Ultra-rare pics: Indian Army Regimental Boot Camp -- 9 Gorkha (Gurkha) Rifles
It is extremely rare to come across any pics of Indian army regimental training. Imagine my surprise when I found all these pics of the 9 Gorkha Rifles regiment enlisted boot camp.
The Indian army is incredibly diverse, and as such is divided into relatively regional/ethnic/linguistic homogeneous infantry regiments comprised for ease of communication. As such, depending on where a Jawan (soldier) is recruited, he goes to boot camp run by the regiment he is assigned to.
Most of these Regiments date back to the British Indian Army with roots and traditions dating back to pre-British Raj armies and formations. Each regiment has its own unique traditions that reflect their cultural make up that is seen in its uniform, training styles, choice of weapon, martial art and physical training. There is immense pride attached to the history, glory, battle honors and accomplishment of the regiment.
This can very much be seen in these pics from 9 Gorkha Rifles regiment, which has seen distinguished action in Europe and Asia in WW1 and WW2, 1947 Indo-Pakistan war, 1962 Indo-Pak war, 1962 India-China war, 1971 India-Pak war, and countless counter-insurgency/anti-terrorist operations in both Kashmir and in Northeast India. This regiment is comprised mostly of people from central Himalayan-bordering India (from Terai to Nepal to Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh), with regimental headquarters in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh state.
^ 9 Gorkha Rifles war veterans with their Regimental Flag and battle honors. 9 GR is unique in that its flag and pendants are masted on the Trishul, or Trident, symbol of Hindu Lord Shiva, and the weapon of eighth century Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath. Guru Gorkahnath, whom the Gorkhas (Gurkhas) are named after, led the Gorkhas and the hill people of the Himalaya to not only halt, but throw back the first Muslim advance in India, and led his Gorkha troops to liberate the Hindu frontier territory of Gandhara (now Khandahar, Afghanistan) from the waves of Muslim invasion.
Battle honors aside, their motto, Kafar Bhanda Marnu Ramro, or "better to die than live a coward" should itself be testament enough to the bravery and quality of this regiment.
The recruit training below is from the first (and as far as I know, only) comprehensive photography of Indian army recruit training, held at 9 Gorkha Rifles's Gorkha Training Centre in Varanasi, which it shares with 3 GR. The Indian army is notoriously camera-shy/secretive/paranoid/totally-ignorant-of-PR/whatever and pics are very, very hard to come by... especially intimate photos like these. Pics copyright Indiapicture.
^ A scene I'm sure is familiar to new recruits all over the world. At least the guy's got the thousand yard stare down, already.
^ HOOAH PT!! Here a drill instructor shames recruits with his sheer Bir-Gorkhaness.
^ Like all Indian Army regiments, yoga is an integral part of the physical fitness regimen which increases strength, stamina and flexibility. Each regiment has its own flavor of the art.
^ Here a drill instructor is busy 'motivating'. This particular exercise involves basically doing handstand pushups for upwards of 15-20 minutes
^ Initial Weapons training... here a drill instructor instructs recruits on the various infantry weapons used, like the INSAS, FN FAL, 7.62mm IB, etc. These pictures are several years old, and since then, army units have standardized with the INSAS system.
^ One of the unique weapons of the Gorkha regiments is the Kukhri knife, which was, as legend goes, designed from the Trishul. Here, Kukhri weapons training with traditional training shield. Most regiments have some form of unique weapon relating to their histories and ethnic groups, like the Chakram of Sikh regiments, the Dah knife of Assam rgt, etc.
^ Here an instructor demonstrates the proper use of the bayonet. I can almost hear him screaming the Gorkha war cry, "Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali" (O Goddess Khali, Here come the Gorkhas!)
^ ...and the proper use of the Kukhri (on a recruit who I assume is frozen in shock/terror.) Yikes. The blood(!) on the blade is a nice touch.
^ Except for select exercises, Drill and PT involves constant cross training with weapons.
^ COIN ops can last for weeks, with units literally living off the land in jungles and traversing dangerous terrain in full kit
^ If I saw the guy on left charging at me with a Kukhri in hand, I am not ashamed to admit that I'd probably **** myself
^ Training op tempo steps up exponentially throughout the training process
^ to live fire (ha ha, get it?) exercises
^ Seriously, though, these are all literally live-firing exercises with live munition and bullets.
^ As the weeks progress, the exercises quickly take an ominous tone, as they become modeled on real-world situations.
^ Troops are trained on a variety of weapons and kit, for real world-scenarios ranging from conventional to biological to anti-terror to COIN operations
^ Reality is a major component to these exercises, with open-ended scenarios that can go any number of ways, depending on how the recruits react to circumstances.
^ The drill instructors really get into it as well, here is one playing a villager complete with hut, goats and rural dress, during cordon search operation exercises. These are, of course, a vital component to anti-terror and COIN ops.
^ Only if a recruit successfully completes the training does he get the honor with the title of Jawan ("soldier") of the Regiment. Each regiment has its own tradition for the Passing Out ceremonies. In the Gorkha Regiments, newly graduated Jawans take an oath to Regiment and Country, over the Regimental Bagvad Gita (Hindu holy book written of Lord Krishna's discourse to General Arjuna on the Dharma ("Duty") of a soldier, during the Mahabharat War)
^ The final part of the ceremony is the honor of receiving the Kukhri sidearm, which will follow the Jawan to battle for the rest of his career and beyond.
^ The Honor Guard salutes their new comrades. Note the distinctive ceremonial uniform of 9 Gorkha Rifles Rgt
^ The new recruits then proudly march off
^ As the band plays "Bir Gorkhali", and there is much celebrating. Note the Band's Regimental Dress.
^ A new Jawan of the 9 GR reads about the humbling honors that his Regiment earned, after the parade.
^ A new Jawan of 3 GR regiment, who shares the Varanasi Gorkha Training Centre, sharpens his Kukhri after the parade.
Did u notice the medals of the two dudes in the first pic. I notice a MVC i think. But the guy in the back any ideas what the para-badge is. its not the regular Balidan or jump wings. Its in the place where the combat divers badge should be. If I am not mistaken that is the SFF special group wings. For the unintiated the SFF-SG or the Special frontier force Special group is what would be the Indian equivalent of Delta or matkal. This is not the para-SF but a step ahead. If I am right this is indeed a rare picture.