Should Manhandling be allowed in NDA?

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I fully agree with the points mentioned, both by Admiral Arun Prakash and Lt Gen HS Panag, which are very pertinent and need serious attention.

_The point mentioned by Admiral Arun Prakash, regarding the prevalence of the negative ethos of cheating, manhandling of juniors, minor thefts, or even impersonation in NDA, is a matter of serious concern and these acts need to be treated as 'serious offences', rather than encouraging and promoting the same. When a minor theft is unofficially encouraged in the Academy as a positive quality, we are training the Cadets to become thieves, which at some stage of life may lead to a major act of corruption, because he then does not see it as a negative quality, but as a smart act of initiative. But a theft is a theft; whether it is minor or major, is purely a matter opportunity, and must be condemned in all its forms._

_Then the concept of 'beg, borrow or steal', unofficially promoted in NDA is another useless concept, that  again needs to be condemned in all its forms, since it amounts to developing negative traits, which need to be eradicated ruthlessly. This is not the way of developing initiative or resourcefulness. The resultant effect of encouraging this concept is that the seniors tend to forcefully acquire things from their helpless juniors and the chain reaction carries on, because of the unofficial sanction it acquires. The junior is helplessly left to fend for himself, developing dislike and hatred such seniors. He feels the sheer absence of justice. For example, if a uniform item has been lost or damaged, a cadet should not be asked by the seniors to resort to 'beg, borrow or steal'. Instead, a system of such items being easily made available on payment, within the Squadron/ Battalion should be organized. Honesty should take precedence over all this concocted nonsense. I, as an ex-NDA Cadet, still have those sad, painful and repulsive memories of seniors taking away our uniform items like Riding Boots, NDA Ties etc, while we watched this injustice helplessly._

_Moreover, stealing should never be encouraged. How can we ? Are we training the Cadets to be thieves ? Should a successful theft be considered as initiative or resourcefulness? Isn't it shameful ? I still remember two of my own Squadron course-mates stealing my monthly pocket-money of Rs 30/- those days, just a night prior to our final POP. A few others too were victims. Though I came to know who they were, yet rather too late. One of them is no more but when I meet the other one during the Course Reunions, there is a negative feeling of course spirit. Was this the end result of our three-year training together at the NDA ? In fact, we ended up being the victims of wrong practices, and those of us who resisted learning these useless qualities owe it to the good bringing up of our parents._

_Then comes manhandling of juniors, which was prevalent during our NDA training period. I myself, alongwith all my course-mates, was the victim of this evil practice and no wonder we developed a hatred for those seniors who manhandled us. It destroys an individual's self respect and kills the spirit of pride in him. When mandling assumes an unofficial santion, it makes a junior being treated like a slave, and he is made to feel helpless. It doesn't inculcate any positive quality in him. When I joined IMA Dehradun, I found an absolute positive change - no manhandling and no encouragement of the useless teaching of 'beg, borrow or steal'. We were treated like 'Gentleman Cadets', and what a refreshing change it was, inculcuting in us a sense of pride. We felt like Officer Cadets._

_However, when I joined the Battalion, I found some officers who I felt, were ill-trained. Some of them would try and bully us, and pass on their primary duties, like Pay Distribution to their Companies to the junior officers, which was and should have been, a matter of pride for them. I was left with no respect for them. They were of course, not all ex NDAs, but from different entries, however, Academy training matters._

_We may have been educated in many disciplines, but when it comes to developing character qualities, I found NDA was infected with some serious malpractices, at least during our training period, so much so that about a year and a half after we passed out, one of the VIth Termers was lynched to death by their juniors during the Social Function held two nights prior to passing out. During the 'Social Function' prior to the POP of 40th NDA Course, some of the VIth Termers, in our Squadron, were so badly bashed up by the juniors that a few of them became medically unfit to participate in the POP, and the Squadron Commander organized an 'Anti-social Function', the next night under the supervision of the Divisional Officers, where the VIth Termers punished us as an act of revenge for the treatment given to them during the 'Social Function' the previous night. Was this the end result of our Tri-services training together ? Was the aim of Tri-services joint training achieved ? Instead of the spirit of being trained together, we had developed a hatred for some of them. And interestingly, it did NOT happen in IMA Dehradun. The fault lay with the wrong practices that had crept in and received unofficial sanction in NDA, over a period of time. One of my seniors in the Squadron in NDA, who was a sadist of the highest order, happened to meet me 22 years later, while we both were still in service, and he could not look straight into my eyes. He should have ideally been relegated in NDA for lack of Officer Like Qualities, but instead we suffered for the same. Ultimately, we carried that baggage of bitterness instead of the NDA spirit. Incidentally, I am mentioning all these examples of what I had personally gone through during our training period. I am not aware whether such malpractices are still prevalent. I hope, wish and pray, they are not. But as a system they were absolutely and undoubtedly wrong. Admiral Arun Prakash is the only NDA Commandant who has honestly highlighted these malpractices through various articles._

_While each one of us has had a different type of experience, we would all agree that dignity of a person supersedes all other considerations, and manhandling is one evil practice which is a direct attack on the dignity of a human being. A Cadet being manhandled, suffers silently, with a bruised ego and eroded self esteem, which totally numbs his soul. No human being deserves this state of affairs. An element of human understanding and consideration for others is an all-pervading factor in military life. No matter how great an officer's qualifications, or how high the rank and appointment he holds, his overall competence is reduced if he lacks the personal qualities as a gentleman. I am proud to say that IMA Dehradun did not encourage any of these negative traits._

_Moreover, we must remember that as long as Armies are made up of people, the human element will remain an irreplaceable consideration in command and leadership. An officer is not worthy of the rank he holds, unless he honours and respects his subordinates. And that is the first quality that needs to be taught and inculcated in the Cadets during their NDA training; not to bully and manhandle their juniors, which is demeaning for the subordinates. It is totally inhumane and un-officer like._

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