Dear Chetan Bhagat: Thank You For ‘Making India Awesome’ But Can You Please Stop Now

Have you heard of Maj. Dhruv Yadav?

Chetan Bhagat

Dear Chetan,

Please excuse me for my language but I believe you and I are friends. You write, I write. You argue, I argue. You believe you’re ‘Making India Awesome’, so do I (only that we aren’t but I’ll leave this for another time). So I’m in for a friendly talk here. Especially, you also being from a defence background, it makes things easy for me.

Firstly, thank you for taking out the time to talk on this subject. The OROP. You’re right, it is time to ‘analyse’ One Rank One Pension with our head and not our heart. Anybody can get sick of only reading and writing love stories and it can take a toll on your head. I do understand. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very sure your (ex army officer) father must be really proud of you for writing this. While he gave you enough education, he also taught you a lot about the Indian army, their useless battles, their useless exercises to train for war, their useless positive publicity and their useless pensions. You’re right OROP needs some reconsideration. I mean come on, big authors like you with big bank balances are concerned about the country, after all you’re the one who’s busy “Making India Awesome”.

Just a little question though — I doubt you don’t have a big heart sir. Sorry. I refuse to accept it. I know you’re trying to put up a straight face for negative publicity. You’re a man with a big big heart. You forgave your father while writing a love story, 2 States. You did not shy away from giving your novel or the movie credit for the reconciliation with your father. Now if that’s not emotional, what is.

You’re a busy man I know. You’re probably busy right now judging a (intellectual) dance show or writing another movie. So I won’t take much time. But have you heart, sorry heard of Maj. Dhruv Yadav? A handsome, young army officer. We lost him a couple of days ago, in Pokhran. He had gone for a training exercise and was struck by a splinter during a fire power demonstration involving Arjun tanks of the Army’s 75 Armoured Regiment. Sir, he ‘died in service’ and not in action. Being an army kid, I’m guessing (or hoping) you know what that means. In short, it means he is not entitled to all the benefits that a soldier who dies in action, his family gets. Dhruv Yadav’s wife is expecting their first baby and she was not allowed to attend the funeral because of her condition. She could not see him one last time sir. But wait, let me use my head here and not heart.

This man was in exercise, didn’t even go for war. The equipments come from the Rs. 250000 crore defence budget that the government has set for the Indian army (including Air force and Navy of course). According to you, very rightly put, it’s A LOT. But, let’s compare the faujis with BSF (Border Security Force)! Dhruv Yadav died in a ‘freak accident’ and this is just one example. I have a whole list of how many flight lieutenants and officers have laid their lives in their blind passion for their country. I don’t want to start about the Kargil war because this open letter will never end in that case. But wait, that’s where they’re wrong. They think from their heart then and not mind, when they go for the kill without thinking of the money. After all, government money is there for IITs, IIMs, films and what not.

Laying your life to make India awesome is a thing of the past.
Why ‘One Rank One Pension’ Could Open Up A Pandora’s Box of Issues

I’m sorry to say this but from your letter it seemed like you have more questions than arguments on this subject. So let me do you a favour and give you appropriate answers to some of those queries that may be holding you from living your usual life of writing, acting and judging. Here you go:

“Should we now at least look at various aspects of OROP and, dare we say, its pros and cons?”

Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR), who are the ones most involved in war, start at the age of 16 or 17 and retire at 35 when they have full fledged families to take care of. Any more questions about giving pension to gentlemen who volunteered to die for the country with a smile on their face? ‘Other sectors’ don’t have such conditions, just to clear your doubt.

“While we all agree we should treat Army personnel well, what’s better? To pay the veterans more, or to pay new hires in the Army more?”

I would say what’s important is to be grateful to those who survived in minus degrees when you were probably busy fighting to be with the love of your life. It’s important to not forget that you were or are safe at home because they CHOSE or choose to keep the country before their family.

You’re right, it’s complex. OROP is complex. Because you probably don’t know shit about it. Because you don’t care. Step into an army wife’s shoe some day and think, you’ll get your answer. As Gulzar-saab said to you very humbly and I re-quote:

“Please don’t say things you don’t know about. Comment about things you know.”

With this, I take your leave.

With immense gratification x

Originally published at on September 25, 2015.

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