Soldiering on

R.K. Anand’s book on Indian Generals, “Assault on Merit”

V.K. Singh (left) with R.K. Anand at the book launch. Photo- PTI

V.K. Singh (left) with R.K. Anand at the book launch. Photo- PTI

“This book is not about General V.K. Singh and I haven’t touched any controversy about his date of birth,” clarified R.K. Anand, prominent lawyer and politician while releasing his second book “Assault on Merit” at The Ashok in New Delhi recently.

“Close Encounter with Nira Radia”, the veteran lawyer’s first book, sold a record number of 1,50,000 copies in a day’s time but got banned later. In this fast-paced and highly relevant book, Anand details case studies of Indian Generals — decorated soldiers and men of exceptional conscience and integrity — who fell prey to the whims and fancies of manipulative civilian bureaucrats intent on perverting the promotions system in order to favour a buddy or please a political master. The chief guest of the event was the Chief of Army Staff, General V.K. Singh. He expressed his happiness and congratulated the author for putting all the important things together. “When you start a career, all you dream is to be able to command the battalion. Anything beyond is a bonus. You rise and at times things can go wrong. There should be a 360-degree evaluation of an officer so that all the cases undertaken by the author never take place,” he added.

The author explained that the title means injustice and negation of the fundamental system and guiding principles. While elaborating on the cover of the book, which has the photograph of a young cadet on it, he said, “The cover photo taken by Kunal Verma supports the title. The eyes of the cadet reflect patriotism and youthful hopes and dreams. A soldier can accept a post when fair. But the system has been manipulated by favouritism and nepotism.”

The welcome address was given by the publisher of the book, Narendar Kumar, Chairman, Har-Anand Publication. This was followed by the introduction of the book by Maroof Raza, defence analyst, who complimented the author about being honest on “what goes on in South Block.”

“Assault on Merit” has been edited by veteran author and editor Inderjit Badhwar, who also gave the manuscript its title. Its concluding chapter is written by military historian, writer and filmmaker Kunal Verma, who shot the cover photograph too.

(This article was first published in The Hindu- MetroPlus)


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