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The soldier stands alone

April 1, 2010

I had written a post earlier on the plight of soldiers in our country. Be he/she from any of the forces.
It was a post that found strong resonance with many.

Here is a piece of news related to the same topic that has come in today.
Felt ashamed of us as a nation while reading it.

    Stop treating army men like ‘beggars’, SC to govt


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has slammed the union government for treating army personnel like “beggars” in respect of emoluments and pension and asked the authorities to adopt a more “humane approach” towards those bravely defending the country’s borders.

If a person goes to any part of Delhi and sits for begging, he will earn Rs 1000 every day and you are offering a pittance of Rs 1000 per month for a man who fought for the country in the high altitudes and whose arm was amputated?

“Is this the way you treat those brave army officers? It is unfortunate that you are treating them like beggars,” a bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and A K Patnaik said in verbal comments while passing the order.

The apex court passed the order dismissing the Centre’s appeal challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court direction to pay higher pension to C S Siddu, a Short Commissioned Officer whose right arm had to be amputated due to an accident while on duty at the high altitudes on November November 21, 1970.

“The army personnel are bravely defending the country even at the cost of their lives and we feel they should be treated in a better and more humane manner by government authorities, particularly, in respect of their emoluments, pension and other benefits,” the bench said in an order.

There was an element of drama in the court when Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi pleaded with the court not to use “strong words” in the order like “beggars,” “niggardly” “miserly”, following which the bench dropped them from the written order.

“We regret to say that the army officers and army men in our country are being treated in a shabby manner by the government. In this case, the respondent,(Sidhu) who was posted at a high altitude field area and met with an accident during discharge of his duties was granted a meagre pension. This is a pittance (about Rs 1000) per month plus D.A.

“If this is the manner in which the army personnel are treated, it can only be said that it is extremely unfortunate,” the bench however, noted in its written order.

55 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2010 11:30 pm


    Army personnel are the real heroes, not ofilm stars or cricketeers or whoever else. We sit in our homes all comfy and tucked in, because these ppl are giving up their lives to safeguard our borders.

    Nothing we do in return can be enough to pay the price of their sacrifice and their lives.

    Yet is justice delivered…? 😐 😦

    • April 18, 2010 6:12 am

      Absolutely right!! Soldiers perform the most noble duty of all! And not because of the risk factor involved, but because they do it, for someone else. To protect people whom they don’t even know, and who will never know them! God bless them!!

  2. April 1, 2010 11:31 pm

    Its really sad to know this…how the government treats the people who are out there protecting our country so that we can sleep peacefully every night.

  3. April 1, 2010 11:38 pm

    Its really a shame…. how can they give a guy 1000 rs!!
    Good that someone cares. 🙂

  4. April 1, 2010 11:54 pm

    and to think of it, we are spending lakhs for keeping terrorists safe in our prison !

    I guess SC has finally woke up after years of hibernation !

  5. Ordinary Guy permalink
    April 2, 2010 3:51 am

    horrible indy, just horrible!

    just hope that something is done now………….

  6. April 2, 2010 4:03 am

    @Ash, Reema, Ves, Vimmuuu, OG
    Thank you all for your comments. Just wanted to share this news.

    While this kind of news is something one has gotten used to hearing/reading about, what made me cringe were the words used by the Court. The court put my feelings into words.
    Its a brutal truth.
    Defence personnel are treated in the most pathetic manner possible.

    Our governments ..both state and Central have CM’s who have money to make huge garlands. Money to be spent like crazy on pre- poll publicity without any accountability whatsoever. Corruption on a scale that boggles the mind! Money in swiss banks. All of it taken from the money we pay them as taxes.
    And they offer a paltry 1000 to a soldier ??

    And what is the price of a soldier’s life?

    I have said this before and I will say it again.

    Words are cheap in this country of ours. Promises are even cheaper. But the cheapest of all is the life of a soldier.

  7. April 2, 2010 6:32 am

    Bravo to the SC for making that remark, and getting a few of those so called well wishers of the soldiers feeling hot under their collars!

    It is such a sad state of affairs, how the three chiefs had to go on and on, after the VI Pay Commission gave its recommendations, getting them to remove bias from it with ref. to certain pay bands, and the nonsense they had to take from the IAS babus.

    Still they made a fine attempt there too. And things are looking up for them, though, of course, the way we treat our retired personnel is still shocking sometimes!

    Thanks Indygurl, you jolt us back into reacting proactively. >Hugs<
    me- Yes Ushus. Just what I felt too. The fact that the SC was forced into making that remark ..what with the pathetic way in which the soldiers in this country are being they from the three defence forces or paramilitary.

    One man’s battle for a sum of 1000? A man in uniform.
    One simply wonders at times Ushus. Words are not enough to convey the shame one feels.

  8. April 2, 2010 7:18 am

    “Words are cheap in this country of ours. Promises are even cheaper. But the cheapest of all is the life of a soldier.” I couldn’t have said it better…

    In this country of ours, we place more value on bureaucrats who sit in their offices and push paper…There’s something really wrong with our government’s priorities…

    I’m against compulsory military service but if we had it in India, our politicians would think differently…

    me-The government’s priorities will never change..because soldiers don’t constitute a ‘votebank’…unless some sensible person becomes our defence minister or PM ..(which looks like it wont happen ..ever..) I don’t see much change happening…

    I am curious Sraboney. Would you please share the reasons as to why you are not in favour of conscription?

  9. April 2, 2010 8:32 am

    Except for the lives of the politicians, we all have no importance and our lives are of no use.
    Fauji who take risk of their lives, are being ill treated by this govt.
    All I can say is that not only in the Army, but,generally there is a total discontent amongst people.
    But, the stage has come when we are feeling frustrated and helpless.
    It is a shame that we cant look after our Soldiers but take all actions to ensure the corrupt get away even in disproportionate assets case.

    me- I agree Sir. The discontent is becoming very obvious now. But what of it? I wish one could channelize this frustration and anger in some constructive manner.

    Netaaon ki jaan beshkimati hai. Absolutely right Sir!

  10. April 2, 2010 11:43 am

    Our government has more pressing matters to attend to and more pressing areas to spend money on!!! When NSG was recruited for Mumbai State Government took ages to decide for a place for them! Had it been an allotment of place for a Minister he would have got it overnight!!!

    We seriously don’t know who deserves what respect!!!
    me- Yes. Just the way Mayawati thought”to hell with the constitution’ and is raising a security force to protect..her statues!!

    We are a country with screwed up priorities.

  11. April 2, 2010 3:16 pm

    Our politicians are busy making idols of themselves and building bungalows.This is sick to know that people who protect our borders so that we can have good sleep and have good time with families are given Rs.1000/- for survival.

    Kasab is treated better than Mr.Siddu and is offered biryani and paper to read.

    me- Saritha. You have said it so well. We have time (and resources) for everyone except the soldier and the common man.

  12. April 2, 2010 4:03 pm

    seems for everything good to happen we need the supreme court… sad state of affairs… recently was with one constable while on a tour and hearing their pay scales it shocked me.. infact am thinking of writing a post on it… !!!!

    me- Yes Dhiren. When the aam janta curses the man in khakhi little does he/she realize the dismal living conditions…working conditions they work in… not to mention the ‘pay’ they get…
    DO write on it. More people will read and maybe just maybe it will make a least in our attitude..

  13. April 2, 2010 6:44 pm

    When i read this piece of news this morning i was happy that at least there is some authority who can openly scold the govt..
    Its really sad that ppl who have so selflessly served the country have to settle with such low incomes and ppl in ‘public service’ have all the comforts in addition to the hefty pay cheques they receive..

    me- The ‘public service’ thing is so laughable.
    The SC used some harsh but true words for the incompetent fools who ‘rule’ us. And yet they have no shame.

  14. April 2, 2010 11:18 pm

    sigh this is such disturbing and sad news this is the time i get really upset of living in this country
    me- I know what you mean

  15. April 3, 2010 12:42 am

    And if you notice, the soldier has been completely left out of ‘liberalization’ that began in 1990. The last two decades hardly saw a change in their pay. Not just the pay, we even cringe on defense equipment needed to defend our nation. Society as a whole hasn’t shown our armed personnel enough gratitude, except some empty words from Lal Qila and customary functions at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

    me- You have made really important observations Maald.
    The Pay Commissions have become a joke by least for those in uniform..

    We want to be safe..but only if we are protected by someone else’s son/daughter…

    we want to be secure as a nation but we also want to be a ‘peaceful’ country which translated in our brain means that we should be without weapons..we def shouldn’t procure more…

    and therefore…our soldiers use outdated weapons..our pilots fly planes that are from another era altogether…..many more such examples….

    Why cant we spend on our forces AND also spend on other priorities like education,health etc? Why is it an EITHER or OR situation?

    .. ….

  16. April 3, 2010 3:55 am

    What more can I add? The condition of a soldier is pathetic. Their lives have no value. Just yesterday one Jawan was killed after he shot someone crossing the border and it was such a small news that I stumbled on it by accident. Can’t even find that link anymore.
    me- Just yesterday one Jawan was killed after he shot someone crossing the border and it was such a small news that I stumbled on it by accident. Can’t even find that link anymore. says it all …

  17. April 3, 2010 9:17 am

    Hey Indyeah,

    I came across your blog from Mrs Nita’s Blog who is not blogging these days. I liked the way u put so many things from the vast experience you have……m following u on twitter.

    Shall u mind if i ask you to visit my Project which is to make a group of talented and quality writers who can write things on world unity, social issues, education and health. In case you get some time….do go through our site and give us your valuable feedback. You shall know more about us by reading “Our Vision”, “About Us” and “FAQ” pages. Me and some of my friends were wondering if u cud also contribute something by ur write-up occasionally when u get time. It’s totally for a social cause and none of us are making a singe bug out of it.
    me- Welcome here Mihir. Thank you so much for the invite. I will visit as soon as possible.

  18. April 3, 2010 11:48 am

    Very true,what you said in the post.I am happy that authorities noticed it atleast.
    me- Welcome here Sorcerer.

  19. April 3, 2010 12:22 pm

    I applaud the Supreme Court for expressing themselves explicitly what they feel, in this case. How could they come to that menial figure of Rs.1,000/- per month, I wonder. Even one Kg. rice costs Rs.30-40 per kg. How can he run his family with this paltry sum with a drawback now because he had enrolled himself in the army and worked sincerely. Which sensible person will enrol himself in the army, when he comes to know of this kind of treatment to the soldiers.

    ‘Our governments ..both state and Central have CM’s who have money to make huge garlands. Money to be spent like crazy on pre- poll publicity without any accountability whatsoever. Corruption on a scale that boggles the mind! Money in swiss banks. All of it taken from the money we pay them as taxes. And they offer a paltry 1000 to a soldier ??’ Disgusting.

    And I have not read this news in any paper or seen in the TV news…they have all the time to cover Nithyananda, who grew up to this level with the help of dumb people, politicians and people with power. Now, Sania Mirza’s life is highlighted in each and every channel. TV channels should give more importance to this type of news at prime time, I feel. They can spare at least 5 mts. and do something good for our soldiers along with all the other juicy news, to gain their TRP ratings.
    me- Absolutely Sandhya. SC judges deserve our appreciation for making such a strong statement.
    Which sensible person will enrol himself in the army, when he comes to know of this kind of treatment to the soldiers. Yes. Just the point that one keeps making at all the forums related tot his topic. WHo indeed would want to join the forces?

    Media has time for the wedding drama of the rich and famous……but soldiers? They are cannon fodder as Ves had pointed out sometime back..
    I too didnt see the news on any channel save TimesNow which had invited Capt Siddhu…Probably because Arnab Gosawami(irritating as he is with his shouting at times) is the son of a defence officer himself.

    • April 5, 2010 9:51 am

      I watch Arnab Goswami’s programme but I must have missed this one.

      I read this article in a Tamil magazine recently. 29 year old Major Shreeram Kumar was awarded ‘Ashok Chakra’, this year. He is the first person in Tamil nadu to receive this award. But the local govt. did not give any sort of recognition for him. Their vote bank will not increase by felicitating Major Kumar.
      me-thank you for the link Sandhya.
      makes one feel absolutely hopeless at times..

  20. April 4, 2010 1:44 am

    What can I say here…. we have never given respect to the ones who deserve it and the most important of them all is soldiers…. 😦 😦 really pathetic considering what they are doing for us….
    me- I agree Kanagu.

  21. April 4, 2010 1:35 pm

    The situation seems so pathetic!

    The Centre challenging the High Court’s direction to pay higher pension.

    And the pension is only 1,000 rupees? Shocking…
    me- Exactly my feelings Rakesh! The fact that the Centre challenged the HC’c order to pay a higher pension to Capt Sidhu and went to SC over it? That made me just gape in astonishment!

  22. April 5, 2010 12:39 pm

    Yet another instance of injustice… and even I keep wondering why in India our soldiers are treated thus. They offer their life unlike the rest of the “people serving” population.

    I am glad that at least the judiciary has come to their rescue.

  23. April 5, 2010 3:41 pm

    1000 rupees? And, on the other side of things, Delhi MLAs want to be alloted posh games village houses on “favourable” terms. I am sure the babus are also working out their strategies to ensure they are not left out….who cares about someone who actually ”serves the country”?

    Quirky Indian

  24. April 5, 2010 3:46 pm

    I so wanna go break all those statues myself!!!! I mean how cn ppl even think of spending so much on their own murthis and then say they don’t hv money to implement compulsary education!

    This is just nt the way to treat ppl who are spending sleepless nights for us to catch up with a peaceful night’s sleep!

  25. April 5, 2010 6:09 pm

    If this is the kind of treatment that the Army personnel get, how do they expect more ppl to join this force ??? It takes a great amount of determination and courage to opt for this service and sacrifice his / her life for the country. And if the Govt cant understand this its a national shame. And without them, how can we live safely inside the borders ?????

    I think now for everything the SC has to intervene !!! Sad state of affairs !!!

    • April 18, 2010 6:15 am

      Or maybe Soniaji could put in a word! How pathetic.

  26. April 6, 2010 8:22 pm

    hey !

    yeah … it is hypocrisy .. there are majors and captains moving around in armoured cars with fully uniformed drivers, but what about those million soldiers fighting and losing their lives ? And the worst is that in most cases , after the heroic salutation and welcome, the soldiers are forgotten … how many still remember those who lost their limbs in the Kargil war ?

    India Today and many organisations collected and contributed towards building these soldiers a house or a business. … but what is their state today ? Wish we could find out

  27. April 7, 2010 10:22 pm

    this is indeed worrisome….. if we treat our jawans so shabbily how can we expect them to fight for the nation and protect its people? i think its unfair to expect them to make such huge sacrifices, where we dont even want to do the very basics for them…

  28. April 9, 2010 12:52 pm

    Maya auntie spent crores of rupees on her memorial but has no money to spend on kids education.

    no one is bothered

  29. April 9, 2010 2:47 pm

    @HK, QI, Swaram,Uma, Deepa, Mandy, Liju

    Thank you for your comments. I feel exactly the same way. To think that the SC had to intervene . To think that the Centre thought it was worth its time to contest a claim of a 1000 Rs (??really have we no shame left? And just how is a soldier expected to survive on this ‘pension’ ?))

    makes me disgusted!

    Mayawati is a prime example of all thats wrong with us as a nation and more specifically our ‘leaders’ (blech at that word!)

    @Deepa I think you meant politicians instead of majors and captains in that comment?

    The Care Today fund site is here

    The Tata group started a fund too (kudos to them!!)

    And I have more faith in them than many other such initiatives.
    The Army has its own welfare fund

    I dont think the Government of India has a fund dedicated to its defence forces.

  30. April 10, 2010 6:40 pm

    It is a shame that a soldier had to approach the Judiciary of the country to get justice from the Executive. And kudos to Supreme Court for not only giving the verdict in favour of the soldier but also jolting the powers that be, by using the right language. And Abhilasha Thanks for posting this.

  31. April 10, 2010 7:40 pm

    We never give respect and recognition to those who deserve it . Coming from a forces background I can relate to your post.
    Hope things change for better for all

  32. April 11, 2010 8:33 pm

    Those who take decisions make sure they take care of themselves first. 😦

    I feel our government might benefit from compulsory military service.

  33. April 12, 2010 12:52 pm

    Such an unconcerned reaction on the part of the union govt. When we sit down and really think abt the sacrifices they make to protect our country, nothing is too much actually. The value of their life is treated too casually. They really deserve to be given better benefits.

    I still remember ur previous post on the armymen….it was really touching!!!

  34. April 13, 2010 3:13 pm

    Interesting article. To become a soldier, it takes immense amount of self motivation! I have recently written some poems on the same topic recently, which are yet to hit the stands…

    Interesting site you have here, Indyeah… Looking forward to more of your articles…

  35. April 15, 2010 12:19 pm

    Thousand bucks as pension every month irks us right… when i was in Rajasthan my maid came home to say that her brother-in-law had been shot dead at the border… as a token of gratitude a shawl and 5k had been sent home to his widow … We say we are patriots, coz in our school days while writing down words that begin with “P” this was also taught… it’s just a fancy word to the vocab and nothing more! – Nice blog you have here 🙂

  36. April 15, 2010 10:26 pm

    Thank you for highlighting this case – the words used by the SC were indeed required to be said.

  37. April 16, 2010 7:39 am

    I feel there was no cause for the Additional Solicitor General to plead for with the court to not use strong language. When a soldier is compensated so meagerly as in this case and has to approach the court for justice, the strongest words of condemnation are necessary. The rest of us sit safe and sound in our homes because of them, which fact seems to be conveniently forgotten.
    Nice post Indy. Sorry I missed it.

  38. April 16, 2010 10:47 am

    @Balvinder Sir and JP Sir Thank you for the comments.

    @Tikuli you are from a forces bg too?:) thats nice to know:)

    @IHM I think so too IHM. Though I don’t have any hope that we will see it in this lifetime. 😦

    @Nancy Thanks for the kind words. casual is exactly the right word for the way we treat our men and women in uniform. Be they from any arm.

    @Saurav Welcome here Saurav. Do share the poems as and when you can.

    @Sagarika Welcome here Sagarika.

    We say we are patriots, coz in our school days while writing down words that begin with “P” this was also taught Yes. Its just a word for many.

    @Shail I agree Shail. Amused and disgusted me at the same time that the ‘pleading’ went on.
    IMO truer words have never been said. The SC as you said , needed to use such strong words of condemnation.

  39. April 18, 2010 6:18 am

    Surprised I missed this awesome post, Indy. Bless you, to have thought of this 🙂 You know, my brat is very energetic and aggressive. Quite often, people have told me, he should join the army. And I immediately think to myself :’Why? To protect wimps like you??’ Which makes me realise more and more, that soldiers sacrifice everything that is dear to them, to help strangers who probably don’t deserve it! We must do something for them! What do we do?

  40. April 19, 2010 11:58 am

    It is deeply saddening to see the way our soldiers are treated. They ARE treated like beggars and SC used the apt words to describe their plight. I hope the government realizes how much we owe our being to the brave soldiers and does ample enough to make sure they are given the respect and appreciation that they so rightfully deserve.
    However its heartening to see SC’s strong stance on the issue.

    Talking of SC, you heard,na, it upheld the verdict on Jessica Lall’s killers? The ‘we did it’ look on Sabrina was hard to miss. Our judiciary is indeed going through a welcoming makeover!!

  41. April 23, 2010 12:31 am

    do they even show the army/navy and air force on indian media ?

    how will the next generation know that they exist – when shahrukh khan puts on a uniform ?!

  42. April 26, 2010 12:59 am

    Sorry, but I wanted to leave a comment on your previous post and for some reason never let me do it. That was indeed a great book, one of those books which you finish in one go, not due to its gripping storyline, but more due to the sheer narrative style and characterization.

  43. April 26, 2010 4:55 am

    Dying for the country is their primary job duty!What can be more real and serious than that and yet they get such treatment,thats so sad!

  44. April 30, 2010 1:59 pm

    Sad that our army men are so badly treated…it sets a wrong example for the inspiring men to join army…anyway Kudos to SC..

    Note : Its been predicated that there will a war between India and china by 2012.As China is building a port in the border between Srilanka and India.China is helping Srilanka in building up its infrastructure at the cost of what…???!!

  45. May 3, 2010 5:35 pm

    @Pal, Deeps, An , Sara
    Thank you so much for your comments . Truth be told it is extremely heartening when I read comments from friends and readers like you guys because it makes me feel that there is still hope …that India does remember and honour her soldiers in her thoughts.

    @Pal -completely get what you are saying. The same thought goes through my mind at times.

    @Deeps- The we did it look was so amazing! We the aam janta really can make a difference! The judiciary is one of the last pillars of democracy still standing strong and one that the aam aadmi believes in. At least as of now. I hope they go from strength to strength.

    @An- Your sarcasm says it all!
    @Sara- I agree.

    @ Sri , Deepti – welcome here.

    @Ghostrider- welcome here and thanks. Its an interesting book. I have turned off the comments on that post.

  46. May 6, 2010 2:29 pm

    Will this pathetic situation ever change? Who will stand up and fight for the honour of these brave ones?
    me- Thats the question

  47. May 12, 2010 6:11 pm

    Hi Indyeah…….am finally here…what an apt title for your post…true the soldier does stand alone, the remarks by the SC are so true. No soldier joins the forces for the money…if money was the consideration, we would not have such strong a Defence Force…The soldiers truly live one day at a time,the only thought that governs their being in the Defence is a passion which cannot be expressed in words, away from their loved ones for an extended period, living everyday knowing this might be the last, are some of the emotions that truly cannot be expressed in words.If and when a Kargil happens the nation takes attention of their plight, the Political Heads from their cocoons lavish praises, but when the time so comes to acknowledge that they have to go to courts for their mere existence..none is there. I remember how much the 3 Chiefs had to convince at the time of 6th Pay Commission…what a sad state of affairs …going to the courts for a dignified amount in pension so that they can meet their basic needs….
    Looking forward to your posts after you join the bandwagon…we shall get first hand accounts.
    me- Yes. The whole drama over the sixth pay commission and the way the three chiefs had to lobby hard is still fresh in one’s mind.

    Looking forward to sharing as well.:)

    Yours, JP Sir’s, Balvinder Sir’s, Shail’s posts are a delight to read:)
    Have you read these by Shail?
    The Sardarjis’ &
    made one smile:)

  48. May 12, 2010 8:01 pm

    well i have no words to express my disappointment about this incident… Sometimes i feel so down and helpless reading the newspapers, that i don’t wanna read newspapers for the next 15 days… I guess everything here revolves round the VIPs… Lets not forget that we have 100s of illeterate/semiliterate politicians who can do almost anything for the chair… I can’t help but i have to take a name here, its Shibu Soren at this moment… but there are more… many more… Sometimes I feel, is our Constitution really that lame!! or is it us who make the wrong decisions all the time… I belive there is a GOD, becoz no one else but he runs the country (sab bhagwaan bharose hi chalta hai)…
    me- welcome here Savvy.
    bhagwaan bharose describes it perfectly. Sometimes it all seems so hopeless doesn’t it?

  49. May 13, 2010 2:30 am

    Missed your last two posts, Indy!

    This was such a shocking news. It is so despicable that our govt treats soldiers so badly! The people who sacrifice their lives to protect ours!

    Unless govts have some sort of accountability, things will never change.
    me- Your comments are always succinct Smitha. On all the pol. or related posts that I have written.
    Accountability is the key word here. Will we have it ever?

    • May 13, 2010 9:39 pm

      You know, Indy, when I see political debates here, one thing that strikes me is the accountability.

      In our country, every political party has so many skeletons that nobody dares talk about accountability.
      me- yes.:( too many skeletons in too many closets.

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