Sikhs and the Indian Army

The Sikhs constitute 2% of India’s population and mainly stay in the North section of the country in the Punjab. But despite their small numbers they form an important part of the Indian Army. Presently the Indian army has 18 pure battalions of sikhs in its ranks. join Indian army

The British had an idea of martial and not martial races in India. Thus having seen the Sikhs battle them in the Anglo Sikh battles they had formed a top judgment of Sikhs as soldiers and accordingly scored them as a martial race. One may or may well not agree with the concept of a martial race, but there is no doubt that particular races have faced the brunt of invasions more than others and are thus more ready to join battle in any environment. The Sikhs is one such race. 

The first battalion of the sikh troops was created in the erstwhile English Indian Army in 1846 just before the annexation of the Punjab. from that time onwards the Sikhs became an essential part of the English Indian Army. At one time the Sikhs created as much as 33% of the strength of the Army through the times of the Raj.

The Sikhs covered themselves with glory in many areas of battle for the British. The most significant being the brave battle by 21 Sikh military against the tribesmen of the Frontier at Saragrahi, where they faced a horde of 10, 500 Moslems. The Sikhs also fought in the First of all World war and the Second World war and earlier in the Uk Army campaigns against the Afghans on the Frontier.

After independence the Sikhs retained their dominant position in the Indian Military services. But a subtle splendour started which is hard to explain. Thus despite the officer corps being one third Sikh scarcely any Sikh was offered as Army Chief. To start with Nehru demonstrated his bias when this individual bypassed Lt Gen Kulwant Singh in favor of Cariappa and later Indira Gandhi bypassed Harbaksh Singh, the man who salvaged India during the 65 war for Manekshaw.

Possibly during the tenure of Rajiv Gandhi most Sikhs were seconded to control Southern Command. Perhaps this had something to do with ‘operation’ blue legend where the Indian Military assaulted the Golden forehead in complete disregard of all canons of civil behaviour. It was a sad occasion and annoyed all right thinking people..

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