An ode to the gunners
This piece of article is from the Indian Express and shows the importance of the gunners in the Armies the oldest piece of the armed forces.
Gopal K. Piplani
Published : Sep 28, 2005 at 0000 hrs IST
The largest and most elite Indian Army regiment — the Regiment of Artillery — celebrates its 179th raising day tomorrow. It was on September 28, 1827, that it was Indianised with the raising of the 5 Bombay Mountain Battery. This unit has an unbroken record of service since then and presently forms a part of the 57 Field Regiment. It has the glory of being conferred with 11 honour titles to date. Other units of that vintage include the 1 Kohat, 2 Derajat and 4 Hazara Mountain Batteries.Babur is credited with being the first to use artillery in India, in the first Battle of Panipat (1526). Then, artillery was used in wars throughout the Mughal period and later during the reign of the Marathas under Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the East India Company.‘Gunners’ are a breed of professional warriors. The Regiment of Artillery has a history of dauntless grit and selfless sacrifice. Its valour during the military operations of 1948, 1962, 1965 and 1971 is much celebrated. Names like Dinshaw Mistri at Naushera (J&K, 1948); 2/Lt Goswami and his TA Gurdip Singh VrC, of 13 field Regiment, at Chushul (Ladakh, 1962); Major S.K. Mathur at Kanjarkot (Kutch, 1965) and Brigadier Tom Pandey (Bangladesh, ’71), are still remembered. They were all awarded the Maha Vir Chakras for their gallantry and devotion to duty.Talking about the gunner fraternity, the French go ga-ga about their gunner — General Napoleon — even today. The British still adore their master gunners, Lord Alanbrooke and Air Defence C-in-C, General Sir Freddie Pile, of 1939-45 vintage. The Indian gunners, too, hold their institutions and legends in high regard. And why not, seeing that it was this regiment that has given the nation four army chiefs?The other half of this revered institution is The School of Artillery, Deolali. It is the Malgudi of gunners. Located along with it is the Artillery Training Centre and its welfare wing, the Artillery Association, at Nasik Road Camp. There is another training centre at Hyderabad. Together they have become the temples of learning, training, bonding and caring.The gunner’s motto — ‘Sarvatra: Izzat-O-Iqbal’ (everywhere with honour and glory) — is a reflection of their professional ethos and values. Their colours are their guns. In its 178th year, this formidable part of the Indian Army is alive and ticking.September 28 will be marked by prayers, mess parties and barakhanas where all ranks join in. The gunners will pay their respect to their colours and heroes — both living and dead. It will also be a time for them to rededicate themselves to the high traditions and professional values of their distinguished forbears.The writer is a member of the Academic Council of Bangalore University