The feelings and sentiments are the same with the other two sister services of the Air Force and the Navy.
Subject: Was it worth it?
Sharing Col Sandeep Dhawan’s Anecdote. A retd offr. Worth a read. :-
Recently I travelled to the US. At the Indian airport (T-3, Delhi), prior to boarding the United Airlines Flight, the crew (All Indian) started organising the boarding. they announced that all US military personnel, serving or retired may please board first.
Now, I know that some of you will scoff at the idea. Some will be confused.
But I have a few thoughts / observations.
This must surely be a US Policy and important enough for them, that it found implementation on Indian soil even.
This must be something to do with the respect that the Americans want to display towards their own defence personnel.
I walked up to the Indian young man, who was the employee of United Airlines and who was handling the boarding (It was on 6 June by the flight leaving at 11.30 pm), and asked him if Indian army colonels would also have the benefit of this same courtesy? He was visibly shaken up and embarrassed.
He said, "No sir, the time has not yet come in our country when we can convey our respect as a grateful nation".
I returned back to where my daughter was sitting. She asked me what I had gone for, but I was too embarrassed to tell her the truth, I replied….."Nothing darling, I was checking about the flight".
I did not want her to start questioning as to why we, as a nation do not extend the same courtesies as another nation does. I did not want her to start comparing our country with another, to our detriment. I did not want her to raise her eye brows, when on the other hand, I have always been expostulating the glory of our country, to my children and urging them not to succumb to other pressures and to become honest, upright and responsible citizens of India.
Within the US, I took a flight from New York to Miami on 14 June via Delta Airlines. the same story was repeated. But this time I did not go to ask any embarrassing questions. Then I learnt that all US Military personnel are allowed one extra piece of baggage and are all entitled to use the Lounge.
My nourishment was not adversely affected, nor my comfort. My ego was surely a bit deflated. Honestly, I confess, the thought did come to my mind….about whether my spending my entire youth in the Indian Army was worth it? The answer which came back was…….Yes !!! It surely was !!!
The men I commanded gave me the respect, my brother officers gave me the camaraderie and bonhomie and warmth. The army life gave me a sense of discipline and personality that has stood by my side all these years. Some of my countrymen still look up to me with warmth and respect when they learn that I am a retired army officer. I feel proud and happy that I am not a Politician or a political stooge…..yes I think it was well worth spending my youth and more (28 years in uniform) with the glorious Indian army…….whether OROP comes through or not !!!!!!
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परोपकाराय फलन्ति वृक्षा: परोपकाराय वहन्ति नद्यः।
परोपकाराय दुहन्ति गावः परोपकाराय इदं शरीरम्।
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