"PM's Bow Does Not Fire an Arrow, Impossible": 7 Lessons From An Army Officer to PM Modi
MUMBAI:It was very funny to watch (Prime Minister) Modiji shooting an arrow from the hip on dussehra. I am more accustomed to him shooting volleys from the lip.
Imagine, Modiji in a trench along the LoC, Pakistan (Ravan) attacking and PM desperately trying to fire his gun. Twice it misfires and the third time Modiji picks up loose bullets and throws them at the enemy.
Like all good stories end, the enemy would have suffered heavy casualties and retreated, for all is well that ends well.
It reminds me of my WT (weapon training) lessons while learning our basics of 7.62mm SLR. It was called “Rokon ko dur karna” (removing the faults). Any mechanical thing can fail, so the “ustad” used to howl,” rifle theek fire karta rukta”, (rifle stops while firing), you just had to cock it and press the trigger, 98 times out of 100 the damn thing used to fire. Then he used to say “fire nahin” (no fire), you were then supposed to check the magazine, you could have an empty magazine, reload, cock the weapon and fire. ‘
There was one very funny command called “ Ek do round ke baad rukta” (stopping after one or two rounds) and you like a monkey said “gas ki kami” and turned the gas regulator with a funny looking tool and continued firing.
Then there was one command called “fir bhi fire nahi” (still your rifle doesn’t fire), then you had to check the ejected round and check the “Painda” (base) of the round and shout “Painde pe chot nahi” (no strike on the base) and then you stripped the weapon and changed the firing pin as you were taught to say “toota hua firing pin”. Good old days they were and we practiced like hell.
One used to dread in case of war or insurgency while engaging the enemy if you have a toota hua firing pin. Then you had only one choice to dauro, leto, rengo aar pakrao, firing pin change karo aur wapas fire karo. As luck would have it I only handled an AK-47 in J&K and Manipur, I never had to go through even one “rok” (stoppage) ever. Lucky me!
PM Sahib the reality is that there are many “roks” everywhere in our systems. There are “kaidas-kanoons” (rules and regulations) but no one knows how to get things done the proper way. It ultimately boils down to throwing the arrow rather than releasing it properly.
This I say in terms of all the things like GST etc which are being implemented. Everyone has agreed that this (GST) needs to be fired but none of the so called experts know how will it work or how it is to be implemented. So rather than firing it “by the “seekha hua tareeka” (learnt way) as they call it in the fauj, they experiment with it.
If it hits the target, well and good, if it doesn’t then they tweak the system (improvise). In the mean time our own forces (common man) suffer as they are not sure what to do in the interim.
Be that as it may, had such a SNAFU occurred in the army there would have been hell to pay? From the Table orderly to the Safai wala everyone would have been on a route march from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and back.
PMs Bow doesn’t shoot an arrow, Impossible! The person who made it would have tested it; the CHM would have tested it twice. From the Senior JCO, the Company Commander and the CO up the ladder everyone would have checked it. The Commander would have given a demo to the GOC on a FMR (Field Miniature Range) and finally the Corps Commander and the Army Commander would have been shown a live demo on the field firing ranges, where contingencies like this would have been catered for. Even Chief’s ADC would have confirmed that all systems are working fine.
A stand by arrow would have been fired and the Engineer regiment would have already catered for a demolition charge under the Ravan. How dare the arrow misfires?
Jokes apart, the reality is ladies and gentlemen, even if one has to fire dummy rounds it needs practice. So Modiji, there are big lessons for you. I know you have many things to fire for the good of this country thus lesson one, a rehearsal and a practice is definitely required.
Lesson two, get out of this notion that everything will fire perfectly because it is being fired by the PM. Things can go wrong at the last moment courtesy your advisors.
Lesson three: you did not have a proper plan B in place otherwise you wouldn’t have to improvise by throwing the arrow.
Lesson four: your civil Mehakma needs to pull up their socks. At such a level blunders like this are unacceptable. The PM is live on every channel shows India in poor light.
Lesson six: please do not take everything and everyone for granted.
Lesson seven: your confidence in tackling the situation was good but you cannot rely on instincts and take chances like this with a nation of 125 crore.
You as the top leader have to fire and fire for effect sir. Every word you fire, every policy and legislation has to be for the good of this nation. I the common man shall be observing the balance of this government’s tenure closely. We still give you the benefit of doubt. Our expectations are banking on your decisions and crack shooting Sir.
I know you are working overtime and very hard but when you fire let it be “ek goli ek dushman” (One bullet one enemy). What bullet you got to fire and who is the dushman I leave it to you to figure out. Have you understood my message? I wonder!
(Lt Colonel Noel Ellis is a veteran of the Indian Army)