow Dhyan Chand to accompany his regiment when it went to the front to fight the Japanese. This showed the high regard the British had for Dhyan Chand. Towards the closing years of the war, Dhyan Chand led an Army hockey team to Manipur, Burma, the Far East and Ceylon. In 1943, Dhyan Chand was honoured with the King’s Commission and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and it was our Indian Army promoted him to the rank of Major after independence.

    He was superb but he was a team player but still became a 6th Class pass Major…whereas Vijay is an individual Olympic Silver Medalist…also have a look at time lines – 1920’s compared to 2012, things have really changed – personal aspirations, media, politics etc etc…

    We all know you can’t stop a talented man, but it is the generosity of spirit of those who don’t matter to appreciate achievements of others and enjoy because those who matter always recognise talent and reward it.

    As far as Vijay is concerned…you can continue debating the topic but you can’t stop him.

    This yr he will get at least 3-4 Cr, Padam Bhushan, hopefully will get married to a politicians daughter, job offers of becoming IAS, modelling assignments and within next 8 -10 yrs he will get at least one or two more Olympic medals…how does that sound??

    Had you got even one of the above, you would have chucked the job even as an army officer and quite a few of us still want to retain him as a JCO in Indian Army with a promise of Hony Capt after 10 -15 yrs ?? Come on …be reasonable.

    After reading negative response of quite a few of our friends , I myself think that he should leave army and concentrate on his sports because today’s army is full of Indian crabs…..who keep pulling each other down and never assist any one to rise.

    Come on friends..start supporting each other, start seeing future, start appreciating performance, start thinking big, stop cribbing and as an organistation recognise opportunities and grab it before some babu or minister takes the credit. Because you have to look after your own welfare or else others will exploit your weakness…lack of unity and laugh behind your back…so think before we lose all that we took pride in.

  27. Brig.K.Muthulaxmy (Retd) says:

    Dear All
    It is a great honour to the Army.But promoting to an Officer one must have the qualification of an officer if he full fill then can be considered.A jawan with 8 or 10 th class qualification, he may be too good in sports or any other extra curricular activities like climbing Everest or going to Antartica.To qualify an Officer one must have a knowledge IQ of an Officer other wise ?
    K.Muthulaxmy

  28. Brig L D Sharma says:

    His reward is a silver medal in olympic.Why should he ask for a second reward for the effort he has been rewarded already.This has become a normal practice incl bravery awards winners who line up in front of doors of our politicians for land and cash awards.

  29. Col Binay Kumar (Retd) says:

    When Indian Armed Forces have given Honrary rank to eminent cricketers like M S Dhoni and Kapildeo to Lt Col rank and Tendulkar to Gp Capt rank. Then why Indian Army is not considering to give Regimental Commission Officer rank to Vijay Kumar for his achievement in Olympics. When Ministry of sports is planning to give Gazetted Class I rank in SAI, then why we are hesistating to make him RCO. He is quite young and by giving this incentive he may achieve better in future olympics.
    The Indian Army has trained him to become world class shooter and now if the Indian Army denies promotion to an officer rank to Vijay Kumar, then he may join Himachal Pradesh Government or SAI as Gazetted Class I rank officer. This will be loss to the Indian Army and gain to the HP Govt or Ministry of Sports. By joining these organisation he maynot achieve his best in future endevours and this will be loss to the nation.

  30. bhogy says:

    Having gone through the article, Well whatever Vijay has done by asking for promotion is right or wrong, premature or immature but a crying baby only gets milk, believe you me that was the only reason that a two star officer was at Airport to receive him, even Rathore did not get that kind of reception, notwithstanding there is a simple situation and no one has suggested a way forward, or are we waiting for the civilian supremacy to kick our butts and order us to make him an officer. I would like to ask why officers not getting promoted, seek redressal or chuck fauj for seeking greener pastures outside. It has been written that it was only because of Army that he could achieve this success, well that throws the Herre ki kahani out ( well Bindra, Narang, Vijender, Marry Kom, Susheel never served in the Army)
    I fully agree that a lot of guys will also discuss about the highest decorations PVC/AC be given similar promotions. Yes they do get points for the same in Promotions, but sincerely I want to know what is more difficult climbing Mt Everest or winning a medal in Olympics. Everest climbers have been awarded SC and Olympic Medalist awarded AVSM the same can also be debated. Now the Options which I feel can be looked at are:
    Option 1. Hony IAS Officer : SM( Hony JS) Vijay Kumar, AVSM, SM (Maken Sahib ne to announce kar diya hai IAS equivalent job. So now the chiefs got to tell the govt “ rules are rules”, we cannot make him officer, why don’t you amend your rules and make him hony IAS with him continuing as army man for his continuity in training.
    Option 2 : Amend rules. Be magnanimous promote him as an Officer, train him to achieve more and then use him to nurture talent in future, he may pickup many more Vijay Kumar’s and Rathore’s.( In lighter vein but seriously he gets to live – dine –stay – behave and treated officer like). This is just the beginning GOD willing a lot to follow Devendro- SS Virk and many more at AMU/ ASI Pune. So be futuristic, formulate a new policy for recognisation in sports and adventure activities.
    I feel Option 2 is the logical way forward, additional options if any can also be suggested to the “think tanks”

  31. harry says:

    As an educationist and neutral observer, there are 28 or more responses n less than 10% in favor of Vijay kumar. Reasons are obvious, who all r there in the verbal combat. Winco Batra n Shri JS BUDHWAR, made lot of sense and all points were well covered.

    Would request our learned friends to think

    1) Had he been any of ur family members
    2) Friend, colleague, well wisher
    3) Performers vl not wait, have a heart n let the sensibilities prevail.

  32. Brig SS Jaswal, Veteran Madras Sapper says:

    Sub Vijay Kumar`s utterances on TV on winning a silver medal are most unsporting and have nullified to some extent his great achievement.As a soldier sportsman he should have kept quiet and accolades would have come his way by the Nation and the Army.His demand for being made an Officer is prepostorous.The Army should permit him to leave if he so desires for greener pastures.No individual is bigger than the Organisation he serves, no matter what his achievements are.Let him go through all the stages to become an Officer if he so desires.But demanding something is uncalled for.Probably he has been misguided by some of his well wishers.

  33. girish says:

    Fully agree with the author.Perhaps,Subedar Vijay, being an accomplished sportsman, has spent most of his army life away from the ‘mainstream’ army and this shows in his poor service orientation so evident from his greed.

  34. Vijay Veer Singh says:

    The rigid and out dated attitude has landed the Defence Forces where they are today. The Forces must move with time,other wise,they would be the last career choice of the people. The very people who want to maintain the high standards become the reason for the declining standards due to poor HR policies. In Defence Forces besides equipment the men play a very important role. We must encourage and reward all talent and must see that Vijay is recognised in a manner that is higher than what he would get else where.

  35. Sword says:

    @Budhwar – the debate is not about whether Vijay Kumar should get ample rewards for his achievement. It is about whether he is justified in demanding it with a threat to quit if the reward does not meet his expectation. Remember, he did it even without waiting to see what was going to be offered to him.

    Maj Dhyan Chand, whose example you have quoted, never demanded – yet as you yourself said, the system did reward him. Similarly, Col Rathore, whose achievement is equal to Vijay’s, did not demand any promotions. He too, must have got all the cash rewards and perks from the government, as also the modelling assignments.

    If it is a matter of promoting him to serve as a motivation for others to join the Army, he has already damaged that notion by displaying his lack of faith in the organzation to reward him fairly unless ther arm is twisted.

    As a nation our problem is that we tend to make Demi-Gods out of people who achieve such successes, and we are equally quick in discarding them if they subsequently fail to perform.

    I would say that give him the best possible rewards under existing rules and norms, and if he is not satisfied, let him move on to whee he gets his satisfaction. In any case, with this kind of an attitude, I regrettably don’t see much future for hi. In sport.

  36. j k puri says:

    it is nothing but BLACKMAIL.

  37. Sword says:

    @Col Binay Kumar – sir, the Army did not issue any statement regarding what they were planning to give him. He preempted them by DEMANDING that he be promoted to a rank “equivalent to IAS” else he will quit the Army. IAS equivalent rank translates not to a RCO, but a regular Maj / Lt Col.

    Dhoni and Kapil Dev were given Honorary ranks in the TA, not the regular Army.

    If the HP govt or SAI are willing to promote him to a level that meets his aspirations, it would be best for the Army to let him go. If they can produce a Rajyawardhan Rathore and a Vijay Kumar, they can produce others.

  38. Dilip says:

    The important question that seems to be getting lost in this debate is not what he did, but why he did what he did. Obviously the guy does not trust his organization. Or to put it differently, he knows the ‘system’ well and is out to milk it as best as he can during his 2 mins of fame. A chance that may never come his way again. Why grudge him that! It is simply, as bhogy said, a case of the crying baby trying to get its share of milk. In such a situation does one try and smother the baby for being a nuisance or find ways to ensure that the baby does not need to cry in the first place! Would depend on how much you really care for the baby, isn’t it!

    Thanks to Gen Oberoi for informing the readers about the past Olympians. I managed to get info about one of them on Wikipedia.

    “Shankar Lakshman (1933 – April 29, 2006) was an Indian hockey player. He was goalkeeper of the Indian team in the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics, that won two gold medals and one silver medal. He was the first goalkeeper to become captain of an international hockey team and was awarded the Arjuna award and the Padmasri by the Indian government. He was captain of the Indian team which won the gold in the 1966 Asian Games. After missing the selection for the 1968 Olympics, Laxman quit hockey. He remained with the Army, retiring in 1979 as a captain of the Maratha Light Infantry. He lived the final years of his life in poverty, and died in 2006 after suffering gangrene in one leg in Mhow.”

    Perhaps today’s generation is not ready to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Shankar Lakshman or fade out as the “unsung heros” and can anyone blame them for it!

  39. Anil says:

    Vijay just comes out as a gifted sportsman with a petty and ungrateful mind.

    Why isn’t Hav Devendro Singh asking for a commission? Isn’t he just as good as Vijay minus the luck? He was the one who showed the real fauji grit and determination.

    Vijay must be given an AVSM and politely asked to resign after being promoted to a Sub Maj. The Army doesn’t need such selfish individuals.

  40. Anil says:

    Another moot question is as to whether Army is the custodian of Indian sports or is it the custodian of a disciplined and ethical way of life free from religion and caste? Obviously the later.

    Vijay can milk the political patronage for whatever it is worth but he mustn’t milk the Army which created him.

    It is not for the Army to change its procedures and grant outlandish promotions to gain brownie points ala politicos. We have to maintain our fairness.

    One foul step wrt Vijay can corrupt the system forever. Neither the nation nor the Army nor the numerous talented youngsters who are future medallists will benefit if we succumb to this blackmail.

  41. I am all for rewarding Vijay Kumar’s achievements in the most befitting manner- monetary awards, Arjuna Award etc etc. But unfortunately his demand for a commission in the army is not in order either ethically or procedurally. Whether anybody likes it or not, the armed forces are the only truly professional organisations in this country where even the General joins at the lowest rung as an officer and gradually rises to the top. There may be shortcomings in the overall scheme of things as they are practised but still it is by far the most efficient and effective organisation in the country. As T R Ramaswamy, a banker, put it ‘As a citizen I always see the army being called to hold the pants of the civil services and the police and never the other way round. That’s enough proof as to who is really more capable.’ And this is only due to certain good and important norms being followed by the army. As much as Vijay Kumar cannot lay claim to any other medal other than the silver he earned in shooting, so much so he should not claim anything that he has not earned in any other event /field. The army does offer opportunities to its soldiers, right from sepoys, to become officers through well defined procedures. He should avail of these processes. Or if the political masters are so concerned let him be made the PM, it will not make any difference as far as the laity is concerned.

    More than anything else, the way he has demanded the promotion smacks of blackmail. I am amoung those who believe that we, as a country, are still paying for the folly of Mahatma Gandhi succumbing to the blackmail of his once blue eyed boy Jawaharlal Nehru who had threatened to split the Congress unless he was made the 1st PM!

  42. ajay says:

    We may not be a stickler for protocols akin to British time Army..but we should hold them as ideals. Lack of ideals only further weakens an organisation. Discipline ranks above performance.

    He was ours, we trained him, he made us proud. we owe him our support and rewards..

    He has been wrong in breaking the chain of faith..he deserves censure..If he responds, Army should forgive and keep him.If not,..lets not be so weak an organisation to start succumbing to blackmails..

    He may achieve any greatness further, may be a billionaire later..even an IAS officer..he will always be the one who bit the hand which fed him..

  43. Sword says:

    @Bhogy – your option 2 is ok, but it would not be ‘magnanimous’ – it would be buckling to pressure. Frankly, I think that the reason the consensus if against Vijay Kumar’s action is not due to an abhorrence to someone being promoted from the ranks to an officer. After all, there are lots and lots of PBOR who do get the jump, even without the significant achievement of Sushil Kumar. So it is not a matter of living, dining and behaving like an officer. The opposition is to the blackmail that he is seen to be indulging in, and in the ungratefulness that seems to underly.

  44. Sword says:

    @Harry – your sentiments are appreciated. However, those of the majority observers stem from the basic ethos that we all have been brought up to adhere to in the armed forces. Agreed that there have been major instances of those very ethos being thrown to the wind by very senior officers in the recent past. But majority of the people still do believe in them, and therefore don’t approve of the organization being held to ransom by an individual.

  45. Sword says:

    @Brig Jaswal – sir, I agree.

  46. Sword says:

    @Girish – thanks. I would probably put it more as insecurity than greed.

  47. Sword says:

    @Vijay Veer – agree with you about need for major changes in overall HR policies. But this case probably is not generic, and needs to be looked at independent of that larger issue.

  48. Sword says:

    @Dilip – privileged to have your views on the subject. After all, you are probably amongst the few people who have actually earned to right to comment on this issue. But the point is, despite your magnanimity in empathizing with Vijay Kumar, I would like to point out that you yourself did not cry for your share of the milk, despite deserving it more. While there are thousands of Olympic medalists in the world, you belong to a select club of 175.

    Also, going by the rewards – cash and otherwise – already announced by various bodies / organizations, Vijay does not face the prospects of going the Lakshman way. If anything, it would be reasonable to assume that he would be financially secure for the rest of his life, irrespective of what the Army does or doesn’t do for him.

  49. Sword says:

    @Anil – my views too.

  50. Gp Capt HS Nival says:

    The honourable minister has been mischievous in making such a statement. Why is he so much willing to make him as IAS officer/Army officer. It seems he has no regard for these services and takes them lightly. To my mind why does he not give him something eve bigger than has has suggested as of now. How about making him the Sports Minister instead?????
    Any One listening???????????

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