While going through the controversial subject of extremism, I learned how militants use religion as a weapon against mortality. Having read that the terrorists, who crushed the civil order and slaughtered hundreds of guiltless in Mumbai on 9/11, were given lessons on using heavy weapons and adjusted-history on brutality with the men of a particular community, I realized that extremists are far more tactical and strategically-adept than those who urge for global peace. They corruptly play with the minds of new blood, turn them into destroyers, and steer clear of adverse outcomes. I then hunted for any group in India which, I thought, would be linked with conveying lessons on national service and patriotism. Luckily, I came across an arm of the Indian Army, The Territorial Army, which enrolls civilians and provides them prospects to receive military training and thus creating a reserve force that could back the regular army, when circumstances warrant. Pleased was I and looked for admission. Then were the admissibility criteria, which only permitted ‘gainfully employed’ civilians possessing a graduate degree. But that did not let me down as I am ‘eligible’. The ‘criteria’, however, urged me to pen few thoughts.
Why at all is this necessary?
Those who designed study curriculum would have had considered an authentic fact that unless you inform the kids of the nation about the contributions and sacrifices of worthy Indians, the sensation of reverting what we fetch from nation’s soil cannot be expected. Poems on Rani Lakshmi Bai and chapters on India’s struggle for independence were not for adding knowledge of science but for adding patriotism to kids’ approach. But, ‘busy and tough life’ we call it, that fades away all lessons and we just want our police, army, politicians, and activists to pursue the path of national service. Tell me, as a common man, scuffling for better work and living prospects, am I relieved of the duty of serving my nation? And if your answer is ‘No’, then why am I found polluting the roads, bribing the officials, discarding the laws of the land, and employing any and every trick for the betterment of ‘my’ house? Civilians, in any nation, far outdo the number of government employees, hence nation-building is lacking without the common man’s partaking. And then, when I imagined 125 crore ‘Indians’, with India in their heart, I foresaw cheerful and prosperous households as an outcome of equal distribution of national wealth.
Milieu in other nations
I could find a hefty list of countries, which engage civilians in enforced military training for a year. The youth is infused with a sensation to serve the nation, whenever the time demands. Along with, punctuality, use of weapons, and coordination are what that the youth learn at the very early age of their lives. Norwegian Parliament has lately adopted amendments with a view to extending obligatory military services to women of Norway. ‘Conscription’, as the world terms it, denotes compulsory enlistment of citizens in some sort of national service, which most often is the military service. Post serving the ‘active duty’, the recruits are transferred to ‘reserve force’. Even in the U.S., males between 18 and 25 are mandated to register with the Selective Service System, which helps to keep a track of persons available during crisis.
Having discussed the Territorial Army wing of Indian Army, I have shared the option of being a part in national service, however, only a few can avail the same. Unemployment rate in India is above 3.5 percent; hence this cluster becomes ‘ineligible’. Next, with the pressure of serving private and government jobs, how many of the employed ones can opt for the same? Graduation degree is another binding clause. Presently, the Territorial Army has strength of 40,000 first line and 160,000 second line troops. Do you think this is acceptable for a country with second highest population in the world?
It is evident that achieving a model similar to ‘compulsory military service’ will not be a feasible option in India. But, infusing ‘India’ in the heart of every India is indispensable if the PM is aiming for inclusive support. You would agree that the teachings we learn in schooldays fade away with time. Herein, the need is to deploy one army personnel at all educational institutions, public or private, for the purpose of teaching a lesson each day on national service until grade 12th. Plus, post High School, one hour of essential quasi-military training should be added to the learning course. Lessons on obedience, realism, physical activeness, handling tensed situations, readily accepting the call for national service, and ‘India first’ must be made obligatory. National Anthem and Constitution of India, biographies of national heroes, and vitality of contribution towards country must be a part everywhere. And when all educational institutions are talked about, taken into account should also be privately-run local schools and madrasas.
With ‘India’ in every Indian’s soul, betrayal and brain drain will not find any place. Plus, the youth will become much more responsible post undergoing military training. India can then expect loyal, participative citizens, readily available for national service.