Friday, May 8, 2015

Raise your sword arm but not to clap - Chief bans applause but makes an exception

New Delhi, May 5: General "claptrap" has broken out in the ranks of the Indian Army after its chief today banned the soldiery from bringing palms together in repeated motion to express applause "because it is against military decorum".
Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag, the chief, cited defence minister Manohar Parrikar's expression of surprise after the audience at an annual commanders' conference last month clapped after his speech in military headquarters. "I did not know that men in uniform clapped," the defence minister is reported to have said.

Parrikar, who was Goa's chief minister and still carries with him a whiff of the casual in his colourful bush shirts that are never tucked in and in his beachwear sandals, is still getting acquainted with military culture since taking over the office in January. Others present at the conference said Parrikar had said what he did about clapping "half in jest".

The joke was lost on the army chief. "Hereafter, we will maintain the decorum of not clapping in uniform," Gen. Dalbir Singh told the audience of mostly army officers but also some civilians. The occasion this morning was the induction of a missile system, called the Akash, made by a defence public sector unit after nearly 30 years of research and trials. But at the conclusion of the event, the army chief proceeded to do what he had advised his men against: he clapped, deliberately and slowly with great showmanship, after a vote of thanks by the official of the company that had made the missile, Bharat Dynamics Ltd. This chief said his act of applauding is a "one-time exception to the rule".
The manual on customs and traditions in the Indian Army does not forbid applauding a speaker by clapping. "Yes, we clap," said an air force officer who said his service did not share the army chief's sentiment. "But we discourage the thumping of desks, though sometimes that too is done."

"In the navy we often shout to express appreciation," said a commander. "That is because our palms are often greasy from working on our warships," he explained. In the navy, sailors also salute by turning the palm inward to avoid showing greasy hands.

There is no hard-and-fast rule about clapping in the army, said a colonel. "But you know this chief is austere, and a stickler for discipline; he dislikes flowers, for example, and has told his officers to abandon the practice of gifting them," he explained. "No," the colonel added. "The gossip that there is a tax on smiling is pure rumour."

The dour Dalbir Singh, who took over as army chief after turbulence at the top, is probably the fittest four-star rank in recent years. His slim and washboard waistline is still the envy of many of his juniors. He brings to the office he holds the dignity of a fitness freak. That does not include the air of jollity that another officer of the Gorkhas brought into South Block before leading India to its most famous military victory - Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw.

A man of ready wit and repartee, Manekshaw, who died in June 2008 at the age of 94, was widely reputed to hold politicians in utter contempt. In contrast with Gen. Dalbir Singh's genuflection to his defence minister's (misinterpreted) advice, Manekshaw once said on the military knowledge of politicians: "I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of defence can distinguish a mortar from a motor; a gun from a howitzer; a guerrilla from a gorilla, although a great many resemble the latter."

India's chiefs of army staff have often brought into their jobs personal whims that have been issued as commands to the soldiery. Gen. J.J. Singh, who went on to become governor of Arunachal Pradesh after retiring, famously introduced "Friday Dressing" - ordering all in headquarters in New Delhi to wear battle fatigues on Fridays to express empathy with soldiers on the frontlines.

Gen. V.K. Singh, now minister of state, did away with the practice. 

His successor, Gen. Bikram Singh, re-instituted it.

Now, with the ban on the manual act of applause by a chief who proceeded to violate it, the army is complaining that it is caught in a "clap-trap".

(Source- The Telegraph)


  1. Dear sir,

    The first and foremost in the life of officers is country and then man who are serving under them and finally their personal gains come. how many officers are following this. what about OROP General Dalbir assured at any cost it will be announced last april or may first without delay. now he observes silence and remain tight lipped. the country clap at the reckless attitude of the government in the matter of OROP. How you are going to appease them

  2. Karunakaran sir has written the fact and there is no body supporting the demand of OROP seriously. Is it possible that if Chief of Army Staff compels the politicians and they deny or delay the demand of Defence Forces.
    netas have old and usual habit of making fool of public and loot them and filling their own treasures instead Govt fund Sections and they will never understand the feeling and requirements of Faujis. It is our Top brasses should come forward, but unfortunatly their feets are very loose in this regard. Is all discipline meant only for defence forces who lays their lives for their countary but netas are the ruler of the same countary without sacrificing anything for it. now may I request our respected Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag to put some pressure on Govt for early implementation of OROP.

  3. He should have tendered or at least offered to tender his resignation on 2nd May to be a real General of the jawans. He hasn't had the decency to at least remind the DM on orop openly.

  4. My dear friends forget about OROP.  These Netas & Babu Ji are shameless creatures.  They are not the people of their words.  How many times they have given the new promises and new dates for diclaration of OROP approval in past.  They don't feel shame every time breaking the promise and extending the promise with new dates.  They are the bigger liars.  In Indian politics, bigger the liar better the politician.  These people are making fool all of us and enjoy the sarcastic pleasure.

    Now you will see all these people will come out with new promise and new date.  What they will say in the new statement that they have handed over the OROP file to the 7th Pay Commission for calculations and fixation of OROP.   The Commission will also remove all modalities.  There by there won't be any problem in the future.  We (Netas ) hope you ( ESM ) won't mind waiting for a few more months.  As you have already waited for so long almost 30 years.  Its a matter of a few months now.  We assure you then you would definitely enjoy the benefits of OROP. 

    From us (Netas) --- cheers to all ESM--- have a few drinks of Rum --- enjoy your good evening.

  5. As we are waiting since 1981 please wait upto 2019 no mention please,

  6. Take it easy. This is the way we function.

    Thomas Manimala

  7. At least an apology is reqd from DS Suhag on orop by Apr. l

  8. This is sheer sycophancy. Just bcoz a civilian DM wondered that men in uniform clap COAS proscribes clapping! He cud not get OROP for himself & for his men fm the DM. But he goes on to ban an innocuous show of appreciation. What a joker! It is bcoz jokers like him hv bn at the hem of affairs we r yet to get OROP.