Tendulkar was the first Indian cricket player who started pasting the insignia of Indian national flag on his cap and helmet. At that time he said that flag gave him great courage and motivation. It is so surprising that the same man who gets so much inspiration from the Indian flag does not want to meet and participate in the functions of the very people who are paid to give supreme sacrifices for their country and its flag.
Tendulkar when he bedecked himself in Blue Air warrior uniform with the epaulets of a Group Captain and was stuttering around in the glaze of media and the country in September 2010, should have realized that Indian Air Force is bestowing him with a great honor which decency demands that he should return by at least attending their functions like 80th anniversary. If he was not interested he could have refused to become an Air Force Officer. After, he was awarded this honor, Tendulkar has not attended even a single Air Force function till date, may be because this rank is honorary and does not bring along moolah as the cricket does.
Same can be said about the current Indian cricket captain MS Doni. With much fanfare, he donned the coveted Olive Green uniform of a lieutenant colonel in the Indian Army early this year. He did not have the courtesy to attend the Annual Parade function Of the Territorial Army whose Lt Col he is. Then why don this uniform? What examples are these people setting for the soldiers of the armed forces?
Indian Air Force was kind enough to be ready to fly both of them in their latest top of the line Fighter, Sukhoi 30 MKI. Only Pratibha Patil, the former President and the supreme commander of Indian Armed Forces was granted this honor. May be both these gentlemen were afraid to risk their lives because they never took this offer? No wonder Australian bowlers brag about their short pitch bowling capability against 'Team India' which they call Chin Music.
Compare this with the Olympic bronze medal winner and world number 2 shuttler, Saina Nehwal who recently flew in a Kiran Jet Tainer Mk 2. Her very presence in IAF Academy, Dundigal was a great inspiration and motivational factor to the new rookie pilots who will later on risk their lives for the country after becoming trained fighter pilots. This girl did not even demand any Hon rank for self. Kudos to her as a person who really loves her country.
Life in armed forces is tough and adventurous. People join these forces, risking their lives not for money. They join this profession for the love for their country and adventure. Armed forces, its discipline, ship shapeness, bonhomie, sense of focus and adventure bring best out of a person. Today each fighter aircraft costs millions and in present day modern combat you can not make a single mistake. One has to be perfectionist.
A true example of love for the country is Sachin Pilot who is currently a union minister. He did not take the Honorary route to don the armed forces' uniform, which he could have easily done. He passed all the selection tests like any other officer, including medical tests. He then underwent complete military training to finally being commissioned as Lieutenant in the army. Hats off to him and the fact that he takes pride in his achievement which definitely is unique. It is worth mentioning that his father Late Shri Rajesh pilot was also a minister and an ex wing commander of Air Force having taken part in 1965 war. This is the tradition which Sachin Pilot has maintained and Army is proud of him.
It is time that armed forces totally stop giving Hon ranks to spoilt brats of Indian sports or for that matter to anybody who is not ready to live to the honor granted to him. We in armed forces do not need them. Let them play their cricket or whatever game they want to play. Only that person should be granted an Hon rank who really understands the honor being bestowed on him.