quick reads

The big news: ED wants Nirav Modi’s passport revoked after bank scam, and nine other top stories

Other headlines: Many workers were trapped after under-construction building in Bengaluru collapsed, and two Air Force pilots were killed in a crash in Assam.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. ED moves Centre to cancel passports of jeweller Nirav Modi, 2 others in Punjab and National Bank scam: Congress and BJP blame each other for Nirav Modi’s alleged fraud in the Punjab National Bank scam.
  2. Under-construction building collapses in Bengaluru, many workers feared trapped: Some reports said at least three people had been killed in the collapse.
  3. Two Air Force pilots killed in crash near river island of Majuli: Wing Commanders Jai Paul James and D Vats lost their lives during a routine sortie.
  4. China objects to Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, says it will raise the matter with India: India should not take any action that may complicate the boundary question, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said.
  5. CPI(M) leader, six others arrested for assaulting four-month pregnant woman in Kerala: The woman had to undergo an abortion after the attack.  
  6. Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed as South African president a day after Jacob Zuma resigns: Ramaphosa took over the leadership of the ruling party, the African National Congress, in December 2017.  
  7. Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull bans sexual relations between ministers and their staff: He said his deputy Barnaby Joyce had made a ‘shocking error of judgment’ in having an affair with his former staffer.   
  8. Seventeen killed, many injured after former student opens fire at Florida school: The gunman was arrested in a neighbouring city about an hour after the incident.
  9. CPI(M) believes in violence and not democracy, Narendra Modi says in Agartala rally: The prime minister said that the Left was assaulting BJP workers as it is scared of a defeat in the Assembly elections.
  10. Wholesale inflation slowed in January to 2.84%, shows government data: The WPI inflation had reached an eight-month high of 3.93% in November 2017, but has come down since then.  
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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.


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.