Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tamilnadu: Family run Politics graduates to Family run Deemed Universities

Tamil Nadu has a special place in the report that declares 44 universities across the India are unfit. One-third of these colleges, accused by an expert committee of being run like family fiefdoms, are in Tamil Nadu.
Three of them belong to local politicians:
DMK Union Minister Jagathratchagan's Bharat University
New Justice Party President A C Shanmugam's Dr MGR University
AIADMK MP Thambidurai's St Peter's University

NDTV tried to talk to Thambidurai, whose wife is listed as the Chancellor of St. Peter's University. On record, he denies any affiliation with the college.

NDTV: What do you have to say about the way these institutions are run?
Thambidurai: I don't run any college
NDTV: Your wife heads St Peter's University?
Thambidurai: No, she doesn't.
Education experts say it's political clout and not merit that has got these colleges the much-wanted status of deemed universities. These institutions can decide their own syllabus and fees. Often, admissions are for sale.

Professors at these universities admit that money is a driving force for the owners. "Except for finance committees, there is no interference from families, particularly in academics," says M K Padmanabhan, the Vice-Chancellor of Dr MGR University.

A point in favour of the blacklisted universities is that they were sanctioned their special status during the last UPA government. And since then, periodic reviews by the University Grants Commission have not found fault with these colleges.
"Only three months ago, the UGC said in writing, we are one of the perfect colleges," says Padmnabhan.
Tamil Nadu: Too many politician- run colleges

Black money gainfully utilised for education of the rich and to amass more black money by way of (underhand) capitation fees!

IESM: Rally at Bhadurgarh on 17 Jan 2010

Dear Colleagues,
Gen Renjen, Satbir, Hony Capt Dhir Singh, Hony Lt Pandey, WO Bala and I attended a rally at Bhadurgarh Jan 17. Despite very low temperature and thick fog, the gathering was impressive with ESM have come from far off villages. Veteran Sub Deep Chand had anchored the meeting. Everyone showed determination to continue with the struggle, however long it might have to last.
Calls keep coming in from various corners. Kupwara is regular in communicating. An angry Hav Gurmel called up from Gurdaspur (Pb) showing his frustration at the government’s lack of response. (He is heading an ESM organization that offers full support for IESM). Sub Hari Singh from Hisar calls a few times daily and makes me talk to ESM from different parts of the area. He is remarkably selfless in his approach.
The lowered membership fee period has expired on 15 Jan 2010. Now we are back to the original fee of Rs 500, 200 and 100 for officers, JCOs and Other Ranks respectively.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Response to Shekhar Gupta's "Our Harmed Forces"

Dear Mr Shekhar Gupta, you are right. But there are lots of “buts”...
Reference extracted
Quote — talk either grand strategy, modernisation, or unveil a vision for the military? You could go right back to the mid-’80s and may discover that the last time you heard such genuinely military talk was when General Sundarji took over and, by a happy coincidence we had already, in Admiral Tahiliani, a visionary chief of the navy. The air force then had many combat veterans of the 1965-71 vintage at top levels and together the three forces inducted new weapon systems, wrote new doctrines and built confidence, morale and, above all, the sense of dash, adventure and excitement that attracts the finest young people to join the forces. Unquote
Click here to read the full article "Our Harmed Forces" by Shekhar Gupta of IE

There is no last man standing. Except in the days of OP Malhotra, Pereira, & Latif, when they traveled in same Ambassador Car, the days of Amar, Akbar, Anthony. Cherish it.

Only Sundarji came close to this. I was Navy Advisor in Islamabad , when this gem of General visited there in 1993. Gen Asif Nawaz, a polished Pak Chief, broke the protocol, picked up Sundarji from Wagah, and flew him in Army house in Pindi for a dinner and introduction to his waiting generals. Please read the value of Sundarji here. Sundarji attended public functions in Marriott, Track-II process, in high commissioner Mr. Lambah's residence, the entire Pak ex 2,3,4 stars wanted to see, touch him. General Mirza Aslam Beg was also there. No body argued with Sundarji, he was heard. One way traffic. They wanted to see The Chanakya, the most unpredictable mercurial leader from India , a real game changer. I remember faces of those around the general.

Also when we spoke out recently, I had heard Pardeep Naik, PC Barbora, Deepak Kapoor : the liners looked mediocre. If General Kler could be cashiered for DCB 40 years ago, why not an encore by the Army Chief ? This is what Shankar Roychowdhury opined too. Go clean, fast deep surgery.

There was no need of these orations as they do not match the stature & occasion. As some of our peers are 3 stars today, is there any one who can crack the whip ? So finally it is us, we the real people, real names, real associates, as we grew, we became the system, ossified.

It fills with remorse, that a few who had a moderate, articulate, cerebral assertion & looked at national security and their legitimate place & voice, are living quietly in Dehradun, the nation has overlooked them. They are needed sunshine for the nation, ie Arun Prakash. It is for this reason Faggy Mehta fought in a manner, which was of desperation & not his style. He cannot be faulted. And why soldiers should not ask for the parity in pay, when MPs can revise the same for themselves, with less than 30% of the quorum in the parliament ?

Till today I remember Viraat, 1985-86, flying operations, Rajiv Gandhi was arriving to see the fire power demo, Chakra had been inducted, we had all 3 chiefs, Tahiliyani, La Fontaine, & Sundarji, Arun Singh on board.

Rajiv was ferried in to carrier, flown in a Sea King, where the squadron cdr, being a Sikh, a fine, genial gentleman, was overlooked and the privilege was passed on to the deputy. He was with me in the flyco, very quiet, very somber. Whom we will blame for this? Media? Raksha Mantriji? Yes the blame is with us.

My fear is, if the soldierly chiefs like Vijay Singh Shekhawat & Madhvendra Singh could not win, if Vishnu Bhagwat was murdered in office, there is little other soldiers can do. We are not taught to kill the enemy within. We are groomed to look for external threats. When in 1984, for Republic Day Parade, from AF Hakimpet, FLt Ahluwalia, a sikh and self (a navy pilot) , were asked to go to Hindon, to provide air cover in case there is an outage on Rajpath, I am sure both of us would chosen court martial, jail, rather than fire our 20 mm canons and create immense collateral damage that is not a part of our psyche.

Indian Military Leadership. It is above doubts and discussion. In Sri Lanka, Kashmir, our causality ratio of officers and Jawans is approx 1:8. As I stood before the War Memorial in Abbotabad, and PMA Kakul, I could see the same for Pak army as 1:25. Once in awhile an officer’s name will appear in the list. When silently this was pointed out to the British and German defense attaché’, they nodded the affirmation.

I want to know: Is this the power of democracy? Is there a difference between political and bureaucratic control? Are 60 years enough to grasp this? Do the politicians know their job so that they can handle the bureaucrats? British MPs still have not learnt their job yet in 200 years. Watch "Yes Minster".
Vice Admiral Anil Chopra

Our Harmed Forces by Shekhar Gupta of IE

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Elderly fume over proposed licence norms

NO LICENCE TO DRIVE: Many elderly feel taking away their right to drive is akin to killing their independence

The motorcycles zipping along, cutting across the lanes, indifferent to their own and others safety are not driven by the elderly, the speeding cars jumping the dividers and hitting the on coming traffic are also not driven by the elderly. The drunk drivers speeding their BMW’s and Merck, late in the night, and overrunning the poor homeless sleeping on the foot paths are also not elderly. Also those driving on the e-ways, over-speeding, on the foggy mornings and hitting the stationary trucks, dumpers regularly are also not elderly. The infamous Blue line Buses of Delhi were also not driven by elderly.
Then why select the elderly to debar driving, has any survey of the accidents attributed to the elderly, age wise statically resulted in this conclusion.
For the sake of elderly, do not deny their mobility, most of us living alone with children having flown the nest, mobility so necessary in case of a medical or other emergency.
We, those who are medically fit to drive are more cautious, drive at the speed of the traffic and in lanes, do not unnecessarily over-take and let the brash overtake us at their whims and fancy.
Brig Lakshman Singh (Retd)
TOI article
Elderly fume over proposed licence norms:
Say Plan To Keep Those Above 72 Years Out Of The Drivers Seat Is Arbitrary, Prefer Tests

National Security: Can structures of babudom meet the challenges of the future?

Kanchan Gupta

As National Security Adviser MK Narayanan prepares to exit the Prime Minister’s Office and spend the coming years in the splendid isolation of a Raj Bhavan, it would be appropriate to review his tenure as Mr Manmohan Singh’s top aide. Given his unimpeachable loyalty to the first family of the Congress if not to the party (it would be facetious to suggest that one is concomitant to the other) it did not surprise anybody when he was inducted into the PMO after the UPA came to power. Nor was it surprising that his initial assignment was that of Internal Security Adviser. Having served as Director of Intelligence Bureau (when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister) and a ‘National Security Adviser’ of sorts to VP Singh during his brief stint in office, he was a natural choice for the job. Known as a ‘tough-though-thinking cop’, apart from excelling at gathering ‘political intelligence’, his presence in the PMO, it was felt, would be a perfect counterfoil to the soft approach of the Government to issues linked to internal security as well as help shore up a regime dependent on unreliable allies by working the back channels with parties like the DMK.....

It would have been an uninterrupted run for Mr Narayanan had nemesis not struck by way of the November 26, 2008 fidayeen attacks on multiple targets in Mumbai and the resultant outrage followed by the sacking of Mr Patil. Both the National Security Adviser and the Home Minister should have been unceremoniously dumped after the July 11, 2006 Mumbai commuter train bombings in which more people were killed than in the carnage two years later. But then, 26/11 was telecast live while 11/7 wasn’t; more than 200 Indian commuters died in the first attack and six Americans were among the 166 who perished in the second massacre. So, Mr Patil made an ignominious exit, Mr P Chidambaram took charge as Home Minister and Mr Narayanan found his remit severely curtailed. Over the past year, national security has been the preserve of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Mr Chidambaram has done a commendable job.

We are now told that the Government proposes to have two separate Security Advisers— one for homeland security and the other for external security. That’s an excellent proposal and merits immediate implementation. If that happens — and it’s a very big ‘if’ — the defunct National Security Council (when was the last time it met to discuss strategic security, political, economic and energy concerns?), the Strategic Policy Group (comprising babus not known for coming up with scintillating ideas) and the Joint Intelligence Committee should be immediately disbanded. Structures of the past cannot meet challenges of the future. We need a brand new system with the right people for whom India matters more than America, not loyal bureaucrats who will blindly do the Prime Minister’s bidding.
Read the full article
India matters, not America

Sr lanka: The Lost Victory

Book traces rise & fall of LTTE
Tribune News Service Chandigarh, January 17
For a large part of the preceding year, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was in the news as a war ravaged the northern part of Sri Lanka - the same battleground where Indian forces got a bloodied nose, jolting the establishment into reality and initiating a deep introspection of the problems affecting the military.

Political, economic and social developments in Sri Lanka are of vital interest to India as they have an impact not only across the Palk Strait but also on the larger geo-political equation in South India. The 30-year old conflict in Sri Lanka as an important bearing on the socio-economic environment in the island nation, which has and will influence its national and international policies.

Retired city-based officer Maj-Gen Raj Mehta has brought out a book - Lost Victory, the Rise and Fall of LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran - that documents and examines the strife that finally resulted in the LTTE being defeated.

The 430-page book is divided into five parts that give an overview of the conflict, including the dramatic death of Prabhakaran, cover the life and times of the supreme, touches upon key aspects of the war and its myriad Eelam complexities, focuses on the Indian intervention in Sri Lanka and finally covers issues of regional diplomacy, war fighting strategies, lessons learnt and the way forward.
Lost Victory by Maj Gen Raj Mehta

SCPC: Majors Pension- pre 2006

Dear Brigadier Kamboj,
While I agree that the pre -2006 Majors have been meted out the worst deal among the officers, by the 6th Pay Commission, the fact is that the Government has wronged all the older lot of pensioners up to the rank of Major Generals. Just one example; is there justice in granting a person commanding a company & equivalent in post 2005 period, some Rs.5000 to 6000 more in pension than a pre 2006 retiree Major General who commanded a force about 150 times than that commanded by the new Majors (Lt col/ time scale Colonel).

The cases of old Havildars and Subedar Majors are also of the same category. In fact every old pensioner has been discriminated against. I am of the opinion that the IESM should not take cases piecemeal, as it will be detrimental to the over all struggle.

I feel that we should make a comprehensive case for OROP which if need be, can also be the basis for a court case, which in all probabilities will be the finale of our struggle.

With best wishes & regards,
Col MMP Kala

Monday, January 18, 2010

National Security: Two-front war plan could be smokescreen

MJ Akbar: The Poineer
One of the more curious episodes in recent weeks is the indignation with which Indian Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor’s statement that India’s forces were ready to face war on two fronts simultaneously, against China and Pakistan, was received. The Islamabad establishment has treated this as a virtual declaration of war. It is possible that the politicians of Pakistan have begun to confuse Islamabad with New Delhi.

Generals in Delhi do not declare war. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet do that. Generals have only one duty. They have to reassure the Government and the nation that they will be able to protect the country even in the worst possible circumstances, and deliver on the assurance. The nightmare scenario for India is a concerted, coordinated offensive by China across the main Himalayas, and by Pakistan on its Kashmir wedge. This is, conversely, the dream scenario of General Headquarters in Pakistan. Gen Kapoor was doing his job when he made that statement.

There was a time when, to put it in the language of the 1950s, war-war was the business of Generals and jaw-jaw was the responsibility of politicians. The taciturn warrior began to disappear with the British empire and Soviet Union; and as American military power began to fill the strategic vacuum the greater individual freedoms of America began to permeate the Pentagon and its equivalents. American officers took their final orders from the White House, but they had plenty to say in-between. The most recent case was last year’s debate on a troop surge in Afghanistan. The Pentagon not only told the White House, which was dithering, what it wanted, but made sure the American voter and the citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan got the message as well. The infection has reached the stiff upper lips of Britain: Generals there make demands for equipment through the media. Discipline cannot completely sanitise the military brass from the influences of the democratic spirit, and its institutions.

China did not react sharply to Gen Kapoor’s comment, although it can hold its own in any sparring match. It may be argued that it did not need to do anything but laugh. A little after Gen Kapoor’s claim, the Government of India admitted, formally, that China had eaten away vast amounts of (presumably unpatrolled, or sparsely visited) border territory. Even more interesting than the Government’s admission was the fact that Indians seemed beyond caring. The Opposition parties shrugged and concentrated on screaming at one another; television, which gets hysterical when a leaf flutters, had other things to do. Clearly, media reserves its visceral reactions only for its western rather than its northern border. This is maybe because the occupation of distant, barren land cannot compare, in televisual terms, with the throbbing drama of the heights and valleys of Kashmir.

Islamabad’s reaction has nothing to do with any threat from India, because there is no threat from India. India does not desire an inch of land beyond the Ceasefire Line or the international border. Equally, it will not surrender an inch of what is under its control. Pakistan, however, has built a layered case before America which boils down to this: It cannot fight all of America’s enemies on the frontier, or those who treat the Frontier as sanctuary for the conflict in Afghanistan, as long as Indian guns are pointed at its back. It needs relief in the east to fight in the west. Washington, DC, has bought this argument, and New Delhi has obliged as unobtrusively as possible. Our two-front Gen Kapoor has quietly presided over the withdrawal of over 40,000 troops from the Kashmir Valley, and their transfer to the eastern Himalayas under the cover of rising worry about China. It’s very neat actually: We use China, possibly with Beijing’s knowledge, to help out America in its Pakistan war.

As long as there is no change in ground realities, this game can be played to triangular, or even quadrangular, satisfaction. Alas, everyone is not playing the same game. The spurt in terrorist violence in Srinagar during the last fortnight could be aimed at disturbing this dainty strategic daisy chain. Specialists are warning of an impending attack on the Indian mainland.

The delicate diplomatic balance could crumble if Pakistan and America push too hard, and believe that they can manoeuvre New Delhi into a final settlement on Kashmir. There is very little space for negotiations on Kashmir itself, given that Pakistan is searching a major dilution of the status quo and India, at least at the moment, will agree on only the Ceasefire Line as the solution. Is the sudden talk of National Security Adviser MK Narayanan being shifted to a powerless Governor’s bungalow indicative of a major change in New Delhi’s Kashmir policy? He was a status quoist. Mr Manmohan Singh thinks, perhaps, that he can remobilise the constituency that cheered the nuclear deal with the US. That may be easier in theory than practice. Pakistan, after all, is far more explosive than any number of nuclear plants.

Was Gen Deepak Kapoor’s two-front statement part of the smoke or the smokescreen?

-- MJ Akbar is Director of Publications of Covert.
Two-front war plan could be smokescreen by MJ Akbar: Sunday Poineer

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Land Scam and Generals

1. As an ex serviceman I feel ashamed, angry, and betrayed. Generals involved in scams! Punishments, of course, will be swift and severe. However, a couple of thoughts come to mind, even when it is filled with outrage, which requires attention of all our countrymen.

2. This is not to justify or rationalize the misdeed. An offence cannot be condoned or even mitigated no matter what the backgrounds or provocations or compulsions are. Nonetheless, one must realize that the armed forces (Sena) personnel grew up in the prevailing culture of the society drawing their values, ethos and guidelines from it. Corrupt politicians and bureaucrats (Netas, Babus), who commit all kinds and hues of crimes, and are ruling the country, duly aided by a legal and judicial system are they then the role models in the society? Therefore, the society must do something about it- soon. Social boycott of the offenders appears to be the solution as the law takes its own course, much to the delight of the criminals. Sena personnel are kept in check as much by the noble traditions still existing in the Units as by the strict military laws.

3. The second thought is about the expectation of the society from them and how they are treated in return. They are expected to be honourable, upright, brave, selfless, ever ready to die for the country and they certainly are all that. The erring ones are hammered. Remember ‘Tehelka’? Only the army men got the boot, long ago. For the others, law is taking its course – not necessarily moving on it. Shouldn't the Sena be given their dues, compatible respect and money? So far, the refrain has been, you(Sena) should die for the country, for glory and not bother about money. We (Netas, Babus) will settle for the mundane things like money and the freebies.
Jago India, Jago.
Col BN Ratha (Retd)

Pension Review for pre- 2006 Majors and Equivalents

Dear Brig CS Kamboj,
I am a retired Lt Cdr who is effected by the low pension after implementation of the the VI CPC Recommendations. I am honoured to read through your mail the interest taken by Veteran Officers and specifically to Brig Subramanian's honest attempt to look after the forgotten Majors' pension for review through a SOC.
I have gone through the case and wish to humbly submit my understanding of the case as a write up to strenghten the case click here. The earlier Letter written by self to CNS and the explanation on Anomaly for Fitment of Pay Scales are also attached.

I shall be grateful if the same is gone through and projected to right authorities, including to Gen Kadyan of IESM. I shall be more than willing to clarify if any issue is not understood or expressed incorrectly.

Thanking you and with warm and respectful regards,

Yours sincerely,
Lt Cdr(Retd) PS Nath

Our Harmed Forces

Who will give better leadership? Political Class! The political Class, the one which has been selected by the Indian Public at large. The public needs to be educated and they should not be worked upon as mere vote banks which unfortunately they are and thus they go wrong in selecting the candidate while voting. The basis of proper education of the public must start at the very basic Education System in the country so that the generation next is adequately and properly educated and made wiser to run our country. The political parties themselves are more to blame as at the core of their election strategy lies in the hunger for power and not the welfare of the Society and State/ Country at large; they will do well only when their basic approach under goes change, the one which should be a 'Thorough Nationalistic Approach'. The Political Class has to wash out their dirty linen and come clean into the public domain and that too with patriotic approach. For this we do need a Great Revolution in our country, the one comparable with the might of 'Shahid Bhagat Singh' of pre-Independence era. Do we find people of such stature anywhere?

We are blaming the Armed Forces and trying to fish out something most undesirable and creating a bad impression and not allowing the them to take their own action within the bounds of the well respected discipline which it is ingrained with from the very concept of its existence and every soldier is proud of. The media has of late gone into a bingo attitude and approach of exploitation and sensationalism which is mostly counter productive when Armed Forces are concerned. Self restraint is absolutely essential when of speech is guaranteed in our State. The
case of 26/11 should never be forgotten when this approach helped the Adversary on the contrary. Apparently we have not learnt our lesson yet.

When it comes to grant of pension benefits to the Armed Forces, all those in power, the political class and the bureaucracy and Media are virtually silent. No one is willing to take up the cause of Veterans of the Armed Forces. Their just demand of OROP remains unfulfilled as merely not feasible on administrative grounds. The men in uniform can not raise this issue as they are bound by discipline. Nevertheless, this approach will have repercussions in the entire set-up of the Armed Forces. It is time to wake up. Oh! Our country-men when will you wake up??!!!!

I Jairath
Gp Capt(Retd)
Read Shekhar Gupta's article in Indian Express
Our Harmed Forces


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