A striking feature one notices whilst travelling to peaceful lands is that their armies are all stationed in garrisons, barracks, islands and territories far-flung from the civilian population.
The oft-used word of course even in post-Britain ruled India was -‘cantonment’: a word used to connote locations housing army men and their artillery, ammunition stores and the like!
It was when I successfully exposed the MBT-Arjun prototype scam in court (on behalf of a topmost brigadier in the army who was served with a compulsory-retirement order for not towing the lines of corrupt higher-ups and then political dispensation of Congress-led Prime Minister) and I had succeeded in getting structures passed against the defense adviser to the then Prime Minister that I got my first opportunity to examine the state of affairs of defense and armed forces in our country vis-a-vis advanced nations of the modern-day world.
‘Paint what is static and salute that which moves’ is the adage which helps maintain discipline and orderliness of the line-style of management-style! So to speak. But, what keeps the army-zone as an almost elite part of our messed-up, mixed-society is their innate values, both personal as well as national.
The rank and file swear by the national anthem and to a man and the senior-most officer, all take pride in being a part and parcel of the sovereign nation, that is India!
‘Jai Hind’, for them is not a political slogan but a breath of life! They match to the inner voice and respect their good conscience. They do not discriminate nor differentiate between the life and times of one another but inculcate a sense of respect for the peaceful co-existence of human life everywhere; regard for mortality of mankind as well honouring the code of conduct as a unified force of many individual identities merged into a whole national ethos!
So, there undoubtedly is an inseparable relationship between the armed forces and a disciplined life of orderliness which in fact, is the very aim of all laws enunciated by the book of Constitution!
Why then, do we notice the mysteriously uncontrollable rise in crime-rate in a society where the cantonment-areas are in the midst of bustling ‘civilian’ society and one finds the ammunition-dump to be virtually in the backyard of your residential apartment-complex or commercial- skyscrapers?
With no malice towards any Union Cabinet and with a wholesome respect for the families of our dear armed-forces, one would vociferously recommend the shifting away of all the army establishments, cantonments and defense assets away from a most polluted, thickly populated national capital of New Delhi to say, a place such as Agra. The age of technology would help knit the forces with the nerve centre of power and command without compromising on either control or capacity of the mighty armed forces to defend the borders of the vast country.
Apart from helping to maintain the sanctity and sacredness of the uniformed personnel, this distancing of disciplined ones from the most chaotic and unruly ‘civilian’ population would help ensure that honey-traps, corruption in deals and strife would not smear the shining visor of the knights in armour of the motherland!
In the absence of a uniform civil code, the country has lost the balance of etiquette, culture and peace in the open society where many foreigners including undesirable enemy-land nationals freely mingle with all of India.
In the backdrop of such a scenario, it is most important to isolate the sensitive organ of Governance, viz; the armed forces camps from the mainstream of everyday life in the world’s second most populous country.
Thus, it is high time to formulate the policy of dissecting army-cantonments (far away) from the wards of municipal corporations and poll constituencies of elected representatives of the people!
May the Force be with our armed forces! And, may the ‘civilians’ continue to worship these valiant women and men just as Lady Law ought to be remembered in every action and deed.