Rajputana Rifles

Rajputana Rifles

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=The Rajputana Rifles

caption=The Rajputana Rifles Insignia
dates=1775 - Present
motto="Veer Bhogya Vasundhara (The Brave Enjoy the Earth)"
identification_symbol=Bugle and Cords, all below a pair of crossed Katars (Rajput daggers)
colors="Raja Ram Chandra Ki Jai (Victory to Raja Ram Chandra)"
colors_label=War Cry
nickname="Raj Rif"
decorations=1 Param Vir Chakra, 1 Ashok Chakra, 1 Padma Bhushan, 11 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, 10 Maha Vir Chakras, 8 Kirti Chakras, 11 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 1 Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, 41 Vir Chakras, 25 Shaurya Chakras, 112 Sena Medals (including Bar), 36 Vishisht Seva Medals, 2 Yudh Seva Medals, 85 Mention-in-Despatches and 55 Arjuna Awards.
battle_honours=Poonch, Asal Uttar, Charwa, Basantar and Myanamati.
The Rajputana Rifles are the most senior rifle regiment of the Indian Army. They were formerly called the 6th Rajputana Rifles when part of the British Indian Army.

The Name

The name Rajputana Rifles is derived from the Hindi word "Rajputana" which was the old name of Rajasthan. It is based on the Sanskrit word "Rajputra" meaning son of a king.

Origins of the regiment

The regiment's origins lie the 18th century when the East India Company recruited Rajputs to protect its operations. The impressive performance of the French local units which were composed of local recruits mixed with french officers, helped the company to decide that it needed to do something similar. In January 1775, it raised its first local infantry units which included the 5th battalion of the Bombay Sepoys. The 5th battalion was successively redesignated as the 9th Battalion Bombay Sepoys in 1778, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1796, 4th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1824 and then the 4th Regiment Native Infantry (Rifle Corps) in 1881. [http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/indianinfantry/104thwellesleys.htm Britishempire.co.uk - 104th Wellesley's Rifles] ] It thus became the first Rifle Regiment of the Indian Army.Fact|date=July 2008 In 1899 the battalion was once more renamed as 4th Regiment (1st Battalion Rifle Corps) Bombay Infantry and again in 1901 as 4th Bombay Rifles.

In reorganisation of the Indian Army by Kitchener in 1903 the 4th Bombay Rifles became the 104th Wellesley’s Rifles, to commemorate the fact that the regiment had been commanded by Arthur Wellesley (later to become the Duke of Wellington) in 1800. [Mackenzie (1951), p. 25] In the army's reorganisation in 1921, six regiments were brought together to form six battalions of the 6th Rajputana Rifles Regiment:

*1st Battalion - 104th Wellesley's Rifles
*2nd Battalion - 120th Rajputana Infantry
*3rd Battalion - 122nd Rajputana Infantry
*4th Battalion - 123rd Outram's Rifles
*5th Battalion - 125th Napier's Rifles
*10th (Training) Battalion - 13th Rajputs (The Shekhawati Regiment)

In 1945 the regiments of the British Indian Army dropped the numeral in their titles and so the Rajputanas assumed their current name. In 1947 the regiment was allocated to India when the sub-continent became independent from the British Empire. In 1949, the 1st Battalion was elevated to the status of guards, becoming the 3rd Battalion, Brigade of the Guards.


In 1817 the 4th Battalion met the Marathas in Battle of Khadki. The defence earned the regiment the battle honor of "Khadki". In 1856–57 the 1st, 2nd and 4th battalions were together in the Persian theatre of operations. In 1856 Captain J. A. Wood of 2nd battalion (then the 20th Bombay Native Infantry) was awarded the Victoria Cross for storming Reshire Fort. This was the first Victoria Cross to be won in an Indian unit. [Mackenzie (1951), p. 131] In the same battle Subedar Major Mohammed Sharief and Subedar Peer Bhatt were recommended for the Victoria Cross but were turned down as at that time the medal category was not open to Indians.


The First World War saw the regiment fight in battlefields from France to Palestine. The 5th Battalion was in all theatres of the war and participated in General Allenby’s march to recapture Jerusalem. In this march the units got the better of their German and Turkish opponents.


*GBR - The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment; 5th Bn

External links

* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/rgt-rajputana.htm Rajputana Rifles on globalsecurity.org]
* [http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/ISSUE5-1/subra.html Rajputana Rifles - L. N. Subramaniam]




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