Radicalisation of Indian Veterans

It is an irony that a few veterans – surprisingly many who held senior ranks in the Indian Armed Forces – having radicalised thoughts and many times seen spewing venom on the media.  The malice appears to have spread to officers who held junior ranks and also among soldiers.

There are two types of radicalised Veterans all over the world.  The first category is a minuscule – the ones who have been through intense combat and have seen their comrades in arms die or maimed.  They mostly suffer from Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD) and there is no care or support for these cases, even from the Military Hospitals.  Why, many in the Indian Armed Forces do not even accept that PTSD exists among serving soldiers who have been through intense combat.  One can very well imagine the plight of the Veterans, especially those below officer rank.  Some of these persons tend to recoil and spend their life mostly in solitude and hardly ever communicate, even with their dear and near.  Some also have taken the spiritual path to fight PTSD.  They tend to carry their emotions within them.

They generally appear well in public and say nothing to offend anyone. They are always a gentleman on the surface and treats everyone with respect.  In private, they may occasionally make off-handed comments when discussing politics, or society.  One feels disenchanted  to hear someone of such intelligence and valour, someone who everyone respected and cared for immensely, have such a distorted view, and to speak in generalisations about an entire religion or community.

This group cannot be categorised as radical, but may well be called prejudiced.  This could well be attributed to their years of dedicated service in the worst parts of the country, and having to deal with corrupt politicians and bureaucrats on a regular basis.  This is bound to take a toll on anyone’s faith in humanity.

Now comes the second group – the most dangerous ones and are in majority – the so called ‘Poodle Fakers‘ of the Armed Forces.  They may have been in the battlefronts, but have hardly seen intense combat.  They were the arm-chair Generals who pushed their soldiers into combat situations, presuming themselves to be ‘Guderians,’ but with hardly any practical knowledge of tactics or the real ground situations.

Post retirement, they try to cover up all their shortcomings through their ‘verbal diarrhea‘ in the media or with their articles or books in print.  They find everything wrong with the current setup in the Defence Forces and are ever ready with their answers for all the troubles the Defence Forces are going through.  They never realise that they were the ones who laid the foundation for such troubles.

In the present Indian political environment, they have found a place to air their Gyan – the so called nationalists or patriots – who believe that to be patriot one got to believe in the party that has created an image of being the only patriotic one.  They also believe that all the history of the nation are all wrong and only the ones espoused by the current bunch is the most appropriate version.

They appear to have  forgotten all the ethos the Defence Forces taught them while in service.  They claim that the Indian Muslims and Christians can never be nationalists and are only there to convert the poor Hindus.  They never remember the sacrifices and valour of the non-Hindu soldiers who served under their own command.

They tend to paint everyone as non-nationalist in one stroke.  Most of them obviously are faking it to remain relevant in the current religio-political turmoil the nation is going through.  They will never miss an opportunity to cash in by giving their sermons on various television channels, which are ready to pay them for their most grotesque comment.  It appears that every evening they wear their suits, armed with some venom spewing statement and await a call from a news channel.

These Veterans employ theatrics – they are ever ready to shed a few crocodile tears – and many viewers believe what they say.  The viewers do not know the antecedents of the person, but they only know him as a Veteran.

Have you ever seen a General who was a professional soldier ever deliver such Gyan?  Is it time that the Government  come out with some regulations to quieten or soften up such diatribes?

Our son Nikhil went to the recruiting office in Toronto to collect the application form for Canadian Army. The office was manned by a very senior Sergeant Major who had seen action in Afghanistan and Iraq. He asked our son the reasons for joining Canadian Army.  One of the reasons listed out by Nikhil was that his father had served the Indian Army.

The Sergeant Major asked “Did he see combat?

“Yes he did two or three times to the best of my knowledge,” said Nikhil.

Does he talk about it?” queried the Sergeant Major.

Never,” replied Nikhil.

To this the Sergeant Major said “Then he has been into combat.


During our Sainik (Military) School days (boys only) in Grade 8, I had an opportunity to play a girl’s role in a play.  Ms Sheela Murphy, our English Teacher was in charge of the event and she really decked me up to be a beautiful girl.  The photograph of me sitting down came out after a few days and Ms Murphy said “I have always been telling you to sit with your legs closed.  Ladies always do so. While on stage, men should also keep their knees as close as possible, else it becomes an eyesore.”  From that day I made efforts to ensure that whenever I sat,  my knees were together, especially with  legs visible.

Recently I read an article about ‘Manspreading’ by our friend Suresh Nellikode, which was published as a middle in the New Indian Express newspaper dated October 25, 2017.  This made me analyse and I realised that menspreading is a habit of men, whether in a public transit or in their homes or offices.  Some men take extra care to avoid manspreading while being photographed, especially in the group photos.  Sometimes it may be the fault of the cameraman to have shot the image while the man was in a manspreading position.  Ultimately, the responsibility to avoid it lies with the man being photographed.

“Manspreading”  is an act of a someone, usually a man, taking up two seats in a public space by spreading his legs.  This has been a cause of inconvenience to many, one of them could have taken a seat had the man not manspread.

Oxford Dictionary (online) describes manspreading as a practice whereby a man adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat.

Does man’s anatomical structure make him manspread?  Is it a natural act by a man to avoid testicular compression from his thigh muscles?  Is it  natural for a woman to sit with their knees close together and ankles crossed, but the same may be painful for a man?  Is it that God gifted women with a wider pelvis and thighbones resulting in  sitting with their knees close together as a stress-free position?  Is it the male ego that makes a man to manspread?  Is it that the parents and teachers never corrected a boy while he manspread?   These were the questions that came to my mind after reading Suresh’s middle.

New York police officers arrested two men on the charge of manspreading on the subway in May 2015, for they were taking up more than one seat and therefore inconveniencing other riders.  Now Spain’s capital city Madrid has taken a stand against manspreading, banning men from indulging in the rude leg extending move on its trains and buses..

If we want perfect, equitable commuting, why not legitimise that all able-bodied persons, both males and females,  between the age of 19 (voting/ marriageable/ drinking/ smoking) age and 30 stand while traveling on public transit?

Keeping your legs planted on the floor, with the knees a feet apart would be the most ideal way for men to sit.  Men may also lock their heels or cross their legs, but sitting with straight legs works best for most situations.  Ensure that one does not over project his genitals as monkeys and chimps are known to display their genitals to act more aggressive.  This  many a times looks grotesque, especially when one is seated on a stage or facing a camera.  While crossing legs, men often cross their left leg over their right – because …. Please click here to read my Blog and you may be able to reason it out.

Are we going to finish at manspreading? Are there more issues that the women are concerned about men’s behaviour?   ‘Manslamming’ is one feminine concern when men do not move out of the way of women on the sidewalk fast enough to give them way.  Then is ‘manterupting’ where the women are shouted down by men at conferences/ meetings, shopping malls, etc.  Then comes ‘Mansplaining’ where the women describe men who infringe on their feelings of narcissistic superiority; and the list will go on, adding new terms in times to come.


On returning from his orientation programme from the city’s swimming pool, where he works as the Swimming Instructor and Life-Guard, I asked our son Nikhil, “What’s new this time?” 

The Swimming Instructors have to undergo an orientation programme prior to commencement of any teaching session –  a ritual once in three months.  They are assessed for their swimming ability and life saving techniques.  The incidents that occurred during the quarter in all the swimming pools are discussed in detail and the correct methodology to deal with them are brought out.  Any changes to the existing protocols of First-Aid, CPR, Child Psychology, etc are also covered during this programme.

The age old tourniquet is back in,” was his reply.

His reply made me dwell back into my memory of the Cadet days at the National Defence Academy (NDA) where the tourniquet and a blade adorned our Field Service (FS) Cap.  The tourniquet was in fact two pencils, four inches long, wound neatly by a shoelace.  The ends of the shoelace were neatly tied on to the two holes on the left side of the FS Cap.  Luckily never heard of anyone untying the knot and using it during the Academy days.

On commissioning as a Second Lieutenant, I still carried the blade and the tourniquet as an integral part of my FS Cap.  The blade was the first to go as the Indian Army found that the blade had a great chance of infecting the wound rather than saving a person from a snake bite.

By the late Eighties, Indian Army recommended doing away with tourniquets.  The tourniquet meant to stop circulation of blood through the limb where a poisonous snake might have bitten was found to be more damaging than allowing the poison to spread across the victim’s body. In case a limb that had a tourniquet applied for hours, with no blood or lymph flow, caused a huge buildup of toxins in the limb.  When the tourniquet was released, all those toxins spread into the victim’s entire body.

The simple tourniquets was employed as an effective means during many wars to stop serious bleeding wounds.  It saved many a lives that would have been lost due to blood loss.  The tourniquet, in case applied over a prolonged period of over two hours, may damage tissues due to a loss of circulation.  This may result in permanent nerve injury, muscle injury, vascular injury, etc.

Periodic loosening of a tourniquet in an attempt to reduce tissue damage may often lead to blood loss and death.  Further, the victim suffers immense pain when a tourniquet is applied and may need heavy dose of pain killers.  For the tourniquets to be effective, the person applying the tourniquets must be well trained and must be aware as to what he is doing, how to do it and why.

In today’s world where the threat of a militant attack, industrial accidents, natural disasters, man-made disasters like stampedes, etc may result in mass civilian causalities with serious limb injuries.  The first responders and medical aid, even if available, may not be sufficient enough to treat all casualties.  Hence there is an urgent need for all responsible citizens to be trained in First-Aid and in use of tourniquets.  A casualty with multiple injuries, including serious bleeding limb injuries may be effectively managed by the immediate application of a tourniquet as a temporary measure to stop bleeding.

In most cases there is a need to improvise a tourniquet.  One must use a broad band to provide adequate compression.  A shoelace is a last resort, being thin, may not provide adequate compression.  The tourniquet must be applied just above the injury. onto bare skin to prevent slipping.

The first tourniquet may be applied ‘high and tight’ over clothing until a more considered assessment and reapplication may be considered.  The tourniquet should be tightened until bleeding stops.  Insert something rigid under the tourniquet and next to the knot to keep the tourniquet taught.  In case it is ineffective, the tourniquet should be tightened or re-positioned.  One may even consider applying a second tourniquet above the first if required.  Always write the Time and Date on the tourniquet.

Releasing the tourniquet once the casualty has been stabilised will, theoretically, avoid or limit the complications of prolonged use of a tourniquet.  Release the tourniquet, observing the wound and If bleeding continues, tighten the tourniquet until bleeding stops.

The tourniquet should remain in place if :-

  • The transit time to medical care is less than one hour.
  • The casualty has other life threatening injuries.
  • The casualty has unstable vital signs.

Tourniquets are an effective method of controlling serious bleeding which may not otherwise be controlled by simple measures but only if applied effectively.  The greatest risks of serious complications are due to inappropriate or incorrect application of tourniquets, not the tourniquet itself.

Sgt Dakota Oklesson, senior line medic with Apache Troop, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment, helps an Indian Army soldier apply a tourniquet during their first day of joint training for Yudh Abhyas 2010 Nov 1 at the Battle Command Training Center and Education Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.