Pre Independence Infantry Regiments of The Indian Army

Map of India Showing Location of Pre-independence Infantry-Regiments and their Regimental Centres
Map of India depicting location of Pre-independence Infantry-Regiments and their Regimental Centres

The Infantry Regiments of the Indian Army have a glorious track record of fighting against the enemies till the end. Some well-known regiments were established before India got its independence during the British occupation era. They were essentially part of the British Army, and after independence, these regiments were inducted in the Indian Army. Since then, they have been proudly serving the nation.

Have a look at some prominent and historical Infantry Regiments of India:

1. Punjab Regiment

The Punjab Regiment is one of the oldest regiments of the Indian Army. It was established in 1761 at the time of Carnatic Wars. The regiment is famous due to its depictions in Indian films. The army unit in the movie ‘Border’ was a company of the Punjab Regiment. Its headquarter is in Ramgarh Cantonment, Jharkhand.

The regiment is known for its bravery and sacrifice for the motherland. Therefore, the regiment has bagged several battle honours. It has 19 regular battalions. There are two war cries of the Punjab Regiment. Sikhs can say ‘Jo Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akal’ while non-Sikhs can say ‘Bolo Jwala Ma Ki Jai’. Its motto is ‘Sthal Wa Jal’ which means ‘By Land and Sea’.

2.The Sikh Light infantry

The Sikh Light infantry is an integral part of the Indian Army. It is said that the British Army recruited Mazhabi Sikhs and Ramdasis. They were famous for their bravery. The designation of Sikh Light Infantry was given in 1944.

The regiment mostly recruits the Sikh community of three states Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab. The motto of the Sikh Light infantry is ‘Deg Tegh Fateh’. Its meaning is prosperity in peace but victory in war. This motto is related to the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Govind Singh. The battle cry of the infantry is Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal (He who cries God is Truth, is ever Happy). Its headquarter is in Fatehgarh, Uttar Pradesh.

3. Maratha Light Infantry

The Maratha Light Infantry is one of the oldest light infantry regiments of the Indian Army. Its origin can be traced to the Bombay Sepoys in 1768. The record of the Maratha Light Infantry is worth its weight in gold. Therefore, the regiment has been honoured with many gallantries and distinguished service medals.

The battle cry of this regiment is “Bola Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jai” (Say Victory To King Shivaji). The motto of the infantry is ‘Duty, Honour, Courage’. The Maratha Light Infantry on July 14, 2009, led the 221st Bastille day celebration parade at Champs-Élysées, Paris. Belgaum, Karnataka is the headquarter of Maratha Light Infantry.

4. The Rajputana Rifles

As the name suggests, they belonged to the land of brave hearts. The Rajputs have an illustrious history of courage. Rajputana Rifles came into force in 1775, and it also served the British Army. Since independence, the Rajputana Rifles has been a part of the Indian Army.

It is India’s first rifle regiment, and most importantly they had participated in almost all battles against Pakistan. The motto of Rajputana Rifles is ‘Veer Bhogya Vasundhara’ which means ‘The brave shall inherit the Earth’. Its battle cry is “Raja Ramchandra ki Jai” (Hail Lord Rama). Its headquarter is in Delhi Cantonment of the national capital.

5. Jat Regiment

The Jat Regiment is one of the longest-serving and decorated regiments in the Indian Army. The British included Jats for the first time in 1795 in the Calcutta Native Militia. The regiment is known for its bravery and enthusiasm. Therefore, the Jat Regiment has bagged numerous battalion honours between 1839 and 1947 in its kitty.

After independence, jawans of the battalion have shown the same bravery and received many gallantry awards such as Mahavir Chakra and Kirti Chakra for their stupendous bravery. The war cry of the regiment is “Jat Balwan, Jai Bhagwan” (The Jat is powerful, victory to god!) and their motto is “Sangathan Va Veerta” (Unity And Valour). The Jat Regiment has 20 battalions with two reserve battalions. The headquarter of Jat Regiment is in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.

6. Kumaon Regiment

The Kumaon Regiment is a prestigious infantry regiment in the Indian Army. It was raised in 1813, but the first Kumaon battalion was formed in Ranikhet during the First World War on October 23, 1917. The Kumaon Regiment also participated in both World Wars. The regiment comprises 80 per cent of Kumaonis and 20 per cent of Ahirs.

The motto of the regiment is Parakramo Vijayate (Valour Triumphs). Surprisingly, the regiment has three war cries – Kalika Mata Ki Jai (Victory to the Great Goddess Kali), Bajrang Bali Ki Jai (Victory to Bajrang Bali), and Dada Kishan Ki Jai (Victory to Dada Kishan – a form of Krishna). Something special about the Kumaon Regiment is that it has produced three army chiefs. The headquarters of Kumaon Regiment is in Ranikhet, Uttarakhand.

7. The Garhwal Rifles

The Garhwal Rifles is a well-known regiment of the Indian Army. It was formed in 1887, and at that time, it was known as the 39th (Garhwal Regiment) in the British Indian Army. After independence, it became a part of the Indian Army. The Garhwal Rifles also participated in both the World Wars. Currently, it has 21 regular battalions. The Garhwal Rifles have always shown their bravery on the battlefield.

It had participated in the India-China war in 1962, and its 4th battalion gave a bloody reply to the Chinese force. In the 1965 war against Pakistan, the Garhwal Rifles provided a tough challenge to its nemesis. The motto of the Garhwal Rifles is “Yudhaya krit nischya” (“fight with determination”) while its war cry is “Badri Vishal Lal ki jai” (“victory to the Great Lord Badri Nath”). The headquarter of the Garhwal Rifles is in Lansdowne, Uttarakhand.

8. The Madras Regiments

The Madras Regiment was formed in 1758 by the British to fight against the French Army for the conquest of the south-eastern coastal part of the Indian subcontinent. It has the distinction to participate in all the wars since independence which India has fought.

The regiment has also served the country in India’s highest battlefield Siachen. Currently, the regiment has 21 battalions. The war cry of the Madras Regiment is “Veera Madrassi, Adi Kollu, Adi Kollu”. (Brave Madrassi, Hit and Kill, Hit and Kill!) while its motto is “Swadharme nidhanam shreyaha” (“it is a glory to die doing one’s duty”). The headquarter of the Madras Regiment is in Wellington, Tamil Nadu.

9. The Dogra Regiment

The Dogra Regiment traces its origin back to the year 1858. But in 1877, the British Indian Army formed the 37th Dogras. At the time of independence, the regiment became a part of the Indian Army. Currently, it has 19 battalions.

The Dogra Regiment soldiers have bagged several gallantry awards before and post-independence. The motto of the regiment is Kartavyam Anvatma (Duty Before Death), and the war-cry of the Dogra Regiment is Jwala Mata Ki Jai (Victory to Goddess Jwala). The headquarters of the Dogra Regiment is at Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh.

10. The Jammu and Kashmir Rifles

The Jammu and Kashmir Rifles was formed in 1821. It had fought many wars for the British and also participated in World War-II. It has also fought with distinction in the 1962 war against China. The Jammu and Kashmir Rifles fought against Pakistan in the Kargil war in 1999. Captain Vikram Batra of 13 J&K Rifles had shown a high level of bravery against the Pakistani Army; he was honoured with Pramveer Chakra for the courage he showed in the war.

At present, it has 21 battalions. The J&K Rifles’ headquarter is at Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The motto of the regiment is “Prashata ranvirta” (“valour in battle is praiseworthy”) while its war cry is “Durga Mata ki jai” (“Victory to Goddess Durga”).

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