Indian Army undermines Bengalis

While India proclaims itself as not only a secular country but also a country, where people of every religion, sect and language enjoy equal status, the Indian Army very unfortunately has been undermining the vast Bangla speaking population in West Bengal by ignoring the justified demand of forming Bengal Regiment. Currently there are 23 Regiments in Indian Army namely Brigade of the Guards Regiment, Bihar Regiment, Parachute Regiment, Punjab Regiment, Madras Regiment, Grenadiers Regiment, Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, Rajputana Rifles, Rajput Regiment, Jat Regiment, Sikh Regiment, Sikh Light Infactry, Dogra Regiment, Garhwal Rifles, Kumaon Regiment, Jammy & Kashmir Rifles, Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry, Assam Regiment, Mahar Regiment, Mechanized Infantry Regiment, Nagara Regiment, Ladakh Scouts and Assam Rifles. Political parties, rights groups and members of the civil societies as well as retired army officers in Bengal had loudly voiced against such serious discrimination of the Indian Army, which has been under the tight grips of non-Bengali politicians and policymakers.

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While Indian policymakers are continuing to undermine the emotions and sentiments of Bangla speaking millions of people, the mindset of the senior military officials in India (all of whom are non Bengalis), project Bengalis as cowards and funnies thus such wrong impression of the bosses of Indian Army are very often projected in non-Bengali movies made in Bollywood and other cine industries in India. The Trinamool Congress, under the leadership of Mamata Bannerjee had been extremely vocal against the Centre for ignoring its demand of formation of the Bengal Regiment on the basis of language and province. Trinamool Congress terms such tendencies of the Centre as double standard. Though Trinamool leaders decided to write letter to Defence Minister A K Antony urging him to explain why a separate Bengal regiment in the Indian Army can’t be raised on the lines of Bihar, Rajasthan, and Sikh Army Regiments – the matter had been kept pending as India’s former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee (who now is the President) had made numerous pledges to Mamata Bannerjee and other figures in the West Bengal of raising this important issue with the policymakers in the Centre.

Earlier, one of the leaders of Trinamool Congress asked Rajya Sabha on whether the Centre has any plan to raise new regiment on the basis of language, religion and province. In reply to the question, which was treated as unstarred one, the Defence Ministry gave a written reply that it has no plan to raise new regiment in the Indian Army on the basis of religion and province on policy grounds.

Questioning this decision of the Indian Defence ministry, a leader of Trinamool Congress said, “Why in that case there are separate Indian Army regiments for Bihar, Rajasthan and Sikh? The Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states that there will not be any discrimination on the basis of religion and province?”

Asked what will the Trinamool do if a separate Army regiment is not raised for Bengal, the leader said they will “take up the matter politically”. “So many youths from Bengal have laid down their lives while protecting the country. Several Bengalis have occupied important portfolios in all the three forces of Indian Army.”

It may be mentioned here that, during British rule, British Indian Army had Bengal Regiment, which was given to a large number of infantry regiments. These regiments were originally raised by the East India Company as part of the Army of Bengal, which was one of the three presidency armies that were absorbed into British Indian Army in 1903. Composing mainly of recruits from the British Indian province of Bengal, following the partitioning of India and its independence from Britain, such regiments have been carried over into the Indian Army, the Pakistan Army and the Bangladesh Army where they continue to serve today. As a point of history, most regiments in the Bengal Army were dismantled by the British in the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, because the anti-British mutiny was believed to have been started because of disaffection amongst the sepoys and sowars of the Army of Bengal. One of the main actors of the mutiny, Mangal Pandey belonged to the 34th Bengal Native Infantry, and it was the incident on March 29, 1857 at Barrackpore when he injured the adjutant, Lieutenant Baugh, with a sword after shooting him, that is said to have started the mutiny.

Commenting on Indian Army’s wrongful attitude of undermining Bengalis, a West-Bengal based journalist said, “The reason heroic people of Bangladesh waged against West Pakistan citing examples of discrimination towards Bangla speaking population in East Pakistan, now millions of Bangla speaking population in India has the rights to demand independence from New Delhi’s clutches, if they are not provided due respect, dignity and honor by the non-Bengali policymakers in the Centre.”

When he was reminded that Indian policymakers in the Centre has recently placed a Bengali like Pranab Mukherjee into Presidency, the journalist said, “Pranab Mukherjee has been totally polluted with similar notions of those anti-Bengali policymakers in the Centre and he (Pranab Mukherjee) is simply a clown of the Bengali haters in the Centre, who is more harmful than those identified opponents. For many reasons we have to believe that Pranab Mukherjee is a planted agent and snake into Bengalis sleeves.”

DISCLAIMER: The content is author’s own view and analysis. Times of Assam isn’t liable for the content.

About Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is our Managing Editor. He is in charge of International affairs and Counter-Militancy reporting. He is the editor of the Bangladesh based English weekly tabloid “Weekly Blitz” – the most influential anti-Jihadist newspaper in Bangladesh. He is awarded PEN USA Freedom to Write Award in 2005; AJC Moral Courage Award in 2006 and Key to the Englewood City, NJ, USA [Highest Honor] in 2007; Monaco Media Award in 2007.

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13 Responses to "Indian Army undermines Bengalis"

  1. Kamal  August 28, 2012 at 07:42 AM

    A narrow minded thinking by the
    writter. Bengalee Bengalee
    Bengalee…..Bengalee speaking,
    Bengalee people, Anti-Bengalee
    people…….!!!! What the writter
    wants to say…? Does he know how many languages are there in
    India ??? If every onee of them
    demand a separate rifles what
    would happen…..BULLSHIT !!! Talks
    about Movies in bollywood where
    a majority is Bengalee…

    Reply
  2. Raj  August 28, 2012 at 04:34 PM

    India has 30 states and “thousands” of ethnicities, do you expect the Indian Army to have thousands of regiments just to satisfy the petty minded ego’s of a few people ??

    West Bengal is one of the smallest states in India with a relatively small population compared to Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh etc. According to the silly arguments of this article, states like Karnataka, Andhra, etc should get regiments FIRST before West Bengal!

    The Indian Army is a apolitical body whose job it is to protect INDIA, not a organization created to satisfy the region ego’s of Bengalis, Assamese or anybody else! If West Bengal wants the Indian Army to form a BENGAL Regiment, perhaps the people of West Bengal can PAY for it because the Indian Army cannot as it doesn’t have the funds or the requirement.

    Reply
    • Debashree  August 29, 2012 at 09:24 PM

      Raj, its not voice/demand of citizens of Bengal. Whether its Army, Navy or Air Force or even MoD, many bengalis are holding key portfolios from top to bottom without getting any discrimination from anybody. There is enough example of Bengali commanders who are commanding the armed forces from Headquarters level to regiment/station/unit level. S Mukerjee, the first Chief of Indian Air Force is just one of the examples. The number of fields where Bengalis are example for other is too large and there is no field where Bengalis are legging behind others. So common bengali people never feel the need of separate regiments for them. Only the political culture of Bengal has got deteriorated overt the years and this article is serving just as a mouth piece of dirty political mind of some people who have not grown upt to a level to contribute anything positive to the Bengali community.

      Reply
  3. mr.bignoise  September 01, 2012 at 07:31 AM

    Wonder if beta sala uddin enjoys writing imaginary ills of India in the grab of epar bangla opar bangla ????? I am appaled at the filth thrown on Poltuda (present rastrapati), though I am not a Bengali.

    Reply
  4. Soumya Bose  May 28, 2014 at 04:06 PM

    We can’t ignore the fact that the first organized Indian army was created by a Bengali, perhaps the greatest Indian, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. Can we forget commanders like Rashbehari Bose? The history speaks why the Britis dismantled the Bengali regiment. So isn’t it true that Bristih were actually afraid of Bengalis, Bengali freedom fighters and radicals. The state, which has contributed the most in Indian freedom struggle, can’t deserve a regiment in the great Indian army dedicated to it’s name? Thanks Salauddin for brininging this up.

    Reply
  5. Arup Dutta  August 17, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    @Kamal.. Who cares about what you think.. some time later you too would end up asking for a regiment in favour of your state in the INDIAN Army… Why so concerned about others…

    @Raj… Which state do you belong to !!! Already have a regiment in its favour ??? Why discourage others… You too come and ask for it.. OR are you done with it..

    Reply
  6. Subhankar Banerjee  April 06, 2015 at 09:59 PM

    As a bengali, i also want this to happen. I also want to join the indian army and i donot want to be underrestinated by the officials. So my request if you cannot set up a bengal regiment then atleast give us the respect we deserve. Don’t forget, the azad hind army was created by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a bengali, which had many bengali soldiers in it.

    Reply
  7. Deb  April 16, 2015 at 03:46 PM

    @Raj
    On the contrary, both in terms of contribution to India’s GDP and population, West Bengal is far bigger than AP, Karnataka etc. And if Bengal has to pay for it’s own army, then how about West Bengal separating from India as even prior to 1947, Bengalis didn’t want to be a part of either Pakistan or India. Post independence, West Bengal has only faced discrimination and loot from non Bengali policy makers seated in New Delhi.

    It’s appalling that Bangladesh happens to be the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping whereas there are hardly any Bengalis in Indian Army. Bengali happens to be the most spoken language in India after Hindi, but when it comes to recruitment in army or other Hindi controlled Govt of India jobs Bengalis are discriminated blatantly. Spineless traitorous leaders like Pranab Mukherjee have done more harm than good for Bengal and Bengalis. It’s time Bengalis elected leaders who can get Bengal it’s dues or separate from a fake country made successive waves of foreign invaders.

    Reply
  8. shamik banerjee  September 14, 2015 at 12:12 AM

    you can write all these things so freely because India has become independent today…and bengalis were the backbone of this achievement….if you want example you need to read history…you are now protecting an independent country , so salute to you…but our freedom fighters earned this freedom and most of them were bengalis.

    Reply
  9. biswajit  November 06, 2015 at 04:01 PM

    All bengalis want BENGAL REGIMENT except politician.

    Reply
  10. abhinav singh Rajput  November 15, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    Anyone can not justify the forming of bengal regiment because of
    1. There are may be few bengalis who wants to serve as a army and die for nation. If you want to compare with rajputs jatts dogra , gorkha regiment , they are born as a warrior, and war is a like a game for them to show their skills and love to die for nation.I have seen some begalis who joins army but during traing session they left, if such people go on war front want will they ….do haaaaa haaa
    2.They are few in number in army as compared to Rajputs, Jatts. Gorkha, and Sikh.
    3 . How many bengali got any braveru award im any war.
    4.They are not physically and mentally strong enough.

    Reply
    • Chiranjeet  May 04, 2016 at 10:11 AM

      Yes bro we know Rajput’s r borned worriors as we know Jodha Akbar ki shaadi…. And what abt Netaji..

      Reply
  11. Soumya Bhattacharya  December 01, 2015 at 04:13 PM

    Most of the speakers views are totally biased. Its not a question of who’s is physically and mentally strong. Well if u talk about mental strength and capabilities, then Bengal has time and again proved her efficacy be it in science and technology and research in India and abroad. If I am correct, today’s warfare in addition to valor is also a technology driven warfare and bengalis have enough grey matter. Everyone is free to have their opinion. On question of physical strength, yes one can understand the sentiments of sikhs, jats, gorkhas and rajputs. If that is correct then what is the point of having assamese and bihari regiments, I am quite sure that bengal is equal if not better than these ethnic groups. The main problem is politics, there is no one to promote Bengal. One must remember we have had Bengali army chiefs and air force chiefs in the past and had a Bengal regiment in British India which was dismantled, again due to political reasons and not merit. The ultimate decision will be taken politically and army top bosses, so I would say THERE SHOULD BE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR EVERYONE. IF BENGALIS PROVE THEIR MERIT, THEY SHOULD BE GIVEN A FAIR CHANCE. That is the least one can expect in a democracy. Lets not the sikhs, jats, gorkhas and rajputs decide everything; other wise take only these people at the entry level. Then what is the use of the NATIONAL ARMY CONCEPT.

    Reply

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