The More You Sweat in Peace, the Less You Bleed in War

-Commander VK Jaitly

It was mid night of September 29-30, 2016. Special Forces of Indian Army carried out surgical strikes for the first time in its history across the Line of Control (LoC) into PoK in several sectors, destroying terror launch pads. The raid came in retaliation to the Fidayeen attack by Pakistan-based terrorists on an Indian Army camp in Uri on September 18 that killed 18 Indian soldiers. These surgical strikes have been lauded for their lightning speed of execution, secrecy and also for its tactical and strategic acumen. Severe damage had been inflicted to the enemy in terms of terrorists killed.

This also brought down the morale of all agencies supporting terrorism to all time low. There were no casualties on the Indian side. This strike was an example of a professional operation executed with absolute accuracy and precision. It was made possible by commandoes who had undergone a severe regimen of real tough training for months and years. These men believe in the famous dictum of defence forces:

‘The More You Sweat in Peace, the Less You Bleed in War’. There is no scope of any minor error and you are prepared to face a large number of possibilities and eventualities. It is your preparedness, planning and off course the prowess of the men executing that matters finally.

When I was serving in the Indian Navy, many times my friends from the civilian world used to ask one question, “When there is no war, what do you do?” Their question was very pertinent and natural. A normal person from the civilian world wouldn’t understand. War or no war, the armed forces have to be always ready to go for a fullfledged war at a short notice. For that purpose, the routine in armed forces is always very hectic. They practice, practice and practice to achieve perfection in their operations. They even fight dummy battles at frequent intervals. That is the reason, our borders are secure. We are able to have peaceful sleep. And even in case of natural calamities be it flood, tsunami or the earthquake, the armed forces are called to bring the situation under control.

The same dictum of ‘The More You Sweat in Peace, the Less You Bleed in War’ can be applied to many other walks of life. A cardiac surgeon who has been trained under the watchful eyes of senior doctors can only have the courage to independently carry out open heart surgery with confidence. Ask that cardiac surgeon, how much preparation is done for each operation. To what level of minute details they go about the patient before they start the operation. Can he/she afford to be slack in any aspect?

The final day of examination for a student is like going out for a war. A student who has studied throughout the year and completed the full syllabus in full earnest will go to the examination hall with full confidence. The student who has burnt the mid night oil and practiced all the questions again and again will not at all be shaky when examination draws closer.

On the other hand those students who were careless, bunked classes, chatted more on phone and paid less stress on studies will find the examination an uphill task. They will try to resort to other dubious means of copying. Their performance in the examinations and in life thereafter becomes a part of luck. They go through all the routines of life but their confidence in life is always at a low level.

As a project manager, can you afford to go to a customer with an ill prepared report and a sketchy presentation for a multi-million dollar project? The answer is obviously a big NO. You will not only go into each and every minute detail of the project but also make a list of prospective questions the customer may ask and you will be mentally ready for their answers too. You shall rehearse your presentation also may be with your boss in attendance. All this hard work will make you fully confident and then you move into the conference room of customer with all your material in your arsenal ready to take on any queries.

You may be wondering that every year, we have heavy rains during monsoon. Our roads get flooded in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and many others. Year after year, hundreds of villages get submerged under water and properties worth crores and crores are damaged. Cattle are washed away and there is loss of human life also. This happens because the local bodies responsible for taking the corrective measures are not doing their jobs properly. They know the impending dangers during the rains. But they either don’t take any preventive action or take half-hearted action and that too very late. The commitment to contain the damage year after year is totally missing.

After the rains are over, they go back to slumber till the next rains and repairs are done only to the damaged roads and bunds. A systematic long term approach to handle these situations is totally missing.

The political leadership at all levels and the bureaucratic leadership have to work together even during the ‘peaceful’ periods when there are no natural calamities and take appropriate actions so that the common man doesn’t ‘bleed’ or doesn’t suffer during the actual calamities. There may be times when natural disasters go beyond the normal fury and all man made efforts may seem insignificant. But the damage caused by normal monsoon rains year after year is just not acceptable and it is due to sheer laziness of men manning such departments and incompetence of our overall system. Similarly, the drought in some parts and floods in another part at the same time is not acceptable even after 70 years of independence. It only shows that the civilian world does not follow what the armed forces keep harping day in and day out:

‘The More You Sweat in Peace, the Less You Bleed in War’.