PUNE DEFENCE NEWS

TWO CENTURIES OF GLORY AND VALOR OF GORKHA RIFLES IN INDIA

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Army chief General Bipin Rawat

Pune 10 Nov 2017 (PCP NEWS NEW DELHI) : “Jai Maha Kali, Aayo Gorkhali! (Hail Goddess Kali, the Gorkhas are here!)”, or simply “Aayo Gorkhali Charge!” The spine chilling war-cry by soldiers, brandishing deadly inwardly-curving Khukris, is usually enough to scare the wits out of most adversaries on battlefields. In the backdrop of the Gorkha Rifles having completed over 200 years of soldiering in India, the 9th Gorkha Rifles (GR) is now culminating its bicentenary celebrations with a grand reunion.

Army chief General Bipin Rawat, who is from the 11th GR, will be the chief guest during the celebrations. Director-general of military operations, Lt-Gen Anil Kumar Bhatt, himself from the 9th GR, says, “Apart from earlier battles like the ones during World Wars I and II, the 9th GR has participated in all military operations after 1947 with Honor and Valor.” Contrary to popular belief that the British East India Company was the first to recruit Gorkhas as soldiers, Army officers contend it was, in fact, Maharaja Ranjit Singh who raised a battalion of Gorkhas to serve in the Sikh Army around 1809-1814.

In the backdrop of the Gorkha Rifles having completed over 200 years of soldiering in India, the 9th GR is now culminating its bicentenary celebrations with a grand reunion and function at the 3 and 9 Gorkha Training Center in Varanasi on Thursday and Friday. From full-blown wars to the frozen frontier of Siachen, from counter-insurgency operations to the long unresolved borders with China and Pakistan, the Indian Army’s Gorkha Rifles have deservedly earned their reputation as fearless large-hearted warriors, with a distinct fondness for a tot or two of “Rakshi” (Dark Rum) and living life for the moment.

It’s no wonder the country’s first Field Marshal Sam ‘Bahadur’ Manekshaw, himself a Gorkha Rifles officer, once remarked, “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gorkha.” PCP/SDJ 13 30

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