AS a younger Subaltern in our Regimental Centre in Delhi, I used to be routinely detailed as ‘duty officer of the week’.
One night time, I cycled as much as inside 50 ft of the quarter guard undetected; these days entry was unrestricted. To my shock, the #1 sentry, who must be standing within the entrance courtyard, was not there. The treasury sentry was visibly stunned to see me enter with out having been challenged exterior. Even the guard commander, who ought to have been current, was not there. In any army institution, 1 / 4 guard is a barometer of its shipshapeness. I discovered nice laxity. In the remarks column of the guests’ ebook, I endorsed ‘poor’. It would render the guard commander chargeable for punishment.
The subsequent morning, I noticed a Subedar strategy. The guests’ ebook on the provider revealed his intent. At the time I had three brothers serving in several battalions of the Regiment. The Subedar belonged to one among these. He heaped reward that the senior Kadyan has been the perfect Adjutant their battalion ever had. Then he got here to the purpose. He admitted that the usual of the guard was certainly very poor, including that the complete guard occasion was already doing ‘pack’ parade. Then, uncapping his pen, he requested me to vary the ‘p’ to ‘g’ and ‘r’ to ‘d’, thus marking ‘poor’ as ‘good’. His subordinates could have let him down, however his loyalty was steadfast.
I used to be not satisfied. I instructed him that the purpose was not ‘how’, however ‘why’ to make the change. After 15 minutes of attempting, he gave up. But not earlier than a last repartee: “Sahib, yeh kitab 14 saal purani hai. Guard kabhi pehle bhi zaroor kamzor payee gayee hogi. Lekin is mein ek bhi ‘poor’ nahin hai.”
Could I’ve been too theoretical within the software of guidelines? But I discovered comfort in recalling the Academy educating that an officer ought to by no means let a mistake go unpunished.
Nearly 12 years later, I used to be 2IC of a battalion in a border state. One night time I made a decision to hold out a shock test. I reached the quarter guard final. Both sentries have been hawk-watchful. Through a aspect window, I noticed that the guard commander, although totally dressed and alert, was reclining towards a mattress put up. It was minor and ignorable. But extra to make an affect, I endorsed a ‘poor’ comment. The Adjutant, being a perfectionist, additional tightened any free ends.
Just a few months later, our annual inspection acquired scheduled. The Adjutant drew my consideration to the ‘poor’ comment. The previous repartee returned to hang-out me. Was I too inflexible in not listening to the JCO in 1965?
I instructed the Adjutant prescriptively, “The main purpose of punishment is corrective and not punitive. Resorting to punishment should never be the only or even the first option. Every case is unique and demands application of mind.”
Then I defined easy methods to change ‘p’ to ‘g’ and ‘r’ to ‘d’!