quick reads

The big news: Yogi Adityanath says there’s no discrimination in Ram Rajya, and 9 other top stories

Other headlines: US said India could help it keep an eye on Pakistan and Afghanistan, and singer Harshita Dahiya was shot dead in Haryana’s Panipat.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. ‘There is no discrimination in Ram Rajya’, says Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath in Ayodhya: Before the chief minister’s speech, artistes dressed as Ram, Sita and Lakshman arrived at the Ram Katha Park in Ayodhya in a helicopter.
  2. United States will need India’s help to keep an eye on Pakistan, says UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: She said the key to making India a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council is to ‘not touch the veto’.
  3. Singer Harshita Dahiya shot dead in Haryana’s Panipat: The police suspect that the 22-year-old Delhi resident was killed because of personal enmity.    
  4. Delhi Police have arrested 29 people since October 9 for selling firecrackers: In its crackdown across 13 police districts, officers seized more than 1,200 kg of crackers since the Supreme Court order from October 9.
  5. It’s a ‘new era’ of Chinese power, President Xi Jinping says at Communist Party meet: The closed-door summit, which takes place once in five years, decides who will rule China and comes up with a plan for country for the next term.   
  6. Sensex, Nifty decline in morning trade after Axis Bank reports disappointing second-quarter earnings: The private lender was the top loser at the Bombay Stock Exchange, followed by ICICI Bank, Cipla, SBI and Asian Paints.   
  7. FIR filed against former Goa BJP MLA and publisher for vulgar language in book of Konkani poems: An activist had lodged a complaint against Vishnu Surya Wagh and Hema Naik, alleging that the compilation contained obscene and derogatory comments about women. 
  8. Harvey Weinstein resigns from Weinstein Company board after multiple complaints of sexual harassment: Meanwhile, his younger younger brother Bob Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment by a female producer who worked with the company.   
  9. Man accused in 2016 murder of two BJP workers in Kerala made a CPI(M) branch secretary: The saffron party said the promotion goes ‘against all the democratic norms known in this country’.   
  10. Seven policemen killed in roadside bomb blast in Pakistan’s Quetta: A vehicle ferrying 35 police officers may have been the target, say sources in the security forces.   
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Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

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The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.