Sunday, October 25, 2015

Narendra Modi is no more a 'Holy Cow'

Narendra Modi is no more a 'Holy Cow'

Syed Ali Mujtaba

Prime Minister Modi’s personal human character has come to fore on the silence of the killing of the Kannada writer, scholar and rationalist Dr MM Kalburgi (77), the Dadri beef incident, and blacking of the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni, a BJP luminary and LK Advani’s aid, in Mumbai.

The tech savy PM who shouts loud from his back mouth through his twitter handle, chose to shut it up for a long time on these many issues of Indian concern.

He tried to break silence after a very long time expressing regret but that was too little and too late. Perhaps it was the fear of the backlash that may dent his popularity prompted him to do so and made him open his gob.

It seems to Mr Modi, his Hindu identity is more important than his human identity. He tacit support to Hindutva zealots is explicitly clear in many cases. His seem to condone their blood thirsty activity and prefer to soft paddle them, when they are on prowl. He has done this during the Gujarat riots and is doing this again.

The question is raised do we need insensitive, inhuman Prime Minister who acts blind to the assaults being made on the very idea of being an Indian?

It seems a silent campaign is built in the country that is questioning Modi being a holy cow that needs not to be worshiped blindly. Some are even thinking about him as an unholy cow that has stopped giving milk, and is left with only its excreta value.

This campaign is led by the independent writers who are returning their awards in hordes feeling ashamed to see India going down the gutter with Hindu communal forces ruling the roost.

There are two narratives at work right now in India. One led by Nrander Modi who is talking about development, foreign investment and building global image of the country taking it to the Security Council with veto power.

The other is the forces among the Hindu religious identity who are shaming India and have become the enemies of peace and development of the country.

The current government is vocal of the first idea but at the same time it is giving the impression that it is tacitly supporting the activities of the Hindu zealots.

The two narratives appear to go hand in hand. The daily newspaper is the best place to have an account of them that they are running in tandem. It appears a huge effort is being made to make the twain to meet.

The question remains how both these forces can coexist? How can development take place in a country when there is internal turmoil?

India has become a global shame with the recent chain of communal events in the country. First, killing of a rationalist, then lynching of a Muslim over beef eating controversy, and then blackening of the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni, playing host to a ex Pakistani Foreign Minister.

Where all this will end up? Where our Prime Minister Mr Modi is taking our country? His hype of development that is built by the media remains in paper only and the ground reality is quite different.

How can India grow at 7.3 percent, when its agriculture sector is in peril? More than 50 percent of the Indians are directly associated with agriculture which contributes 15 percent to the economy.

There is utter neglect by the current government of the farm sector. Cotton crop in Punjab is gone to dust due to whitefly and spurious pesticides. Farmers are committing suicide in Punjab.

In Maharashtra it is Nana Patekar and Akshey Kumar, who are coming to the aid of the farmers and not the government.

Modi’s ‘make in India’ is a non starter, his skill development project is ridden with corruption, and his Swatch Bharat campaign is just a talk shop and has not found its feet.

With two consecutive monsoon failures, the agriculture sector slowing down India’s growth rate, the diehard Modi followers are in a soul searching mission, asking, are they worshiping a "hawabazz."

The captains of Indian industry who all along have been backing Modi for his out of box economic solutions are rethinking their stand.

With external economic factors restricting the FDIs flow into the country, there is all probability that the 7.3 per cent growth rate is not going to hold ground and may slip still further down, in such case the "baniya" logic ruling roost, why to worship a false god who can give no money!

The writing on the wall is clear. The countrymen have to make some hard choices. Whether it may like to sacrifice their core values of the very idea that makes them an Indian?

Whether they may like to sell the core Indian values for few crumbs of material gain and move ahead in the path of development.

Or whether they want pluralism and inclusive growth, even if it means having to live with the Hindu growth rate, till the country regains its inner strength.

These are the battle of ideas that is embattling every Indian. It’s a mental game in which every sensitive Indian is engaged in right now.

As choices for getting narrower, their resentment is growing louder that Modi is not a holy cow.

[The writer is a senior journalist based in Chennai can be contacted at]

Why Bihar Election is Important for the Country

Why Bihar Election is Important for the Country

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Since the day Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi announced the date of the Bihar assembly elections and called it as “mother of all elections,” the entire country is keenly watching the developments in this poll bound state.

There are solid reasons for the anxiety because according to the reports, investors, both domestic and foreign, have pumped in more than Rs 70,000 crore in the next six months following the landslide victory of Nrander Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

This was probably the highest ever investment for any government in six-months after general election results in India. It’s reported that since the Delhi assembly results in February 2015 this cash flow has slowed down.

The other indicator, Sensex, the benchmark index of BSE had gained about 17 per cent to touch 28,000 marks in the next six months after Modi’s victory. This has now nose-dived to 25,602.03 where it currently stands.

Market experts say, Bihar election results may have an impact of five per cent on the Sensex at either side.

The other highlight is Bihar election is, whether the Modi government still enjoys popular mandate. After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Modi wave swept the country and NDA notched up string of victories in several states.

However, in the Delhi assembly election in February 2015, Nrander Modi’s political juggernaut was stopped by the Aam Admi party. Since then Modi’s popularity has never been tested on a political turf.

So, Bihar election is also keenly watched to judge Modi’s popularity graph. This may have impact on his leadership’s within the BJP and his influence over NDA partners.

Bihar poll is a referendum on the politics of secularism and inclusive development and those of communalism that excludes minorities. It’s Bihar that upheld the flag of secularism when the entire country was burning in Ayodhya Fire. The elections results may have impact on the nature of direction of change on the political outlook of the country.

The duel between the politics of caste and religion will be another aspect in Bihar election to be watched. The JDU, the RJD, all owes it existence on its caste constituents and profess to be champion of the backward caste. The BJP too has aligned with Paswan and Manjhi to woo the backward castes.

However, for the BJP its very difficult to break the stereotype of a party that epitome of representing the Tilak (Brahmin) Tarazoo ( Baniya) and Talwar ( Rajput), the three symbols of oppression since time immemorial.

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the two states were responsible for thumping victory of the BJP in the 2014 polls. These two states added about 100 seats to the NDA’s kitty making the total tally of 336 seats.

Arithmetically, the NDA got thirty one percent of vote share in the Lok Sabha polls. This translated into an overwhelming number of seats because the opposition then was fragmented.

Since then the electoral map has considerably changed in the country. The opposition at center looks united flexing its muscle in the Lok Sabha and Modi government is backtracking on several issues. The 2015 political scenario is quite different from the 2014, when Modi’s ascendency was at its height.

In such situation will the BJP repeat its 2014 Lok Sabha performance in Bihar? The forecast is, even if does so, it will be difficult for it to have a majority in Bihar assembly. The only way is to give much better performance than the last Lok Sabha results.

The other forecast is, if the BJP looses Bihar election, then it is certain that there will be a new government at Center in 2019.

Broadly, there are two political formations in Bihar. One is the BJP-led NDA with the Lok Janshakti Party, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha as its partners. This formation looks broadly united at the moment.

On the other side is; JD (U), RJD and INC combine, led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has come together to form a Third Front.

It appears that the opposition to the BJP is in total disarray. They are united only on the surface, but behind it have lot of bickering. The anti incumbency factor is working against the ruling party. This gives the BJP some advantage and hope to win the battle royal of Bihar.

With optimism and pessimism ruing neck to neck, political fortunes can tilt either side in Bihar. It is in this context, Bihar is likely to see a very interesting political contest.

The other interesting aspect of Bihar poll is, if BJP led NDA comes to power, it will improve on its tally in Rajya Sabha, where it is currently in minority. NDA currently holds 60 seats in the 245-member upper House.

Bihar election is important because, before BJP’s current term ends in 2019, it can get 11 Rajya Sabha seats after re election from this state. This will vastly improve NDA’s position in upper House. It will push the reform agenda of the Modi government currently stalled due to lack of strength.

If the BJP looses Bihar, it is certain that its reform agenda at the center may go for a toss. The apprehension is a Delhi-like debacle for BJP in Bihar may have its ominous portents. The back counting Modi government may begin from November 8.

So, what is the most important for Bihar is to have a stable government that lasts five years term. A dramatic improvement in state-level governance is the cry of the people of the state. They want industrialization of the state at the breath neck pace. Bihar needs investments to push up industrialization efforts. It’s only a stable government that can bring large scale investment to the state.

So, one has to look at the Bihar election beyond the win or loss of the BJP led NDA. The election results should not have any bearing on the long term strategy of the state, irrespective of the political formation that comes to power. Even for the country its growth should not get stifled due to election results of a particular state.

The Election in Bihar would be held in five phases the dates of which are, 12 October, 16 October, 28 October, 1 November and 5 November. The results will be counted on November 8.

Bihar is divided into 9 divisions and 37 districts. There are 243 Assembly constituencies, out of which 47 are affected by left-wing extremism. The Election Commission has made adequate preparations for a free and fair election. Central paramilitary forces have been deployed, Election Voting Machines, carrying the photographs of the voters will be used. Political parties have started their fierce campaigns. It is definitely going to be ‘mother of all elections.’

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a Senior Journalist

How Different Caste Categories Vote in Bihar

How Different Caste Categories Vote in Bihar 
Syed Ali Mujtaba

The Bihar election campaign has almost heated up and the voters have formed their opinion about the formation they may like to vote to constitute a new assembly. The choice before them is between Nitish Kumar led JDU, RJD, Congress alliance and the NDA with BJP, LJP and HAM as its partners.

Nitish Kumar is seeking mandate to continue the work done so far. He is doing this, this time in alliance with its new partners the RJD and the Congress.

On the other hand the NDA is selling dreams to change face of Bihar and promising economic development and rapid growth. Both the NDA and the Grand Alliance have neatly packaged their manifestos and have communicated them to the people very well.  

It is now for the voters to choose the better of the two formations and give a clear mandate to rule the state for next five years.

The overriding factor for the voters is the returns they may get individually or collectively as a group, for voting any one of the political formation. Their choice becomes narrower when their identity becomes more important to them in getting the benefits in return of their votes. It is in such case the caste factor override their individual preferences.  

In such context, the Grand Alliance has 35 percent vote intact, while NDA can boasts of 23 percent of caste votes.
The Grand Alliance has 17 percent Muslim vote, 14 percent Yadavs and 4 per cent Kurmi vote and together has 35 percent of votes.

If the election is going to be decided on 40 to 45 percent of votes,   then the Grand Alliance may need only 5 to 10 percent more vote to for a comfortable victory. The question is will these calculations translate into a reality? This is a very unpredictable call at this moment.

On the other hand, the NDA has 23 percent of the forward caste votes in their kitty. The breakup is; Bhumihar 3 percent, Brahmin 5 percent, Rajputs 6 percent, Kayasth 1 percent, totaling 15 percent.
Added to this is 5 percent vote of Paswan and 2.8 percent vote of Manjhi, totaling 8 percent and make up 23 percent votes for the NDA.

In such case the NDA has to work on to get another 23 percent votes to finish as the largest formation in the state.

If media reports and poll surveys is to be believed this can happen with the help of Economically Backward Castes (EBCs) and Mahadalits.

The EBCs includes Kushwahas 6 per cent, Kories 8 percent and Telies 3.2 percent roughly constitute 17 percent and media and poll survey is predicting them to be voting for NDA.

However, in past the voting pattern of these 17 percent has swung either way and no political formations can claim to have them as their pocket borough.

In the EBC category, there is remaining 13 percent of   votes that are hidden, as they are prominent castes, and their voting pattern is unknown. They hold the triumph card and their decisive vote in favor of a particular formation can change the course of the election.

As far as Mahadalits are concerned the NDA can get 5 percent vote of Paswan community due to Ram Vilas Paswan and 2.8 per cent votes of Manjhis, due to Jatin Ram Manjhi in their alliance, but the other 8 percent of the SCs vote is still open. Neither the NDA nor the Grand Alliance can claim them to be in their pocket.

So in the final calculation of the caste categories, the NDA has head start of 23 percent and the grand alliance has 35 percent.

If the 17 percent votes of the EBCs, Kushwahas 6 per cent, Kories 8 percent and Telies 3.2 percent adds up to the NDA’s 23 percent, they are at the strike range of 40 percent.

It is the 13 percent votes of the EBC and 8 percent votes of the Mahadalits that is important for both the Grand Alliance and the NDA a they hold the key to their victories. The two together make 21 percent votes.

If this 21 percent gets added into NDA side, it gives them an unusable lead of 61 percent. On the contrary, if the grand alliance is favored by this 21 percent, they may end up with 56 percent. .        

This hard arithmetic makes sense on paper but will it translate into reality depends on the voting pattern the electorates. Here many factors come into play and the arithmetical calculations may not fall on expected lines.

After all individual preferences too have a role in electoral choices and may prevail over the herd sentiments of caste and religion. No one can claim to have anyone’s votes taken for granted in a secret ballot democracy.  

According to the latest pre-poll survey by Zee News and survey agency 'Janta Ka Mood' the NDA alliance is predicted to get 54.8% and the Grand Alliance likely to get 40.2%, while others will get six per cent of votes.  The survey has predicted landslide victory for the BJP-led NDA winning 162 seats and the JDU-RJD-Congress combine set to win only 51 seats.

However, according to another pre-poll survey conducted by CNN-IBN and Axis, the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance is predicated to have a big victory. The ‘Grand Alliance’, is to win 129-145 seats with a 46% vote-share and the BJP-led NDA, ending up with just 87-103 seats with 38% vote-share.

The two pre-poll surveys are quite contrary to each other and if to be believed then according to one, the NDA is going to have a cakewalk, and other the Grand Alliance will have a comfortable victory.

The fact remains that during the electoral campaign nothing spectacular has happened that can change the outcome of the elections. The vote bank of each formation remains intact.

The NDA is hoping a rebellion in the caste matrix and expect the voters may prefer them just like they did in the Lok Sabha election of 2014.

On the contrary, the Grand Alliance are grounded on  their traditional vote banks and are firm that if the caste categories vote on their expected lines, they may not have any problem in achieving victory.

Though, nothing final can be said till the outcome of the election results are known, it is certain that none of the political formation is assured of their outright victory. The electoral result may largely depend on the turn out of the voters on the polling day and their choice exercised for a particular formation. This comes with many riders and remains unpredictable.

At the moment it would safe to say that it will be a tightrope walk for both the political formation to reach the summit and the theory of cakewalk has to be taken with a pinch of a salt.

So whether it will be a cakewalk or tightrope walk can only be known when the counting of votes is over on November 8 in Bihar.
Writer is a senior Journalist can be contacted at

Muslim can have 50 MLAs in Bihar Assembly

Muslim can have 50 MLAS in Bihar Assembly 
Syed Ali Mujtaba

The simple majority in Bihar assembly is 123 MLAs vis-à-vis the 243 member house. Whichever political party or formation can get those magical numbers will control the political power in that state.

If we see this proposition in the backdrop of AMIM leader Assaduddin Owsai’s halfhearted attempt to shore up Muslim identity politics in the Bihar assembly elections, then some hard fact emerges that provides food for thought.  

There is a possibility that Bihar may get 50 Muslim MLAs in the ensuing assembly elections. This could be candidates having Muslim identity, irrespective of the political affiliations. How?

Bihar has 17 per cent Muslim population. There are 24 assembly segments where Muslims have upper hand in Bihar. These are in the Seemanchal region, bordering Bangladesh and Nepal.

Muslims have a decisive role to play in each of the six assembly segments of Kishanganj, Katihar, Araria and Purnia districts of Bihar.  

Kishanganj has 78 per cent Muslim population, Katihar 43, Araria 41 and Purnia 37 percent.  So, it is certain that 24 Muslim candidates may emerge victories from Seemanchal region.

Besides, there are three other districts where Muslims are in a sizable percentage in Bihar. In Darbhanga Muslims are 23 per cent, in Sitamarhi 21 percent and in West Champran 21 percent.

Muslim candidates can turn the table in their favor in most of these constituencies if they align with likeminded caste based parties.

So if we add these 18 assembly segments with 24 Seemanchal seats, Muslims can pocket 42 MLAS from these seven districts alone.

In eastern Champran Muslims are 19 per cent, Bhagalpur 19 percent, Madhubani 19 per cent and Siwan 18 per cent.

There is possibility of a Muslim candidate winning a few seats from these 24 assembly segments. This can happen increasing the net of the likeminded caste based parties.

So, even a conservative estimate can project, at least 8 Muslim candidates winning from these four districts of Bihar.
In such case, the predication that Bihar may have 50 Muslim MLAS in the upcoming assembly is a gettable figure.

Now imagine the clout of 50 + MLAs if they are part of 123 members of the ruling coalition in the 243 member state assembly.
This hard reality is dawning upon some Muslims in Bihar with Owasi beaming the searchlight of electoral reality in the state.    

In an essay Professor Hilal Ahmed of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, has given a very lucid analysis of emerging political identity formation of the Muslims in Bihar.

There are two features that politically distinguish the political activities of Muslims of this land locked state. First, Muslims participate in all kinds of political processes, retaining their socio-religious identities. Second, since the upsurge of Pasmanda politics in Bihar, a window of possibility has emerged from where, Muslims can hope to acquire political power and economic clout in the state.

A CSDS-Lokniti survey of 2014 offers some interesting trends about Muslim political activity in Bihar. It shows in 2010 Assembly election over 60 per cent Muslims (including OBC Muslims) went with the Congress-RJD alliance, while 21 per cent went with the JD(U).

In that election, though Muslim OBCs went with the Congress, it did not affect the Muslim support of the RJD as both categories continued to support the two political formations.

However, a very different political picture emerged in 2014 Lok Sabha election. Though Muslim OBCs did go with the JD(U), the RJD was the first choice for most Muslims. This hypothesis leads to a general assumption that Muslims in Bihar do act collectively as an electoral group.

Notwithstanding the facts, there are two inferences drawn from the voting pattern of Muslims in 2014 Lok Sabha election. First, it appeared that Muslims did not follow any active agenda while voting and their vote was divided among the political formations that offered them various socially cohesive alternatives.

Second, the electoral agenda of development, poverty eradication, education and protection of their identity, translated at the constituency level affected the Muslim voting pattern.

The fragmented Muslim vote share secured by various political parties in 2014 elections demonstrates this aspect of Muslim political activity in the state.

Muslims’ political responses in Bihar have shown that their political identity is like a pendulum that oscillates between two extreme ends. On one end, it rests on their sociological diversity that exists at the constituency level, on the other it swings to political homogeneity, when the fear of anti Muslim forces bent upon to un-robe their identity haunts them.  

It would be interesting to observe how the trajectory of these political compulsions is addressed by the Muslims in the 2015 assembly election in Bihar.

Irrespective of the results, the fact remains that Bihar elections is going to redefine the nature of the competitive identity politics in the country.  

With each day caste based political parties springing up n the country and political leader bearing caste tag hitting the headlines, Muslims are forced look at their and rethink being succor to the caste based parties and their leaders.

In the game of numbers of the ballot box democracy, as competitive identity politics is heating up in the country a realization is coming among Muslim youth to assess the loss and gain by remaining in secular or caste based political formations.        

As the caste based political parties are increasingly fighting for identity politics, Muslims too are thinking in the same terms. This is more so since the decline of the left parties and Congress becoming weak. In such situation, the political options for Muslims are getting narrower and their aspiration of identity politics getting bold.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a senior journalist can be reached at

Monday, September 7, 2015

Caste Census 2011- Another Mandal Agitation Waiting to Happen

Caste Census 2011- Another Mandal Agitation Waiting to Happen 

I am really wondering how the caste census data of 2011 that is likely to be released by the government will be received by the people.

The ballot box democracy based on electoral roll calls has generated huge interests in symmetry of primordial loyalties and caste matrix provides as readymade glue for such alignment of identities.

To put it in simple words, the census data may reveal how many Brahims, Rajputs and Bhumiyars etc are there in our country? What is the level of their development and where they stand in social order today?

If that may be the case, this data may be something really startling and eye opener for the countrymen. It may lead to realignment of castes and set a new paradigm of electoral arithmetic in the country.

Living in Tamil Nadu, I have come across a person, who said, he belongs to the Yadav community and was lamenting his caste’s poor presence in the state. He said while in Bihar and UP this caste is ruling elite, it has no voice in TN.

Well this caste matrix in India is a huge puzzle and to peel each of its layers will generate its own allied layers. I really don’t know how the data will be interpreted by the countrymen.

Will the Kashmiri Brahmins, will be on the same page with Bhadralok or Aiyers and Ayangars?

According to reports the central government is waiting for the Bihar elections to open up this Pandora box. When they do so what will happen in the country?

I feel there is going to be a huge churning out process in the social matrix of the country. The whole country will be on boil engaged in solving the puzzle “Bule ki Jan Main Kaun.”

Being a student of India’s freedom struggle, I can say with some clarity that the British in the 1930’s wanted to organize India on the basis of its castes.

In their scheme of things India is made of jumble mumble societies a graveyard on nationalities and it’s the castes that make up India. Hence the development of caste categories can really develop India.

In their vision they wanted the caste identity to be solidified and the caste groups be allowed to be cemented into the electoral block for their real development of the people of the country.

Our freedom fighters negated this idea tooth and nail. They said any such ideas negated the Indian identity. There were some forces who differed from this idea and had their own interpretation of India. Well that’s another story.

The story in hand is how the caste census data of 2011 if and when released, will be taken up by the countrymen. How the politicians are going to use it for their own purposes.

My feeling is another round of Mandal agitation is waiting in the wings to happen with the release of census data on caste. It has all the ammunitions that can take team Indian ship in the mid ocean and ignite the fire on the board.

The Patel agitation in Gujarat has given a wakeup call on this issue. India is sure to burn at different places when the revelation of the caste identity is really known to the categories of the people.

In such case what will happen to vision and mission of our great Prime Minister His vision of Ram Raj.

Monday, August 31, 2015

WEI Event Lay Stress on Women Empowerment

WEI Event Lay Stress on Women Empowerment

Tiruchirappalli Aug 27: The swan song, women empowerment, left a huge impression at a women entrepreneurship seminar at Kolakkudipatti village, some forty five kilometer from this southern city.

The mega event was organized by Women Entrepreneurs International (WEI), an initiative of ROKITT Inc, a US-based tech startup. This was done in collaboration with Gramalaya, an NGO engaged in micro-financing for women.

It was an occasion for women from nearby villages to turn up in large numbers, to attend this day-long event.

Many started gathering since early morning. First they registered at the WEI stall, then sat under the huge tent or ‘shamiyana’ to watch the cultural show.

All eagerly waited to listen to the WEI top brass, who had specially flown in from US as well as from different places in India to attend this seminar on women entrepreneurship.

The WEI officials engaged the women participants, telling them the aims and objective of WEI and how this global initiative can change their lives through digital technology.

“Women Entrepreneurs International intends to expand the women’s empowerment’s initiative on a very large scale,” said Rohit Mahajan, the CEO and founder of Rokitt Inc.

 “WEI supports women in launching and running businesses and create a global market place for them” said Oksana Sokovlsky, President of Rokitt Inc.

“WEI offer services like how to build an effective business plan, securing funding, registering a company, legal and accounting services, launching a website, networking and many such initiatives that goes into able entrepreneurship,” she added.  

Mahalakshmi Sarvanan, WEI Head, India Chapter said ‘WEI benefits are numerous.’
‘We provide online tutorials, ‘how to do business,’ ‘webinars’, a tool to interact with industry specialists, ‘skills workshops’ on business subjects and specific crafts and many add-ons.’

The women entrepreneur seminar provided a platform to local women entrepreneurs to showcase their products.

Many locally produced products were put on display to attract their attention of the participants who were seen moving from one stall to other.

The objective of the seminar was to promote WEI commitment to creating jobs and income generation initiatives for women and making them financially independent.

It was also an occasion to champion social cause like, creating awareness about breast cancer, campaigning for toilets for women and their issues related to sanitation and hygiene.

Women Entrepreneur International (WEI) that aspires to empower more than one million women in next few years, used this occasion for its membership drive.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Army Dogs and Horses are Killed at Retirement

Army Dogs and Horses are Killed at Retirement
Syed Ali Mujtaba

Indian army shows no mercy at the dogs and horses that have dedicated their lives to serve them with distinction. The minute these animals grow old or fail a fitness test, they are simply shot and killed. However, the say they use euthanasia.

For years these animals were killed in secrecy, but now a Right to Information Act query has blew the lid off the army’s inhumane methods.

Army dogs are trained since they are puppies. It’s used in critical areas like explosive detection, guarding bases, and finding disaster victims. These brave animals regularly save citizens’ lives.

However, after a lifetime of saving lives, when these animals grow old, instead of being given service benefits they are awarded death sentences.

The law only allows killing animals under very ra
re circumstances such as an incurable disease.  But these army-owned animals are not covered under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act -- which is why the army gets away with their murder.

The logical reason Army gives is that the upkeep of such dogs with the kind of facilities they enjoyed while in service is too expensive and that they are exposed to severe sensitive locations while in service makes it unsafe to leave them in civilian hands.

The canines after a month of being declared unfit to work are euthanised as it is considered unsafe to leave them in civilian hands, say army sources in response to the RTI query.

"Army horses and dogs are evaluated for their fitness with respect to the performance of duties. The animals which are considered unfit for one month active service are disposed of by humane euthanasia," the army said in its response.

Many feel that these innocent and loyal animals who serve the Indian army day in and day out should be given a decent shelter once they are old and unfit and be cared rest of their lives.  These animals deserve the affection of individual soldiers who have served the nation and should not meet such sadistic fate.

This cruel and senseless policy, a legacy of colonial rule and need to be amended. Now when this fact is finally in the open, efforts be made to ensure these animals are treated well.

'Animals cannot be tossed away like empty ammunition shells. It is unfortunate that the dogs are euthanised,' says Poorva P Joshipura, PETA India CEO.

Indian Army mainly uses Labradors, German Shephard and Belgian Shephards for security services.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at