Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Lessons from the bonus army march on Washington DC By Suresh Bangara
The story of the infamous bonus army march is well documented at the above site on you tube. We should learn some lessons from it before the current OROP agitation goes out of hand. Disciplined as it has been to date, there is a very thin dividing line between a peaceful and orderly agitation and a violent one. It takes only a small spark to ignite the agitation. The above clip clearly shows that even war veterans like Gen Mac Arthur, could make the grave error of leading a charge against the veterans of WW1.
It is a combination of neglect of the veterans demand,an ill informed and insensitive political leadership, a rare natural disaster and the occurrence of WW2 which enabled the resolution of the veterans demand through a legislation. Public sympathy for veterans finally forced the political leadership to act decisively. By then many more lives had been lost.
Civil-Military relations in a democracy is a constantly evolving equation which is tempered and shaped by both external and internal dynamics. It has taken centuries of war experience including the civil war for the American public opinion to play a supporting role for the cause of the veteran. What is often seen today as deep concern and respect for the veteran community of USA is a result of upheavals caused in the past and loss of millions of lives in service of Motherland. Such public sympathy,respect and support are not likely to be witnessed in a young nation of just short of seven decades of independence from a colonial power.
Bringing the soldier closer to the society through well orchestrated publicity campaigns and educational programmes on martyrs is a must. Either compulsory NCC training in schools and/or colleges and exposure to military service short of conscription may be necessary to generate awareness about the Armed Forces of India.
(Source- Via Gp e-mail)