India has only seen two field marshals in the Indian army, one F.M. K M Carrippa and the other F.M. Sam Manekshaw. K.M Carrippa has many brave incidents to his name and this is one of them. Written Beautifully on Quora by Prithvi Pant Negi. He shares an incident which was told to him by his grandfather’s cousin who served in the Indian army.
This incident is so far one of the most important ones. It shaped the modern Indian army.
It was 1949, Indian Army was now headed by a recently appointed chief of staff Kodandera M. Cariappa (Field Marshal).
Indian army now had to be structured from the bottom ground to reflect the ideas of democracy, sovereignty and the ideals of a republic which the country was on the verge to be.
My grandfather’s cousin served in the British Indian Army and later the Indian Army. He was serving with the Corps of Signals and retired in 1968. He told me about this incident. He was at that time posted in the south block as a communicative officer in desk duty.
A letter came from the central hall regarding the introduction of caste reservation in the Indian Army.
It was my grandfather’s cousin who served as the communications director, zone 3, he brought this letter into light to the great man himself.
He was frustated and replied, ‘Politics should not pave into the Army, politics is for people, army Is for the Army men. Political gains will disintegrate the nation!’
‘Tell Baldev(He didn’t have good relations with him, then Defence minister of India) to stop this nonsense. I won’t tolerate the idea of loosing the autonomy of the Army. The Army is different and the Government is trying to break that fact.
Army will be purely based on merit, no reservation at all! He who succeeds will be because of his valor and not because of his birth.”
He was quite angry and was already stressed due to the budget cut and army personnel being used for building purposes.
However, He later calmed himself, wrote back and informed the media about his decision saying that ‘Our Nation’s strength cannot be tampered due to politics. The army cannot be manipulated’.
He is highly credited for establishing a very structural, professional army and laid down the foundation of the Indian Army keeping it away from politics and minting neutrality.
Salute to Field Marshal Cariappa who saved the vulnerable Indian Army at that time from politics, unlike the Pakistan Army!