Hari the Hadron

Saturday, April 23, 2005

COMPULSORY NATIONAL SERVICE – A NECESSITY IN INDIAN CONTEXT

I have heard that in USA every citizen has to put in compulsory military service for a specified period. I do not have any idea what other stipulations are attached with it, but I am sure this exercise of serving in the military would go a long way in shaping the life of the youth and inculcating a sense of discipline in life.

I sincerely feel that in Indian context too, we should have a similar stipulation and it should be more appropriately termed as “ Compulsory National Service” rather than limiting it to military service. Though the entry point should be the armed forces where you receive training for not only physical development but also inculcate a sense of discipline and integrity in life and a sense of patriotism towards our nation. This initial training would go a long way in creating a nation whose citizens have a healthy body, healthy mind and more importantly healthy thoughts.

Ideally this “Compulsory National Service” should be taken up immediately after finishing the graduation but should in any case be completed before the age of 30. After the initial training, the personnel depending on their education qualification and aptitude should put in various of areas of Social and developmental service, more in the rural areas of the country.

The benefits of this “Compulsory National Service” is truly multifold in the Indian context some of which I am explaining below:

• We have long been complaining of brain drain in our country with the best brains going abroad for better working conditions as well as emoluments. One cannot stop that but definitely we can utilise their service for a specified period within our country. • I read an article in “The Hindu” about Doctors in rural India who were performing as much as 12 tubectomy surgery in an hour as against the permitted 20 surgeries per day. Incidentally in one such case the Doctor ended up pulling off the small intestine of the patient. We have a huge population of doctors serving in urban areas of our country as well as abroad and I am sure a sizable number of medical graduates pass out every year from premium institutions in our country, which incidentally enjoys a lot of Government subsidies in terms of fees. So if these graduates are straight away picked up from medical colleges and put into rural areas as part of National Service, I am sure the quality of rural medical infrastructure would vastly improve.

• Another important area for National Service is in various Research & Expert Committees that the Government forms before taking up any development activities or giving clearance to projects. It has been seen that though the committees get constituted adequately with experts and intellects, there is a vacuum of personnel to do the actual work at Grass root level and give information to the committees. Most of the committees are either not able to take a decision / take long time to clear projects / take wrong decisions contradictory to the practical reality due to this problem. Our young professionals can greatly help by filling up this vacuum as part of their national service and get the nation into fast track of development.
• Lastly our illiterate or less literate population can be used in military service for various social and voluntary services besides training them in various vocations according to their skills, in turn making them more productive. They may also be made permanent recruits of the armed forces if they so wish.
This is only a brief idea of the advantages, but it is the concept here which I am looking to drive-in, which I am sure would do great good to our country despite all the implementing problems that may be associated with it.

54 Comments:

  • Hi Everybody,

    Please feel free to comment. Even criticism would be a compliment.

    By Blogger hari, at 7:06 PM  

  • I must say hari, biased or unbaised your blog is certainly an interesting read. You discuss topics people are diplomatic about, strongly opinionated about or completely shun or accept!... Great going!

    By Blogger perspective, at 8:46 PM  

  • Once upon a time i too used to believe in this "compulsory national service" idea...but as time has passed my thinking has changed. There is really no necessity for it. And the reason there is brain drain, or people moving out of india is not because people are not serving the country, its because we have 1. a huge population and noone seems to care about it. 2. increasing need for survival (coz of the population). 3. horrible leaders, and increasing parents and society who ingrain fear in their children if they want to become politicians.

    Its this idea of an "easier life", "easier money" that brings about this so called "Brain Drain". Who is responsible? The citizens? Probably. and then again probably not.
    Forcing citizens of a "democratic country" is not the answer. USA i agree does it, but then again i question the very "Liberal and Democratic" attitude of that country. It is quite a farce.

    Basic idea- We have a democratic and secular country and we ought to stick to that. Democracy means - each citizen has the liberty of expression and being able to live the way they seek.
    Where does your Compulsory National Service fit in? Yes but if people need to honor our country more, respect and treasure it more, then we need more "Parents" guiding their children accordingly. it must start from the roots and not the leaves of the tree.

    Most of our parents today advise us to out of the country, for better education, money and an easier life. Isnt it? If they didnt advise they'll surely support it with a proud face and heart? No?

    By Blogger perspective, at 8:55 PM  

  • Interesting

    By Blogger donotspam, at 4:38 AM  

  • hari,

    i'm with you on this!

    cheers!
    r

    By Blogger None, at 6:11 AM  

  • Hari the idea is really good ...but as "perspective" said its diffucult with our system...
    our total system is spoilt to a condition from where nothing is retrivable...
    but in my college...we have scheme by which each student has to do compulasry 60 h of National Service/year to get a pass in his academics...
    its mostly teaching hygiene to children in the nearby villages, education to the illitrate,
    litter cleaning inside the campus and off campus...
    planting trees....
    reaching out to the needy is the mostly the aim of the service....
    so this way i think if each educational institution starts up...then we have some hope of seeing a better country in the near future

    By Blogger sophie, at 6:27 AM  

  • no one should be forced to do something that they do not want to do... say someone like who does not prefer to enlist is forced to join the armed forces... since he/she is not inclined to it, will jump ship at the first opportunity.. the net effect is that we have wasted an individuals year or two without any tangible gain.

    By Blogger injinuity, at 12:23 AM  

  • Hi Lavanya,

    First of all thanks very much for your very, very generous compliments, much beyond my wildest expectations.

    Regarding “Compulsory National Service” in a democratic country, I sincerely do not feel anything undemocratic in promoting a method for discipline among the citizens and in the process serve the country for a fraction of your life should definitely not affect your freedom and fundamental rights. In that context, at some stage even going to school and compulsory education may be called a forced act, and against democracy. What is to be seen here is the ultimate result and compare the small sacrifice every citizen is asked to make. There can never be a thing called total freedom as one person’s freedom would definitely interfere with another person and some sacrifice has to be done by everybody.

    But I do fully agree with you that parents have a big role to play in all this and efforts to develop quality of human resources should begin from our formative years itself.

    By Blogger hari, at 1:38 AM  

  • Hi Ramya / Hi Prasad,

    Thanks for your compliments.

    By Blogger hari, at 1:38 AM  

  • Hi Sophia,

    Welcome to my blog. I fully agree with you that implementation of this scheme is really difficult, but definitely worth the efforts. You college is indeed doing a fantastic work as I see it, but then, how many institutions do it and moreover it is very difficult to integrate and assimilate individual efforts national good on account of various factors in such a large nation as ours. So a very systematic organised National effort is required.

    By Blogger hari, at 1:39 AM  

  • Hello Injinuity,

    Welcome to my blog. But gentleman, if we are not forced we will not even do the basic thing as getting up in the morning from our bed. Do you mean to say we should leave everybody sleeping as that is their wish. First of all, I have not asked anyone to be permanantly recruited in the armed forces, I have only suggested a training in the armed forces.

    But again assuming in a hypothetical situation, if nobody wishes to join the armed forces, going only by everybody’s wishes, then gentleman do you think we can for long be happily sleeping and living with atleast the basic freedom and fundamental right that we are now enjoying. Do not just think of your rights, also focus on your duties.

    By Blogger hari, at 1:40 AM  

  • Hello Hari,
    you deserve the compliments... you are much too humble... a wonderful bringing up you've had!

    Education is not compulsory in a democartic country... what is compulsory is the right to be educated. Its upto the individual to decide to be or not to be. Similarly to have children or not is also your own right. Otherwise the action Indira Gandhi and her son took during the "emergency" wouldnt have been called so. Democracy means that. The right to decide and do as you will. And unless we have a dictator ruling this country your idea doesnt fit.

    Its besides the point that i believe that India needs to be under a good dicator's rule for some 3-5 years. Just to straighten things out a bit. :)

    By Blogger perspective, at 4:13 AM  

  • Hari

    Good thoughts indeed.

    any idea wd hav its own pros & cons..

    pros - as u say, it *might* inculcate discipline and patriotism towards the country... every individual wd hav contributed something towards the country...

    cons - god forbid, think abt the situation where ppl grease the palms of the powers that be to get over the system, men in-charge abusing/ill-treating the ppl who are serving.. and another thing is - anything forced - be it patriotism or discipline - might not stick.

    just my initial thots..

    Our Prez, His Excellency was once asked "who do u think are the important ppl for the next generation" (or something similar).. he replied "Parents & Primary School Teachers". I am 100% with him. What say you?

    By Blogger Chakra Sampath, at 5:58 AM  

  • I do not have a strong leaning either ways here but I do know that there is no compulsory national service in the US.

    By Blogger The Last Blogger, at 12:51 PM  

  • a nice article except that the first line is incorrect. you may be right if you replace USA by either Israel or France.

    Karthik.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:57 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger P-H-A-N-T-O-M, at 4:15 PM  

  • Another topic of interest !
    Welcome Hari.....

    Apart from my personal opinions abt the topic ( I would really support it), I want to point out a practical aspect of it....

    A lot of us are middle class.....and further lot are poor....It is tough to get into a decent graduation and many people do it by taking an educational loan - meaning the moment they get out of the college, there is a burden of a debt to clear.
    They come out with so much of expectation from the parents who have toiled their life to see them get to this position with a hope of having a better life from their kids. You are asking them to put in National Service exactly at this juncture - a period when they toil hard (I mean atleast the ones who want to live decently) to make the life of everyone in the family a little better from what it was....I dont expect this period of National Service to fetch me anything, its after all a service, but who wld take care of the family at that point.

    Well, I had to give up studying and dreams of higher studies just before I finished my graduation. If anyone had come and asked me to do National Service, I wld have showed them my fingers. Serious.

    Though the intention is good, it isnt an easy proposal to implement it. I wld post another comment on how to achieve that

    By Blogger P-H-A-N-T-O-M, at 4:16 PM  

  • Well, there are three age groups of active people in a population of the country.

    1. 10-20
    2. 20-60
    3. 60 and above.

    The second age group does all the work for teh country when the first and last group reap the benefits.

    You must be knowing India has the youngest generation (ie) less < 25 yrs....in the world....

    Now, most of the potential of the first age group goes a waste.....

    It is during this period they can be utilised well. For example, if each child above 10 yrs plant one tree in their street and take care of watering, within 5 yrs, the whole of the city would have turned a new leaf ;-) .....It is this age group that have to utilised in the service....NCC should be enforced in each school...Each kid should provide so many hours of social contribution every year to go to the next class.....Applies to every college too....and learning social contribution right from school inculcates all the discipline, all the health you are talking about...At their age, they dont have any obligations, any expectations, any burden.....and I guess its easy to implement too...

    Have a nice day !!!

    I wld like to see your thoughts on this......

    By Blogger P-H-A-N-T-O-M, at 4:24 PM  

  • Yes Hari, u r right.
    It should be compulsory.
    Anyway we have crossed that age limit ;). Just kidding dude.

    By Blogger REFLEX, at 10:59 PM  

  • Hi Hari, as discussed, this is one aspect that is sorely needed in India. Commend your article and your perspective! Good going! :)

    By Anonymous Ravi, at 1:50 AM  

  • I think compulsory national service is a very good idea... especially if it was practicable. It would be better if the word "compulsory" was left out, however... it doesnt have positive connotations! A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, etc - but calling it "national social service" (or some such thing) sounds a whole lot more positive, doesnt it>? :)

    By Blogger Shyam, at 9:54 AM  

  • Just a thought. I think we have about 150 million aged between 0-6 years as per our latest census figures. Now say by the time about this is going to be implemented as a two year (just a working assumption) program compulsory for everyone, we can say about 50m of these people needs to be trained and deployed on various services at the same time. Even as a stipend for this period, if needs to pay about Rs 2000 to each of these people per month (you can't expect them to work free for this period, right?), am I right in saying that it is going to cost about 100 billion rupees a month. That is without considering the other costs for setting up the training facilities, staff, accommodation, etc, which are going to cost much more each month. Just run this along our current budget figures and see if this is even wildly possible (not even considering the enormous upheaval it will cause on the lives of individuals). These are possible and are required for prosperous countries with lower populations, where it will be difficult to recruit people for military service. So I think we may still have to live with encouraging more youngsters to take up NCC or National Service Schemes that are already in place in our schools and colleges. But, hey, thanks for taking us back to our high school dreams. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:27 PM  

  • Hi Lavanya,

    Just like in our home, we are not allowed total freedom in all matters till we attain certain age an level of maturity where we understand the responsibilities attached to freedom, in a democracy too, we need to be groomed under certain levels of rules upto a certain age and then allowed to enjoy the freedom of democracy with full knowledge of its responsibilities.

    Total freedom from the day we are born would lead to chaos.

    Yeah, you are absolutely right about the need for a brief period of dictatorship in India.

    By Blogger hari, at 6:29 PM  

  • Hi Chakra,

    Your apprehensions about the cons are very much realistic and is bound to happen. I only expect on a long term basis such training would reduce the cons.

    Our President and Prime Minister is the best thing to happen to our country in a long time. Each of their utterances are well thought off and with wide ramifications.

    By Blogger hari, at 6:32 PM  

  • Karthik / The last blogger,

    I have only heard of it, may be I heard the name of the country wrong.

    Thanks for correction.

    By Blogger hari, at 6:33 PM  

  • Hi Phantom,

    Brilliant as always. Your concern for starting off a career immediately after graduation is a valid one and your idea for the 10-20 age group is really a food for thought.

    But my proposal for national service encompasses much more than mere social service, it has a lot to do with professional service. I am sure people would have to be paid for that. I will come to the funding part in a later blog.

    By Blogger hari, at 6:42 PM  

  • Hi Ravi / Hi Reflex

    Thanks for the compliments

    By Blogger hari, at 6:44 PM  

  • Hi Shyam,

    May be, the terminology used might be a bit harsh from a democratic point of view but what i want to drive here is the intention.

    I see a brief visit to India has made you like an Indian politician, who does not bother about the subject and raises controversies on peripherals....Just a joke

    By Blogger hari, at 6:48 PM  

  • Hi Anonymous,

    Your concern about the cost is very valid. I will try to give a solution for it in a later post.

    By Blogger hari, at 6:49 PM  

  • Hari,

    Thats not my idea for 10-20....Its an idea from a small unknown club .....who are into preserving nature and making the place a better place in Chennai....Irony that those kind of people only form a miniscule population...I'm taking the blog as a medium to sow that thought abt using the 10-20 age group for better development....with a hope that it would someday grow into a strong tree....U ahve a lot of visitors and if it enters the mind of the readers, am sure it would spread !!!

    By Blogger P-H-A-N-T-O-M, at 8:29 AM  

  • Phantom,

    Indeed a great piece of task taken up by that club. Can you provide me with the name and address of that club, so that I can do my bit of service for them.

    By Blogger hari, at 9:01 PM  

  • While the idea is stupid, the logistics to implement such a thing in India is prohibitive. I mean how could anyone get people for "compulsary national service" from a remote village in Nagaland? Make it into a law? There are already sufficient lawbooks gathering dust.Compulsary education & other blah blah...

    By Anonymous Razoruser, at 8:12 PM  

  • Hi Razoruser,

    Welcome to my blog. But sorry to say , people like you are one of the reasons for the pathetic state of our country today.

    Rusty and pessimistic.

    By Blogger hari, at 9:42 PM  

  • Hari, a quick question.

    What's the difference between "compulsory national service" and slavery?

    It's a serious question, I'm not being flippant.

    By Blogger Yazad Jal, at 12:37 AM  

  • Hilarious! You got a sense of humor brother.

    By Anonymous Suman, at 1:31 AM  

  • Hey, does your "CNS" identify peple like me & send us to the chair?? ROTFLMFaO

    Sorry to say this but instead of defending your ideas you are just ducking by saying people like me are bane to the great dream you have for our country.

    Pessimistic? Pragmatic is the word brother.

    There are many things that are "Compulsary" : "Compulsary taxes", "Compulsary education", "Compulsary frachise", "Compulsary that", "Compulsary this".. There are entire ministries dedicated to implement logistics of the these Compulsary things. ..yet we know the state of these compulsary things in India.

    The goals you state for your "Compulsary National service" is already covered by "Compulsary education", which of course is a top priority of the Indian govt & varions NGOs across the country.

    Your idea will be great if you call it "Voluntary National Service". Calling it compulsary sounds like dictatorial...but hey this is your blog ;)


    Srik
    razoruser@hotmail.com

    By Anonymous Razoruser, at 3:05 AM  

  • Hello Yazad,

    If you call serving your nation which is equivalent to serving your own mother, as slavery, then I feel very sorry for your parents. How can you ever think like this.

    By Blogger hari, at 12:27 AM  

  • Hi Razoruser,

    “Voluntary National Service”. Now friend, if your mother orders you to help her in some way for some reason, would you call it dictatorial and slavery. If no, then your country is no less than your mother, the one who helped you grow. Any service to these two mothers can never be slavery because they have served you selflessly without anything in return.

    Today if you are not a slave, it is because you belong to an independent country or else you would have been a born slave. So gentleman do your service to the country today, happily voluntarily or else a day will come when you would be forced into slavery and the same service would have to be done sadly compulsorily.

    By Blogger hari, at 1:42 AM  

  • Hari, whatever feel-good drug you're on, I want to try some. Can you help me locate a reliable supplier?

    My mother never forced me to do anything or "serve" her. She gave me the freedom to do what I wanted. Your equating my mother and my country (as if it was some entity of its own) is ludicrous.

    You see Hari, patriotism, discipline, etc. cannot be forced into people. They have to feel patriotic on their own. If people feel like going to rural areas and helping out, let them. But do you seriously think that FORCING someone to do it is going to magically create some deep concern in their hearts for the rural people? If you do, well, you're not very clued-in with the human race.

    Did the Shiv Sena turn down your application for membership? They too love to beat patriotism, "respect for culture", etc. into people.

    - M

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:38 AM  

  • Hari,

    You remind me of an old quote by GK Chesterton:

    'My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'

    Here's the link to check: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/gilbertkc135253.html

    By Blogger Yazad Jal, at 7:31 AM  

  • Hello Anonymously M,

    You are talking about freedom. You do not seem to even have the freedom to give out your name in the blog comments.

    Being a person who does not even feel the fearless freedom of being able to give out his name in blogs, I feel you are the biggest slave.

    My friend where there is freedom there should be no fear and I see a lot of fear in you.

    By Blogger hari, at 9:53 AM  


  • Any service to these two mothers can never be slavery because they have served you selflessly without anything in return.


    Explain this, please. How exactly has the nation served us?

    By Anonymous Aadisht, at 11:28 PM  

  • I am sure this exercise of serving in the military would go a long way in shaping the life of the youth and inculcating a sense of discipline in life. ... . This initial training would go a long way in creating a nation whose citizens have a healthy body, healthy mind and more importantly healthy thoughts
    You know what Facism is Hari? Fascism is "a means of regulating the people's function of serving the state". Thats what you are propagating.

    Lastly our illiterate or less literate population can be used in military service for various social and voluntary services. Aren't you being condescending here, like let's use the illiterates as cannon fodder?

    I thought after reading the counter arguments you would see the folly of your idea. But your continuing to defend it made me post this comment.

    By Blogger Chenthil, at 12:04 AM  

  • Yazad and co: your arguments invoking liberty and freedom are useless if you follow Hari's moral code.

    His moral code argues that for a developing nation, freedom and liberty are trivial goals compared to "societal good".

    What you say then becomes moot.

    HOWEVER, Hari, there is an argument against a compulsory military service, even with your "society over individual freedom" moral code!!

    Do you really think Indian society needs more of a herd-like yes-sir no-sir sheep-discipline mentality that a two-year military stint might give?

    India already has too much of that!!! What it needs is a creative revolution, similar to that in the US in the 70s; an entrepreneurial and creative ferment. Which is the exact opposite of what a military would provide. Very incidentally, liberty and freedom are essential for this "ferment".

    Face it, Hari, your moral code demands you become a libertarian!!!

    By Blogger seven_times_six, at 8:25 PM  

  • Well for starters the post is soooo bad it almost funny. Second it sounds a bit like the rumblings of some mad facist. Man you are so full of it..... .How come u aint joined the army yet. Hmmmm ..... or is it just that you like preaching from the pulpit.

    "Even criticism would be a compliment." WTF??? Ok I dig the idea that u are open to criticism, but the way you put it make you look kinda desperate.Like Im so needy somebody please take a crap on me......!!!.

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    By Anonymous Rick J, at 10:43 AM  

  • Hello Hari,

    I'm not here to dispute the validity of your argument pro or con compulsory national service, but I must dispute the fact that military service is completely voluntary in the U.S. I should know as I served six years in the USAF. Russia has a system of compulsory service; how well is that working?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:25 PM  

  • The pioneers of a warless world are simple young men who refuse national service.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:42 PM  

  • From your article, it seems evident that you have a very very immature brain.

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  • From your article, it seems evident that you have a very very immature brain. I can't help pitying you.

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