Greatest British Contribution in Madras to Modern India

The Madras Regiment

The Greatest British contribution in Madras to Modern India is the raising of the Madras Regiment by the British in 1758. Making a beginning with these infant steps today we have the mighty Indian Army – the largest standing volunteer army in the world.

In 1640 AD the British East India Company established its first fortified post -Fort Saint George near Madras which soon became its headquarters. The Madras Regiment was initially formed as the Madras European Regiment in the 1660s by the East India Company. However, it was formed as a battalion in 1748 under the command of Major Stringer Lawrence. The battalion was involved in all the battles against the French forces in India. Lawrence structured the regiment to include two battalions, one European and one Sepoy (Indian). Both battalions were similar in structure and included seven companies each, with each company including three officers in command and seventy privates. Also part of the companies, were four sergeants and corporals and three drummers.

The regiment has been part of many campaigns with both the British Indian Army and the Indian Army. Many well-known British officers have commanded this regiment; Robert Clive is one among them. This regiment has fought the Carnatic wars, which were fought in South India.

The elephant crest symbolizes its gallantry in the Battle of Assaye under Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington.

The motto of the regiments is Swadharme Nidhanam Shreyaha” (It is a glory to die doing one’s duty)

War cry of the Regiments is Veera Madrassi, Adi Kollu , Adi Kollu” (Brave Madrassi, Hit and Kill, Hit and Kill!)

After the formation of Madras Regiment many more regiments were set up during the British Raj. The process of raising new units and modernization of the weapons and equipments has been continuous since then.

Today the Indian Army has on its strength 9,80,000 active troops. It is divided into Six Operational commands and One Training command. It sheer size and geographical coverage is gigantic.

But for the initiative taken by the British to set up the Madras Regiment, I very much doubt if our country would have ever had such a formidable force that we have today. This for me is the biggest British contribution in Madras to Modern India.

Post by: Wg Cdr S Harshavardhan,  First Week Winner

The views expressed in the posts and comments of the Madras Week blogs do not reflect the positions or opinions of British Council. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. British Council is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied here.

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