quick reads

The big news: Delhi HC restores membership of 20 disqualified AAP MLAs, and nine other top stories

Other headlines: Counting of votes cast in the Rajya Sabha polls is under way, and Karti Chidambaram was granted bail in the INX Media money laundering case.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Delhi High Court sets aside EC’s recommendations to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs: The poll monitoring body will now hear the case afresh.
  2. Jaitley wins Rajya Sabha seat from Uttar Pradesh, Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi bags West Bengal one: Counting began in Uttar Pradesh two hours after it started in the other states.
  3. Delhi High Court grants bail to Karti Chidambaram in INX Media case: The CBI had opposed his bail plea, saying he was an influential person and had destroyed evidence in the case..
  4. Anna Hazare starts hunger strike in Delhi for Lokpal, claims Centre cancelled trains to stall protests: ‘This sly attitude of the government is not done,’ the social activist said.
  5. Parliament adjourned for the day as Opposition’s protests disrupt proceedings in both Houses: Venkaiah Naidu said the three-week-long disruption had no justification.
  6. Election Commission to review association with Facebook after data breach scandal, says Indian Express report: In July 2017 the panel and the social media platform sent all Indian users reminders to register as voters, in 13 Indian languages.
  7. Indians can sell their data to get better healthcare and easier loans, says Nandan Nilekani: He said India could be the first country in the world to have a ‘data empowerment infrastructure’ for its people.
  8. 13 dead, 27 injured in fire at high-rise building in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City: The fire broke out in the basement parking area of a residential complex with more than 700 apartments in Ho Chi Minh City
  9. We want to resolve diplomats’ harassment row soon as it affects ties, says Pakistan envoy: Sohail Mahmood returned to New Delhi on Thursday night, a week after Islamabad summoned him ‘to consult’ on the reports.
  10. Kerala Police register case against professor under fire for making sexist remarks: Jouhar Munavvir T created a furore by saying that Muslim women who do not wear the hijab properly expose their breasts deliberately like sliced watermelon.
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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.