Coverage by Bhat Dittakavi of Variance.AI on “Discipline of a General” by Lft. General Zameer Uddin Shah at TEDxHyderabad on 24th September 2017
From illustrious carer in Indian army to an epitome of what a discipline can do.
Lft. General Zameer Uddin Shah
I say Jai hind because that is how I have been in my army life not because I am attached to a section or a group. And I love saying Jai Hind for our country.
Peter’s principle: if anything can go wrong it will, at the worst possible moment. Someone spilled coffee on this dress that my wife made for me for last 7 days for this occasion. Not a thing of bother as I could clean it out and move on.
I am proud to say my family has been soldier-ing for 200 years.
That’s my grand father after return from France.
This is my first day in uniform.
The person in the front is my son and the commander of republican parade 2008
Army sent me to camel regiment though I had a passion for horse riding. It took us 7 days to get deployed from starting point to Jaisalmar on camels. I visited every village in Rajasthan en route and that helped me do good in 1971 operations.
Till 24th of November 1971 we weren’t sure about the war until our Field Marshall Sham Menak Shah addressed us while we were seated on the ground. He stood on the table and told us “boys, I am sending you across. Ensure victory, don’t I’ll treat prisoners of war, no looting, leave Pakistanis women alone.” He just took two minutes and off in his helicopter.
Speak small, sharp like him. It is his charisma that made the difference. Charisma is a strange alchemy, vision, strange energy, radiance, enthusiasm and spontaneity. You can’t fake it. Spark that ignites everyone around you is charisma. Field Marshall got it.
3rd Of December Pakistan attacked us all around. There was a wired fence they thought it was a minefield. That was our savior. I was at the center, we called in help. We destroyed them next day.
My commanding officer went with me disguised as a driver to meet Pakistani service men. We see an obese Pakistani colonel came with someone holding umbrella. This is unimaginable in India. We can’t be obese.
Few Pakistanis came in khaki and we didn’t shoot them. They told they were from Bangladesh. We took care of them.
I faced insurgence of all shame and variety. Tendency is to mistreat captured insurgents. Worst thing. Stockholm syndrome was coined because an American billionaire daughter was kidnapped in Stockholm. She switched her loyalty to them. The person who get captured expects to be ill treated and offers her life in anticipation of the crime. The same opponent sergeants, whom we didn’t illtreat, gave intelligent information with which we did successful operation.
I got an order “Jameel, get your troupes in order and stop the riots. We with firm action got out there to put an end to all riots. Resolve is only thing that matters if you want to end the riots.
We spend lot of time away from families. We get two months leave an year. We go and visit the homes of where our troupes come from. Here they gave me a horse to ride on. This is how army officers spend their leaves.
This is the banner of the honor bestowed on to me.
The transformation from army to academics
When I retired as deputy chief of army to when I transitioned to academic world! I was elected by Aligarh Muslim university as Vice Chancellor. I found that we had to reinforce discipline not by curbing academic freedom. I said “you got liberty to do what you like, your freedom ends where my nose begins.”
I expelled and rusticated the president of student union. We sent the strong message. I felt that teachers must not only be teaching but must me the parents of the students. I took part in all the activities.
In Army, we are taught to know the men better than their mothers and care for them even more. Two impossible tasks. This is why army is so successful.
After this last day of my service at this university, our university was named number one in the university.
We reinforced discipline even on teachers. We knit the complete fabric into one. This is how we achieved this singular honor of being number one university.
Lessons from life
1) Never believe a report given to you. Go to the spot and see for yourself. one look is worth 1000 reports.
2) Nothing is as good or as bad as it was initially reported. Let time settle things.
3) More valiant always faces fear. I just haven’t revealed to the rest. Leaders conceal the fear.
4) Learn to delegate and give them responsibility. Pull them up when you press down the duties on them. Don’t push them down.
5) In leisure, army wants to relax and let our heads down so we play golf.
6) In time of success give credit to your subordinates. In time of failure make yourself responsible.
7) Keep a level head in time of stress. Refrain from excessive joy in time of success.
8) Don’t pontificate, practice.