THE IDIAN PRESIDENT'S BODYGUARD
The President's Bodyguard (PBG), as is known today, was raised in 1773 at Benares by the then Governor, Warren Hastings. Since being first christened as 'The Guard of Moguls' in 1773, the Regiment has had various titles viz. 'The Governor General's Bodyguard (GGBG)' in 1784, 'The Viceroy's Bodyguard' in 1858, the '44th Divisional Reconnaissance Squadron GGBG' in 1944, before getting back it's old title 'The Governor General's Bodyguard' in 1947. With India becoming a Republic on 26 January 1950, the Regiment came to be known as - "The President's Bodyguard".
The Regiment was formed as a select Cavalry Unit, primarily for the personal and battlefield security of the Governor, and later Governor General, who often had to personally lead his forces into battle. The Raising Charter clearly spelt out the role of The PBG, namely - "To act as Bodyguard to the Governor in peace and to accompany him as Commander-in-Chief in battle". However, continued engagement of the British Forces overseas in the Nineteenth Century saw the operational role of PBG get redefined.
This unique band of select troops saw active service all over the Indian peninsula, as well as overseas in Egypt (1801-1802), in Java (1811), in Burma (1824-1826 and 1886), and in the Middle East and Mesopotamia (1914-1918). In 1944, after mechanization in World War II, they trained as paratroopers to form part of the 44th Indian Airborne Division for the invasion of Malaya.
Post Independence, the PBG repeatedly proved its martial prowess. In 1962, its armoured cars were deployed for the Defense of Chushul at heights of over 14,000 feet. The Regiment saw action in "Operation ABLAZE" (1965) in the Western Theatre, with the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka (1988-1989) and with the Indian United Nations Contingents in Somalia, Angola and Sierra Leone. The valiant Troopers of the PBG have also left their indelible mark in the world's highest battlefield, the Siachen Glacier where detachments of PBG serve till today.
The soldiers of PBG today are adept at ceremonial punctilio, trained Combat Paratroopers and Armoured Vehicle Crewmen. Honed to perfection in diverse combat skills, the PBG personnel have proven their worth in battle, as well as in mounted tourneys and equestrian skills. This elite body of troops is the senior most Regiment of the Indian Army, whose distinction, is in its position as 'Right of the Line' on all official and ceremonial occasions.
A new 'Change of Guard' ceremony was unveiled at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on December 8, 2012 to the media. This ceremony will be held every Saturday at 10 am and will be open to the public who will only have to produce a photo ID at the place of entry to Rashtrapati Bhavan from Gate No. 2 near Prime Minister's Office.
Change of Guard is a military tradition whose origins are lost in antiquity. From time immemorial, guards and sentries at palaces, forts and defence establishments change periodically to enable a fresh body of troops take charge.
The change of Guard ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan was first opened to the public in 2007. After the assumption of office by President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the ceremony has been revamped and relocated to make it more visually appealing and public friendly. An equestrian display by the Presidents' Body Guard (PBG) in their ceremonial regalia has been added and the venue has been shifted to the Forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, with easier public access.
The equestrian display presents the horse and man in ceremonial regalia in harmony with the music of a military brass band. The 30 minute ceremony commences with the PBG troops, astride their caparisoned, sleekly muscled, powerful and well groomed steeds advancing from behind the Jaipur column to the tune of 'Maa Tujhe Salaam' played by the Army Brass Band. The Army Guard contingent then marches in and the new guard replaces the old guard.
The day's ceremony ends with an equestrian display by the PBG before they ride away towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan and playing of the National Anthem.
While the PBG is permanently based in the President's Estate, the Army Guard Battalion currently the 28th Battalion of THE MADRAS REGIMENT is selected from among the elite infantry regiments of the Army and is turned over every three years.
ARMY GUARD(8 JAK LI (SIACHEN) )
The Infantry contingent of the Army Guard belongs to 8th Battalion JAMMU & KASHMIR LIGHT INFANTRY (BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE). 8 JAK LI (SIACHEN) was raised as the first Battalion Border Scouts by volunteers who took arms in the aftermath of communal passion and the smouldering embers of parttion to check the multitude of kabalies infringing into Poonch on 18 Dec 1947. Born in battle and purified in blood, the battalion was rechristened as 8th Jammu & Kashmir Militia.
In 1971 war, the Battalion was outwitted, outnumbered but never outclassed in valour and fought the defensive battle successfully despite enemy’s passion for Chhamb. The battalion was awarded Battle Honour - Laleali and Picquet 707. The Regiment was rechristened as the Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry on 27 Apr 1976.
During the Siachen tenure in June 1987, the Battalion created history by capturing ‘Quaid Post’ at an high – altitude of 21, 153 feet, the highest battle field in the world. The post was renamed as Bana Top in honour of Naib Subedar Bana Singh, Param Vir Chakra. The battalion was awarded Chief of Army Staff Unit Citation in 2001 for its sterling performance in the Poonch Sector. The Battalion established the United Nation Mission in Sudan 2006 and was conferred with United Nation Unit Citation in the year 2007 for handling the bloodiest of clashes ever in the history of Sudan.
The Battalion yet again proved its mettle during its Kupwara tenure when Nb Subedar Chuni Lal, Vir Chakra, Sena Medal was bestowed with the highest peace time gallantry award, the Ashok Chakra (Posthumous) who laid down his life following the highest tradition of Indian Army while fighting terrorist. With this, the Battalion joined the elite group of ‘Bravest of the Brave’ Battalion. Apart from this, the Battalion was once again conferred with Chief of Army Staff Unit Citation in 2009 for its splendid performance on line of Control in Kupwara (J&K). The Battalion is presently one of the most decorated battalion of Indian Army with Naib Subedar Chuni Lal, Ashok Chakra, Vir Chakra, Sena Medal as one of the most decorated soldier. During its short span since raising, personnel of unit have been awarded with One Param Vir Chakra, One Ashok Chakra, One Mahavir Chakra, One Kirti Chakra, One Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, One Ati Vishit Seva Medal, 13 Vir Chakra, 05 Shaurya Chakra, 27 Sena Medal, One Yudh Seva Medal, 14 Mention – in- dispatch, 54 Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card, One Vice Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card, 103 General Officer Commanding in Chief Commendation Card & 35 United Nations Force Commander Commendation Card.