WHY DIFFERENT DATES OF BIRTH?
The best judges are the readers. I am, therefore, making an endeavour to explain as to how the anomaly in the date of birth did actually arise.
Gen VK Singh entered Birla Public School with date of birth as May 10, 1951.
He passed out from school with Provisional Matriculation Certificate with date of birth as May 10, 1951.
Meanwhile, when Gen VK Singh was still in school, the teacher then, one Mr.BS Bhatnagar, who was keen on sending maximum students to NDA, as he did every six months, brought UPSC forms for entry into NDA from Delhi. The forms were filled by him, who erroneously entered the date of birth as May 10, 1950 instead of May 10 , 1951. Mr. Bhatnagar later on went on to become Principal of Lawrence School Lovedale as also Dally College Indore. He also has vouched that there was indeed an error in filling the date of birth on the UPSC form with regard to Gen VK Singh.
Even his medical examination form as an air force candidate before joining NDA reflects May 10, 1951 as his DOB.
Gen VK Singh passed the NDA exam and submitted the provisional certificate, which reflects the date of birth as 1951.
Once the provisional certificate arrived at the UPSC, the anomaly was observed and the date of birth was settled as May 10, 1951. Gen VK Singh has the acknowledgement letter, but unfortunately the details of correspondence are not available with the UPSC, which as per the rules destroys most documents after lapse of certain years.
When Gen VK Singh graduated from NDA and entered IMA, his date of birth in the IMA dossier is reflected as May 10, 1951. The covering envelop, however, mentions May 10, 1950 probably due to the anomaly that had been settled long back, but still persisted due to clerical oversight or negligence.
This envelope with no legal sanctity is being overplayed by the detractors of Gen VK Singh. When Gen VK Singh passed out of IMA, the Identity Card issued by the Adjutant bears his date of birth as May 10, 1951.
On joining the unit, Gen VK Singh filled up the prescribed form giving all details, which was countersigned by the Commanding Officer with date of birth May 10, 1951 and forwarded to AG Branch at Army HQ. These forms are filled at certain intervals of service and contain all personal and professional particulars. In all these forms the date of birth in respect of Gen VK Singh is reflected as May 10, 1951.
Subsequently, in 1971 on completion of Young Officers Course, Gen VK Singh visited his village and found that his Original Matriculation Certificated had arrived. This certificate too carries his date of birth as May 10, 1951. He submitted the same to the AG’s branch in the Army HQs through his Unit in April 1971.
Gen VK Singh in his journey to the rank of General has undergone selection boards right from the rank of Major and upwards. In each of these boards, his date of birth is reflected as 10 May 1951.
The most critical asset of Armed Forces of any country is the character of its leaders, who command men by example and moral authority more than anything else. Weapons and equipment are function of time, geopolitical environment, and security circumstances. They can be acquired from the domestic or international market. Character cannot be purchased or borrowed.
Any Army can be destroyed by a successful propaganda campaign against the very leaders who provide sustenance to the moral and psychological fabric of the organization. In the history of warfare, it has been practised by adversaries in war and peace with mixed success. At times, it has proved to be detrimental to victory against otherwise superior foe.
At present the same is being perpetrated on the Indian Army not by adversaries like Pakistan or China, but from within by Indians, which include Sukhna mafia, Adarsh mafia, arms lobby, and other vested interests. The pawns in this game are some scheming and ambitious Army Officers.
One venerable retired Chief Justice of India, in his solicited opinion that conveyed that Gen VK Singh’s age must be upheld as 10 May 1951, failing which there will be huge impetus to corruption. The former judge has grasped the controversy in its entirety.
Finally, I may ask the readers what would have been the response of the government if hypothetically the case was converse i.e. if Gen VK Singh’s date of birth was May 10, 1950 in the matriculation certificate and May 10 , 1951 in the UPSC form or the Army List? And what would have been the verdict of the readers if General had insisted that the government must go by the UPSC form or the Army List? If the verdict is a ‘NO’, then why the present controversy?Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author's and not of Sify.com. Sify.com does not make any representations for the accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or any damages arising from it.
RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also Associate Editor, Indian Defence Review.
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