Tweet Reply: Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat,

National Defence is not quite an art of fiction where we can weave stories from a figment of our imagination. I do the same and know better. It is ground reality to all the people involved.

There is this sneaking suspicion that your choice of topic was an attempt to gain publicity considering that you are used to negative one as well. Conveniently, the spotlight around people associated with OROP like Modi, Jaitley, and Parrikar has now shifted to you. Why not? Any publicity is good publicity? No?

However, we now have a lot more people who have heard of OROP. And we thank you for playing a part. So many have since asked questions around your article and got answers on social media that it has made the job of OROP supporters easier. It does not make you look good but it has definitely helped the cause!

Your article solicited opinions in sms from readers @Rs 3 per sms. Even if all the 25 lakh veterans sent you a hate sms, you would have made 75 lakhs by now. Big brother is watching!

I’m not against commercialization being an author myself but “What” you’re trading makes all the difference.

Here you’ve traded blood of the soldiers, tears of the survived and sacrifices made by their families. Justified? I’ve sat at Jantar Mantar with the veterans, pledged my book royalties for their support and assured them that the youth of the country who they need the most is with them. I felt extremely satisfied with what I did. There were some ill researched and disturbing facts in your infamous article that I would like to bring light on after having spent time with the veterans.

 

“Should we still say ‘give them whatever they want because they guard our borders’ “

The ground reality of your statement could not be further than the truth. If they were always given what they want, would the government not also pay their insurance premiums? Currently, it is borne by the soldiers and soldiering being such a risky profession, the high premium is almost 220% more than average!

“There are several reasons why their demand is justified. Pension discrepancy between an officer who retired in 1990, v/s an equal-ranked officer who retired in 2015 can be dramatic.”

You are right that it is justified.

  • Currently, the Bureaucracy, Judiciary, and Parliamentarians are covered under OROP. But not the whole of defence forces.
  • In the third Central Planning Commission (CPC), the defence services pension was brought down from 70% to 50% while that of other services increased from 30% to 50%.
  • In the sixth CPC, defence services were again kept out of NFU and officers were not given Assured Career Progression. This not only makes defence services a less lucrative profession but also is a serious threat to the quality of officers joining, which is directly proportional to the level of National Security.

 Being an MBA from IIM, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. This is a matter of having a robust HR policy to gather and retain talent. You have also put your education at IIM to shame here.

“Should war-affected veteran families be paid differently from those who retired safe and sound?” (by the way, the Border Security Force, or BSF, does not get OROP)?”

Are you trying to use the tactic of divide and rule?

I was fortunate that my father returned safe from Blue Star, IPKF or Kargil. But did he perform his duty any less than anyone who unfortunately died in those missions?

It would be petty to differentiate between those that got a chance to serve the country during war and those that would have done the same, should there have been a war. And those that laid their lives down during war and those that made it back home safe.

But then, how would you know, you who must have counted every paisa of the Rs 3/sms from readers who replied to your article!

“To pay the veterans more, or to pay new hires in the Army more?” 

A soldier today is a veteran tomorrow; so what is applicable to the veteran of today is applicable to the serving of today.

In essence, your statement smacks of “let’s feed our parents less since they are no longer useful to us and feed our children more since they have the potential to be useful”.

“To pay the officers more or the jawans more?”

Now, you as an individual can’t be changing the entire rulebook to discount hierarchy in an institution!

Chetan Bhagat, it seems that you have completely forgotten your school history lessons

At the time of Independence, the Prime Minister Shri Nehru had a huge responsibility to develop the Nation and the strategy was to put budgeting for Defence on low priority. Our nation regretted that and as we all know, 1962 was a disaster.

Chetan Bhagat, you seem under threat from all the hateful comments on social media from the citizens of India.

Please do not be. As a person who has every living male member of her family in the Army, I can only reassure you that a real threat would be if the forces withdrew or went on strike over this issue for even a day! In that situation I will not even have to hunt for Al Qaeda for you.

And I repeat the word “IF” to you because my experience tells me that you are a selective listener and are most likely to cleverly pick lines to conjure some dubious meaning in your retorts.

This is just the tip of the facts and figures. Please educate yourself over OROP and write another balanced and honest analysis of this issue.

And we promise that your honesty will be rewarded. Every veteran will send in Rs3/sms to make you rich by the evening of that honest article.

But I do appreciate your impeccable manners… Thank you for calling me lovely on twitter!

 

Bhaavna Arora
Author
Mistress of Honour
The Deliberate Sinner