Insulting others is quite a common attention-grabbing strategy for a lot of intellectuals and political commentators in the country. Army Chief Bipin Rawat, who faced a string of criticisms for defending Major Gogoi’s action of tying a civilian to the bonnet of an Army jeep when facing a crowd of stone pelters in the valley, has now received a personal attack from none other than historian and writer Ramachandra Guha.
In a column written for a leading daily, Guha has questioned the character of the Army Chief.
“unlike previous Army Chiefs, he has spoken often in public on matters that clearly go beyond his brief. ”
The context here is the recent statement by the Army chief in which he recommended late Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, who was the first Indian commander-in-chief (C-in-C) of the Indian Army, for Bharat Ratna.
Criticising the Army chief, Guha wrote:
“An army chief has no business publicly recommending one of his predecessors for the Bharat Ratna. He should not be doing it at any time, let alone a few months before a crucial state election in Karnataka.”
Guha said Rawat should have communicated this proposal in a private letter to Rashtrapati Bhavan, rather than proclaim it from a public podium in Kodagu.
On the outbreak of war with Pakistan in 1947, Cariappa was moved as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command and he directed operations for the recapture of territories seized by invaders. He showed tremendous energy in moving troops and ensured success.
He is one of the two Indian Army officers to hold the five-star rank of field marshal and was appointed commander-in-chief of the Indian Army in 1949.
In the past, the Indian Army chief has been compared with the infamous General Dyer by social scientist Partha Chatterjee, and Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit even called him a “sadak ka goonda.” Though Dikshit apologised, Chatterjee is still unapologetic.