Monday, 10 February 2020
General Bipin Rawat, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM,
Chief of Defence Staff
South Block, New Delhi – 110001
Dear Gen Rawat:
Subject : Protection & Support of Military Spaces, Buildings and Heritage
Our congratulations on your recent elevation. As children of military officers, we have nothing but eternal respect for you, our forces and gratitude for the pride, tradition & honour the Armed Forces gives us. Many of us have formed a group called Heritage Beku to save and maintain our dwindling heritage, and we are grateful to make the small differences that we have. We have also fought hard to complete the National Military Memorial (NMM) in Bangalore early – please do see references to this in #InMyFathersName.
A news item today (extract below) mentioning the future reforms in Military budgets, while greatly decisive and bold, struck major concern
into the minds of heritage enthusiasts like ourselves.
‘Reforms also loom in the military housing sector with colonial bungalows giving way to future vertical housing with the armed forces generating their own resources to fund these projects. Called the “New Moti Bagh Model”, the CDS wants infrastructure agencies like the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to fund military housing projects (as per military specifications and under its monitoring) in lieu of compensation for acquiring cantonment lands. The military plans to generate some Rs 35,000 crore in the next seven to eight years, and the defence ministry is in support of the effort. “The days of Corps Commander living on a hill with a sprawling bungalow are over. Time has come for military commanders to stay in flats and in one building,” said a senior general who didn’t want to be named.’
The future is the future, and we support that. However, our past must be revered within military tradition as well. There is one stakeholder we can always rely on to preserve our dwindling heritage. There is one force that values tradition in the only way it should be done, one institution for which tradition is non-negotiable - and that is the military. We take this our beloved Armed Forces and its pride in tradition , for granted. While supporting you fully on your decision to be more rupee-responsive and financially savvy and future constructions for the Forces, we earnestly request you to preserve and honour the existing spaces, the structures and those colonial bungalows that gives such magnificence and splendour to our country - in the way that only the military can do. Perhaps this above quote was a comment or idea, mentioned only in passing, but it has great repercussions on the skyline and pride of our country. We sincerely urge you to look at our respectful request and our suggestion in the right manner and assure us that while future buildings may be vertical; the magnificence, splendour and heritage all of the military residences, the officers mess, the grand military structures are preserved for not only the next military generation but for the entire country.
A line in response and confirmation would be much appreciated, sir.
Prasad Bidapa & Priya Chetty-Rajagopal
For Team Heritage Beku