This morning, I read in the papers that the army is very seriously 'concerned' at the shortage of 11,500 officers in its cadres. My mind's eye travelled back to 1983, when I was first posted to the Adjutant General's branch in the Pay Cell constituted for the IV Pay Commission. If my memory serves me right the shortage then was just a little under 12000 officers'and had been at that level for several years. The army was 'concerned' just as much as it is now.
A couple of years later, I was asked to assist the big boss for his 'presentation' to the top brass. As I went through the agenda, a queer thought crossed my inquisitive mind. I decided to see if any of those points had been discussed in an earlier conference. To my horror and amusement, I found that nearly ALL the points had been discussed, not once but several times!
On the personnel side, the following issues are perennial. Every senior officer believes that he has a cogent solution. They sit in all earnestness and ponder over the issues. Why they fail is that they want a solution which has no disadvantages (or, side effects) Since such a solution does not exist, they shoot each other down. Amongst the personnel 'problems' which are unlikely to be resolved during the next 25 years are the following:
As for the veterans, they were very unhappy then. And they are more unhappy now. They complained that no one cared for them; that they received a shabby treatment and that the military service has lost its sheen. It is much the same now.
I am reminded of what a poet said:
"Phir wahi dard hai phir wahi jigar
Phir wahi raat hai phir wahi hai dar
Ham samjhe gham kar gaya safar
Dwar dil ka khul gaya, haathi nikal gaya
Dum reh gayi magar!!!"
In English they say, "It is old wine in new bottles"
Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)