Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Black Tot Day

Today (31 July) is Black Tot Day. 

On this day 49 years ago – on 31 July 1970 – the last Rum Rations were served to sailors – so this day was observed as Black Tot Day 

On 31 July 1970  the Royal Navy Stopped the Daily Tot of Rum for all serving Naval Personnel. 
This Naval Tradition had been around since 1667. 
It was a sad day for sailors. 
On December 17, 1969 the Admiralty Board issued a written answer to a question from the MP for Woolwich East, Christopher Mayhew saying: 
"The Admiralty Board concludes that the rum issue is no longer compatible with the high standards of efficiency required now that the individual's tasks in ships are concerned with complex, and often delicate, machinery and systems on the correct functioning of which people's lives may depend". 
This led to a debate in the House of Commons on the evening of January 28, 1970, now referred to as the 'Great Rum Debate', started by James Wellbeloved, MP for Erith and Crayford, who believed that the rum ration should not be removed. 
The debate lasted an hour and 15 minutes and closed at 10:29 PM with a decision that the rum ration was no longer appropriate.
July 31, 1970 was the final day of the rum ration and it was poured as usual at 6 bells in the forenoon watch (11 AM) after the pipe of 'up spirits'
Some sailors wore black armbands, tots were 'buried at sea' and in one Navy Stone Frigate (Shore Based Training Establishment), HMS Collingwood, the Royal Naval Electrical College at Fareham in Hampshire there was a mock funeral procession complete with black coffin and accompanying drummers and piper. 
The move was not popular with the ratings despite an extra can of beer being added to the daily rations in compensation. 

Dear Reader: 

If you want to know more about the genesis and history of Rum Rations in the Navy, please read my article on Rum Rations in the Navy at url: 

Wish you a sober Black Tot Day.

Humor in Uniform : The More You Drink – The Higher You Go – and – The Higher You Go – The More You Need to Drink

Sometime ago – during one of my rare visits to a CSD Canteen – I saw a notice on the wall specifying the Monthly Liquor Quota for various ranks. 

This reminded me of a Spoof I had written many years ago titled: 


Dear Reader – Here is the Spoof once more for you to read and have a laugh... 

(A Fictional Spoof by Vikram Karve)

A few days ago – a Military Veteran was engaged in a hot discussion with a Retired Civil Services Officer. 

The Military Veteran was complaining about the raw deal given to the Defence Services vis-a-vis Civil Services in matters of pay/allowances/perks/NFU/status etc by successive Pay Commissions. 

To counter this argument  the Retired Bureaucrat said: 

But  Defence Personnel get Subsidised Liquor – which is not given to Civil Services... 

I thought about it. 

The Civilian Bureaucrat was correct. 

The only exclusive perk that the Military gets is Liquor Quota (Liquor at Concessional Rates through CSD Canteens).

There are many various exclusive Civilian Perks like Non Functional Upgradation (NFU), Assured Career Progression (ACP), Higher Allowances, Faster Promotions, Guaranteed Career Progression, Retirement Age 60 years etc – which are not given to Defence Personnel.

On the other hand – amost all erstwhile Defence Perks like Canteen Stores Department (CSD) Canteen Facilities etc – all these Defence Perks have been extended to Civilians from time to time.

Recently  CSD Canteen facilities were given to Retired Defence Civilian Employees on par with Military Veterans. 

So  the only exclusive Military Perk that remains is Liquor Quota. 

However - only those Military Personnel who drink alcohol are able to derive benefit from the Liquor Quota. 

Those Military Personnel who do not drink alcohol (teetotallers) lose out on this exclusive military perk – since these Teetotallers in Uniform are not able to benefit from this Liquor Quota. 

Yes – sadly – all Military Teetotaller Non-Drinkers lose out on this exclusive perk of concessional liquor. 

Also  such teetotaller officers/soldiers who lose out on this Liquor Quota perk are not compensated in any way  and hence – they are totally deprived of this exclusive military perk of Liquor Quota...

Unlike various “in lieu compensatory allowances like HRA (House Rent Allowance in lieu of Govt Accommodation) MLR (Money in lieu of Ration) etc – sadly  there is no provision for MLL (Money in lieu of Liquor). 

Let’s hope that the powers-that-be introduce a new MLL (Money in lieu of Liquor) allowance for non-drinker teetotallers in military uniform to compensate them for the loss of being not able to derive benefit from the exclusive military perk of subsidised liquor. 

While drinkers can be given their existing authorised monthly Liquor Quota” – non-drinker teetotallers can be given MLL” (Money in lieu of their monthly Liquor Quota)

MLL will be very easy to compute: 

Monthly MLL Allowance = the monetary difference between civil market rate and military concessional rate for the full authorised Monthly Liquor Quota.  

Ha Ha  talking of Liquor Quota  I remembered this article I had written a few years ago... 

OROQ (One Rank One Quota)

I have a contrarian view about OROP.

I feel that the “One Rank One Pension” (OROP) concept is unfair  since it links Pension to Rank.

Thus  OROP will mainly benefit High Ranking Officers.

I feel that “length of service” should be given more importance than rank while computing pension. 

In fact – pension should be based on years of loyal service rendered to the nation.

Who deserves more pension:– 

A Colonel with 35 years of service – or a Brigadier with 25 years of service…?

After retirement – financial needs are the same for military veterans.

I therefore feel that it is logical, equitable and ethical to give pay and pension based on the years of active service rendered in the armed forces. 

However – I am a nonentity – so I have no choice but to accept this skewed concept of OROP.

If you agree with me that OROP is unjust to lower ranks – let me tell you that the concept of OROQ is even worse and more discriminatory.

The issue of OROP (One Rank One Pension) was raised only a few years ago. 

But – the concept of OROQ (One Rank One Quota) is existing since time immemorial.

(In the acronym OROQ   the “Quota refers to Liquor Quota)

Sometime ago 
 I saw a prominent notice outside the “Liquor Section” of a Military CSD Canteen.

You must be aware that as a “perk” – Defence Services (Armed Forces), Paramilitary, and maybe, some Central/State Police Personnel – all these “faujis” are entitled to liquor at concessional rates  and probably some “part-time faujis” like Reservists, Territorial Army, NCC Officers, Defence Civilians etc also enjoy this privilege of subsidised liquor at concessional rates.

Even teetotallers get a liquor quota – which either lapses and gets wasted – or is illegally siphoned off to non-entitled civilians.

It would be a good idea to give military non-drinkers Subsidized Milk or Fruit Juice in lieu of Liquor – till such time a proper MILL (Money in lieu of Liquor) allowance for non-drinker teetotallers is introduced in the Defence Services.

Coming back to the story 
 on the notice board  were listed the monthly “Liquor Quotas” for various military ranks, serving and retired. 

You don’t believe me...?

Have a look at the picture below showing Monthly Liquor Quota for various ranks in units (bottles) of Liquor (this may be outdated) 

Monthly CSD Liquor Quota

When I questioned this bizarre logic of OROQ (One Rank One Quota) – a Military Veteran explained that Senior Officers need to drink more alcohol to alleviate the stress due to work pressures at High Rank. 

The Logic of giving more liquor to Senior Officers was: 

The higher the rank – the higher the stress level – and hence – the more the quantity of alcohol required to alleviate the stress.


Maybe senior officers have to drink more alcohol since they are more stressed out than junior officers and soldiers. 

But why continue this discriminatory liquor quota policy after retirement...? 

Why have different Rank Based Liquor Quotas for Military Veterans after Retirement (and for widows/parents)...? 

Crazy logic  isnt it...? 

And  once you reach the top of the ladder  do you require to drink huge quantities of booze (unlimited liquor quota) – even after retirement...? 

If they say that “military intelligence is an oxymoron  then military logic is an even greater oxymoron...!!! LOL 

In the Defence Services – Rank Has its Privileges (RHIP) 

Yes  in the “military”  everything depends on rank – especially perks and privileges – even after retirement – so even the liquor quota was based on the RHIP Principle.

Yes – your liquor quota increases in direct proportion to your rank – the higher your rank – the more booze you get – even after retirement.

This was known to me – as I was well aware of the rank conscious “feudal” culture still prevalent in the Defence Services.

But as I read down the list – I was taken aback.

Apparently – even widows were entitled a “Liquor Quota”.

(I was not aware that Widows were entitled to a Liquor Quota – both my mother and my mother-in-law are Widows of Defence Officers – but I have never seen them drawing liquor from the CSD Canteen)

What surprised me was that even this widow’s liquor quota was as per the deceased husband’s rank – the higher the deceased husband’s rank – the more bottles of liquor his widow was entitled every month.

As per the “Widows
 Liquor Quota” shown in the picture above – widows of Generals were entitled 7 bottles a month – whereas 
– for widows of other officers it was 5 bottles a month – and – the quota was only 3 bottles of liquor for the rest. 

I was amazed at the absurdity of this liquor quota for widows.

Firstly – was there any logic in motivating widows to drink liquor...?

Secondly – do most widows really drink liquor...?

Thirdly – do widows of senior officers require to drink more liquor than other military widows...? 

I wonder how many widows actually draw their monthly liquor quota – and in the case of widows who regularly take their monthly liquor quota from the CSD Canteen – there are no prizes for guessing where the subsidized liquor is going.

I had seen RHIP rank discrimination for perks and privileges for military personnel and veterans  but to extend this RHIP concept to widows – and that too for “Widow’s Liquor Quota” – it seemed quite absurd to me – extending RHIP even after death of the fauji”.  

All these thoughts reminded me of a spoof I had written more than 7 years ago titled: 


So let me delve into my HUMOR IN UNIFORM archives – and pull out this spoof – and post it once more under a new title BOOZE LOGIC : OLQ = ALCOHOL TOLERANCE LEVEL for you to read, enjoy and mull over.


This is a Humor in Uniform story – so – before you start reading the blog post – please read the “disclaimer” below. 
The article is a spoof  so read it only if you have a “sense of humor” – which seems to be scarce nowadays 
– especially among the uniformed fraternity. 




or conversely 


A Fictional Spoof

1. Please read this blog post only if you have a “Sense of Humor”. This is a Spoof  simple lighthearted humor  just for a laugh. So please take it with a “pinch of salt” and have a hearty laugh.
2. Serious humorless mentally straitjacketed “Service-Minded OG Types are advised not to read this article.
3. This spoof is a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

RHIP (Rank Has Its Privileges) and OROQ (One Rank One Quota)

Here is one of my retirement musings on what I feel is an absurd interpretation and ludicrous implementation of the Rank Has Its Privileges or RHIP Concept. 

I am posting it once more for you to read, enjoy and ponder over. 

As I said, this is a spoof, for fun, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh

Cheers ... !!


Conventional wisdom says that as you grow older  you should reduce your consumption of alcohol. 

Yes – doctors say that you should drink less alcohol as you grow senior. 

However  the Military Canteen Stores Department (CSD) seems to think otherwise.

The more senior you become  the more booze you are supposed to drink.

Yes  your Liquor Quota increases according to your rank.

I am not aware of the exact liquor quota nowadays  but in our time  junior officers got about 12 bottles of booze a month  the mid-level officers got 14 bottles a month  and senior officers got 16 bottles a month  and flag officers (Admirals) got unlimited liquor. 

I understand that even after retirement  Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals enjoy unlimited liquor entitlement. 

Well  the number of booze bottles in the rank based liquor quotas may have changed  but the logic remains the same:

Your Liquor Quota increases in direct proportion to your Rank

Going by this Topsy-Turvy Logic one may draw the inference that: 

The more senior you become – the more liquor you are supposed to drink.

Conversely  as a corollary  one may surmise that: 

Promotion is directly proportional to your drinking capacity or alcohol tolerance level

The inference that can be drawn is that: 

Drinking Alcohol Enhances OLQ (Officer Like Qualities). 

In a nutshell  this liquor quota conundrum seems to be like a vicious cycle:


(on the premise that  high rank increases the appetite for alcohol)


(on the premise that  Drinking Enhances OLQ or Officer Like Qualities)

Yes  the more the booze you can put down the hatch  and the more alcohol you can imbibe  the greater are your chances of promotion to higher ranks. 

Ostensibly  in the Army and Navy  Career Prospects are linked to Drinking Capacity. 

Your promotion depends on your drinking prowess.

It is simple: 

The more you drink  the higher you go 



Let me now digress a bit. 

There is a saying:


By the way  at least in my case  this “promotion is directly proportional to drinking capacity” theory did not hold true. 

For had this premise been foolproof 
 then “yours truly” would surely have become an Admiral  because in my heyday  I could comfortably polish off more than half a bottle of Rum in a drinking session. 

Yes  I had enormous capacity to hold my drinks – and I could easily drink most of the guys under the table.

 now  I am a teetotaller  but during my early Navy Days – I loved to drink  and I was a passionate drinker with great drinking capacity. 

If career prospects indeed depended on drinking capacity 
 I should have certainly gone high up the promotion ladder.

– maybe  I was an exception to the rule. 

And  of course  there is a saying: an exception proves the rule


Jokes apart  I feel that this absurd logic of a “pecking order” for liquor quotas is a rather bizarre interpretation of the RANK HAS ITS PRIVILEGES (aka RHIP) concept. 

In fact  it is a rather feudal approach. 

It extends the evil of rank based discrimination to absurd limits.

Can you please tell me:

By what logic does an elderly senior officer require to drink more alcohol than his much more younger and youthful junior...?

In fact  if you ask me  it may be more prudent to give more liquor quota to young carefree bachelor officers – and keep them in “high spirits” – rather than facilitate senior married officers to drown their sorrows in alcohol and damage their health  besides ruining their family life. 

This RHIP discrimination continues after retirement too.

This RHIP discrimination” happens – despite the fact that – once you retire from military service – you become a civilian – and you are considered equal in status with all others – irrespective of your service rank.

Of course – going by the logic of Rank Based Liquor Quotas – while you are in service  your Promotion Potential is directly linked to your Drinking Capacity (also called Alcohol Tolerance Level in medical parlance). 

If you are a good drinker – you will have two advantages in the military:

1. Your drinking prowess will enable you reach high rank while in service.

2. Once you hang up your boots  your high rank will ensure that you get a higher liquor quota even after retirement.

And now  someone tells me  even the paramilitary forces want to join the liquor quota bandwagon – and are applying the same bizarre RHIP Logic for determining liquor quotas – and want to continue the same rank-consciousness after retirement too.

Some uninitiated civilians must be wondering what is this “liquor quota” all about.

Well  maybe some veteran can correct me  but as far as I understand  this Liquor Quota concept seems to be “Relic of the British Raj”. 


The genesis of this liquor quota probably goes back to the days of the British Raj when a British Officer serving in India away from home was given a certain amount of liquor at concessional rates. 

After Independence  like most rules and regulations made by the erstwhile British rulers  this concept was continued. 

Yes  in many cases – we continue to follow archaic “Royal” traditions in our Defence and Civil Services  some obsolete customs and traditions which even the British have done away with long ago. 

One wonders whether the British Defence Forces still have a Liquor Quota for their Servicemen and Military Veteran Ex-servicemen...?


As far as the Royal Navy is concerned  I read somewhere that – the British Royal Navy has discontinued the daily “Rum Rations” given to sailors on board ships. 

Rum Rations – called Grog in Naval Parlance – or a Tot of Rum  this was a centuries-old tradition from the days of the “Rum Bum Lash Navy 

(or Rum Sodomy Lash Navy – as Sir Winston Churchill is alleged to have famously quipped)

This day  31 July 1970  the last day when Rum Rations were served to sailors  was observed as Black Tot Day 

Whether this “perk” of subsidized liquor is good or bad – this is a debatable issue. 

But – subsidized liquor quota is certainly an incentive to drink alcohol.

I remember that subsidized liquor (or “Military Rum” in popular parlance) was considered a big perk in the erstwhile days of prohibition  when drinking was not quite prevalent in civilian society  and there was hardly any good quality Indian Liquor available.

But nowadays  post liberalization and globalization  the choicest quality of liquor is freely available all over  and  since most states levy various Taxes and VAT on CSD goods anyway  there is hardly any price differential between the CSD and Civil rates  so gradually  a day will come when this “liquor quota” may become irrelevant once GST is implemented for alcohol. 


It is interesting to note

There is “Rank Bias” in the entitlement of CSD Liquor Quota  but – there is no “Gender Bias” as far as booze is concerned

In the Defence Services  Liquor Quota is a “Gender Neutral” perk.

Yes – as far as drinking alcohol is concerned  Lady Officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force have equal opportunity to imbibe the same amount of Liquor as their Male Counterparts in the same Rank. 

Women may have less alcohol tolerance levels as compared to men. 

Women Officers may enjoy various Gender Privileges like relaxed physical standards and soft non-combat appointments.

But  as far as Liquor Quota is concerned  women officers enjoy the same liquor quota entitlement as their male brother officers.

Liquor Quota is gender neutral”. 

In the matter of booze – your gender does not matter – it is only your rank that matters.

Cheers for 
gender equality

In fact – there is gender privilege in case a woman officer outranks her male colleague. 

A senior female officer will get more liquor quota than a junior male officer.

And – if a female officer gets married to a fellow male officer (marriage in uniform) – then with both husband and wife each getting their liquor quotas. 

So – for such military marriages in uniform – it is cheers all the way. 

This is an incentive for “booze loving military officers to marry fellow military officers and get double the liquor quota. 

Yes – if you are a military officer – and you marry a fellow military officer – you will have a cheerful marriage – full of cheers”...!!!

That calls for a drink...!!! 


But coming back to the moot point  I still have two sets of unanswered questions in my mind:

1. Are you supposed to drink more alcohol as you get senior...? 

Is there a correlation between Rank and the amount of alcohol you need to imbibe...? 

Do successful people need to drink more alcohol...?

Do senior officers really need to drink more than their juniors...? 

Does drinking capacity increase with rank...? 

2. Is drinking capacity the key to career success...? 

Is promotion to senior ranks dependent on your drinking prowess...? 

Do you need to drink more alcohol to be successful...? 

Is there truth in the premise:

The More You Drink – The Higher You Go... 

Ha Ha  I know that you become “high” when you drink – but this “high” refers to spirits (high spirits whereas in the context Military Liquor Quota – the “high” refers to rank.

Do you go Higher in your Military Career if you drink more Alcohol...?

It is a vicious circle: 

The More You Drink – The Higher You Go – and – The Higher You Go – The More You Need to Drink


Alcohol and OLQ are inextricably intertwined

For a Defence Services Officer – everything depends on your OLQ (Officer Like Qualities).

So  to put everything we have discussed in a nutshell – the Moot Question is

Does drinking alcohol improve your OLQ...?

Will some “veteran” be so good as to enlighten us by answering this question.

Till then – “Cheers” – enjoy your “quota” – and have a drink...!!! 

Dear Reader: 

OROP (One Rank One Pension) a recent phenomenon – but – OROQ (One Rank One Quota) has existed since time immemorial. 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This is a fictional 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.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.