Monday, July 5, 2010

IESM: Be temperate and disagree with dignity

Dear Colleagues,
Over the last two years there has been a great awakening among the ESM. We have become visibly and vocally aware of how successive governments have been doing us down over the years. Our voice, suppressed over the years by the weight of the Service rules, has found air. We are justifiably angry. In the case of some of us the anger finds expression through our keyboard fingers.
With this rather sudden realization we have begun to look for issues to criticise the regime on. We need to keep in mind that raising too many issues – some not even directly connected with the ESM welfare – might give us an unfair and unwanted tag of being garrulous. This would hurt pursuit of our main goal of OROP and other demands.
Internally, the subject of membership fees refuses to die down. There are weighty arguments supporting both options; maintaining status quo as well as effecting a reduction. The issue has been debated and decided repeatedly in the Governing Body, as well during a Core Group meeting. Views expressed in rallies have also not been unanimous in favour of either option. We should leave the issue for discussion in the next AGM.
A related issue is whether the government response has any direct relation to the total number of members and to the fact that an entity is recognized by the government. While each one of us has his view on the subject, recalling of some facts may be in order:
  • Before IESM membership had touched a four-figure mark, or even before IESM was born and when the protest rallies were conducted under ESMO beginning in April 2008, the government conceded two of our major demands.
  • Constitution of an ESM Commission
  • A separate pay commission for the armed forces. We should recall that on earlier occasions the government had repeatedly turned down the Chiefs’ request of even having representation in the pay commissions.
  • We already have ESM organizations having large membership (lakhs) and government recognition and still not having been able to get the ESM their dues.
  • It needs to be known that government recognition is based on certain pre-conditions. These include a written acceptance of shunning any form of anti- government public protest such as rallies, depositing of medals etc.
    I will again appeal to all ESM to use temperate language while voicing a counter view. All of us are entitled to our opinions. Let us disagree with dignity. Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    None amongst must forget..."
    "For democracy... for the precious right to speak freely..."
    "Down the long, long corridors of duty, of honour, of gallantly going silently, We remain silent of deeds and sacrifices..."
    "No veterans, no democracy, you got no India we lovingly call Bharat."
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