The beating of army personnel in custody is a very grave provocation, and Col. Firdosh Dubash’s actions are quite expected in such a situation.
The recent case involving Indian Army personnel from the Arunachal Scouts regiment and their spat with the civilian administration and police in Bomdila has produced a classic example of how a commanding officer (CO) should act when his men are being humiliated.
The beating of army personnel in custody, even after knowing that they were from the army, is a very grave provocation by the law-enforcing authorities.
The CO, Col. Firdosh P. Dubash, has been accused of leading the ransacking of a police station and a PWD office — charges that the army has denied, insisting that he had only gone to the police station to handle the situation his personnel found themselves in.
His troops are also alleged to have abused a woman IAS officer, Dr Sonal Swarup, who is the district magistrate, which has led the IAS association to demand action against the CO and Adjutant Major Kaushik Roy.
The allegations of abusing the district magistrate, a lady, are unbelievable. The army teaches its personnel never to permit any person to ever misbehave publicly with a lady, let alone the DM of a district.
Remember the incident of one Smriti Kalra slapping a jawan repeatedly last September in broad daylight in Gurgaon? The jawan did not resist at all. It is ingrained in army personnel to respect ladies throughout their service.
Other charges are obviously very minor, almost on the verge of being frivolous.
By the time a cadet in any of the nation’s military academies gets commissioned, he has the ‘Chetwode Motto’ etched in his mind and heart:
“The safety, honour and welfare of your country comes first, always and every time.
The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command comes next.
Your own ease, comfort and safety comes last, always and every time.”
War is never kind on soldiers. They have to be trained and led into battles to face certain death. The leader has to be right in front to face the first bullet of the enemy. He must lead by example.
Naam, namak, nishaan
The Indian Army strives on three most important motivators to live by and to die for — naam, namak, nishaan.
Naam is the name of his paltan (battalion), regiment and country.
Namak is the fidelity to salt partaken.
Nishaan is the ensign of his paltan.
An Assam regiment personnel gets charged at the mere word ‘Rhino’. And at the command of “Rhino Charge”, he goes in to the battle field to display ‘Asam Vikram’ — unparalleled or unique valour — and lays down his life.
It is not easy to command a human being to go and die. The spirit comes from ethos and traditions built by various units and regiments over the ages. The bonhomie has to be the closest and strongest to achieve this kind of loyalty to embrace death.
The Indian Army has the best leaders in the world, who always lead the charge from the front. Pick any operation, and you will find the highest ratio of officers making the supreme sacrifice.
Col. Dubash’s actions
Col. Dubash’s actions are quite expected in such a situation, when there was such grave provocation. As the CO, he has taken action, in the best interest of everyone, to restore the honour of men under his command.
The Integrated Headquarters (IHQ) of the Ministry of Defence has probably decided, and will certainly take, appropriate action for any misdemeanour by the CO and the other officer, and one hopes similar action is taken against the law-enforcing and administrative agencies in that area.
But from an army perspective, every infantryman would volunteer to serve under this CO. Every officer would willingly go to war with such a CO at his side. Serving and veteran army personnel are proud of this CO — with body, mind and soul!