Sikh Regiment

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Sikh Regiment
The Regiment Sikh Regiment Battle Insignia.jpg
Cap badge of the Sikh Regiment
Active1 August 1846–Present
CountryIndia India
Branch Indian Army
TypeLine Infantry
RoleInfantry
Size20 battalions
Motto(s)Nischay Kar Apni Jeet Karon (With determination, I will be triumphant).
War CryBole So Nihal Sat Sri Akaal (one will be blessed eternally who says that God is the ultimate)
AnniversariesSeptember 12 Battle of Saragarhi
Decorations
Commanders
Colonel of
the Regiment
Lt. Gen. Sanjay Kumar Jha[2]
Insignia
Regimental InsigniaLion, symbolic of the name (Singh) every Sikh carries, ringed by a chakra
Men of the Regiment of Ludhiana (later the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs) during the Second Opium War in China, circa 1860.

The Sikh Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army that recruits from the Sikh community. It is the most decorated regiment of the Indian Army and in 1979, the 1st battalion was the Commonwealth's most decorated battalion with 245 pre-independence and 82 post-independence gallantry awards, when it was transformed into the 4th battalion, Mechanised Infantry Regiment.[3][4][5] The first battalion of the regiment was officially raised just before the annexation of the Sikh Empire on August 1 1846, by the British East India Company. Currently, the Sikh Regimental Centre is located in Ramgarh Cantonment, Jharkhand. The Centre was earlier located in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.

The modern Sikh Regiment traces its roots directly from the 11th Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army. When transferred to the Indian Army like its sister regiments, the numeral prefix (in the case of the Sikh Regiment, 11) was removed and extra battalions were raised, transferred or disbanded to meet army needs. With a humble beginning of two battalions, today the fraternity has grown to a regiment of 19 regular infantry and two reserve battalions strong.

History[edit]

After the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-1846), Sikhs who lived in the territory ruled by the Sikh Empire (the Punjab region) began to be recruited into the Bengal Army of the British East India Company. Among the earliest entirely Sikh units of the Bengal Army were the Regiment of Ferozepore (raised in 1846) which later became the 14th King George's Own Ferozepore Sikhs, and the Regiment of Ludhiana (also raised in 1846) which later became the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs.[6] After the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849) more Punjabis began to be recruited into the Bengal Army, forming regiments such as the 1st Bengal Military Police Battalion, which later became the 45th Rattray's Sikhs. Sikh units generally remained loyal to the British during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, in which many regiments of the Bengal Army (which mainly recruited from Bihar and Awadh) mutinied against their British officers. After the rebellion, troops from Bihar and Awadh were recruited less as they had led the mutiny; the centre of recruitment then shifted to the Punjab and the North-West Frontier, resulting in more Sikhs being recruited into the Bengal Army. A number of new Sikh regiments were raised, such as the 36th Sikhs and 35th Sikhs, both raised in 1887. 21 soldiers of the 36th Sikhs fought in the Battle of Saragarhi against 6,000-10,000 Pashtun tribesmen in 1897 during campaigns in the North-West Frontier, in what is considered by some military historians as one of history's greatest last stands.[7] In 1922 the Indian government reformed the British Indian Army by amalgamating single battalion regiments into multi-battalion regiments; this led to the formation of the 11th Sikh Regiment from the 14th King George's Own Ferozepore Sikhs, the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs, the 45th Rattray's Sikhs, the 36th Sikhs, the 47th Sikhs, and the 35th Sikhs. The 11th Sikh Regiment served during World War II and on the partition of India, the regiment was allotted to the newly formed Indian Army, becoming the Sikh Regiment.

As part of the British Indian Army, Sikh regiments fought in numerous wars all over the world, such as the Second Opium War in China, the Second Anglo-Afghan War, many campaigns on the North-West Frontier, the Western Front, Gallipoli and Mesopotamia campaigns of the First World War, the Third Anglo-Afghan War, and the North African, Italian and Burma campaigns of the Second World War, earning many gallantry awards and battle honours in the process.

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-1948, the 1st battalion of the Sikh Regiment was the first unit to be airlifted to Srinagar to aid in the defence of the Kashmir Valley against Pakistani irregular forces.[8] Battalions of the Sikh Regiment also fought in the Sino-Indian War in 1962, the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971, and the Kargil War in 1999.

Recruitment[edit]

Enlisted soldiers are recruited mainly from the Jat Sikh of Punjab and its surrounding states. They trained in the Sikh Regimental Centre, currently located in Ramgarh Cantonment, Jharkhand. The war cry of regiment, taken from Sikh scriptures, is Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal. [a]

Units[edit]

  • 2nd Battalion
  • 3rd Battalion
  • 4th Battalion
  • 5th Battalion
  • 6th Battalion
  • 7th Battalion
  • 8th Battalion
  • 10th Battalion
  • 11th Battalion
  • 13th Battalion
  • 14th Battalion
  • 16th Battalion
  • 17th Battalion
  • 18th Battalion
  • 19th Battalion
  • 20th Battalion
  • 21st Battalion
  • 22nd Battalion
  • 23rd Battalion
  • 24th Battalion
  • 124 Infantry Battalion Territorial Army (Sikh)
  • 152 Infantry Battalion Territorial Army (Sikh)
  • 167 Infantry Battalion Territorial Army (Sikh) (Home and Hearth)

Others:

Battle honours and theatre honours[edit]

Battle honours[edit]

Pre-Independence
World War I
French postcard depicting the arrival of 15th Ludhiana Sikhs in France during World War I. The postcard reads, "Gentlemen of India marching to chasten the German hooligans".
Inter-War years
Second World War
Sikh troops engaged in Operation Crusader.
A Sikh soldier with the flag of Nazi Germany after German surrender during World War II.
Post-Independence
  • Srinagar 1947, 1 Sikh
  • Tithwal 1948, 1 Sikh
  • Raja Picquet 1965, 2 Sikh
  • Burki 1965, 4 Sikh
  • Op Hill 1965, 7 Sikh
  • Siramani 1971, 4 Sikh
  • Poonch 1971, 6 Sikh
  • Purbat Ali 1971, 10 Sikh
  • Tiger Hill 1999, 8 Sikh

Theatre honours[edit]

Pre-Independence
  • North Africa 1940-43, 2 & 4 Sikh
  • Abyssinia 1940-41, 4 Sikh
  • Iraq 1941, 3 Sikh
  • North Africa 1941-42, 3 Sikh
  • Malaya 1941-42, 5 Sikh
  • Burma 1942-45, 1 Sikh
  • Italy 1943-45, 2 & 4 Sikh
  • Greece 1944-45, 2 Sikh
Post-Independence
  • Jammu & Kashmir 1947-48, 1, 5, 7 & 16 Sikh
  • Jammu & Kashmir 1965, 2, 3 & 7 Sikh
  • Punjab 1965, 4 Sikh
  • Sindh 1971, 10 Sikh
  • Punjab 1971, 2 Sikh
  • East Pakistan 1971, 4 Sikh
  • Jammu & Kashmir 1971, 5 & 6 Sikh
  • Kargil 1999, 8 Sikh

Operation Blue Star[edit]

About 5000 Indian soldiers, some belonging to the regiment, mutinied after the storming of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army as part of Operation Blue Star in 1984. The Sikh Regiment's 9th battalion was disbanded after a large number of its troops mutinied.[9]

British Army Sikh Regiment[edit]

Advanced plans by the British Army to raise a Sikh infantry regiment that would recruit from the UK's Sikh community were scrapped due to accusations by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) that such a creation could be viewed as racist or sectarian. The plan had many supporters, including Prince Charles.[10]

Gallantry awards[edit]

The museum of the Sikh Regimental Centre displays a record of the Sikh Regiment in four halls viz.,

  • The Religious/Motivational Hall
  • The Hall of Heritage
  • The Regimental Glory Hall
  • The Peripheral Gallery

In all, the regiment has to its credit 1652 gallantry awards and honours including:

In addition it has also earned:

  • 75 battle honours
  • 38 theatre honours besides five COAS Unit Citations
Indian Order of Merit

21 soldiers of the 36th Sikhs were posthumously awarded the Indian Order of Merit for their actions in the Battle of Saragarhi in 1897:[11][12]

  • Hav. Ishar Singh
  • Nk. Lal Singh
  • L/Nk. Chanda Singh
  • Sep. Sundar Singh
  • Sep. Ram Singh
  • Sep. Uttar Singh
  • Sep. Sahib Singh
  • Sep. Hira Singh
  • Sep. Daya Singh
  • Sep. Jivan Singh
  • Sep. Bhola Singh
  • Sep. Narayan Singh
  • Sep. Gurmukh Singh
  • Sep. Jivan Singh
  • Sep. Gurmukh Singh
  • Sep. Ram Singh
  • Sep. Bhagwan Singh
  • Sep. Bhagwan Singh
  • Sep. Buta Singh
  • Sep. Jivan Singh
  • Sep. Nand Singh
Victoria Cross
Param Vir Chakra
Ashok Chakra
Maha Vir Chakra
  • Brig. Sant Singh
  • Maj. Ajit Singh
  • Sub. Ajit Singh
  • Sep. Amar Singh
  • Brig. Joginder Singh Bakshi
  • Maj. Amarjit Singh Bal
  • Lt. Col. Inderbal Singh Bawa
  • Sub. Nand Singh
Vir Chakra
Padma Vibhushan
  • Lt. Gen. Harbaksh Singh
Padma Bhushan
  • Lt. Gen. Harbaksh Singh

See also[edit]

Alliances[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ English: One will be blessed eternally who says that God is the ultimate truth

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. ^ http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/dehradun/lt-gen-sanjay-kumar-jha-is-head-of-ima.html
  3. ^ [ Defence review|http://mod.nic.in/samachar/18/html/ch8.htm ]
  4. ^ [Sikh review|"Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-11-02. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) ]
  5. ^ [ Global security |http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/army-equipment-mech.htm ]
  6. ^ "No. 22176". The London Gazette. 24 August 1858. p. 3903.
  7. ^ Pandey, Geeta (5 December 2011). "India polo match honours Sikhs' 1897 Saragarhi battle". British Broadcasting Corporation. bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Defence of Srinagar 1947". Indian Defence Review. Archived from the original on 18 March 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1984/07/02/world/general-promises-to-punish-sikh-mutineers.html
  10. ^ "UK Sikh regiment". Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on November 18, 2007. Retrieved 26 November 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ "No. 26937". The London Gazette. 11 February 1898. p. 863.
  12. ^ Regimental numbers from photo of Saragarhi memorial plaque

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]