quick reads

The big news: Complaint against Malayalam song featuring Priya Varrier, and 9 other top stories

Other headlines: The Delhi Police arrested a suspected Indian Mujahideen militant, and Punjab National Bank reported fraud transactions worth Rs 10,000 crore.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Complaint filed against viral song ‘Manikya Malarayi Poovi’ for allegedly hurting Muslim sentiments: A police officer said the complainants had been asked to provide video proof of their claims.
  2. Suspected Indian Mujahideen militant who was on the run since Batla House encounter arrested: More than 165 people have died in the incidents that Aziz Khan was involved in, the Delhi Police said.
  3. Punjab National Bank detects fraudulent transactions worth Rs 10,000 crore: The bank’s share price fell in early trading on Wednesday, after it informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.
  4. Police say they have arrested main accused in Allahabad Dalit student’s murder: On Wednesday, the police had said that Vijay Shankar Singh had links with Rashtriya Lok Dal politician Sonu Singh.
  5. Former Bombay HC judge raises doubts over past hearings in Sohrabuddin case: Justice AM Thipsay wants the High Court to take a look at the case again.
  6. Centre cannot force states to pay for its healthcare scheme, says West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee: The Trinamool leader has threatened to opt out of the massive scheme.
  7. NIA summons 3 officials from Nagaland CM’s office in connection with an extortion case, say reports: The officers’ name came up during an investigation into the payments made to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Khaplang from state funds.
  8. Two labourers in Bengaluru cleaning septic tank die, police book restaurant management: A police officer said the workers had no safety gear and were not trained in manual scavenging.
  9. Cape Town reduces water consumption, taps will not run dry till June: The country declared the drought a national disaster, which means the central government will take over relief work.
  10. Kasganj violence not a communal riot, was only a group clash, says Uttar Pradesh DGP: OP Singh claimed that there have been no riots in the state for the past one year.
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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.

Play

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.