Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Indian army begins discarding colonial practices on PM’s call

Days after the Indian Navy adopted a new naval ensign, dropping the British-era legacy of the Saint George’s Cross, the Army too initiated the process of discarding colonial practices followed by the force. 

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directions, some of the existing customs and traditions of the Army, including uniforms and accoutrements, regulations, and laws that have their roots in the colonial era, will undergo a change.

“Some of the legacies practices which require a review like customs and traditions from the colonial and pre-colonial era, army uniforms and accourtment, regulations, laws, rules, policies, unit establishment, institutes of colonial past, English names of some units, renaming the name of buildings, establishments, roads, parks, an institution like Auchinleck or Kitchener House,” an Army document said.

“While doing away with the British colonial legacy, it is essential to move away from the archaic and ineffective practices. The Army also needs to review these legacy practices to align with the national sentiment in consonance with the five vows that the Prime Minister has asked people to follow,” an Army headquarters official said.

The list of items being reviewed includes the pre-independence theatre/battle honours awarded by the British to quell the Indian states and freedom and affiliation with Commonwealth Graves Commission. This includes practices like the grant of honorary Commissions and ceremonies like beating the retreat and the regimented system.

The names and Insignia in Unit, Crest of Colonial times, along with officers’ mess procedures and traditions and customs would also be reviewed. Units, establishments, and institutes especially those carrying an English name, including the Pune-based Queen Mary’s Technical Institute for Differently Abled Soldiers, are also likely to be reviewed.

The efforts are in line with the ‘Aazadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ – India’s 75th year of Independence and its 100th year of Independence, which will be celebrated in 2047. Notably earlier this year, the traditional hymn ‘Abide With Me’ was dropped for the first time since 1950 in the Beating Retreat ceremony on January 29 and was replaced by the Hindi patriotic song ‘Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon.’

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