Sahayak System in Indian Army

Must Read

Should the Exorbitant Amounts Charged for RT-PCR Tests be Refunded?

Introduction A plea has been filed in the Honourable Supreme Court of India seeking a refund of exorbitant amounts charged...

Should CCTV’s be Installed in the Police Station?

Introduction In a recent judgment, the bench led by Justice Nariman issued directions to both the state and Union Territory...

A Legal Analysis of the West Bengal Political Crisis on IPS Deputation

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently summoned three IPS officers of West Bengal (WB). The decision was...

Explained: Postal Ballot for NRIs

At the end of November 2020, Election Commission sent a proposal to the law ministry to amend the Representation...

Explained: Constitutional Provisions and Legislations With Regards to a Person with Disabilities

The world celebrates December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This day is also called World...

“Pro-Enforcement Bias” Towards Foreign Arbitral Awards Domestically, in light of Vijay Karia and Ors. V. Prysmian Cavi E Sistemi S.R.L and Ors.

International Arbitration faces challenges domestically due to unharmonized local laws for enforcement. Often it may occur that an award...

Follow us

The tradition of branding citizens for criticizing the elite forces, such as the Indian Army, has become the norm of the day. Anyone daring to raise an opinion against the armed forces would be subjected to the fury of the self-proclaimed holders of nationalism. But, I dare to make an attempt to raise a critical issue pertaining to the most reputed armed forces in the world.  The constant politicization of the armed forces has brought us to a place where any reasonable loophole is overshadowed under the context of the self-built notion of “to be a true Indian, one must respect the Indian Army”. It is sometimes felt that a particular group of the country has successfully managed to evolve the litmus test of patriotism/nationalism. And, that litmus test is dependent upon the respect for the army. Sooner it would be viral on the social media as #Respectarmyorantinational.

But, let us try to take ourselves ahead of this petty nationalism and exercise the power of free speech which has given us fairly equal opportunity to highlight the shortcomings of the most elite institution of the country. I believe that Army, just like any governmental institution, is subject to public criticism, and by stating that I am not undermining the sanctity and sacrifice of the jawans as there is a growing fear of falling prey to wrong interpretations. We have all respected and valued the sacrifices made by our jawans, but how many of us are aware of the discrimination that they are subjected to by their own superiors. The indication is to the videos surfaced on the social media recently about the soldiers who are made to do domestic work or menial work by the superiors under whom they are appointed as sahayaks. The suicide of a jawan caught the attention of the nation ignorant of the discriminatory system prevalent inside the institution. The people were caught with surprise who earlier blindfolded the window of reason by discarding any scope of genuine criticism.

Understanding the Sahayak System

The Sahayak system or the buddy system can be understood as the man is always seen with the officers. The personnel is not a civilian servant, but a trained combatant who is trained to fight in the battle. The appointment of a sahayak is with the significance of assisting the officers as an entrusted friend to carry out other preparations while the officer is busy in other functioning. Taking a small example, a sahayak is entrusted with the duty to take care of the weapons of the officer or such other related activity. The Sahayak system is not an Indian concept, but it traces its roots back to the colonial era. The system actually emerged from the British Raj, and since then it is being carried out in the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Air Force and Indian Navy do not have such a system, and it is only prevalent in the Indian Army. With the passing of time, the sahayak system has been questioned regarding its credibility. It is often seen to be a system having colonial roots not having any relevance in the independent India. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence also presented its opposition to the sahayak system in strong words. But, the question arises, despite the criticism that why has it suddenly become the center of all attention in recent times in the environment where calling anything against the armed forces is considered to be anti-national?

Abuse of Power

The answer to this lies in the recent videos posted by the jawans of the armed forces stating their misery which also led to the suicide of one of the jawans. The jawan clearly indicated the violation of their personal dignity by their engagement with the menial works in the household of the officer. It is true that no jawan is under any compulsion to do any of the household or personal works of the officer such as washing of the cars or taking out their dogs for a walk. But, the lack of redressal mechanism system and psychological fear of the ranks often makes them do things that are not a part of their job portfolio. After taking an adequate understanding of the system, I have few things in my mind. If we say that any pro-separatist statement or any statement demeaning the soldiers of the army can be the root cause for demoralizing jawans then, does a system of ‘silent slavery’ not decrease their morals or does it not have a huge psychological impact upon the spirit and morale of the soldiers. A Sahayak to my understanding means a buddy or a helper but not a servant. But, once a sahayak is appointed then he is treated as the servant of the officer undertaking menial works. Such a strong statement is based upon the interpretation of the videos surfaced on the social media.  The Right to Personal Liberty, the famous fundamental right upholding human dignity has failed in its outreach to the sahayaks. The duties undertaken by them can be understood to be in complete violation of their personal dignity and self-esteem.

Safeguarding the rights of Sahayaks

The practice of human-to-human exploitation is not a new phenomenon, rather it has been in practice since the colonial period. But, thanks to the technological advancement, the social media is used as a strong weapon to bring the miseries of the soldiers into the public domain. This brings me to another question that why a need was felt by a jawan to come in public, risking his own career and making himself vulnerable to several inquiries? To my understanding, the core reason for such an outreach can only be the lack of grievance redressal mechanism. Or what else it could be? It may also be due to the laid back attitude of the officers to keep it in existence. The videos in a way highlighted the hidden problems and brought them into public but the attitude adopted by the senior members of the armed forces lacks the intention to provide a concrete solution to this menace. The possibility of finding other ways for its replacement or the appointing of civilians as sahayaks does not entirely fulfill the purpose. If on many junctures a voice has been raised for its abolition and if this government is so committed to the cause of the army jawans, then a strong guideline or decision must soon be taken into effect.

The armed force is not all about fighting the enemy, but it is also an institution which throughout the period has managed to retain the faith of the people. And to maintain the same faith, it is the need of the hour to start with reformation from within. This would enable them to win the trust of their critiques and simultaneously retain the self-esteem and dignity of their soldiers which would work as a psychological booster to the jawans and instill a sense of belongingness which would make them feel proud to be soldiers of the Indian Army rather than mere servants of the Indian Officers.

A high-spirited and committed soldier is thousand times more reliable than the one with low morale and lack of self-esteem”

1 COMMENT

  1. Mr Acharya you have painted a picture wherein every officer is deemed to be abusive. The monitoring norms are in place and let’s say about 99% of the officers treat the buddies (not sahayaks) with respect and dignity. Those who do not are generally advised and warned or dealt with properly. But the 0.5% do not represent the army. Please do not contort and misrepresent facts without knowing fully. I know it’s fashionable to do so… But be a better writer than this.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

Petition Filed in Delhi High Court Challenging the New Privacy Policy of WhatsApp

A petition has been raised before the Delhi High Court challenging the updated privacy policy of the instant messaging app, WhatsApp. It is accused of looking into the virtual activities of the users,

Bombay High Court Says Pleas Against the Rejection of Nomination Before the Polls Is Not Maintainable

Bombay High Court on Wednesday held that a candidate cannot challenge his nomination by filing a writ petition before a court prior to the polls after his nominations have already been rejected by the Returning Officer (RO) for the Panchayat elections of January 15.

Bombay HC: It Will Be Difficult if Civic Bodies Don’t Take Action on Illegal Constructions

The Bombay High Court said on Wednesday that if the Municipal Corporations do not take action on the illegal constructions, things will become very difficult. This observation was made by a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice Girish Kulkarni while hearing a PIL after the Bhiwandi building collapse on September 21st, 2020 which led to the death of 39 lives. Mumbai Thane, Ulhasnagar, Kalyan-Dombivli, Vasai-Virar, Navi Mumbai, and Bhiwandi-Nizampur corporations were filed as respondents.

Uttarakhand High Court Directed State Authorities To Frame SOP Regarding Kumbh Mela 2021

Noticing the commencement date of Kumbh Mela 2021 amid pandemic from 27 February 2021, the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday expressed concern with regard to organizing and conducting of the Mela and directed State Authorities to discuss and resolve the logistical problems which can come in organizing the Mela during the pandemic time.

Writ Petition Not Maintainable Against Mahindra Finance, Being a Purely Private Body: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court reiterated that Writ Petition against the purely private body is not maintainable and dismissed the petition which was filed against Mahindra Finance Bank as Arif Khan v. Branch Manager Mahindra Finance Sultanpur & Another.

Publication of Notices for Inter-Faith Marriages No Longer Mandatory: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court has passed a landmark judgment that likely brings relief to inter-faith marriage. The Court on Wednesday said that the mandatory publication of Notices of Inter-Faith marriages will now be optional to protect the Privacy and Liberty of the Couple. The Court observed that the publication of the notice would “invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy”. Therefore, it has made it optional for the couple, they can now request in form of writing to a marriage officer to publish or not to publish a notice regarding the marriage.

Bombay High Court to NIA: Consider Health and Age of Varavara Rao Before Opposing His Bail Plea

The Bombay HC on Wednesday observed that ‘we are all humans’ and asked the National Investigation Agency and the Maharashtra Government to consider the health and age of the Telugu poet-activist Varavara Rao before making submissions in response to his bail plea application on medical grounds.

Supreme Court Agrees To Examine Centre’s Plea To Keep Adultery a Crime in Armed Forces

The Centre appealed to the Supreme court on Wednesday, pleading that the 2018 judgment of decriminalizing adultery under IPC must not apply to the armed forces. The Supreme Court in a path-breaking verdict in 2018 decriminalized adultery and declared all its provisions unconstitutional as it diminishes the value of women, but maintained that it continues to be a ground for divorce.

Supreme Court Examines the Pollution in Yamuna River for the Second Time

The Supreme Court on Wednesday made a second attempt to clean the Yamuna river by taking a Suo Moto Cognizance of significantly high levels of ammonia water discharged from neighbouring states like Haryana into Delhi.

Fetus Suffering From Anencephaly, Woman’s Plea To Terminate 28-Weeks Pregnancy Allowed by Delhi HC

Based on the report of the medical board constituted by AIIMS, the Delhi High Court on Monday allowed a petition filed by a woman seeking the termination of her 28-weeks pregnancy. They said in its report that the fetus suffered from anencephaly, a disorder where the skull bone is not developed and was thus incompatible with life, therefore her fetus can be aborted.

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -