quick reads

The big news: Congress says it will stake claim to form government in Goa, and 9 other top stories

Other headlines: The Trinamool Congress won 16,166 out of 31,836 panchayat seats, and the UP bridge corporation chief was sacked after a flyover collapsed.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Congress, RJD say they will stake claim to form governments in Goa, Bihar: Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form the government in Karnataka, after which Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) approached the Supreme Court.
  2. Trinamool sweeps West Bengal panchayat elections, BJP a distant second: The party has already bagged 16,166 out of 31,836 gram panchayat seats.
  3. Bridge corporation director Rajan Mittal removed from post after under-construction flyover collapses in Varanasi: The Uttar Pradesh Police said they had sent five warning letters about safety violations to the corporation.
  4. Supreme Court reserves verdict on Centre’s draft scheme for Cauvery water management: A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it could postpone the verdict to May 22 or 23 if it was not possible to pronounce it on Friday.
  5. Supreme Court collegium again defers reiterating Justice KM Joseph’s elevation to top court, say reports: The meeting was attended by all five collegium members.
  6. Kashmiri separatists dismiss Centre’s unilateral ceasefire as a ‘cosmetic measure’: The Ministry of Home Affairs had said on Wednesday that it had asked security forces not to conduct operations during Ramzan.
  7. South Korea offers to mediate as North Korea threatens to pull out of talks with the United States: Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said North Korea and the US differed over how to achieve denuclearisation.
  8. ‘These are not people, these are animals,’ says Donald Trump on deported immigrants: His statements drew criticism from those who accused him of misunderstanding the plight of the people.
  9. Uttar Pradesh CM orders closure of tanneries in Kanpur from December to March before Ardh Kumbh Mela: Adityanath convened a meeting of tannery owners and asked them to ensure that pilgrims take a dip in clean Ganga water.
  10. Former Calcutta High Court judge CS Karnan launches political party: He said his party would field only women candidates in all 543 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
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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.