Saturday, 4 March 2017

Suicide of a soldier and the Army underbelly :

Roy Mathews was a gunner in the Nashik camp of the Indian army: A sting operation by a journalist which made him speak of abuses of the seniors of juniors in the Army went viral. A general anxiety of his court martial gripped him which probably led him to suicide. While the central agencies have rightly stepped up in enquiring the real cause of his death, the matter of concern is not of Roy Mathew committing suicide but  of the circumstance of subjugation in the armed forces .

The divide of officer and non - officer   in a master- slave anecdote was imbibed from the colonial culture of the white officer and the native soldier. While the officer lived salubriously the native did the menial jobs  .  Even though   the  white sahibs paved way for their brown counterparts, this culture continues . Have you seen civil and defence servants keeping orderlies who cooks for them, take their children to school, wash their cars and accompany their wives fo grocery ? . The Victorian class culture coupled with the caste mindset have resulted in this situation where there is no dignity given for the lower rungs of the hierarchy in the civil and defence administrative pyramids.

The most recent outbursts of the jawans in BSF or now in the Army are all sparks from an existential problem in the services.  The officer keeps an elite mindset which you could see in the army camps. The officer‘s family does not interact or looks down on a non-officer and his family. Just have a visit to the defence wives association. The officer’s wives adores key positions with the non - officer’s wife providing an helping hand. This hierarchical   attitude is well reflected in their behaviour as well in social life.

While in private sector dignity of labour and classlessness have started creating an egalitarian work culture with juniors even naming their seniors by names and expresses their views and dissent. This freedom is not available in the services were satisfying the egos of the seniors is their prime responsibility.

In the context of the various social media upsurges made by some desperate juniors on the conduct of their seniors it need to be understood that there exists a problem. Roy Mathews death will reminds us about that for long time to come.

At a time when we are xenophobically nationalist and glorifies the Army bravery during each death of a soldier why isn’t the death of Roy Mathews being looked upon as an underbelly of an Institution which needs not accolades but a revamp in organizational culture … Jai Hind: 


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