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Saturday, June 6, 2015
An Open Letter To Prime Minister Narendra Modi On ‘One Rank, One Pension’ By An Ex-Serviceman ; BY SURENDRA POONIA
Shri Narendra Modi,
Hon’ble Prime Minister,
Republic of India,
South Block, Raisina Hill,
Sub:Seeking final date for implementation of One Rank, One Pension
I am writing this letter not as an ex-serviceman but merely as a citizen of this great nation of ours, whose grandeur we envision, whose fate we share and whose pulse we feel.
As a fellow countryman, I am duty bound to apprise you of the pangs of conscience and the sense of betrayal I endure when I see the veterans of our armed forces — the men who have bowed to none but the writ of Republic, the men who have endured for eons and defied odds time and again — today stand overwhelmed and incensed in the twilight of their lives by those whom they swore to defend.
It is indeed heart rending and ironic to witness our veteran soldiers return, in the spur of a moment for their principles, the very medallions and colours which have taken them the best part of their lifetime to earn.
How can we as a nation, stand mute spectators to this spectacle, may I ask; how can we allow things to plummet to such an extent and how inconsiderate and thankless shall we continue to be and for how long?
Today, when the world faces onerous challenges, the armies of global powers are engaged in continuous combat against the vile and wicked. The virtuous and civilized world is threatened by the medieval values of forces bent on destroying the fabric of peace and humanity, while we continue to bask in an era of unparalleled peace, unperturbed by the gory and gruesome saga unfolding in our neighbourhood.
The gleam and glitter of freedom we continue to savour (and take for granted) is earned and begot by the blood and bravery of the jawans and officers of our armed forces.
However, we have continued to ignore the plight of these brave men of ours who have dedicated their lifetime to our nation and, rather than reward them, we relish in slighting and spiting them time and again.
Are their pleas for ‘One Rank One Pension’ unwarranted and unreasonable, or, as the polity and bureaucracy believes, that once retired, the veteran soldiers of ours are expendables and can be meted with derision and disdain?
How long must we justify the inherent disparities and dogmas rather cogently that belittle the sacrifices of those who fought their battles in era bygone and diminish their achievements vis-a-vis their contemporaries? Are they not the son of same soil, did they not don the same colours, or is their patriotism paltry? If not, then why is there this unrelenting inequity and imprudent bias in compensation?
I would remind you of those promises you made and word of honour you gave, repeatedly, from the altars of innumerable podiums including Siachen glacier.
Alas, today in your hour of glory, smitten by vanity, you seem to have veered along the same feeble incoherence as your predecessors and the hopes you kindled and assurance you gave seem more profane than prophetic.
Sir, I would take this opportunity to remind you that even now the confidence of veteran soldiers bestowed in your leadership, although shaken, has not entirely eviscerated. We firmly believe that our demands for ‘One Rank One Pension’ stands vindicated amidst the slander and slight we are subjected to by the bureaucratic machinations and it remains a matter of not “if” but “when”; when the conscience of this nation shall overwhelm the deep rooted conceit and malaise we are being subjected to.
You as an elected leader of our nation, have a pledge to fulfill towards the veterans of your armed forces and we as veteran soldiers shall keenly await that hour when your pledge is redeemed and our honour bequeathed.