Honorary Military Ranks – Is the Trend Justified?
Its midnight and just browsing across I stumbled upon this news article. Apparently, India’s world boxing champion Smt. Mary Kom is all set to become the first Indian woman and the fifth sportsperson in the nation to get a honorary military rank. Now, as much as I respect her, I am a bit spell-bounded by this bizzare custom that seems to be creeping into the Indian Armed Forces.
Alright, before I start to express my concern over this, let me enlist the previous members of this club:
- Sh. Abhinav Bindra – Hon. Lieutenant Colonel
- Sh. Kapil Dev – Hon. Lt. Col.
- Sh. Sachin Tendulkar – Hon. Group Captain
- Sh. MS Dhoni – Hon. Lieutenant Colonel
- Sh. Deepak Annaji Rao – Hon. Major
Now that we know who all have been ‘awarded’ these Honorary ranks, I have just one important question doings the rounds in my mind and its absolutely a no brainer:
Why do we need to give these ranks to these people, however successful they might be in their respective fields?
If the idea is to appreciate what they have achieved, there are a million other ways – give them prizes, trophies, parties, anything but commissioned officers’ ranks! Are we not undermining the efforts needed to be put in for getting these ranks in the ordinary course of life by taking such steps? If you are a defence personnel, especially one who has reached these ranks after years of training and then more years of service, how do you feel when someone is given the same uniform to wear as you for almost nothing contributed to the Armed Forces?
Now there is another thing which came up while I was trying to read more about this particular trend. We all know who are the names mentioned above and what they did, but to be honest – I never knew who was Sh. Deepak Annaji Rao. Here I veered off topic and started to learn who he was. For all the articles, news and images about him, this is what I could sum up as, and I am quoting others here:
“Rao is being honoured for imparting special commando training to the armed forces during the last 17 years.Rao is alo credited with giving close quarter battle techniques and commando combat training to chief of Army Staff General VK Singh early in his career.” – DNAIndia
“‘Major Deepak Rao’ is a military trainer, scientist, author, and physician. Considered to be a pioneer in the field of Close Quarter Battle training he serves as the Executive Director of the Unarmed & Commando Combat Academy and has been appointed as Resource Personnel for imparting training in Close Quarter Battle by the Ministry of Home Affairs, India.
Born in India, Major. Rao grew up committed to the cause of serving his country. Pursuing an education in medicine, he certified as a MBBS and MD; following which he received a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Health from UK. A PhD in Alternative Medicine and a PhD in Law soon followed.
Not content as a Certified Law Enforcement Trainer (CLET) from the American Society of Law Enforcement Training, he pursued a Doctorate in Military Science (DSc).
Along with his spouse, he trained thousands of soldiers from the Indian forces for over 18 years researching and innovating the unexplored area of modern CQB Close Quarter Battle training.
Major. Rao is responsible for the creation of a new military close quarter battle art called (ACCS) Advanced Commando Combat System which incorporates H2H (Hand to Hand), H2W (Hand to Weapon), W2H (Weapon to Hand), W2W (Weapon to Weapon) tactics, Small Team Tactics & CQB Simulation Exercises.
The Rao System of Reflex Fire an innovative method of shooting at close quarters was also pioneered by Deepak Rao. ACCS is renowned for this innovative technique of close quarter shooting. It advocates a different aiming method from conventional WWII ‘Snap Shooting’. This technique was incorporated into the training curriculum of the Corps battle schools of the Northern and Eastern Commands of the Indian Army in 2006-2008.
He taught his Close Quarter Battle (CQB) System (ACCS) to 15,000 soldiers from Special Forces, Paracommandos, QRT Squads, National Security Guards, Marine Commandos, Airborne Commandos, Commando Wing and City & State Police forces from 1994-2012 without compensation.” – Wikipedia
If all this is to be believed, and I do, then of all those names up there, if anyone did deserve that rank, it was Sh. Deepak Rao. But look again, he gets what? Hon. Major whereas all others get Hon. Lt. Col. and above. Why this apathy towards a man who has apparently given his life to the nation in the true sense?
Lastly, and at the risk of repeating myself, I respect and love all those people mentioned up there with my heart (well, not Sh. MS Dhoni, maybe…not his biggest fan, I am!) and sincerly and truly appreciate what they have done and what they are continuing to do. But in my humble opinion, none of that equals the OLQ numbers needed to earn those ranks.