Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Is “Izzat” No Longer the “USP” of the Defence Services...?

This evening I saw the extract of one of my articles circulating on a WhatsApp Group (giving me due credit as the author – so – it is okay). 

I had written this article many years ago after a visit to a premier engineering college to deliver a guest lecture on HOW TO SELECT A CAREER

A friend who read the article on the WhatsApp Group wanted to read the whole article and requested me to post the link to my article. 

So – I decided the repost the entire article as I feel it is even more relevant today. 

At the end of this blog post – I am also giving a link to my lecture on HOW TO SELECT A CAREER which I delivered at the engineering college – so – those interested can read that article too. 


Many years ago  the alumni association of one of the best engineering colleges in Pune invited me to deliver a career guidance lecture on  HOW TO SELECT A CAREER 

I was surprised by the size and composition of the audience in the large auditorium. 

It looked like all the students in the entire college had turned up. 

Maybe this encouraging response was because the lecture had been timed just before the campus placement season. 

Or maybe  like they do in the Navy  all students had been “detailed” to attend. 

What surprised me even more was the large number of girls (almost 30%) studying engineering. 

One thing that the Navy has taught me is Public Speaking.

My talk was a success  and  my lecture was well received by the students.

But – that is not important.

What is interesting is what happened during the post-lecture informal session over high tea where I got an opportunity to interact with the young budding engineers.

I asked the students, boys and girls, if anyone was was keen on joining the Navy, or the Defence Services.

I thought that there would be at least a few young boys and girls keen on a career in the Technical Branches of the Navy  or maybe in the Army or Air Force.

That is why I was quite shocked to hear that no one wanted to join the Defence Services. 

Yes  not even a single student  boy or girl  not even a single student wanted to opt for a career in the Army, Navy or Air Force.

If you want to get the gist of my lecture or have a look at the ppt presentation  I have given the url links below at the end of this blog post. 

Now – Dear Reader – here is my article which has become quite popular on the WhatsApp Group:




For the past few years  we keep seeing media reports that there is a huge shortage of officers in the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Despite all the jingoistic hype and glitzy recruitment advertisements  there are very few takers for a career in the Armed Forces.

Serving as an Officer in the Defence Services is no longer a preferred career choice.

Why are bright young men and women reluctant to join the Defence Services...?

As I told you in the Prologue – sometime ago  during an interaction with young engineering students  I asked the students  boys and girls  I asked them if anyone was was keen on joining the Navy – or the Defence Services.

I thought that there would be at least a few young boys and girls keen on a career in the technical branches of the Navy  or maybe in the Army or Air Force.

But  I was quite shocked to hear that no one wanted to join the defence services. 

Yes  not even a single student  boy or girl – not even a single student wanted to opt for a career in the army, navy or air force.

Since the students were talking to me in a frank and friendly manner  I decided to delve a bit more and explore the reasons for the unpopularity of a career in the Defence Services among the smart young people of today. 

During my interaction, I discovered that the students were well-informed about the career prospects and way of life in the defence services, especially about the army, and were fully aware of the pros and cons.

I was also surprised to see that quite a significant number of students were children of Defence Service officers and personnel  while many others had relatives or friends in the Armed Forces.


My question as to why no one wanted to join the Army, Navy or Air Force evoked the standard responses (which I had expected to hear):

1. Lifetime Employment (you can’t leave once you join – no opportunity to job hop for greener pastures)

2. Frequent Transfers (unstable family life, problems of long distance marriage in case of a working spouse or for children’s education)

3. Regimentation (modern youngsters do not like curbs on their lifestyle)

4. Restrictions (freedom of speech, marriage, appearance)

5. Modest Career Prospects (slow seniority based promotions – with no incentives for high achievers  a moderate salary  early retirement)

There was nothing new in all this. 

I am sure you have heard all these reasons too.


I continued interacting with the students – as they discussed the pros and cons of a Military Career.

One boy said that nowadays most girls were career oriented  and  because of this – the Marriage Prospects of Army Officers got limited – since working girls do not prefer an Army husband (and maybe vice versa too).

One girl even went on to say that  in order to avoid a long-distance marriage and to have a good family life with her husband  an Army Wife had only two choices:

1. To be a Homemaker (and help her husband’s career by being a good army wife).

2. To work as a Teacher (and that too in the cantonment military school).

The girl was an “Army Brat” but she did not want to marry an Army Officer.

She was studying Computer Engineering.

She was interested in a serious full-time career in the IT Industry where there was a good chance of going abroad for work  and she even had the option to settle down abroad  especially in the US – and the opportunities were good.

But all this was not feasible if she married an Army Officer.

So Limited Marriage Prospects was another reason for the unpopularity of a career in the defence services.

There was nothing new in all this. 

I am sure you have heard all these reasons too.

Then  suddenly  one smart young boy said something I had not expected to hear.

He said:

“Sir  there is no izzat in the Defence Services any more. Nobody respects Defence Officers any longer. That is why I do not want to join the Army.”

For a moment  I was taken aback.

Then  as I thought about it  I realized that the youngster did have a point.


“IZZAT” is No Longer the USP of the “Fauj” 

The term fauj” (military) is used in a generic sense and refers to all the 3 Defence Services – Army, Navy and Air Force – and the term fauji” refers to all men in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen. 

And – of course – USP means Unique Selling Proposition

Yes – today – “Izzat” is No Longer the USP of the “fauj” 

There was a time when “Izzat” was the USP of the Defence Services.

What exactly is the meaning of “izzat”...? 

I cannot define it precisely  but we know what “izzat” means.

Translated into English  “izzat” is a combination of status, respect, prestige, honour, dignity, power, reputation, social status, standing in civilian society etc

I do not know about other places  but at least in urban metros like Pune and Mumbai  which have been overwhelmed by the post-liberalization wave of consumerism and materialism  there has certainly been a huge decline in the high “izzat” that Defence Officers used to once enjoy in civilian society. 

Nowadays  only money speaks  and an honest fauji certainly does not stand a chance.

“Sir  there is no IZZAT in the Defence Services any more. Nobody respects Defence Officers any longer…”

That is what the smart youngster said.

Do you agree? 

Is “Izzat” is No Longer the USP of the Defence Services...?

Is declining IZZAT the main reason why youngsters are reluctant to join the Defence Services (Army Navy Air Force)...? 

Or  are there some other reasons that youngsters do not prefer a military career?

Do comment and tell us your views before you click on the links below to read my lecture on HOW TO SELECT A CAREER.

Links to my Lecture and PPT Presentation on HOW TO SELECT A CAREER 

(If you click on the links below – the links will open in a new window)


Wish you a happy and successful career of your choice.

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1. This article is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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