“Galwan clash: PM Modi says, death not in vain”, read the emblazoned headlines.
My father Major SN Tandan, was injured in the 1965 Indo-Pak War, he succumbed to his injuries on account of a major surgical faux paux in M.H. New Delhi in March 1966.
My father was accorded an Army funeral, his body was taken in a flower bedecked Gun Carriage to the crematorium, three shots were fired in the air to commemorate a life; minutes later it was a life, ‘done’ save the memories.
Fifty four years later I ruminate, did my father`s death go in vain, fifty years of Pak bashing, and now China bashing post Galwan, and the unnecessary loss of twenty soldiers, a close dead repeat of events 1962. Any lessons learnt, heck No.
My mother was given an army pension of around Rs 80 per month in March 1966. When my mother re-married in 1967, her pension was stopped, on Govt order, since my mother had re-married.
In 1973 liberalized family pension kicked in which is given to widows of officers who “die in the face of enemy”, and is even payable to widows who re-marry. Unfortunately my mother had re-married a stranger, and not her brother in law, or my fathers brother or “devar”. My mothers pension was reduced to taxable Ordinary Family Pension, from the non taxable full blown Liberalized Family Pension.
How weird is that, yes it sure is..
As per Govt order with effect 24.6.2005, MoD letter No.1 (1)/2001lD (Pen-C), Liberalized Family Pension (LFP) was made restorable in re–marriage cases, even for widows such as my mother who had married a stranger.
Unfortunately the Govt order was pronounced, but no one informed my mother, and she continued to receive a paltry taxable pension of Rs 6,020 till April 2013.
It was only when this matter was vigorously taken up and vehemently and stubbornly followed up, was my mothers full liberalized pension restored in 2014. The pension arrears were paid in 2014, which today is grossed up 1:25 (Twenty five) times tax free, of what she was drawing in 2013.
Gross injustice or what..
In the intervening years when the money was required the most, did my mother get her dues, NO. There must be literally hundreds of thousands of Officers and men and women of the Defence forces, In India, wef 1947, who are in desperate need of money and are not drawing their due pension. Is there anywhere they can go to correct this, NO.
Does anyone care, No, does it matter for the family Yes, does it make a swot of a difference to the authorities aka Govt, that pensioners are not getting their due pension No.
Does PMCares fund cover this, of course Not.
Did my father die in vain Yes, and even decades later one wonders what the heck was all that about, oh dear he died, finito.
It’s a round World, and round and round we go in a merry go around. What a life…