The video you’ve just watched was apparently filmed at one of India’s military academies. Neither the date of the video clip nor the identities of either the cadet getting beaten with a hockey stick or his senior are known to us.
There are many who have vouchsafed to us that this kind of behavior is routine at the academies and is an essential part of inculcating discipline in cadets and recruits. After all, kambal parade is a thing in the Indian armed forces. Clearly, the senior had no problem being filmed administering the punishment.
Others have said that discipline is one thing, but were disgusted by the treatment meted out to the cadet. It is also important to take note of reports of ragging at military academies, which are alleged to have even resulted in suicide by cadets who were victims.
Here’s what Major Navdeep Singh, a practising lawyer specialising in military affairs, had to say after watching the clip:
More than shocking, the clip is heartbreaking. It does not reflect the ethos of our Army and I hope it is untrue.
While it is correct that some sort of harmless ragging has been a part of the culture of military academies all over the world, the same has been associated more with inculcating mental toughness and not with insult or physical injury as seems to be the case in the instant video clip. It is hoped and prayed that in case authentic the incident is an aberration and the military would have taken action against the perpetrator by now.
One should also be extra careful to curb such tendency since if a person can physically and ruthlessly assault his or her peer or junior, the tendency well has a chance of playing itself in the situation of operations, combat or while dealing with others who are at disadvantageous positions.
It must be always kept in mind that the professional Indian Army is a ‘defence service’ and plays the role of protector rather than an offender or aggressor.
It must also be kept in mind that though military personnel are supposed to be mentally and physically tough, they are human beings after all and besides slighting the self-esteem of an individual, such incidents, if true, can also lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which may negatively manifest in other situations.
We’d like to know what you think.
Do you think corporal punishment is okay as a part of inculcating discipline in cadets in the armed forces?
Is there anything wrong with this, keeping in mind the inherently physical nature of the nature of service in the armed forces? Would you agree it toughens up cadets who could reasonably expect to face far worse in the field?
If so, do you think there should be an administrative process before resorting to it? Should there be an approved method of administering corporal punishment? And what kind of infractions would justify such punishment?
Does this behavior inspire confidence in seniors or camaraderie among the ranks?
There are also women cadets joining up increasingly. Would you have have a problem with any one of them being subject to similar punishment?
If you don’t think this is the correct way to discipline cadets, tell us why.
Do you think this is nothing more than ‘boys’ hostel bullying’, ragging or hazing? If so, does it have a place in military training? Or is this abuse of authority?
More information on the video clip would also be welcome.