A conversation with army men

Amrita Prasad
Tuesday, 6 February 2018

At a session ‘March to a Better Tune,’ held at Shabdotsav 2018 at Symbiosis International University, Viman Nagar, recently, ex-army personnel gave lessons from the forces which are relevant to day-to-day life

What does a soldier desire? Let me tell you what does a soldier wish for, ‘Tan Samarpit, man smaparmit, rakt ka kan kan smarapit, chahta hoon desh ki dharti, tumhe kuch aur bhi doon,’ and this is what a soldier aspires and wants,” said Lt Gen (Retd) Dr M A Tutakne at the beginning of the session ‘March to a Better Tune’ that took place on the second day of Shabdotsav at Symbiosis International 2018 University, Viman Nagar. 

The session, which had a panel comprising highly decorated ex-army officials Air Marshal (Retd) Bhushan Gokhale, Vice Admiral (Retd) Anup Singh, Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar, and Col (Retd) Virender Kapoor as speakers and Tutakne, as the moderator, focussed on lessons from the armed forces.  

Kapoor who has written books like Speaking the Modi Way, What You Can Learn from Military Principles, Life with Values, 12 Essential Abilities of Extraordinary People, is also a thinker, an educationist and an inspirational guru. Talking about his recent book What You Can Learn from Military Principles, he said that Sun Tzu’s classic The Art of War written circa 500 B C discusses broad eternal truths concerning military and political philosophy. These were well adapted by military and business strategists.  “The book examines the principles which define military methods to accomplish an operational task or attain a strategic intent. There is much more one can learn from these hands-on military practices which are at the heart of any military campaign,” said Kapoor who feels that almost all modern management principles are a derivative of military operational practices, tried and tested in different cultures, locations and circumstances. 

“The military practices have evolved and have undergone change over the years according to the changing environment. I have tried to explore each of these principles and examined their ‘core value’ that can be applied across a broad spectrum of situations in our daily lives and in business methods,” he said. The content is a blend of contemporary history, science and technology, management, psychology, IT, leadership, motivation, political science and so on. Kapoor, who has written 23 books in total, added, “Gone are the days when you could redefine boundaries of nations because today nuclear warfare has become your trump card.” 

Gokhale, who became a commander of a fighter squadron in 1987, lauded the Maratha infantry which completed 250 years. “Appreciation, encouragement and praises are like a force multiplier for everyone, including the army. Hence their efforts and sacrifices need to be lauded which will boost their confidence and morale. To neutralise the enemy too, we need to have force multipliers that strengthen us. Today, in our daily lives too, there are many such factors that keep pushing us to beat adversities,” said Gokhale. 

He further warned that the next war will be on water. “India has to do its homework properly to prepare for it,” he mentioned.

Referring to what Gokahle said, Singh pointed out that unlike China and Pakistan, India is a respected maritime nation, so we don’t get obsessed with Pakistan. “Proxy war and terrorism should be kept in check and the security tightened,” he added.

Sun Tzu, the Chinese military strategist, writer and philosopher, said that breaking enemy resistance without fighting is the real victory. “People tend to confuse competition with conflict and that’s where the greatest fear lies. No one is a winner in such a situation where one can’t differentiate between a state of conflict and confusion because then it becomes difficult to define economics and morale. I strongly believe in Tzu’s philosophy, ‘to win without combat is a supreme art’ and advocate Kautilya’s ideology ‘peace is to be preferred to war!’” stressed Singh. 

Addressing the youngsters, Shekatkar said that they are the future, hope and confidence of the country, hence they must know the difference between the art of survival and art of life. 

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