Monday, March 14, 2011


Dear Friends,

Jai Hind.
I am sure that the latest letter from Gen SK Bahri to Mrs Sonia Gandhi and copy to others, appended below, will not only disturb the peace of mind of Government of India, but also the three Services Chiefs. Whether they all will act on this letter or not – your guess is as good as mine. If they do not act – situation on ground will turn from bad to worse.
There are fairly large number of Former Chiefs, Vice Chiefs, Army Commanders and equivalents of the Three Services and other senior officers on the direct emailing list of "Report My Signal".
Through this email I appeal to all the Former Chiefs, Vice Chiefs, Army Commanders and Equivalents of the Three Services and other former senior officers, to pay heed to the rapidly growing unrest among the Indian Military Veterans because of the gross injustice by Government of India to Defence Services.
While IESM leaders, we the ground workers of IESM and many other military veterans are trying their utmost to maintain military discipline and advising the veterans not to resort to any acts which can be termed as against military ethics, gradually more and more veterans are losing patience and wanting to take stern action against the Government of India to force them to respond to military veterans’ demands for justice.
Just remember – one former soldier in Rajasthan made the Government of Rajasthan and the Central Government to come down on their knees. If 24 lakh Indian Military Veterans spread all over India lose their patience – what will happen?
It is high time that the Former Chiefs of the Three Services and other senior Veteran officers of the Three Services, should meet and discuss as to how to make the Government listen to the demands of the Defence Services.
Sirs, if you do not act jointly now to support the Indian Military Veterans – day is not far off when the Government of India will call you all at one place and ask you to speak to the Indian Military Veterans and ask the Veterans not to resort to ways which are against the basic ethics of Military Discipline.
Military Veterans are now getting desperate to get justice – if the Government does not listen to their legitimate demands being put up according to the military ethics and even through Supreme Court and Armed Forces Tribunals – the Veterans will not hesitate to change their tack.
Dear Former Chiefs of the Three Services and other senior military veterans – it is because of our loyalty and our sacrifices that you attained those high posts. Now - it is time for you all to show your loyalty to your subordinates and work according to the basic ethics of Military.
Dear Former Chiefs and other senior Military Veterans - if you do not wish to follow the Military Ethics of showing your loyalty to Indian Military Veterans who gave best years of their lives to the nation – how can you or the Government of India expect the other military veterans to follow military ethics???
Dear Sirs – come out of the comforts of your bungalows and meet some military veterans who are now on streets to demand justice.
We are running from pillar to post for justice – and you all keeping quiet - does not speak high about you.
If you wish to save yours and Indian Military Veterans prestige being tarnished because of actions which may not be in keeping with military traditions - you should act fast. Do not keep waiting for an invitation to you but invite others to discuss this burning military issue.
What is written above is based on regular inputs from military veterans through emails, phone calls and discussions at veterans’ rallies.
Vande Matram
In service of Indian Military Veterans
Chander Kamboj.

I enclose herewith a copy of the letter I have sent to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, with copies to the RM, Mr Antony and Chairman, Chiefs' of Staff Committee, ACM Naik.
I doubt if any earthshaking effect will come out of this letter but we have to keep on chipping at this boulder till it is a pebble and can be disregarded!
Wish more of us were to do it.
Lt Gen SK Bahri (1st JSW Course, Former MGO)
I had written a letter to you on 14 Jun 10 on the above subject and was hoping that you as Head of The National Advisory Committee, a body which is trying to give justice to people who have long been denied it, will respond favourably to the request of the Armed Forces. You passed my letter on to the Ministry of Defence for necessary action. To my surprise I got a reply from JS (Pension) dated 11 Feb 11 (copy attached).
The JS could not have replied in a more bureaucratic manner. Wasted a whole sheet of paper telling half truths and provides garbled information, taking me to be an ignoramus who can be fooled, just as this babudom has been doing to our hapless country for the last 60 years. Not realising that I served my last four years in Army HQ and am quite aware of bureaucratic subterfuges. No wonder the Services chafe against such Joint Secretaries, who consider themselves equal to a Major General but we would be loathe to equate him to a Major!
Firstly, he talks about the Govt having filed an appeal (IA No 9/2010) seeking modification of the Supreme Court order dated 8 Mar 2010. He talks as though it affects the pay and allowances of many serving/retired officers favourably and, so asks us to await the Court’s order that will be delivered on 24 Feb 11. He does not reveal that his Ministry is fighting tooth and nail the Supreme Court order of 8 Mar 2010, only because it is favourable to the Officers. During the hearing on 24 Feb 11 the Supreme Court termed the affidavit filed by the MOD as contemptuous and disregarded it. The typical attitude of the Govt, about which I had complained to you and Mr Veerappa Moily. I have a feeling that when the matter is heard in 8 Mar 11, the Supreme Court will flay the Govt with full fury for prevaricating against soldiers who are defenceless in their own country.
I can understand the bureaucracy being jealous of the Services (despite the babus and some of the the media trying to run them down) but it seems the political masters (including the Supreme Commander), despite pronouncements to the contrary, think on the same lines. An organisation which binds the country together, works selflessly in extreme conditions and maintains high standards of probity amidst the all pervading corruption, is being singled out for denying its legitimate dues. Is it because the Services do not form a vote bank?
Secondly, the JS is miserly with truth when he says that Cabinet Secretary’s Committee although “did not recommend One Rank One Pension, substantial improvement in the pension of Commissioned Officers and PBORs have been recommended”. Whereas the Committee flatly recommended that there is no need to treat the Armed Forces officers differently from the civilian officers. The JS then goes on to quote letters which have no relevance to the Committee’s recommendations on officers’ pensions. I would recommend to the Minister of Defence that action should be taken against this civil servant for not giving answers based on facts.
Lastly, I have a question on the staffing pattern of the MOD. Why is it that the Department of Ex Servicemen Welfare and the Department Of Pensions under it, do not have any representatives of the Services? In our Country the heads of the Minority & SC/ST Commissions or the Minister of Minority Affairs is always from the affected parties, but the Department of Ex Sevicemen Welfare is headed by an IAS officer and there is not a single defence officer in the Pension Department. Do you believe that Armed Forces officers cannot be relied upon to do a job honestly, impartially and diligently? Or is the IAS the only service which produces honest, impartial and diligent officers? It is this unwillingness to hear the affected parties which is responsible for the governance deficit in our country.
The Armed Forces need answers and they will not be fobbed off by bureaucratic shenanigans as attempted by Mr Harbans Singh, JS (Pension).
With warm regards.
Yours sincerely
(Lt Gen SK Bahri)
Mrs Sonia Gandhi
Chairperson UPA
10 Janpath
New Delhi 110001
Copy to:
Mr AK Antony
Honourable Minister of Defence
9 Krishna Menon Marg
New Delhi 110011
Mr Harbans Singh
Joint Secretary (Pension)
Ministry of Defence
Dept of Ex Servicemen Welfare
New Delhi 110011


  1. Dear General,

    Thanks and my compliments on a very precise statement. Hope this 'chipping' has the desired effect. It is my personal view that multi directional methodologies will create the desired environment, though in recent times I have been seeing mails propounding the age old 'Lets be nice to maai baap" approach, which to my mind has actually caused this state of affairs. Cudos therefore, for this excellent plain-speak.

    With Warm Regards,
    Col RP Chaturvedi,

  2. Dear General

    Your letter to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi is both to the point and daring. But what is the use? This letter too will be read and answered by one more Joker Secretary (JS) as all these political leaders are fire-walled by such jokers. Mrs. Gandhi must be getting thousands of such letter every day and she has (like all other political leaders) no time to read such letters. Leaders depend upon the gist of communications put up to them, and this gist is again prepared by these jokers in a manner that suits them. In short, nothing is read or understood by leaders except what is put up to them by babus or when there is an emergency situation where their survival is at stake.

    What is the way to break out of this curse? The only way is for serving Generals to 'jago'. If they can acquire a little bit of your daring, things will begin to change. The Chiefs need to meet the top leadership without going through jokers, Secretaries, intermediaries, pseudo leaders and junior leaders. First and foremost the Chiefs must learn to bracket themselves with the top leadership of the country in matters of strategy, governance and politics. FM Sam Manekshaw came up only to the level of national strategy when he dared to tell Mrs. Indira Gandhi to fall in line with his views. We now need someone to go a step further and give his views on governance and political chaos. If someone can do it, we will have a better India in all departments. Time has come when the Defence Forces need not be watch dogs against external threat and internal security matters. Time has come when Defence Forces need not be used by babus and politicians as watchmen for them to loot the country. Time has come to step in to give firm and sanguine advice to powers going stray. Time has come to show that Defence forces are not sheep to be herded around by babus. Babus have covered us in sheep clothes and themselves in lion's attire and both have started acting as such. This realisation must come and come fast before jokers start herding us even more.

    I am sure one broad independent statement from the Chiefs on the state of affairs prevailing in the country will tune everyone to the needs of soldiers and veterans. It will be like one roar from a lion making sheep run for cover.

    It's another story if a lion has a carrot stuck in his throat!!!

    Veteran Ram Gulrajani

  3. My Dear General,

    You have written a letter which is apt under the circumstances and does certainly call for some action or reaction from the UPA Chairman. But, from all what has been coming from that direction, we could certainly comprehend that nothing favourable is going to happen this time also, which could change the fate of the defence veterans. The contents of what Mr Rajeev Chandrashekhar said in his speech in the parliament on OROP, were effective, and if right thinking people or parliamentarians (to be precise), who matter, heard it, could certainly develop some sympathy for the veterans. Will anything still happen for us, is a million dollar question? Because, to me the ruling government now seems to have made it a policy matter, not only to totally ignore and not respond to the rumblings made by the defence veterans in any form, but also seems to have become totally immune and unsympathetic to the matters concerning the veterans whatsoever.

    Unfortunately even the most impressive rally so far of 6 March 2011, failed to move any one amongst the government or bureaucracy, who just did not respond in anyway, to acknowledge the presence of such large number of representatives, from so many far off states of the country. It has now started appearing that we are striking our heads against a granite wall, which just does not seem to be chipping in anyway. With the present government, it appears that similar efforts on our part even in future, may also meet the same fate and would turn out to be futile.

    As very rightly brought out by Brig Chander Kamboj in his appeal to the former stalwarts of the three services, I have also felt the need for changing our outlook and strategy in the past also, and appealed to our senior leaders of the IESM to think out and adopt some new and innovative measures may be "fast unto death" Anna Hazare style or prolonged dharnas at appropriate places, with a lot of media attention/coverage and compel the government to wake up, take notice and give a firm commitment to end injustice being done to the veterans at every level. There could be many more ideas/suggestions on this issue, from so many of our veterans.

    We certainly are losing patience now and cannot just keep waiting in the sidelines, for heavens to fall. We will have to act and act soon, to ensure end of injustices to the defence veterans.

    I have also posted the contents, and the letter on my blog "India of My Dreams" at http://www.indiamydreamland.blogspot.com/

    With regards.

    Col LK Anand Retd

  4. Bravo, BRAVO; Brig Kamboj, SIR,

    Afters Years of Listening to whining & moaning, this IS the First time i hear a Roar my tini wini bits :

    1. A conspiracy by babus & netas in conjunction with the media to tarnish the Fauj & Faujis irreparably by "pushing them over" the precipice into their waiting cauldron of CONFRONTATION with PMF & Police.

    Crying WOLF WOLF, Fauj is "taking over"


    3. Looters Peace of mind is NOT disturbed by Letters

    Thanks for your time.

    Best Wishes.

    Parvez Jamasji


    The letter written by by our Lt.Gen.Bahri is really marvelous and bringing the facts to light. Hats off to Gen.
    We want all the retired Generals to come out from rest and express their view and sufferings to the public.
    The politicians will not bother much, only the public may sympathise with the veterans.

    I thank you sir publishing the views of the veterans and hopping to such articles .

    Sgt.S.kanthiah .
    Chief Liaison Officer, Exwel Trust, Tirunelveli-Dist, tamil Nadu.


    Dear Brig Kamboj,

    Yogi Sharma is a dear friend of mine, and I have just a nodding acquaintance of General Bahri. That does not prevent me from supporting a bold initiative and voice my disagreement to the argument that our approach should be free of emotions and should not betray "undignified immaturity". By that account, momentous decisions that went in India's favor had also streaks of undignified immaturity. Was Sardar Patel immature in boldly overruling a dithering Nehru and ordering V.P. Menon to secure the instruments of accession from a crafty Maharaja? Was Sam Bahadur playing to the gallery when he firmly refused to be railroaded into an ill-conceived offensive against the former East Pakistan? I think not. Sometimes, emotions and unusual articulation are required to bring about a paradigmatic change, and let us remember that emotion is the lifeblood of any rhetorical communication ( not to be confused with any pejorative connotation) to bring about social coordination.

    Having said this, let us look at the real world. Is it fair to expect the serving chiefs to be belligerent with the political bosses and identify with the grievances of ESM? They will evaluate their risks to their careers, post retirement opportunities and so on. Then, there is this bane of inter-service rivalry. There are also dangling carrots of ambassadorships and governorships. Can we blame the former service chiefs for having readily accepted these posts to countries, in which these appointment had been traditionally filled by Directors of MEA? Can you blame the government for superseding General Sinha, when the recommendation was originated by the Chief himself?

    I am sorry I have highlighted the impediments without even suggesting some solutions, although I feel that these are not intractable problems. Accommodative cultures appear to endure extreme misfortunes even to the extent of being fatalistic. These signals should not be misread. When pushed beyond limits, the resulting tsunami will shake our national edifice. We do not want that to happen to our great country.

    My best regards ... edited ...

    Maj Gen K Bhimaya, 10th J.S.W. GARH RIF
    (settled in USA)

  7. Dear Brig Kamboj,

    I am among the many admirers of Gen Bahri. We learnt a lot from him when he was our MGO and his recent letter to the political bosses is ample evidence of his intellectual prowess and communication skills. He has raised two very relevant issues:
    The iniquitous status granted to the military officers when compared with their civilian counterparts. The situation has been going from bad to worse with each passing decade. At the apex level, the Service Chiefs who were at one time higher than the Cabinet Secretary were first brought at level with him. And when I checked up recently, they are now placed LOWER than the Cabinet Secretary in the table of precedence.

    There is a deliberate and obvious effort to ensure that no service officer in the decision making chain wherever substantive decisions are involved. So be it the Pay Commissions or the Deptt of Ex-Serviceman's welfare, the committees are manned by the bureaucrats only. Even when the Honorable Supreme Court ordered a committee to redress the soldiers' grievances, the government is trying to scuffle its formation.
    Nearly two years ago, I wrote a piece on this subject which was published in Vijayvaani on 23 Feb 2009. It received scores of comments. I find that what it contains is completely in line with what Gen Bahri has said in his letter. I am giving below the link to the piece for those who may care to read it.


    I entirely agree with your suggestion that we must urge many members of our fraternity to air their views on the issue. It is my belief that if these two matters are resolved, our problems related with inequities in pensions and ECHS problems will get mitigated automatically.

    I once again wish to thank Gen Bahri for his contribution to the 'cause'

    With best wishes,

    Maj Gen Surjit Singh, EME


    I fully agree with what Surjit has said about Satish Bahri and then what he goes on to say about the status of the defence forces and defence chiefs.

    I feel honoured that Satish and I are on first name equation, started by him.

    Surjit says 'there is a deliberate and obvious.....'. To that let me add the words 'mischievous, constant and sly'.

    It is a pity that even our service chiefs are unaware of the erosion of their status and are doing nothing about it.

    It is a pity that when the security of the country is discussed, not a single person from the three services is invited to participate even though it is the services who ultimately have to safeguard the country's internal and external security -- but an untrained NSA is. His main qualification is chamchagiri and loyalty to the ruling family.

    Cdr KK Punchhi, 7th JSW, Naval Aviator,
    (now settled in Canada)


    ..........the Service Chiefs who were at one time higher than the Cabinet Secretary were first brought at level with him. And when I checked up recently, they are now placed

    LOWER than the Cabinet Secretary in the table of precedence.

    There is a deliberate and obvious effort to ensure that no service officer in the decision making chain wherever substantive decisions are involved. So be it the Pay Commissions or the Deptt of Ex-Serviceman's

    SIR, PLEASE ASK THOSE .....SERVICE CHIEFS WHY THEY ACCEPTED the degradation gladly.......
    The answer will be self explanatory.

    Col SK Kohli, USA
    kumar kohli


    Dear Gen Bahri and Brig Kamboj,

    My compliments.

    I will not add to the praise being showered upon you but would like to suggest A STEP.

    I think we have a heaven sent opportunity in the form of Anna Hazares fast starting 5 Apr as India Against Corruption. We are very much a part of AAM AADMIS fight against corruption. I suggest that the IESM as a body joins the fight and the fast. It should be present as a declared body represented by Veterans and The IESM leadership with medals and placards announcing our presence and support.

    The Anna Hazare movement is apolitical, peaceful and does not go against the IESM declared modus. The advantage to us is the presence and visibility by the national media, an announcement that we have started phase two, the introduction of our cause to well known crusaders like Anna, Kiran Bedi, Shanti Bhushan and numerous others who are already well known.

    This proposal I think merits immediate consideration and if approved by the IESM governing body immediate implementation.

    Brig Sateesh Kuthiala


    Justice And The Armed Forces: A Mirage

    Dear Sirs,

    It is the bane of the Indian Armed Forces that we have only inherited the ethos of being subservient to the constitution in effect the ruling party like the British forces are to the crown.But our acquired self denial of our constitutional rights does not suit the Indian democratic aparatus.We have so far read enough e-mails in the RMS BLOG to understand the difference in the manner in which the forces are handled in the two countries. .Here to be able to get your mother’s attention to let her know you are dieing of hunger you Go on a fast unto death like Bapu or Anna, Block roads impede public life and utilities like Rajasthan and Haryana. Show your vote power by holding rallies and bitch around with politicians of all hues.Mobocracy is not a gentleman;s game.You have to be no holds barred to ensure your voice is heard There are no ATMs to tell the rulers how to care for the forces and ensure internal and external security with a highly motivated and adequately equipped armed force..

    No one will buy the cow if he can get milk free.We have learnt no lessons from 1962 because new leaders are not interested in history.
    What a rebuke...our Supreme Commander is Advised not to receive our agonised delegations repeatedly while the whole nation and the cabinet is watching.The honourable MoD shows it’s concern for the Forces only by filing SLPs to deny the legal dues and rights to the forces or punishing the generals without even bothering to demonstrate the equality before law for all by equally punishing the connected civi staff and leaders for much worse acts.Justice must not .only be done but must seem to be done.The time has already run out on us we have only to see how will the nation face the misadventures of the neighbours.

    A good administration of the country must ensure a good and harmonious development of political, administrative, legislative and defence wings.
    GOD.please give the wisdom to see the light.


  12. Justice and the Armed Forces:A Mirage

    Dear General (Bahri),

    I appreciate your boldness and frankness in bringing out the facts to Ms.Sonia Gandhi in your excellent letter. There is a need to shake up the government and this can be done better by high ranking officers like you. I fail to understand why so many ex-service chiefs are keeping themselves aloof. I am sure Ms. Gandhi will take notice of your letter, but for that it is necessary to keep the pressure on. We must not relent.

    For far too long have the Armed Forces been keeping their lips sealed when it came to speaking against the injustice meted out to them by successive governments. The sad part is that even governments headed by other parties-BJP et al- have also failed to do anything positive. They speak only when they are in the opposition only to score points against the ruling party.

    The important point is, does the government (The politicians) think that the anger of veterans will not rub off on the serving servicemen? Babus couldn't care hell for the country as long as their interests are served, but what about the so called leaders and statesmen of the political parties? I am sure there is a seething discontent amongst the serving personnel too and some time or the other, it has to come to the surface. Even God will not help the country then!


    Shashank Bendre
    Wg Cdr Shashank Bendre