Can’t a Muslim become Chief of the Armed forces in India?

Lt General PM Hariz
Lt General PM Hariz

Shahnawaz Ahmad for MuslimMirror com

Lt General PM Hariz, who is currently the Southern Command Chief (mechanised infantry),could have been the first Chief of Army Staff since independent India had the Modi government not junked the long cherished seniority principle in appointing senior chiefs. The government named Lt General Bipin Rawat as the next Army chief superseding two senior Lt Generals namely Lt General Praveen Bakshi,Eastern command Chief and Lt General P M Hariz,Southern Army Command Chief.

Of the two Lt Generals,Lt General PM Hariz is a Muslim who hails from village Kuttikadavu, Cheruppa, 16 km from the city of Kozhikode,Kerala.The villagers call Hariz “the great son of the village “with honour. His father P Mohammad Ali is a retired Communication officer and his son Zohaib is a commissioned officer in the Indian Army.Interestingly, his wife Zarina Hariz also comes from a military family as she is the daughter of Col E P M Rahman.

Professionally, Hariz is decorated with Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal, and Vishisht Seva Medal and has served on many prestigious staff and command appointments including a combined tenure as Military Observer, Chief Personnel Officer, and Regional Commander in Angola which was one of his UN appointments.

A Muslim reaching to a position of the rank of Lt General is a rare phenomenon in Indian Army as percentage of representation of Indian Muslims in All India services is minimal. The much talked about Sachhar Committee had asked for the data of percentage of Muslims in Defence forces but the defence establishment declined to give the data saying it cannot provide religious specific data due to its non religious nature of the Armed forces.

The move of appointing the new Chief of Army has been criticised by the opposition and have rightly been accused of politicising the Armed forces which are proud of their apolitical and secular credentials.

Although, it is well within the right of a government to appoint whoever it wants as the next Chief, the successive dispensations have almost always followed the seniority principle.

It needs no mention that our country has witnessed Muslim President, Vice Presidents, Chief Ministers, Governors and heads of several Indian institutions and their records and performances have been the envy of their counterparts. Under A P J Abdul Kalam, a Musim, the country saw its missile technology and Civilian space programme reached new heights before he became the President of India. He also played a pivotal organisational, technical, and political role in India’s Pokhran-2 nuclear test in 1998.

At a time when there is general perception among Muslims of India of the present Modi led BJP government being biased and having ill feeling towards them because of the BJP history behind them, there was a good opportunity for the present dispensation at the centre to correct and shed its image of Muslim hate and show the countrymen that it is really inclusive as the government claims in words but not in practice, by appointing PM Hariz, a Muslim, as Chief of Army Staff.

It is really sad that Modi government have not left religious angle untouched even to the Indian Armed forces that are considered above caste and religion. Almost all the recent appointments by the present government, the recent being the interim CBI Chief have political angle rather than the national angle which is not good for the country.


  1. You know pretty well that even if the seniority was counted, he would not have been be the Chief. Why create a confusion and hatred among the people. You too owe certain principles to follow

    There seems to be a bias . Yes that is towards Parsi and Christian religions. Not out of malice or favouritism but due to ability.
    Stop trying to create rift in Armed personal who valiantly guard us. Your malafide intentions will never succeed. Here is list of past chiefs FYI

    Chiefs of Army Staff
    Name Tenure
    General Maharaj Rajendra Sinhji 1 April 1955-14 May 1955
    General S.M.Srinagesh 15 May 1955-7 May 1957
    LGeneral K.S. Thimayya 8 May 1957-7 May 1961
    General R.N. Thapar 8 May 1961-19 November 1962
    General J.N. Choudhuri 20 November 1962-7 June 1966
    General P.P. Kumaramangalam 8 June 1966-7 June 1969
    General S.H.F.J. Manekshaw 8 June 1969-31 December 1972
    Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw 1 January 1973-14 January 1973
    General G.G.Bewoor 15 January 1973-31 May 1975
    General T.N. Raina 1 June 1975-31 May 1978
    General O.P. Malhotra 1 June 1978-31 May 1981
    General K.V.Krishna Rao 1 June 1981-31 July 1983
    General A.S.Vaidya 1 August 1983-31 January 1986
    General K.Sunderji 1 February 1986-30 April 1988
    General V.N.Sharma 1 May 1988-30 June 1990
    General S.F.Rodrigues 1 July 1990-30 June 1993
    General B.C.Joshi 1 July 1993-18 November 1994
    General S.Roychowdhury 22 November 1994-30 September 1997
    General V.P.Malik 1 October 1997-30 September 2000
    General S. Padmanabhan 1 October 2000- 31December 2002.
    General N.C.Vij 31 December 2002 – 31 January 2005
    General J J Singh 31 January 2005 – September 29, 2007
    General Deepak Kapoor September 30, 2007 – 31 March 2010
    Genera Vijay Kumar Singh 31 March 2010 – 31 May 2012
    General Bikram Singh 31 May 2012 – 31 July 2014
    General Dalbir Singh 31 July 2014 – Till todate
    Chiefs of Naval Staff
    Name Tenure
    Vice Admiral R.D. Katari 22 April 1958-4 June 1962
    Vice Admiral B.S.Soman 5 June 1962-3 March 1966
    Admiral A.K.Chatterjee 4 March 1966-27 February 1970
    Admiral S.M. Nanda 1 March 1970-28 February 1973
    Admiral S.N. Kohli 1 March 1973-28 February 1976/td>
    Admiral J.L. Cursetji 1 March 1976-28 February 1979
    Admiral R.L. Pereira 1March 1979-28 February 1982
    Admiral O.S. Dawson 1March 1982-30 November 1984
    Admiral R.H. Tahiliani 1 December1984-30 November 1987
    Admiral J.G. Nadkarni 1 December1987-30 November 1990
    Admiral Ramdas 1 December1990-30 September 1993
    Admiral V.S. Shekhawat 1 October1993-30 September 1996
    Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat 1 October 1996-30 December 1998
    Admiral Sushil Kumar S 30 December 1998 – 29 December 2001
    Admiral Madhvendra Singh 29 December 2001- 31 July 2004
    Admiral Arun Prakash 31 July 2004- 31 Oct 2006
    Admiral Sureesh Mehta 31 Oct 2006- 31 August 2009
    Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma 31 August 2009 – 31 August 2012
    Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi 31 August 2012 – 26 February 2014
    Admiral Robin K Dhowan 17 April 2014 – 31 May 2016
    Admiral Sunil Lanba 31 May 2016 – Till Todate
    First Ever Marshal of the IAF
    Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh 25 January 2002-
    Chiefs of Air Staff

    Name Tenure
    Air Marshal Sir Thomas Elmhirst 15 August 1947-21 February 1950
    Air Marshal Sir Ronald Lvelaw Chapman 22 February 1950-9 December 1951
    Air Marshal Sir Gerald Gibbs 10 December 1951-31 March 1954
    Air Marshal S. Mukherjee 1 April 1954-8 November 1960
    Air Marshal A.M.Engineer 1 December 1960-31 July 1964
    Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh 1 August1964-15 July 1969
    Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal 16 July 1969-15 January 1973
    Air Chief Marshal O.P. Mehra 16 January 1973-31 January 1976
    Air Chief Marshal H. Moolgavkar 1 February 1976-31 August 1978
    Air Chief Marshal I.H.Latif 1 December 1978-31 August 1981
    Air Chief Marshal Dilbagh Singh 1 September 1981-3 September 1984
    Air Chief Marshal L.M. Katre 4 September 1984-1 July 1985
    Air Chief Marshal D.A. La Fontaine 3 July 1985-31 July 1988
    Air Chief Marshal S.K. Mehra 1 August 1988-31 July 1991
    Air Chief Marshal N.C. Suri 1 August 1991-31 July 1993
    Air Chief Marshal S.K. Kaul 1 August 1993-31 December 1995
    Air Chief Marshal S.K. Sareen 31 December 1995-31 December 1998
    Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis 1 January 1999- 31 December 2001
    Air Chief Marshal Srinivasapuram Krishna Swamy 31 December 2001 – 1 January 2005
    Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi 1 January 2005 – 2007
    Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major 31 March 2007 – 31 March 2009
    Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik 31 March 2009 – 31 July 2011
    Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne 31 July 2011 – 31 December 2013
    Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha 31 December 2013 –

  3. According to Quran, a true muslim should not even try to become chief of armed forces in India.. because Quran ordered to kill kafirs in the field of battle. Now suppose India, Pakistan war happens then a true muslim should fight against India because it is full of hindus i.e. kafirs.
    Muslim armed forces chief will be working as chief for India but internally supporting Pakistan. Hence, India does not allow muslim as chief of armed forces.

    • In the 65 war with Pakistan, i had a troop of 3 tanks and that meant 12 personal. 6 of them were Muslim. A squadron commander was Muslim and posthumously got a VrC. Hav Ayub Khan of the Grenadiers got a PVC. So don’t talk rubbish. Except for the misguided people like we have misguided Hindus, Christians and Sikhs, the majority or Muslims are loyal Indians. It is the politicians who use them for their own ends which is being realised now.

  4. Had the government followed the seniority principle, in that case Lt. General Bakshi would have become COAS and Lt. Gen. Hariz was next to Lt. Gen. Bakshi. So no chance to become COAS.

  5. How many Sikhs have made into above list. Muslim have not reached to this in numbers but Sikhs have. Famous Sikh Generals who excelled in WARS were ignored like Saparrow 1962, Harbakhash Singh 1965 and General Aurora in 1971. Indian political leadership did not feel comfortable with sikhs. Only when Manmohan Singh arrived that 2 Sikhs were made Generals. Appointment of a General is political decision of the Government of the time. I have never heard any of Sikh General complaining.


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