The Kumaon Regiment is one of the most embellished infantry regiments of the Indian Army. It traces its origin back to the 18th century. The Regiment has fought in every major campaign or British Indian Army and the Indian Army including the two World Wars. Kumaon Regiment was established in 1917 at Ranikhet, Uttarakhand. It still recruits personnel from the Kumaon region and some areas of the plains. The composition of troops has been predominantly Kumaomis and Ahirs along with other communities from the plains. They are also known as “Creed of the Man-Eaters”
Kumaonis have been famous for their courage, valour, bravery and indomitable honour. They were not even afraid of the powerful Muslim dynasties that ruled Delhi. They even offered their martial services as mercenaries and fought on the British side in the Anglo-Nepalese War. Hence, the British often called them the Martial Race. The fighting battalions of the Nizam of Hyderabad comprised of the Kumaonis and other men from the Himalayan foothills. The 3rd Gurkha Regiment was also referred to as the “Keemaon battalion” during its formation and it included Kumaonis along with the Gurkhas.
From the early 19th century, the Kimaonis were recruited in the military of the British East India company. By now the Brigade under the Nizam came to be known as Hyderabad Contingent. The North-Indian classes and Kumaonis served the Hyderabad contingent which was raised, trained and led by the British officers under Russell, but paid for by the Nawab of Hyderabad. In 1853 a treaty was signed between the Nizam and the British. Till then, the Nizam’s forces consisted of 8 battalions. The force was renamed the Hyderabad Contingent which became a part of the British Indian Army which thereafter became the 19th Hyderabad Regiment On 27 October 1945, the 19th Hyderabad Regiment was renamed as Kumaon Regiment.
In November 1970, the Naga regiment was raised and affiliated with the Kumaon Regiment. Kumaon Regiment has produced 3 Indian Army Chiefs: General Kodendera Subayya Thimayya (4 Kumaon), Satyawant Mallannah Shrinagesh (4 Kumaon), General Tapishwas Raina (14 Kumaon). 1 Kumaon which was raised in March 1813 was converted into the airborne role in 1956 however, it remained a part of the regiment until April 1952 when it was formally enlisted into the Parachute Regiment as 3 Para. In 2000, the battalion was converted into the special forces as a part of the expansion of the special forces operation by the Indian Army. It was renamed into 3rd battalion (Special Forces). 3 Para (SF) or The Parachute Regiment. 14 Kumaon was converted into the mechanised infantry role. Later, it was transferred to the Mechanised Infantry Regiment as its 5th regiment.
It is the only Regiment of the Indian Army to have 3 Battle Cry-
- “Kalika Mata Ki Jai” which means Victory to the great Goddess Kali
- “Dada Kishan Ki Jai” which means Victory to Dada Kishan- a form of Krishna
- “Bajrang Bali Ki Jai” which means Victory to Bajrang Bali
- “Jai Durge Naga”
A demi-rampant lion holding a cross. The demi-rampant lion is a part of the arms of the Russel family, whose ancestor had started the body of troops now formed into the Kumaon Regiment.
Parkramo Vijayate (Valour Triumphs)
1. The Kumaon Regiment is one of the two regiments of the Indian Army that is named after two regions of Uttarakhand, the other one being Garhwal Rifles.
2. It was the first regiment to be raised in the 19th century i.e. in the 18th
3. Men from Kumaon were a part of Russel Brigade of Hyderabad Nizam
4. They also served in the Berar Infantry of the Nizam’s forces.
5. In 1917, during the first World War, the first all Kumaon battalion was raised. It was known as 4/39th Kumaon Rifles and was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 50th Kumaon Rifles in 1918.
6. Kumaon Regiment fought the very first battle for India Post-Independence. Two battalions of the Kumaon Regiment were sent to Kashmir at the time of the Indo-Pak War of 1947-48.
7. The Kumaon Regiment gained “Legendary Status” during the Indo-China War of 1962.
8. It was the joint effort of the Kumaon Regiment and the Ladakh Scouts that made the capture of Siachin Glacier during Operation Meghdoot of 1984 possible.
9. The Regiment has won 2 Param Vir Chakras, 15 Maha Vir Chakras, 78 Vir Chakras, 4 Ashok Chakras, 6 Kirti Chakras among various other gallantry awards.