The Armed Forces not only need the wherewithal to fight but also commensurate emoluments and facilities such as housing, schools etc. Today, we are short of over 12,000 officers. Fewer people want commissions in the Army, preferring to opt for more lucrative careers in civil life.
And finally, there is the question of izzat. The motto of the Regiment of Artillery is Izzat o Iqbal. Unfortunately, today's soldier does not get the izzat he deserves. He is forgotten in peace and only remembered in times of war, and forgotten again shortly after that.
The izzat of the Armed Forces is being steadily eroded. The glory obtained on the battle-fields quickly fades into oblivion.
The politicians make wars and the soldiers, sailors and airmen fight them. Politicians then make peace, and the soldier is quickly forgotten!
Julian Grenfell wrote in World War I:
`The thundering line of battle stands
And in the air death moans and sings,
But day shall clasp him in strong hands
And night shall fold him in soft wings.`
Eternal night has fallen on our martyrs but has also folded them in its soft wings.
Lest we forget, lest we forget, let us remember them Ã‚Â– they gave their tomorrow for our today.
Image: All set to take off...Lady Officers cheer at the 80th passing-out parade of the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai on September 17, 2005. Around 70 lady cadets completed their 44-week training and will join the Indian Army as Lieutenants.