"Yes men" are dangerous & shallow.... Don't become a "Yes man"....



"Yes men" are dangerous & shallow.... Don't become a "Yes man"....

(Sam Manekshaw, who a ruling party, side-lined for speaking the truth, once told Indira Gandhi, "It is my job to win a war; not to lose".)

Here is Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, as quoted from his own speech to the Officers of DSSC, Wellington, on 11 Nov '98, regarding the real meaning of 'Moral Courage'...
"Ladies & Gentlemen, I do not know which of these is more important. When I am talking to young officers & young soldiers, I should place emphasis on physical courage, but since I am talking to this gathering, I will lay emphasis on "Moral Courage".
What is moral courage? Moral courage is the ability to distinguish right from wrong & having done so, say so when asked, irrespective of what your superiors might think or what your colleagues or your subordinates might want. A ‘Yes man’ is a dangerous man. He may rise very high, he might even become the Managing Director of a company. He may do anything, but he can never make a leader, because he will be used by his superiors, disliked by his colleagues & despised by his subordinates.
So shallow – the ‘Yes man’.
I am going to illustrate from my own life an example of moral courage. In 1971, when Pakistan clamped down on its province, East Pakistan, hundreds & thousands of refugees started pouring into India. The PM, Mrs. Gandhi had a cabinet meeting at 10 o’clock in the morning. The following attended: Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh, Defence Minister, Jagjivan Ram, Agriculture Minister,. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Finance Minister, Yashwant Rao & I was also ordered to be present.
Ladies & Gentlemen, there is a very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal & being dismissed. A very angry Prime Minister read out messages from CMs of West Bengal, Assam & Tripura. All of them saying that hundreds of thousands of refugees had poured into their states & they did not know what to do. So the Prime Minister turned round to me & said: “I want you to do something”. I said, “What do you want me to do?” She said, “I want you to enter East Pakistan”. I said, “Do you know that that means war?” She said, “I do not mind if it is war”. I, in my usual stupid way said, “Prime Minister, have you read the Bible?” The Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh (a Punjabi Sikh), in his Punjabi accent said, “What has the Bible got to do with this?” & I said, “The first book, the first chapter, the first paragraph, the first sentence, God said, ‘let there be light’’ & there was light. You turn this round & say ‘let there be war’ & there will be war. What do you think? Are you ready for a war? Let me tell you –it’s 28 April, the Himalayan passes are opening now & if the Chinese gave us an ultimatum, I will have to fight on two fronts”.
Again Sardar Swaran Singh turned round & in his Punjabi English said, “Will China give ultimatum?” I said, “You are the Foreign Minister. You tell me”. Then I turned to the Prime Minister & said, “Prime Minister, last year you wanted elections in West Bengal & you did not want the communists to win, so you asked me to deploy my soldiers in penny pockets in every village, in every little township in West Bengal. I have two divisions thus deployed in sections & platoons without their heavy weapons. It will take me at least a month to get them back to their units & to their formations. Further, I have a division in the Assam area, another division in Andhra Pradesh & the Armoured Division in the Jhansi-Babina area. It will take me at least a month to get them back & put them in their correct positions. I will require every road, every railway train, every truck, every wagon to move them. We are harvesting in the Punjab & we are harvesting in Haryana; we are also harvesting in Uttar Pradesh & you will not be able to move your harvest. I turned to the Agriculture Minister, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, “If there is a famine in the country afterwards, it will be you to blame, not me.” Then I said, “My Armoured Division has only got thirteen tanks which are functioning.”
The Finance Minister, Mr. Chawan, a friend of mine, said, “Sam, why only thirteen?” “Because you are the Finance Minister. I have been asking for money for the last year & a half & you keep saying there is no money. That is why.” Then I turned to the Prime Minister & said, “Prime Minister, it is the end of April. By the time I am ready to operate, the monsoon will have broken in that East Pakistan area. When it rains, it does not just rain, it pours. Rivers become like oceans. If you stand on one bank, you cannot see the other & the whole countryside is flooded. My movement will be confined to roads, the Air Force will not be able to support me & if you wish me to enter East Pakistan, I guarantee you a hundred percent defeat. You are the Government”, I said turning to the Prime Minister, “Now will you give me your orders?”
Ladies & Gentlemen, I have seldom seen a woman so angry & I am including my wife in that. She was red in the face & I said, “Let us see what happens”. She turned round & said, “The cabinet will meet four o’clock in the evening”.
Everyone walked out. I being the junior most man was the last to leave. As I was leaving, she said, “Chief, please will you stay behind?” I looked at her. I said, “Prime Minister, before you open your mouth, would you like me to send in my resignation on grounds of health, mental or physical?” “No, sit down, Sam. Was everything you told me the truth?” “Yes, it is my job to tell you the truth. It is my job to fight & win, not to lose.” She smiled at me said, “All right, Sam. You know what I want. When will you be ready?” “I cannot tell you now, Prime Minister”, I said, but let me guarantee you this, that if you leave me alone, allow me to plan, make my arrangements, & fix a date, I guarantee you a hundred percent victory”.
That made history!

We also need to learn some things from this story... A "Yes man" is dangerous & shallow....
Don't become a "Yes man"....
Have the moral courage to speak out the harsh truths...

Cheers....to Sam Bahadur...
:)

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