Protectors of the Nation Losing Ethics

The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason – T. S. Eliot

The Adarsh Housing Society Scam is in the news for the last week. As per media information, permission was obtained from Navy and other government ministries to build a six-story apartment for the Kargil war widows and heroes, in Colaba Mumbai.  The land in question belonged to Navy, and initially a No Objection Certificate was obtained to build a six-story building. In its place there is 31 story building. The residents are senior retired army commanders, ministers and their relations and government bureaucrats. The present Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan, who had approved the land, has apartments allotted to his relatives, since the land is in a prime locality where apartment prices are in crores.

Presently, the Navy is denying approving the No Objection Certificate and the big wigs caught in the scam are pleading ignorance to the fact that the building was for Kargil war widows and heroes. Government and army have commenced investigations to find the people responsible for the scam. A lot of heads are expected to roll when on submission os final reports.

In Times of India, today an excerpt gives the idea that the scam was pre-planned. “S. V. Joshi, Principal Secretary to Maharashtra Government, wrote to the environment ministry: The members of the society are the officers from defense services who have dedicated their lives in the service of Motherland and deserve all special consideration, and several members of the society are even today fighting at Kargil.” This message was written less than a month after the Kargil war against Pakistan was won in 1999. This clearly showed that sentiments of patriotism were exploited to get permission which would normally be not available in a sensitive army area.

Indian population is well aware of corruption amongst politicians and bureaucrats. However, it expects army staff to strictly adhere to a moral code of ethics. Indian army officers take the following oath -

I (name) hereby solemnly affirm/ swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India, as by law established and that I will, as in duty bound honestly and faithfully, serve in the regular army/ air force/ navy of the Union of India and go wherever ordered, by land, sea or air, and that I will observe and obey all the commands of the President of the Union of India and the commands of any officer set above me, even to the peril of my life.

It is disconcerting to hear that Army Chiefs are occupying houses of army officers who have lost their life, most probably following an order from one of them.  The officers who sacrificed their life stayed true to their oath; but what about the rest?

My question is will  officers follow the orders of their Army Chiefs in the next war? These officers will know that basic rights granted for safety and security of their family after their death will be snatched to add to the accumulated wealth of corrupt officers and politicians. In such a case it is difficult to expect officers to comply with orders at the risk of their life.

If military of a country loses ethics, and is motivated by money, then the country’s security is at risk. Where is the civilian population supposed to look for their safety and security? Should a revolution occur with civilians taking up arms to defend the nation?  That day does not look far.