Combat injuries and death do not respect the logic of representativeness
Totally ignoring what effect the collection (and inevitable politicisation) of data on the religious composition of the armed forces will have, all The Hindu finds objectionable is the ‘style’ in which the data was demanded from the armed forces.
Further, it contends that ‘merit and equal opportunity are relatively recent terms in the history and vocabulary of the Indian Army’. Summoning up the historical long view — its ‘recent’ spans over five decades since India’s independence — is clearly irrelevant. For as the same article acknowledges, ‘the post-1949 ban on recruitment along caste, linguistic, and religious lines has produced positive results’. Hidden in its apparent equivocation is an insidious argument for some measures to ensure better ‘representation’.
There is of course no question of communal reservation. But while anything divisive or diversionary must be avoided, there can be no denying the merit of expecting all institutions, including the armed forces, to become more diverse and more representative of the various constituent elements of India than they are today [The Hindu]
Here’s the question — distasteful as it may be — for The Hindu’s editors. Will it argue that like military jobs, military casualties too must become more diverse and more representative of the constitutional elements of India? And by extension, if soldiers of one community or the other take more casualties than is suggested by the logic of representativeness, does it propose to put soldiers from another community in line to take the next enemy bullet? This sounds tastelessly absurd. That it most certainly is. But no less so than what The Hindu subtly suggests.