Prosophobia in Uniform – The “Auld Lang Syne” Syndrome

Humor in Uniform 

When I see some Military Veterans (especially Army Veterans) expressing their views in TV debates or on the Social Media – I feel that these Retired Officers have not broken out of the “Old Mould”

Physically – they live in the modern world – but mentally – they think they are still “living” in the “British Raj”

And hence – these “Relics of the Raj” display a “Colonial Mindset”.

I have seen such “prosophobic” characters during my Navy days.

Here is story on the subject…


Musings of a Navy Veteran

A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:


Prosophobia is the fear of progress.

I have seen plenty of this during my days in the Navy.

And I still see plenty of it in the Army, Navy and Civilian Bureaucracy even now.


Let me tell you a story.

This happened was sometime in the early 1980’s when I was in New Delhi.

A young officer put up a proposal to give residential phones to all Navy Officers posted in New Delhi.

Those days residential phones were given only to senior officers of the rank of Commander and above (in fact – even some Commanders did not have residential phones).

On the other hand all Civilian Officers of the rank of Under Secretary and above had residential phones.

This young Communications Officer had done his homework thoroughly.

In his proposal he clearly explained that – within the existing budget – it was feasible to give residential phones to all Lieutenants and above.

“No…” bellowed a Senior Naval Officer, “there is no need to give phones to piddly Lieutenants. In my days – I did not have a phone even when I was a Commander…”

I looked at the Ageing Senior Naval Officer of the “Old Mould” – and – tongue-in-cheek – I said:

“Maybe when he was a Lieutenant – telephones did not exist…”

“Oh yes. It looks like this bloody old-fogie was born before Alexander Graham Bell – when the telephone was not even invented…” someone else quipped.

This a typical example of Prosophobia – due to what I call – the Auld Lang Syne Syndrome.

I saw many such instances of Prosophobia in the Defence Services – especially among Army Officers.

Sometime around 2004 – almost 33 years later after the above “Telephone” incident – I was aghast to see that things had not changed – and – there was still a reluctance among senior officers to give official land-line telephone connections and official mobile cellphones to junior officers because of prosophobia.

“Why do Junior Officers need Mobile Phones…?” a Senior Officer said, “Official Mobile Phones should be given to Senior Officers only…

Civil Society had become egalitarian – but – the rigid prosophobic mindset of Senior Officers had not changed – and the Defence Services were still living in the “glorious” past.

Of course – with the advent of cellphone technology – now every officer and soldier/sailor/airman now had his own personal mobile phone and no one hankers too much for a landline official phone.

However – there was an attempt by some “oldie-goldie” prosophobic senior officers to ban/restrict mobile phones in some offices – but this failed miserably.

It seems that the latest “target” of the prosophobia afflicted “Auld Lang Syne Syndrome” officers of the “old mould” is Social Networking – and some are even contemplating banning Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc for Defence Service Personnel and their Families.

There is a need for prosophobics to realize that it is difficult to stop an idea whose time has come.


The primary reason for Prosophobia in the defence services is the “Auld Lang Syne Syndrome” among senior officers:

  1. “In our good old days we did not have it – so why do you want it … ???”

(we did not have a telephone at home – so why do you want a phone at home…?)

  1. “We did it this way – so you will also bloody well do it the same way … !!!”

(we managed without a telephone – so you too bloody well manage without a phone)

These retrograde guys have a feudal mindset want to live in “past glory”.

They are not even satisfied with maintaining status quo.

They want status quo ante and want to regress into the past.

Yes – adherence to antiquated customs and irrelevant traditions – and maintenance of “precedence” and “status quo” are sure signs of Prosophobia.

The world may have progressed but there is great resistance to change.

There is reluctance to progress and move on – owing to the fixation of “living in the glorious days of the past”.

This results in an irrational obsession with archaic customs and antiquated traditions which have outlived their utility and are not in sync with the modern world.


Another reason for Prosophobia is “Technophobia” (fear of technology).

This is prevalent especially among those senior officers who are disinclined and reticent to continual learning and they are averse to embracing new technology.

They are not keen on updating themselves and unwilling to learn.

These officers are afraid of getting out their comfort zones.

Believe it or not – but as late as 2006 – I came across a Senior Army Officer who was computer-illiterate.

This “Relic of the Raj” believed that it was below his dignity to “type” (even on his PC/Laptop).

He thought Personal Computers (PCs) were glorified typewriters.

He believed that as an officer his job was to “dictate” notes – and it was the job of the lowly stenographers and clerks to type out his dictations.

Another Pongo was even more hilarious.

This typical Colonel Blimp type old-fashioned “officer of the old-mould” prosophobic officer wanted his secretary to take physical hard-copy printouts of all emails.

The secretary would then put the hard-copy printouts of all incoming emails of the previous day in the “dak folder” every morning for his “perusal”.

He would then dictate replies to these emails to his secretary or write them out in longhand.

The secretary would then “type” out these replies – take hard-copy printouts on paper – and put up these drafts for approval of the senior officer.

Then the secretary would meticulously “type” the emails and send them (by email).

But – sending emails was not enough.

The secretary would have to take hard-copy printouts of each sent mails for perusal of the officer – and then file all the hard-copies for record – since the officer did not believe in soft-copy records.

All “papers” were carefully filed and preserved.

Instead of using Information Technology to achieve a Paperless Office – this Prosophobic specimen had actually increased the paperwork.

In many places – especially in accounts offices – I have seen that there is great emphasis of paper-work.

Even today – you can see a marked reluctance and suspicion among senior military officers to embrace Information Technology (IT) and make administration paperless, transparent and speedy.

Surprisingly – once these prosophobic senior officers hand up their boots – and shed their uniform after retirement – these same “prosophobic” officers are seen adapting pretty well to information technology and using the latest gadgets – which is evident from the active presence of military veterans on social networking sites like Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and in the blogosphere.

I wonder:

Does wearing military uniform makes you prosophobic…?

Is Military Uniform related to Prosophobia…?


A manifestation of prosophobia is the presence of an anti-intellectual culture in the organisation.

If you observe an undue obsession with maintaining “status quo” – and a celebration of “anti-intellectualism” – you can be sure of the existence of prosophobia in that organisation – especially at the top level.

You see plenty of this in the Army and Navy.

Feudal culture, red tape, rank consciousness, steep hierarchical pyramid and inordinate emphasis on seniority and obsession with preserving the hierarchy are indicators of prosophobia.

And these attributes are seen in plenty even today in the military and many civilian government organisation as well.

Hopefully things are changing for the better – but you still see signs of prosophobia (and technophobia) all around.

A few years ago – I visited a Military Hospital where they were still using paper chits.

Patients were lugging around voluminous paper medical reports despite the easy availability of hospital management software which could make these military hospitals paperless.

Owing to Auld Lang Syne Syndrome, Prosophobia, Technophobia and Status Quoist Mindset there exists a marked reluctance to change in the military – especially among senior officers.

There is a tendency to hang on to archaic customs, outdated traditions, outmoded culture and redundant ceremonials which have no relevance in modern times.

One example of this prosophobic mindset is the system of providing combat soldiers as Batmen or Personal Orderlies (Sahayaks) to Officers in the Army (and also in the Police/Civil Services where they are called Attendants or Helpers)

Do you think this feudal practice is in sync with the modern society of today…?

Dear Reader:

Do look around you in your organization and in society.

Do you see prosophobia…?

I hear things are changing now.

Technology if forcing everyone to adapt – yes – Technology is a great leveller – if you don’t learn and adapt – you will be left behind.

Also – Technology is making the Military (and Society) more egalitarian – and reducing the gap between officers and soldiers – since everyone has access to technology and its benefits like Social Media.

So – Technology will ensure that “Auld Lang Syne” type “Prosophobics” are rendered obsolete and irrelevant. 

EPILOGUE – On a Happy Note 

VENUSTRAPHOBIA  a Phobia which does not exist in the Navy

Before I end – on a lighter note – let me tell you about one more interesting phobia.

This phobia is called “Venustraphobia”.

Do you know what “Venustraphobia” means…?

Believe it or not – “Venustraphobia” is the Fear of Beautiful Women.

I wonder who is afraid of beautiful women – men – or women – or both…?

One thing is sure – you may see signs of Prosophobia here and there – but there is absolutely no Venustraphobia in the Navy – yes – there is Zero Venustraphobia in the Navy.

Hey – wait – let me not draw sweeping conclusions.

I know one Navy Veteran who is afraid of his Beautiful “Girlfriend”

Let’s hope she reads this and blushes.


Have a Happy Phobia-Free Day.


Copyright © Vikram Karve
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


  1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:

© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

Updated Version of my Article First Posted by me Vikram Karve on 29 April 2013 at 4/29/2013 02:11:00 PM in my blog at url:  and  later at url:  and  etc

1 Comment »

  1. […] in a time warp – because of “resistance to change” – owing to the deeply entrenched Auld Lang Syne Syndrome in the Defence […]


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