Col. Ganesan Satcos-Tamil Web Pages


Ablaze in a Blizzard

Ablaze in a Blizzard - Col.(Retd.) P. Ganesan





MEG & Centre, Bangalore



The cradle of young soldiers

Well! I was full of such unanswered questions in my mind when I landed at MEG & Centre, Bangalore.

Soldiering in India is considered as an employment by majority of officers and other ranks. India is known for and rated as one of the top nation in corruption, also intrude of such virus in Defence services, it cannot be ruled out.

Under these circumstances I started functioning as Training officer to train thousands of young boys coming from all parts of this country. I was assisted by JCOs and NCOs. One should be clear that those selected to train or be instructors at training centres should be far superior to those whom they were going to train. But in practice it might not be possible.so one had to accept such drawbacks. I started tightening my job in all direction. Firstly I myself improved my physical and professional fitness and made sure that all those under me come up to acceptable level.

I had spent almost one year as single as my wife was expecting our first baby and that gave plenty of time to me to understand all aspects of soldier training. Some of the acts and its implications were taken casually when the officers did not pay proper attentions. For example, Police verification of character and family back ground had to be done as soon as possible before the recruits were given wider and deeper training. A casual approach in this would lead to higher training being given to criminals if the police verification was negative as unsuitable for Army. Many a time recruits were found unsuitable for Army and I used to wonder what type of recruitment had been done.

Once I found a recruit was very weak in spite of extended training and decided to discharge him as unsuitable. At that time the recruit cried that he had paid Rs. 30,000/- for getting this enrolment and he had been given clerk trade. I did not know what to do. Physically he was very weak and almost failing in all tests. He could be given cook, safaiwala, Barber and retained, but he had never done such trade work as he was from higher caste<. So I was forced to discharge him. Had I not observed him, he could have easily completed his training with the help of corrupt officials.

One need not write further on the above line, as what would happen in the future, if the trend continues.

Having mother tongue as Tamil I was at a great advantage to understand the mind of the recruits and my rural back ground was also an added advantage in this case. I knew that if a recruit was reporting sick very often, the problem would be in his mind and not in his body. So I would isolate such recruits and took time to discuss with each one in confidence what the problem was all about. Most of the time it might be either they were not interested in Army services or someone was harassing them. Many times I had found that the training staff or the seniors were the culprits. I was ruthless in implementing DISCIPLINE and set right the system.

Fortunately, I had the ability to learn & understand coupled with courage and hence there was a marked difference in my handling of training. As I was physically fit enough to be the best recruit, my team always won laurels in all fields.

The recruits who had under gone training under my leadership rose in ranks and files and many of them were commissioned later.

With great satisfaction I had spent three years at MEG & Centre and got posted to College of Military Engineering, Pune in Jan 1978. During my stay at Bangalore we were blessed with a son named Aravindhan was born on 13 June 1975.

Reflections



  • Soldiering in India is on voluntary basis. Can patriotism be developed on voluntary basis?!
  • What is the status of those who do not volunteer?
  • What is the Government's responsibility towards those who volunteer to protect the safety, honour and integrity of the country and those who sell the country directly and indirectly?
  • We celebrate National days and Honour National heroes. Is there anyone in this country who is willing to serve for 3 years in high altitude and then face election to become a member in either Assembly or Parliament?


The recruits Training is divided into three phases. Basic, Field engineering and workshop. The Basic and Field engineering are of three months each and workshop phase depended upon the trade of the recruit. Attestation will be done within 52 weeks of training and recruit becomes young soldier after attestation. The commanding officer can discharge a recruit as unsuitable for the Army within 3 months. The disciplinary powers are given to officers covered almost all aspect of human conduct, which will make a soldier extremely difficult to escape under a capable officer.


The service at the training centre ought to be on total dedication as the trainer will be responsible for imbibing patriotic sprit to young boys of different culture of this great country. Any relaxation in this aspect will lead to train criminals and Anti National elements and hand over the Safety, Honour and Integrity of this country to them.

The Army Act and Army rules along with Defence Services Regulations would certainly help anyone who was interested to maintain discipline. The officer should be intelligent enough to understand and bold enough to implement.