Shedding blood for the sake of a brother, as per Shakespeare, is an act that not only marked a person apart as a gentleman, but one that made the so called ‘gentlemen’ rue not being in such a position –
“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here”
Standing up against the outrage to the modesty of a lady is yet another marked trait of a gentleman.
But a rag called Pune Mirror, passing itself off as a newspaper, doesn’t seem to agree, as per its glaringly biased report titled “Not all officers are gentlemen. The reported incident relates to a young captain from College of Military Engineering, Pune, who went to a Cafe Coffee Day franchise with his lady friend for a cup of coffee. The couple were treated rudely by the staff, and when the lady tried to complain to the manager, she was pushed around by the ‘bouncer’ of the cafe. The officer protested, and was also roughed up by the manager and the bouncer. The officer summoned his ‘band of brothers’ and together the set the balance right and responded in kind. While the tone and tenor of the story seeks to absolve the cafe staff of any blame, the eyewitness accounts in the comments on the article are unambiguous on where the blame lies.
The report points out that while it was the first incident involving the cafe, CME officers have regularly been indulging in such activities. The journalistic curiosity of these hacks did not lead them to ask why a cafe would require to employ bouncers – one has only heard of night clubs and bars having the need for such muscle. Nor has it chosen to comment on the attitude and behaviour of the cafe staff, which by all accounts ranged between outright rudeness to criminal assault.
While the conduct of the cafe staff and management in the whole incident is under scrutiny and an FIR has been filed against them, the partisan role played by the two reporters, Sandip Kohlatkar and Sandip Dighe , who look more like bouncers themselves (see images), and the ‘presstitute’ called Daily Mirror itself also needs to be investigated closely. Could it be possible, as many who have commented on the article online have surmised, that it is a case of ‘paid news’. It would be a good idea for the CME authorities, or the officer in question, to approach the Press Council of India on the issue.
The only heartening aspect of the entire incident is the fact that the CME authorities have not succumbed to the pressure sought to be brought on them by such reporting. Full credit goes to the Commandant CME for standing by his officers. Unfortunately, this has not been the view taken by cautious senior officers in recent times, afraid of possible repercussions of adverse publicity.Legal niceties of the case apart, if you want young military leaders to be fearless and aggressive in the face of enemy, you can’t expect them to take bullying by hooligans lying down. And if you want to foster camaraderie and espirit-de-corps, you can’t penalize brother officers for coming to aid of their comrade. As the comments, including eyewitness accounts, amply bring out, the officers acted in the face of unwarranted provocation, and while their actions may be questionable legally, they are morally sound on grounds of self defence. The organization holding their hand against attempts to use muscle and money power to browbeat would work wonders for the morale of young officers, and go a long way in redeeming their faith in senior officers.
The ill fated bouncer (now short of two teeth, as per the report), will also probably think a couple of times before trying to exercise his muscle power on the men in olive greens.