The Indian Army never misses a chance to surprise us in the name of its most wondrous army traditions and gestures to acknowledge the guardians’ uber- cool lifestyle.
One such tradition involves the system of hosting lunch that gathers the officers of all ranks under one roof and getting lose informally, for a change.
Every year on Independence Day, the Junior commissioned officers (JCOs) host lunch for the officers in their mess. The gesture is well reciprocated by the officers for the JCOs on Republic day.
Though being in practice since the British Raj, the tradition has not been much talked or written about, making it one of those stories that stays within fence.
On Republic day, the tradition was celebrated in the messes of the Army War College, MCTE, Infantry School, Military Hospital, 18 Madras Regiment and other military establishments in Mhow.
These customs are deeply rooted to the Indian history and have a beautiful mix of ancient, medieval and contemporary texture with the Indian Army always up following these traditions with utter pride.
Republic day witnesses a banquet held in the Officers’ mess where the JCOs are invited. The atmosphere becomes anything but formal where the two lines are free to interact and chill with hands on drinks and snacks.
Similarly, on Independence Day, the tables turn and JCOs perform the goodwill service for the officers which is to be held in all the units and regiments of the Indian Army.
The dress code includes regimental clothing such as mufti dress, cravats, ties and other accoutrements that could clearly present the class of these Faujis.
Often thought to have originated during the British Raj, this army traditions actually has its traces back in the princely state forces too.
Maharana Pratap, Shivaji, Maharaja Ranjit Singh are some of great warriors who have displayed affection and love for their soldiers to an extent to have stayed with them sharing food, hazards, and an enigmatic bond with poise.
Even the Chinese army follows the Commune system having officers and soldiers to eat, drink and live together nurturing the spirit of togetherness, strengthening the shoulders which fights the enemies side by side.
Subedar Prem Lal, who retired from the Infantry School, said despite of the vast gap between the higher and lower ranks in the Army, the JCOs are well received with respect on both Independence Day and Republic Day.
“We meet each other in these functions and get a family-like atmosphere. We have personal conversation and exchange views on various issues. In normal course we, the personnel of lower ranks, don’t even think of meeting the senior officers. Thus, this unique tradition helps in maintaining harmony and cohesiveness within the Army,” he added.
Col Ravi Batra, a renowned writer and retired army officer said the Indian armed forces gloriously follow these age- old customs and army traditions by heart since British India days. All officers and JCOs thus not only enjoy the festivity but are also reminded by each other to be ready to make supreme sacrifices in order for the coming generation to witness such historical days, says Col while talking to the Hindustan Times.