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.

8 comments on “Protectors of the Nation Losing Ethics

  1. Dear Sonia

    “Army Chiefs are occupying houses of army officers who have lost their life”

    – one more shameful saga of an Indian governance system that is rotten to the core.

    We need a revolution.


    • Sanjeev,

      You are right when you use the word “shameful”. Unfortunately, white collor criminals in sitting high places do not consider their acts shameful and are quite proud of accumulating wealth by wrong means. The Indian public silently supports them because we are used to sucking up to designations rather than determining a person’s character. Hence, these senior people get away with all the wrong doing.

      The general public suffers, however without support, because till they themselves are at risk, they do not wish to do anything, simple apathy. Unfortunately, the public can’t be blamed also since in most cases they are gullible without having access to the right information. So they make their decisions on perceptions or mis-information. It is a vicious circle.

      Till the public understands that they are responsible for corrective measures, for themselves and the society, there can be no mental revolution. Normal behavior pattern is similar to that of pigeons seeing a cat, if I close my eyes, the cat will go away. Unfortuantely the cat eats up the pigeon. There is a lesson to be learnt here.


  2. Scams happen even in the most advanced of nations. It is in the nature of few greedy souls to take advantage of circumstances and profit therefrom. Growing up as a boy, I saw scams coming up in this country year after year. The Bofors, St.Kits, Harsha Mehta, Ketan Parekh etc. While the stock markets have become more efficient since then, Governance remained the same. The new scams to today do not shock me any more. Probably I have become immune to such shocks. The situation is past serious. While I emphasise that crime investigation and judicial process should be speedy, efficient and transparent, it is only post-facto remedy. Can we ever stop these scams from happening in the first place? Now, when each succesive government is corrupt, why are we still electing them to power??? In democracy, the only remedy available to people is to remove the ruling party from power. But we are replacing them with another corrupt set of people. We have a fair and transparent electoral process in this country. Politicians of this country are not resorting to military action to come to power. In such a case, are we knowingly electing them to power and letting scams happen???

    • Lakshmi Prasad,

      Thanks for reading the blog posts and taking the time out to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts and agree with you that the situation is past serious and it looks like we changing one corrupt government with another.

      I have some thoughts on how this can be changed which I would like to share. India has corruption at ground level, whereas the industrilized nations have it at very senior level. So we have far more cases and our daily life is impacted by it. The poor class or rural class can do very little as they are basically the victims of corruption. They are far too busy just trying to live day to day, so one can’t expect them to take any tough stance.

      The powerful and rich are not likely to do anything except talk about it and show some sybolic gestures if they get caught, as they are benefitting from it.

      The urban middle class are the ones who have increased corruption at ground level since they are actively taking and giving bribes for normal day to day functioning. They have the intelligence and get the political will to do something, however they are apathic towards it, though they are most likely to benefit from it. So unless the middle class focuses on building an enthical culture without corruption, the country is going to go down the drain. So active participation from middle class is required to remove corruption.


  3. Hi, I just read texts on your blog and I became interested in the topic. I like your site and I am thinking whether I could use your words in my work? Would it be possible? If yes, please contact with me.Thanks.

  4. Pingback: Fraud Symptom 5- Insufficient focus on organization culture and processes « Sonia Jaspal's RiskBoard

  5. Pingback: India Country Risks in 2012 « Sonia Jaspal's RiskBoard

Comments are closed.