Today, many people and associations call their agitations as Gandhian method of satyagraha. The present agitation launched by retired soldiers may also be called as a Gandhian act. However, Mahatma Gandhi never advocated satyagraha as a method of coersion to achieve narrow objectives.
It is extremely doubtful as to whether Gandhiji would have approved the present agitation by retired soldiers in India, demanding one rank one pension.
Soldiers and farmers - Two eyes of the nation :
There is no doubt that farmers and soldiers represent the two eyes of the nation . While the farmers toil hard on the soil to supply food to the nation, soldiers toil hard on the borders to provide security for the nation. It is the duty of the country men and the government to appreciate the lofty role played by farmers and soldiers and ensure that they are rewarded suitably and are kept satisfied.
However,Small farmers who live on the verge of poverty belong to unorganised class and retired soldiers who have sort of muscle power to demand their rights and privileges belong to organised class...
There is ocean of difference in the living conditions between the organised and unorganised class. Soldiers do sacrifice their lives while discharging their duties and this is the greatest service that anyone can do for the motherland. However, unlike most of the farmers in India, soldiers are not impoverished lot. Whereas the small farmers largely remain unorganised and are vulnerable to various conditions confronting them , soldiers are certainly better placed in the society compared to an average farmer.
Farmers are seen to commit suicides frequently all over India due to poverty conditions and the government as well as the society have not done enough for them to protect their interests.
Lack of concern of organised class towards unorganised , poor fellow citizens :
Several concerned economists and activists are now veering to the view that the organised class exert huge pressure on the government and the employers by their collective bargaining strength, in the name of trade union movement. Most of them now have reasonably comfortable life style and certainly are not poverty stricken. Too frequently, we see strike and agitations by well paid organised class like bank staff , transport workers etc. who agitate and get their demands met .
When the government and employers spend chunk of their income to pay the organised class, to that extent money will not be available to help the unorganised section of the people such as farmers, domestic workers etc. who need the support from the government much more than the organised class. What is necessary to note is that such organised class have no consideration or thought about the plight of the unorganised people ,while demanding wage rise for themselves.
Retired soldiers are not impoverished lot :
While the country men always viewed the serving and retired soldiers with high respect and sense of gratitude , the present agitation launched by retired soldiers demanding one rank one pension have surprised many people. Many have not openly come out to criticise the agitation launched by the retired soldiers due to the respect that they have for their services rendered to the nation. Nevertheless, the agitation launched by the retired soldiers look more like the behaviour of the politically oriented trade unions rather than that of army personnel, known for discipline and decorum..
One would be justified in resorting to such agitations , if they would be impoverished lot, particularly in a country like India where more than 300 million people live below poverty line , not knowing where the next meal would come from.
Prime Minister has greater responsibility towards downtrodden :
It is particularly shocking that even after the Prime Minister announced in his Independence Day speech that the government of India is committed to one rank one pension for the retired army personnel, the retired soldiers appear to have decided to intensify their agitation. Obviously, the issue before Prime Minister is to how to find money to implement the scheme, particularly when money is desperately needed to implement development schemes to promote growth and create better conditions for the millions of downtrodden people in India.
Obviously, another worry for the Prime Minister should be that every other section of government employees like bank staff and others would start making similar demands that will open the pandora box.
Prime Minister is not accountable to the retired soldiers and organised class in the country alone. He has even greater responsibility towards the oppressed and suppressed people living in villages even without basic amenities like toilets and living in extremely difficult conditions.
Retired soldiers should set example for other organised class :
The retired soldiers , reputedly known for discipline, patriotism and commitment to national cause ,should set an example to other organised class in the country by giving up the agitational approach and finding a common ground with the government to find a solution for the problem in the best manner possible , keeping the interests of not only the retired soldiers but also the millions of poor Indians.
Nandinivoice for the Deprived
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