Regimentation in Indian Army
THE WORD Regiment is derived from Latin word ‘regimen’ which means a rule or system of order, and describes the Regiment’s functions of raising, equipping and training of troops. Every Regiment has its own characteristic colours, uniform and insignia, and accomplishments in combat zone.
They become a fundamental object of allegiance, pride and esprit de corps of its soldiers. In the Indian Army Regiments are of two kinds - battalion-sized units of arms like the Armoured Corps, Artillery, Engineers, and Signals, or a specific mixture of Infantry battalions.
In Artillery, the complete Artillery mass in the order of battle is known as the Regiment of Artillery. The Infantry Regiments are identified by their distinctive individual names; they have a Regimental Centre for training and equipping of the staff for the infantry battalions of the Regiment.
The Centre maintains records of each soldier till he retires and is out of service. The Record office and the Pay and Accounts offices perform these functions.
These Regimental Centres send qualified soldiers to infantry battalions which are assigned to tactical units - Brigades and Divisions.
The infantry battalions known by their individual Regimental number and name are active units fit to fight and carry out desired duties in the battle.
The Regiments are headed by a Colonel, who is a high-ranking officer. The Colonel of the Regiment is the head of the family and is responsible for the protection of the best interests of the Regiment.
He is almost always an officer of General rank who at one time served in the Regiment. The idea is that such a person would take personal interest in the well-being of the Regiment, its troops and its widows.
The way the wounded and dead are handled in a battle is a powerful example of Regimental spirit. In the Regiments of Indian Army it is a matter of honour not to let a wounded comrade fall into enemy hands.
Many a time special operations have been carried out to recover wounded soldiers. A major feature of the Regimental system has been to train young officers to ‘know their men better than their mothers do and care even more.’
Practically it requires officers to learn the Regimental language in the shortest possible time; not to eat till their men are fed; excel their men in physical fitness and handling of weapons; become epitomes of military disciplines in punctuality, turnout, and thoroughness; play games with their men, spend time in their langars and dining rooms, coach them to be the best in the unit in all soldierly activities, sports and behaviour.
They are guided by just one ideal that is, their performance and that of their men must be worthy of the good name of the Regiment. This system gives them a sense of belonging and a cause bigger than themselves and acts as a crucible for promoting espirit-de-corps.
Regiments provide a living example of how Indians, without abandoning their religious belief or ethnic pride can whole heartedly work together for the good of the country.
It is a brotherhood in which Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians try to excel in their service for the good name of their Regiment, Indian Army and the Country.
Battle Honour days have been devised to remind all ranks of a Regiment of the achievements and sacrifices of their predecessors.
There is nothing better than the study of Regimental history to understand these traditions and inculcate pride in them. Every opportunity is taken to remind the members of those achievements and traditions so that a high standard of behaviour, courage and comradeship is set.
This is done through the Part-I orders, evening roll call time, lectures, unit Darbars and Mandir, Masjid, Gurudwara, Church parades.
It is with this repeated treatment that a soldier learns to practice unselfishness and find roots and pride in the traditions of a Regiment.
Hence, we can say that the Regiment becomes the religion of those who have the honour to serve in it.
Did you know?
ON JULY 27 1961, a speed boat, carrying three persons crossing the English Channel capsized and sank, leaving three crew members struggling for survival in the waters.
On receiving the distress message, the RNAS Lee on Solent Control Tower issued a general rescue call, which was picked up by two helicopters in the area, belonging to the INS Vikrant.
Lt Cdr Wadhwan and Lt Cdr Menon were flying a training mission in these helicopters leased from the French, when they proceeded for rescue.
As only Wadhwan’s chopper was fitted with a rescue winch, Wadhwan and his aircrew man on board operated the winch and rescued all the three. This incident bought wide publicity in the British Papers for the Indian Navy.
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