The agniveers in the making
JUST after a short period of four years, the streets of India would be thronging with the innocent ‘Agniveers’ and there would be hundreds groups of extremists and terrorists alluring those Agniveers to join them.
For many of you the term Agniveer would be strange and new but in India, today this term is very much popular and the root-cause of the rapidly disturbing law and order situation as well.
According to media reports the Union Cabinet has recently introduced the Agnipath scheme for the recruitment of soldiers in the Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force.
This recruitment would be largely on a four-year short-term contractual basis. According to the details provided to the media the youngsters ranging from the age of 17 and a half to 21 years will be inducted into the three services.
After completion of the four-year tenure, 25% of the recruits will be retained for regular service and the remaining 75% would be said good-bye forever.
It is yet not clear what those 75% would be doing after being kicked out of the army. Experts are worried that after getting a training of four years, they would be a hot-cake for those who are interested in establishing their personal armies and even for the groups involved in different terrorist activities.
Moreover this new scheme of induction of personnel below officer rank would shatter the decades-old selection process which was however based on merit and there was a future surety to the employed ones.
Now this tenure-track type of system of induction would give birth to depression and disappointment among the so called Agniveers.
Reports say that every year around 45,000 to 50,000 soldiers will be recruited under this scheme and recruitment will be done twice a year.
Thousands of young men, who had been dreaming of becoming a part of the military forces, are protesting against the Agnipath scheme as they are unhappy over the changes in the selection system.
They say that after serving for four years in the army and after ending up with no pension and no monetary benefits, they would be standing nowhere.
A number of experts on military affairs and opposition leaders belonging to different Indian political parties are of the opinion that this scheme would adversely impact the functioning of the armed forces.
They are demanding the time-tested recruitment system which had been opted for decades.
More interesting is the fact that no specific criterion has yet been described for the selection of Agniveers.
It seems that the selection procedure would be completed at local level and the local unit commanders would be all in all in making decisions.
The only restriction is that of the age bracket. Keeping in view, India’s present ‘secular’ scenario, it is very much sure that in the suggested force there would be no place for the Muslim and the Sikh youth; only the Hindu young-men would be entertained.
Since there would be only Hindu soldiers in this newly formulated force, it is quite sure that during their training, more poison would be injected in the veins of the Agniveers against the Muslims and other minorities and influenced by that venomous ‘preaching’, the Agniveers would target the Indian religious minorities like guided-missiles.
After completion of the four year tenure, each of the Agniveers would be like a blazing suicide-bomber ready to explode on the minorities particularly on the Muslims.
Mr Modi’s desire of making India a Hindu country is not hidden from anyone; the present Agnipath induction scheme also reflects his desire.
It seems that Mr.Modi has designed this scheme just to produce another RSS type of force which would be more skilful, more trained and more poisonous than the RSS.
One finds a lot of resemblance between the RSS and the Agnipath force. An introduction leaflet about the RSS says, “The initial motive behind formation of RSS was to provide character training through Hindu discipline and to unite the Hindu community to form a Hindu nation.
The organization promotes the ideals of upholding Indian culture and the values of a civil society and spreads the ideology of Hindutva to strengthen the Hindu community.”
In that entire introduction, there is no reference to the Indian nation; it is all about the Hindu nation.
Various historians are of the opinion that the RSS drew its initial inspiration from the Italian Fascist Party which was very much vibrant during World War-II.
The RSS also started working on the same lines mapped out by the Italian Fascist Party and with the passage of time grew into a prominent Hindu nationalist umbrella organization sheltering rather than feeding several affiliated organizations.
These organizations patronize different educational institutions and think-tanks to spread Hindutva ideology.
Now the Agnipath Force would provide another strong support to the RSS philosophy with the help of young Agniveers.
Mr Modi is doing nothing unexpected by introducing Agnipath like schemes as ‘kill the minorities’ has ever been the salient feature of his character.
His political party had been warning the Muslim and the Sikh community to get out of India.
And above all the horrible pictures of burning houses and blood-dripping human bodies in Gujarat massacre 2002 are still there to describe Modi’s temperament but the problem is that in spite of all these facts and figures, Mr.Modi and his followers try to introduce themselves as the great ‘seculars’ and on the basis of that claim of secularism, they try to win sympathies and favours of the world.
This ridiculous contradiction certainly needs the world’s attention.
—The writer is Principal of a Government College and senior columnist, based in Multan.