The Madras Regiment is the oldest infantry regiment of the Indian Army, originating in the 1750s. The regiment took part in numerous campaigns with both the British Indian Army and the post-independence Indian Army.
During the veterans Rally at Barrackpore Cantonment on 15th March, 2023 the team of Mighty Twenty, The 20th Battalion of the MADRAS Regiment presented a spectacular fusion of Kalaripayattu and Chenda Melam.Spectators enjoyed the traditional Marvel from the southern most state of India.
What is Kalaripayattu?
Kalaripayattu, also known simply as Kalari, is an Indian martial art that originated in modern-day Kerala. Kalaripayattu is known for its long-standing history within Indian martial arts. It is believed to be the oldest surviving martial art in India, with a history spanning over 3,000 years.Kalaripayattu differs from many other martial arts systems in the world in that weapon based techniques are taught first, and barehanded techniques are taught last.
“Chenda Melam” means percussion using Chenda. The Chenda which the traditionally and smartly dressed 20th Battalion of the MADRAS Regiment team is holding is used as a percussion instrument for almost all Kerala art forms like Kathakali, Kodiyattam, Theyyam etc. Chenda melam is the most popular form in Kerala, for more than 300 years. A Chenda melam is an integral part of all festivals in Kerala.
Motto, War cry and Salutation
The motto of the regiment is from chapter 3, verse 35 of Bhagavad Gita. It is (Swadharme Nidhanam Shreyaha), which translates to “It is glory to die doing one’s duty”. The motto was adopted 08 June 1955. The war cry of the regiment is “Veer madrassi, adi kollu, adi kollu, adi kollu !”, which means “O brave Madrassi, hit and kill, hit and kill, hit and kill !”. This was adopted during the Battalion Commanders’ Conference in 1969.The salutation used by the regiment is ‘Namaskaram’. It was adopted by 4 Madras (WLI) in 1956 and subsequently adopted by all the battalions.
Battle of Assaye, in 1803 was the regiment’s first major conflict and decisive victory under the British against the mammoth Peshwa Army. The Madras regiment won the elephant-crest as its insignia after the battle that was more difficult than Waterloo.
By 1838, The Madras Regiment has grown to 52 Infantry Battalion, but it was disbanded in in 1941 as the region was largely peaceful.
Before disbandment in 1928, the Madras Regiment had earning 22 battle honours.
Source: 20th Battalion, Madras Regiment
Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee,Senior Journalist, Kolkata.