🚩On Regimentaion, Tradition, Esprit de Corps, Standard Operative Procedures, and their different connotations.🚩 ©✒GBG⚔

1. You all must be remembering my story about setting wrong traditions. Just to recall it, let me repeat it for you. A wet conceret slab was to be guarded from dogs stepping over it, so  4 armymen were deployed to protect it. The CO who had ordered the arrangement was transfered. Meanwhile the slab dried up, but the guard duty continued for years, even after a few more CO's got transfered, until a thinking guy was posted to the unit, who tried to find the reason behind the tradition of guarding the slab. When no one could tell him the reason, he wrote to the first CO, who told him that the guard duty was put only to guard the wet concrete slab,  for it to dry without dog paw marks. Well the tradition was scrapped.

2.  After reading this story a veteran wrote to me as if educating me on  stuff like traditions, regimental pride, Esprit-de corps and SOPs,  as if they all come from same source. I could easily make out, the gentleman is not clear on the basics, so to put things straight here lies the chaff seprated from the grain.

3. Remember friends, the word regimentaion in it's literary form, is quite negative, fascist,  dictatorial,  communist, defunct, outrightly stupid,  control oriented and just about dumb.

4. Some  veterans and a little extra olive green coloured army officers, who  have been brought up  like  thumb sucking kids on so called  'regimental pride', or so to say a well designed 'institutional  hubris',  start blazing their worn out, obsolete and rusted ideas, defending the word 'Regimentaion' as if it is the only oxygen cylinder they have ever had  to breath on. This writeup is all about clearing some haze on the same.

5.    Please note that  the word 'Regimentation' does not necessarily have the same connotation in it's literary sense as it has in army's connotation. Regimentaion in literary world,  simply put is  treating people and ideas in a very rigid, fixed, inflexible, stiff and stubborn manner  to establish a very strict  control. In the religious or Socio-psychological connotation, It is a sign of extreme posturing.

6.  To bring in the subject of regimentation and regimental spirit as synonym to 'family like bonding', where as the bond that is seen to last more, amongst those who served together, is that of jealousy, anger and detest,   and to mix up flimsy and superfluous  practices like standing guard to an antique velvet stool of a King or Queen as regimental tradition, and saluting a Brigadier of Buckets, knighted for being the 'King's Closet Commander,'  as regimental pride,  exhibits a somewhat flawed interpretation of all these phrases. My apologies for being bluntly straight forward, but  I would not like to be commanded, by a 'Brigadier of Buckets', knighted for being a Monarch's privy attendent. Because rather than being a party to such a flawed espirit-de-corps,  I'do rather prefer being a Robinhood, or an 'Outright-Outlaw'.

7.  I also must state that, SOPs or 'Standing Order Procedures' in armed forces, or 'Standard Operational Practices', as they are sometimes called in Industry, are established, to set some sequential actions or drills, for smooth functioning of military life. In industry they are set for the purpose of  smooth running of industrial procedures,  but if any SOP has lost its basic intended aim, or is irrational in the modern time and space, or is not in tune with modern science and  technology, it must evolve, or be scrapped

8.  To understand the real essence of SOPs, is to know that  in real sense, an SOP is a 'Set Way', method or procedure of doing things, so as to accomplish certain functional tasks, in a smooth and uniform way, nothing more than that.

9. For example, there is a 'Standard Operating Procedure' for the Indian Army or police to control riots. There is an SOP to hold a Sainik Darbar,  an SOP for marching some one up for some mistake or other  reason, an SOP for a organising a dinner night or a  Bada khaana, an SOP for inculcating new officers or jawans in to a battalion, an SOP for river crossing, an SOP for setting up a camp, an SOP for arms training or firing on the ranges, an SOP for moving a convoy, so forth and so on. Even these SOPs should get updated as time's progress to stay in tune with modern industrial and military technology. 

10.  The 'Traditions' should never be mixed up with SOPs and irrational or obsolete practices must also never be carried forward in the name of tradition.

11.  If a particular regiment has a tradition of wearing their beret or  hat in a particular way, it is a tradition alone,  and not an SOP.

12.   On the navel ships of yore, it was a necessaity to have a 'Powder monkey', a young boy or a light framed short guy to get in and out of the magazine, fetching gun powder for the cannons, after each fire, to reload the guns, but to continue to follow such a practice in name of tradition on modern ships is irrational and unnecessary.

13.  I strongly feel that, some traditional practices can be improved or should change altogether with time. For example, if a regiment has had a tradition of going on a tiger shoot once a year,  in the british era,  it can for all practical reasons, not be carried forward as a tradition in light of today's prevalent laws. Thus it will have to be given up, or transformed. For instance  the regiment can have a tiger shoot organised with still or video cameras instead of shooting and killing a tiger with a gun.

14.  Thus I repeat that, if  some thing started from as simple a reason as  guarding a wet slab, so that it dries up without dog paw marks, and then to carry on  guarding that slab even after it has dried, becomes a tradition,  it must stop by all means.

15.   In simple words, all deadwood and dry leaves must be removed from an orchard to keep it in good shape. Life is all about change, and not collecting DeadWood.

16. For example, although a funny one coming from my creative naughtiness,  if a family elder had an attack of loose motions on a republic day, and being the commissioner of a  district, he had to attend the official  function, and hoist the flag, and thus to save himself and others from embarrassment, he wore a diaper under his pants during flag hoisting, it can not then become a family tradition 😉 for his family members to start attending republic day functions wearing diapers. 🤔

17.  Thus the Traditions, SOPs, the Esprit-de-Corps, regimental bonding etc must be looked at as practices distinct from each other, with absolute clarity.  The words  'Conformity' and 'Regimentation' must also be seen in the light of all their different connotations.

18.  Its time to tell another story to bring home the point. Once in a monastery their lived a cat who would jump around the monks during prayer sessions. So the Abbot ordered the cat to be tied out side the prayer hall during prayer sessions. Now over a period of time, the abbot died, the cat died too, but the practice of tying a cat outside the prayer hall when the prayer session was on, continued. Two monks still being specially detailed to make sure, a cat is chained out side the prayer hall when the prayer session is on, can only be seen as some thing ridiculous, and not a tradition.
🚩ਤੱਤ ਸੱਤ ਸ਼੍ਰੀਅਕਾਲ 💐🚩
©✒ Guru Balwant Gurunay.⚔

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