The recent controversy on the Army Chief’s age clearly reflects a failure of bureaucratic system in the country. Going by the evidences and facts in public domain, (Source: Hindustan Times,date 17th Jan 2012, page 10, article: “Error in UPSC record was a clerical error”: quoting the petition of Army Chief) the anamoly first came to light when UPSC sent a clarification letter to army chief’s father who within 9 days submitted correct age and all supporting documents. Whatever an ordinary citizen could do was done at that point itself. Is it reasonable to expect an ordinary citizen to run from pillar to post and owns the responsibility of getting every register changed in every department of which he is not even aware about. Not only this, the Army’s official record keeper AG Branch had also corrected the anomaly and for all his service until 2006, his correct DOB 1951 was used. Therefore this contention that he has not got the DOB changed earlier and have been using it all this while is totally false.
However the babus are a tough-nut to crack and as they always do, fail to correct it even when contested. The question is why when the anamoly was rediscovered in 2005 and when the MS branch was requested to reconcile with AG Branch and correct it, that didn’t happen? Now its being said that he is not an ordinary citizen and therefore should not go to court. First its a matter of principle, second when babus can do such a grave injustice to no other than army chief, a plight of common man is not difficult to understand. Army Chief’s going to court only exposes how babu’s work and how common man suffers in babu-raj.
Further, the decision by Gen VK Singh to fight for what some believes a minor issue is a matter of principle. Gen VK Singh had also described and called this a personal matter while it is not. This matter is of interest to the society as it highlights how difficult it is for an individual to get things done through the bureaucrats. As it is said, if your neighbors house is burning and you are sleeping then you are next.