The Sunday Guardian - - Covert -

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi has re­ceived a de­mand to re­vive the Chamar Reg­i­ment in the Army. The let­ter has been writ­ten by the Pun­jab State Sched­uled Castes Com­mis­sion chair­man, Ra­jesh Bagha. He has also re­quested him to set up a chair in any univer­sity to high­light the achieve­ments of the Chamar Reg­i­ment.Dur­ing the Bri­tish rule, a com­mit­tee was con­sti­tuted to find mar­tial and non-mar­tial races in In­dia and also to iden­tify mar­tial castes among the Sched­uled Castes. The re­search had ze­roed in on two SC castes—Chamar and Ma­har—as th­ese had mil­i­tary his­tory. The In­dian Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment then had con­sti­tuted the Chamar Reg­i­ment in March 1943 with its head­quar­ters in Ja­balpur (Mad­hya Pradesh).

The Chamar Reg­i­ment served the Bri­tish Army up to 1946. “It was banned due to un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances,” says Bagha adding that it took part in World War II and fought a bat­tle against the Ja­panese Im­pe­rial Army in Ko­hima. The Ko­hima Roll of Hon­our at the War Memo­rial in Ran­goon (now known as Yan­gon) lists the achieve­ments of the Chamar Reg­i­ment in the bat­tle­field. “It is strange that the Sikh Reg­i­ment, Jat Reg­i­ment, Gorkha Reg­i­ment and Do­gra Reg­i­ment formed on the ba­sis of caste or re­li­gions con­tinue to ex­ist, while the Chamar Reg­i­ment was dis­banded,” says Bagha. “As there is no reser­va­tion in the Army, the SC youths are not get­ting com­mis­sioned into it. The other castes and re­li­gions are get­ting in­di­rect reser­va­tion on ba­sis of their sta­tus of be­ing mar­tial and non-mar­tial races.”

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