Will the real jawans please stand up?
The army is worried that the word ‘jawan’ is being used loosely to refer to non-army personnel, including members of the state armed police and paramilitary forces.
“Incorrect use of the term ‘jawan’ may project an undesired image of an organisation nationally as well as internationally,” said an advisory sent by the public relations office of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Kolkata on Monday.
The statement recalled that Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had coined the popular slogan Jai jawan jai kisan in 1965, hailing the nation’s soldiers and farmers.
Since then ‘jawan’ has become synonymous with soldiers of the Indian Army, the advisory said. “It is requested that personnel equivalent to jawans of the Indian Army serving in police or paramilitary organisations should be addressed as policemen or paramilitary persons as the case may be.”
Monday’s advisory seemed to be provoked by the widespread dubbing of personnel of paramilitary forces as jawans.
Defence officials fear an indiscriminate use of the word may have a negative effect on the image of army jawans, especially because there were reports of liquor bottles and other objectionable material found in the EFR camp at Silda.
“Officials of the Indian Army’s Eastern Command feel it’s their privilege to refer to just Indian Army soldiers as jawans, not those from state armed police or paramilitary forces,” said an official.
Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani, the MoD spokesman in Kolkata, told HT that the advisory sent to various media organisations was a suggestion and not binding on any one.