HISTORY OF THE REGIMENT

OLDEST…  AUGUSTEST … FEISTIEST

 

Pre Independence

 

The Punjab Regiment is one of the oldest Infantry Regiments of the sub continent. In fact, its history profiles the evolution of the Indian Army. In the early 18th century the East India Company in the carnatic had independent companies of sepoys raised by Indian Officers for the protection of their trades. In 1757, these independent companies were amalgamated into Coast Battalions by Major Robert Clive and thus commences the history of the Indian Army and its Infantry. The personnel of the battalions were of South Indian classes locally recruited. These units, then known as ‘Coast Sepoys’ were the ancestors of the 1st (now 1st PARA), 2nd (now 1st GUARDS) and 3rd Battalions of Punjab Regiment. Hence The Punjab Regiment is the senior most Infantry Regiment in the Indian Army. The two Regiments which are now senior to The Punjab Regiment in the Infantry are the Brigade of Guards and Parachute Regiments, which have the senior Battalions of the Punjab Regiment as their Firsts.

 

The first four Battalions, 8th Battalion Coast Sepoys (later 7th Madras Native Infantry – 7th MNI), 10th Battalion Coast Sepoys (9th MNI), 16th Battalion Coast Sepoys (12th MNI) and 14th Carnatic Battalion (14th MNI) were raised as hostilities in the Carnatic increased between 1751 and 1776. In 1798, 1st Extra Battalion Madras Native Infantry (27th MNI) was raised. During the 18th and early 19th century these Battalions took part in all operations in India and overseas and laid the traditions in winning the Battle Honours during the period.

 

The Battalions underwent various reorganizations from 1761 to 1901 to make them better effective fighting units. Their designations changed from Coast Sepoys in 1751 to Coastal Battalions in 1761, Carnatic Battalions in 1769, Madras Native Infantry in 1784 and to Madras Infantry in 1901. In 1824 the 9th Madras Native Infantry had taken active part in 1st Burma War. By that time the Battalion had done eight sea voyages. For the readiness always evinced by the Battalion to proceed on overseas service despite the religious taboos prevalent at that period, it was awarded with a badge of a Galley and the motto “Khushki-wa-Tari” (By Land and Sea) in 1839 by Gen Lord Rawlington of Trent, the then Commander-in-Chief, Indian Army..
 

Sine the employment of the Battalions was now not only restricted to protect the coastal trade and they were required to be employed in the North-West frontiers, in a major reorganizations in 1903 the class composition of the Regiment changed to Sikhs, Punjabi Musalmans and the Dogras. The designations of the Regiment also changed from Madras Infantry to Punjabis with the numerical 60 added to their existing numbers. Thus the 7, 9, 12, 14 and 27 MNI Battalions became the 67, 69, 72, 74 and 87 Punjabis.

 

At the advent of the World War I (1914-1919), four of the five Battalions (except 74th PUNJABIS) were committed in the North-West Frontier Province of India. 74th PUNJABIS were in Hongkong. Before the signing of the Armistice in 1919, all the Battalions saw active service against the Axis Forces in the Middle East. Two of these Battalions 67th and 69th PUNJABIS were also authorisied to raise one more Battalion each and 2/67th and 2/69th PUNJABIS came into existence. 2/67th PUNJABIS was reaised in 1915 and was later on converted into the Regimental Centre.

 

A major reorganization of the Indian Army on the basis of the experiences of World War I was undertaken in 1922. This saw the emergence of the 2nd PUNJAB REGIMENT on March 1, 1922 when 67th, 69th, 72nd, 74th and 87th PUNJABIS were grouped as such and redesignated as 1st, 2nd 3rd, 4th and 5th Battalions respectively.

 

World War II led to the raising of 6th, 7th, 8th, 25th and 27th Battalions. During the war all the Battalions went into active service. Post War reduction of the Army led to the disbandment of 6th , 8th, 25th, 26th, and 27th Battalions in 1946.

 

Post Independence

 

During 1951 and 1952, the 2nd Battalion and the 1st Battalion left the Regiment to become the 1st Battalion The Brigade of Guards and 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment respectively.

 

On the integration in 1951 of the Indian state forces to the Indian Army the Jind Infantry from the Jind State, the Nabha Akal Infantry from Nabha State and the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Patiala State joined the Regiment. In 1954, their designation changed. All these Battalions had taken active part in operations and had glorious past. In 1967 the Motto of the Regiment was changed from ‘Khushki-wa-Tari’ to Sthal-wa-Jal’. Before the onset of the 1971 war, 7 PUNJAB was equipped with APC SKOT. It became a MECH unit in 1982. On 04 Nov 1997, INS RANJIT also joined the folds of the Punjab Regiment.

 

From 1961 to 1987, twelve new Punjab Battalions were raised. Consequent to the raising of Rashtriya Rifles (RR), four RR Battalions were affliated to the Punjab Regiment. . The Punjab Regiment has also three TA Battalions. As on date, the Punjab Regiment has 18 Regular Battalions, four RR Battalions and three TA Battalions as part of the Galley family.
 

On 18 Mar 1969, Dr Zakir Hussain, the President of India presented the new colours to the Regiment at Meerut. On 16 Feb 1985, Gen AS Vaidya, PVSM, MVC (Bar), AVSM, Chief of the Army Staff presented colours to three Battalions of the Regiment. The youngest battalion was presented colours on 03 Feb 2004 at Ramgarh Cantt by Gen NC Vij, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, ADC, Chief of the Army Staff.