This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Krishna Singh. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Indian Soldiers: Under Stress

More from Krishna Singh

Army Personnel Under Stress

USI (United Service Institute of India, https://usiofindia.org/) conducted a survey and research on Army personnel and found that there has been significant increase in stress level among the Indian Army personnel in last 2 decades due operational as well as non-operational reasons. That the Indian Army has been losing its combatants due such stress, leading to suicide, fratricide and untoward incidents, than in combat against enemy or anti-terrorist activities. That at present such stressed personnel are more than 50%. This research was carried out by a Colonel.

This survey took USI approximately one year to conclude and it took help from AFMS (Armed Forces Medical Services), which is part of all the four-military wing; Army, Air Force, Navy and Cost guard. The survey and research, therefor, can be taken to be authentic and accurate. The USI webpage containing this is removed, reasons though not given but can be understood.

Few reasons enumerated in the above research and my own analysis are discussed and listed below are:

Increase in terrorism and militancy: The armed forces are meant to fight against the enemy on the border, but are used extensively in natural calamities, disaster, Internal Security duties. There had been rise in all of them, more so in terrorism, be in West or East India and even in Central India. There had been increase of Army intervention, in addition to Para Military Forces and police in such activities. Recent Sino-India conflict did not spread beyond Ladakh but the role of border surveillance by the foot soldiers in almost all the inaccessible areas have increased.

Denial of Leave: This issue is old, and say it is chronic problem of the Armed Forces, but has deepened due increased tasks of the Army and lack of manpower, even the authorized manpower is not fulfilled. Even if leave is granted but not as planned by the soldiers to take care of their family issues, like children’s education or marriage, land cultivation, to fulfil parents need, etc. leads to stress. The logic behind 60 days of Annual Leave (It is not earned leave, that is, once AL lapses, it cannot be passed on to next year, neither it can be en-cashed) must be understood and honored.

Food, Clothing, Equipment: These issues have been coming on media often, and even on social media. The authorities instead of solving them, have taken course to “discipline” the complainant. If your soldiers are unhappy with the basic needs, how do you expect them to deliver the best when the nation is in need, and here the best means even life. Modern equipment increases faith in own Army, victory, morale.

Lack of Entertainment, Mobile Facilities: It is difficult for the civilians to appreciate the lifestyle of the soldiers and even the officers living in field areas, where the family accommodation is neither available, nor allowed, and even other normal amenities are unavailable, which are available even in remote rural areas. It becomes worse on high altitude (above 10,000 feet), inaccessible areas. Blanket banning Mobiles is punishment, as this is one of a basic need of the mankind today, and more so for these soldiers, who need to be in touch with their parents, children and wives. By the way, smart mobile phones are means of entertainment, and stress reliever.

Bad Behavior of Senior Officers: This issue is well known in Army and top brass had tried also to solve it, but remains an Achilles Heals. You do not have to have ugly behavior to discipline your troops.

Busy in Social Functions and at Officers’ Residence: We have Women’s Welfare Associations in all the Armed Forces Wings, like AFWWA, AWWA, NAWA. They are doing good jobs in collecting money, rehabilitating the war widows and others, wors k as a platform for the wives of soldiers and officers, etc. However, the soldiers have been “deployed” to carry out work without incentives and is demoralizing for many of them. The menial or any work at officers’ residences is further degradation of the soldiers. The “batman” system (Sahayak) resembles that of feudal one and there was representation to remove it but the then COAS, Gen Rawat refused it. (Army Chief Bipin Rawat defends the ‘sahayak’ system https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/army-chief-bipin-rawat-defends-the-buddy-system/articleshow/56520656.cms?from=mdr)

Domestic Problem, Train Reservation, Lack of Police/Administration Help: Sounds silly. Everyone has domestic problems, like children’s education, old parents’ health, house construction, etc. Soldiers have much bigger problem, as they are hardly at home, except when at peace station. Mostly leaves, especially the Casual Leave, which is given to meet the emergencies, need reservation at short notices. And when they are at their villages, Kasbas, small towns (Most soldiers are from here only), and when need help of police, administration, even courts, they find them lacking, and even hostile.

Lack of Promotion and Financial Aid: The soldiers in Army, if do not get promotion (Pyramid structure) retire only after 20 years of services, when their family needs them to be in services. Transparency in promotion lacks in all services in all the ranks. Incidentally, the demand of OROP was to meet that requirement or their resettlement in other public sectors, but till now not granted. Now if recommendation of Gen Rawat, CDS, is approved and implemented, their pension will reduce by half.

Lack of Quality in Leadership, Cut Throat Competition, Degradation in Pay and Status in Comparison to Civil Officials, Zero Error Syndrome, Lack of 100% Accommodation, Frequent Postings: There are innumerable reasons for stress, tension to grow in military men and women, in almost all the ranks, and in all the branches, corpse. Not to make the article too big, it is worth noting that the organization, government are aware of the existing problem, but lack the will and ability to tackle them and their first reaction is to mask the problem, and if one brings them out, punish him to “discipline” him.

Here it is also worth noting that, the research paper finds that the pride for the uniform is much more in soldiers than the officers. No reason is given for that, but it seems that the background of the soldiers (From peasants’ families, small towns, villages, rural areas) and happiness/self-achievement/job-satisfaction that they get after getting uniforms, arms training, and qualitative difference in their lifestyle are the main factors.

The problem must be understood holistically; linking with the society, the present economy and politics of the country. If the society is suffering due divisive politics, hate mongering, we can not expect our military men to be untouched with them. The farmers ongoing protests, veterans protest for OROP (One Rank One Pension) for more than 5 years, workers struggle to restore the lost Labor Laws, the enactment of CAA/NRC, the demonetization, the sudden and inefficient proclamation of Lockdown, etc. have effect on our soldiers’ morale, peace of mind, and their ability to deliver in one of the most adverse conditions.

Solution has to be holistic. It must relate with the rest of the problems of the society. Few solution could be, though temporary in nature, are Institutional Reforms, Peace in Field Environments, Officer, where all could interact with each other), Enabling Soldiers (Free them from the menial works at least, provide them proper food, clothe, equipment), Reducing Military Bureaucracy (Volumes could be written on it), Role of Senior Officers/Leadership as well as Junior Leadership, Government Support (Stop using the Army for political gains immediately, and issuing abusive statements as well, like “they are meant to die” or “how do they produce kids, when on border”, etc.) or Country’s Leadership (Even opposition leaders must be part, stop treating the Army as holy cow), give the soldiers their due.

Politicalizing the military is very dangerous, which our present government is unable to see, neither we can teach it. Top military men are loving it, as for them it is great rehabilitation issue as individuals, but it is like a ticking bomb, more so when more than half the military men are suffering from stress, leading to pathological symptoms, suicide and other incidents. Remember, similar is the situation with the paramilitary forces and police, or who may be worse. And the said solutions are known to those who matter, but so what, who cares?

Note: The following links are borrowed from another social media comment (Reddit), can see them.

More soldiers have lost their lives by suicide than they have in terrorist attacks (let that sink in for a moment)

[READWhy more Indian soldiers die in suicides and fratricides than in combat?

[READBSF Soldier Tej Bahadur Dismissed – The soldier alleged the troops were served bad quality food

[READSoldier or Servant? The Quint Exposes Army’s Abused Sahayak System

[READArmy Chief Bipin Rawat defends the ‘sahayak’ system

[READSoldier Featured in Army ‘Sahayak System’ ‘Sting’ Video Found Dead

[READJailed For Exposing Army’s Sahayak System, Jawan Returns Home After 6 months

[READSoldier Commits Suicide at LoC in Poonch

Youth Ki Awaaz is an open platform where anybody can publish. This post does not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions.

You must be to comment.

More from Krishna Singh

Similar Posts

By shakeel ahmad

By Lubna Ismailee

By Tina Sequeira

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below