quick reads

The big news: BJP, Congress-JD(S) alliance to meet Karnataka governor today, and 9 other top stories

Other headlines: Dust storm lashed Delhi and surrounding areas again, and North Korea threatened to cancel summit with Donald Trump over military drills.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Congress leads in vote share, but BJP emerges as single largest party in Karnataka: The new Congress-JD(S) alliance and the BJP have both approached Governor Vajubhai Vala, seeking to form a government.
  2. Dust storm lashes Delhi, NCR again in early hours of Wednesday: There have been no reports of casualties so far.  
  3. North Korea threatens to cancel summit with Trump over military drills between US and the South: Pyongyang said the air drills were a provocation that countered the positive political development in the Korean Peninsula.
  4. Toll rises to 18 after under-construction flyover collapses in Varanasi: Three people were rescued, several labourers are feared trapped under the debris.
  5. Centre has no plans to regulate news websites, says I&B minister Rajyavardhan Rathore: He said that the media should adopt self-regulation as it is the voice of the people.  
  6. West Bengal election body orders re-election in 568 booths after violence: As many as 23 people have died in the violence so far.  
  7. Turkey asks Israel ambassador to leave after clashes along Gaza border over relocation of US embassy: The country has also asked its envoys stationed in the United States and Israel to return.
  8. ‘Unwind at our resorts’, Kerala Tourism advises new Karnataka MLAs after unclear poll result: The BJP has emerged the single-largest party, though it is nine seats short of the required majority of 113 seats.  
  9. Several feared missing after boat capsizes in Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh: All the occupants of the boat were purportedly members of the Kondareddi tribal community.  
  10. Facebook publishes first content moderation report, shows rise in graphic violence posts in 2018: The report also contains data about the site’s regulation of posts on adult nudity, sexual activity, terrorist propaganda, hate speech, spam, and fake accounts.
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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.