The Armed Forces in India
We have today in India a fine and living example of this national and secular approach in the Armed Forces. It will, therefore, not be out of place to make a study of their working. For indeed, they represent a fine example of unity in diversity, secularism and patriotism. Not only have they a magnificent record of bravery, valour and selfless service but also and, far more important, they have been one of the chief instruments in keeping the unity and integrity of the country intact. What are the factors that have made such a record possible? We shall bring out some of the significant ones.
The jawan and the officer of the modern Indian Armed Forces is the inheritor of a long culture of heroism and valour. In fact, he is the final product in the long chain of warriors, which this country has produced. For in the Indian tradition, there is nothing nobler than waging a war in the service of Truth and Justice – Dharma. As the Gita says: “To a warrior, there is nothing nobler than a righteous war. Happy are the warriors to whom a battle such as this comes. It opens a door to heaven”. It is this spirit that has to permeate the whole national life of India. This war has to be fought by every citizen of India, and this war is the war between the higher nature and the lower nature of man.
The officer of the Indian Armed Forces has the ability to lead from the front. This has been demonstrated in the two World wars and later in the Indo–Pak wars and the war against the Chinese. Today we see it in the leadership qualities of the officers taking part in the low intensity conflict both in Jammu & Kashmir and the Northeast. This ability to lead from the front has to become one of the traits of the Indian citizen. In other words, every Indian citizen has to stand up and be ready to be counted for what he believes is the Truth.
The training imparted in the Indian Armed Forces is another important factor. The traditions, the customs of gallantry and honour drilled into the minds of all members of the Army, the highest form of comradeship, the esprit de corps both in peace and battle play a key role in the functioning of the Armed Forces. This sense of unity, while respecting the traditions of Indian culture should be the motto of every Indian citizen.
The Indian Armed Force is truly Indian in its deepest sense. The soldiers and officers of the Indian Armed Forces are first and foremost Indians. Their love of India transcends all regions, castes and religions. They are thus psychologically upholding the unity of the country. All Indians must emulate this. They must be first and foremost Indians.
The Indian Armed Force is secular in the best sense of the term. Whatever the religion of the soldier and officer, they are respectful of all religions and take part in all the festivals of the different religions; yet they are deeply religious and follow the deeper traditions and practices of their own religion.
The Indian Army is well known all over the world for its professionalism. This professionalism is sustained by a relentless pursuit of both knowledge and its execution in the practical and material field. It might be called “the seeking for perfection on the material plane”.
These qualities should become the basis of the national life. This would automatically solve many of the divisive problems that beset India today.
To these should be added the urge and desire for perfection on the psychological plane. It should become one of the chief motivating elements in the life of the Indian citizen, whether he be a soldier and officer or an ordinary citizen that he should aspire to become a perfect human being, perfect in all the parts of his being and in close touch with the Divine within him. For then he will realise what the heroes and warriors of India, both in the past history and in the freedom movement had realised – that the Indian nation is not just a piece of land nor a collection of people, but a living spiritual entity, a soul.
“Even as the individual has a soul which is his true self, governing more or less openly his destiny, each nation too has its soul which is its true self, moulding its destiny from behind the veil: it is the soul of the country, the national genius, the spirit of the people, the centre of national aspiration, the fountain-head of all that is beautiful, noble, great and generous in the life of a country. True patriots feel its presence as a tangible reality. It is this, which has been made almost into a divine being and all who love their country, call it ‘Mother India’ (Bharat Mata), and it is to her that they daily address a prayer for the welfare of their country”.
“Mother India is not a piece of earth; she is a Power, a Godhead, for all nations have such a Devi supporting their separate existence, and keeping it in being. Such beings are as real and more permanently real than the men they influence, but they belong to a higher plane, are part of the cosmic consciousness and being and act here on earth by shaping the human consciousness on which they exercise their influence”.
“Each nation is a Shakti or power of the evolving spirit in humanity and lives by the principle, which it embodies. India is the Bharata Shakti, the living energy of a great spiritual conception, and fidelity to it is the very principle of her existence. For by its virtue alone she has been one of the immortal nations; this alone has been the secret of her amazing persistence and perpetual force of survival and revival”.