Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Club for Jawans: Bridging gap between Officers and Men

Club for Jawans: Army's attempt to abolish the relics of British Raj
Ajay Sura, TNN | Sep 3, 2012, 01.45PM IST
CHANDIGARH: In a serious attempt to do away with much of its colonial trappings in the 1.5 million strong 'hierarchy conscious' Indian army, the western command has opened a recreational club for the junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and Jawans-a facility, which was confined to the officers' class till date.
The state of art institute opened last week by chief of army staff, General Bikram Singh, is the first of its kind in the country in terms of standards, where Junior Commissioned officers/other ranks and their families would avail the facilities under one roof such as restaurant, gymnasium, library, cyber cafe conference hall and indoor games.
Development is seen as an attempt to bridge the gap between the officers and others ranks at a time when Army's colonial-era institutions are generating a crisis within its ranks. Earlier in the first week of May this year, the Army had announced that it was considering doing away with the colonial-era practice of sahayak or batmen, where soldiers are assigned to serve as valets.
Importantly, navy and air force had already such facilities for its JCOs/ORs rank but hierarchy-conscious army had not taken any initiative in this concerned and was yet to waken up from the 'colonial way' where white officers were being separated from the local soldier.
The newly opened recreational club at Chandimandir cantonment for soldiers has been named as 'Jadunath Sainik Institute'. Naik Jadunath of army fought the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, where Pak irregular had attacked Indian territories in Jammu & Kashmir. He died in the battle and was later awarded with country's highest gallantry award--- the Param Vir Chakra (PVC). Sources confirmed TOI that army is going to set up more such institutes across the country for its lower rung troops.
Till date, most of the cantonment and cities have institutes/clubs meant for officers only, where officers and their families are members for recreational activities.
Terming the development as 'winds of change' in the army, the defence fraternity is of the view that rule and regulations should change as per change of social and economical changes in the society.
Major General K S Bajwa, an officer of first batch of IMA, commissioned just before the India attained independence, said, "Today's jawan is well educated, more inspirational, having better expectation of life and the move would give them a sense of belongingness".
While terming the move as farsighted with large implications on troops, Gen Bajwa said that it would help in curbing the incidents that has occurred recently creating conflicts within ranks.
Club for Jawans: Army's attempt to abolish the relics of British Raj

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