‘REViVE CHaMaR REGiMEnt’
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.”