- It is worth reiterating that the countrymen hold the Armed Forces in high esteem simply because of the endearing historical evidence highlighting the disciplined contingent’s goosebump evoking sacrifices, breathtaking daredevilry, unambiguous belief in upholding the sovereignty of the nation, unquestionable integrity, willingly shouldering martyrdom when confounded with enemy challenges, never complaining about the harsher conditions whilst guarding the boundaries, consistently maintaining neutrality vis-à-vis political machinations, and most importantly, always rising to the occasion when defending the motherland with lots of pride.
PC: Manisha Shekhawat
- Needless to mention further, all the above elaborated characteristic traits are synonymous with our disciplined forces which is duly acknowledged by the grateful country always conferring a special place for these brave hearts in the pecking order on occasions demanding poignant showcasing of gratitude. The Armed Forces are probably the only entity that does not evoke any insinuations or for that matter unpleasant questions from different quarters. Every single political party worth its salt will be unanimous when it comes to singing the peans of the deeds of the Armed Forces firmly establishing the unique pride of place enjoyed by our uniformed community.
- Apart from the enemy misadventures emanating from across the borders, the countrymen are also aware of the dangerous challenges weathered by the military personnel vis-à-vis harsh weather conditions continuously exposed to the vagaries from one extreme to another, lack of social mingling owing to longer duration of staying away from the families, non-existent recreational facilities in forwarding bases, rigidly guarded hierarchical structure with emphasis on discipline, and stressful working conditions leading to accumulation of pressure psychologically creating havoc on the minds of the personnel. These portend big trouble on the minds for sure.
- Recently furnishing details in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Defence mentioned the rising cases of suicides in the Forces numbering an astonishing 787 from three wings for the period from 2014 till 2021. Further breaking down of the numbers reveals that the Army reported 591 cases, the Indian Air Force 160, and the Navy reporting 36 suicides, respectively during the mentioned period. There were also 27 cases of fratricide reported during the period as well. These alarming numbers worryingly point at the inadequacy of the stress management efforts that could have prevented personnel from taking fatal steps in ending their lives.
- It goes without saying that the top brass down to the local commanders and psychiatrists are to speed up efforts at addressing the issues of stress and strain by identifying ways to mitigate the toxic building up of pressure resulting in unpleasant situations. Of course, comprehensive counseling measures at various levels of units/establishments do help in the timely address of botherations leading to potential mitigation of cases. Yes, provisioning of more welfare-oriented measures like adequate married accommodation and recreational facilities does go a long way in easing the pent-up stress factors for the uniformed. The top brass and the government should holistically investigate these aberrations to stop the precious loss of trained personnel.