#DefenseDiaries: Indian Army's Gorkha Rifles celebrates 200 years of service
The Indian Army's 9th Gorkha Rifles (GR) regiment is celebrating 200 years of its raising with a grand two-day function. Army chief General Bipin Rawat, who is from the 11th GR, will be the chief guest. Members of the Army's seven Gorkha Rifles regiments have long been among India's oldest, fiercest, most loyal and decorated servicemen. In this timeline, we pay homage to them!
Gorkhas don't fear death
The Indian Army's first Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, a Gorkha Rifles officer, once famously said, "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gorkha."
Maharaja Ranjit Singh first inducted Gorkhas to his military
The Sikh emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the first to induct Gorkhas, ethnic Nepalis, in his military around 1809-1814. In 1815, the British East India Company recognized their bravery and raised the "Nusseree" Gorkha battalion at Subathu (Himachal Pradesh). This later became the 1st GR after India's Independence. The 9th GR was raised by the British in 1817 as the 'Fatehgarh Levy'.
Gorkhas continue serving in the Indian and British armies
The Army currently has seven Gorkha Rifle regiments - 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, and 11th. Overall, around 32,000 Nepali Gorkhas serve in these regiments, which are each divided into five-six battalions of 800 soldiers. The British Army got the 2nd, 6th, 7th and 10th regiments after India's Independence. The Gorkhas continued serving for the British.
Gorkhas have served all major Indian wars and conflicts
The Gorkhas fought for the British in the First (1845-1846) and Second (1848-1849) Anglo-Sikh wars; Indian Mutiny (1857-1859); Second Afghan War (1878-1880); and the First (1914-1918) and Second (1939-1945) World Wars. Since India's Independence, the Gorkhas fought in the Indo-Pak wars of 1947, 1965, 1971 and Kargil (1999) and the Sino-Indian Conflict (1962). They've also conducted anti-insurgency operations in Kashmir and deployed in Siachen.
"Jai Maha Kali, Aayo Gorkhali!" war cry infuses fear
The Gorkhas are renowned the world-over for their bravery, discipline and fighting skills. Their spine-chilling battle cry "Jai Maha Kali, Aayo Gorkhali! (Hail Goddess Kali, the Gorkhas are here!)" and the brandishing of their signature Khukri knives have terrified many a foe to submission. They live by their motto, "Kafar hunu bhanda marnu ramro!" (It's better to die than be a coward!)
GR among the Army's most decorated regiments
The GR is among the Army's most decorated regiments, having earned 117 gallantry and distinguished awards since Independence. This includes three Param Vir Chakras. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, current Army chief General Rawat, former chief General Dalbir Singh (among other chiefs) are all from GR.