The Rajputana Rifles

The Rajputana Rifles

4th Battalion (Outram's) The Rajputana Rifles is one of the oldest infantry battalions of the Indian Army. The Battalion completes 200 years of its raising in 2020 which is a rare milestone for the reason that ever since its raising, the Battalion has never been disbanded or discontinued.

The Battalion was raised on 26'h May, 1820, from the brave men who fought the Battle of Kirkee in November, 1817, as the First Battalion of the 12th Regiment of the East India Company Native Army. In the reorganization in 1903, the Battalion donned the name of its most distinguished officer, Sir James Outram and was designated the 123rd Outram's Rifles. Post-independence, the Battalion was renamed the 4th Battalion (Outram's) The Rajputana Rifles.

Before independence, the Battalion fought in wars in Persia, Burma, Afghanistan, Palestine and parts of North Africa. It actively participated in both World Wars. The enviable award tally of the Battalion includes two Victoria Crosses, the highest gallantry award of the United Kingdom. The Battalion also won 23 Battle/ Theatre honours during the pre-independence era.

One of the recipients of Victoria Cross was Company Havildar- Major Chhelu Ram (1905-1943). On the night of 19th/ 20'h April, 1943, at Djebel Garci, Tunisia, the advance of a Battalion of the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade was held up by machine-gun and mortar fire. Company Havildar-Major Chhelu Ram dashed forward with a tommy-gun and killed the occupants of a post and then went to the aid of his company commander who had become a casualty. While doing so, he was himself wounded, but taking command of the company, he led them in hand-to-hand fighting. He was again wounded, but continued rallying his men until he died. An image of the father, wife and son of Company Havildar-Major Chhelu Ram, V.C., 4th Battalion (Outram's) 6 Rajputana Rifles, features on the Brochure.

Post-independence exploits of the Battalion are as follows: 

(i)  1948 'Op Polo' Annexation of Hyderabad - The Battalion was instrumental in the successful police action in Hyderabad in 1948 and stayed in Hyderabad till 1951.

(ii) 1962 United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) Congo - As part of UNEF in Congo, Lieutenant Ved Prakash of the unit was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (posthumously) for his gallant actions.

(iii) 1965 India-Pakistan War - The Battalion earned the Battle Honour "Charwa" and the Theater Honour "Punjab" in the Sialkot Sector.

(iv) 1971 India-Pakistan War - For its contribution in 'OP Cactus Lily' at Uri, the Battalion was awarded the Battle Honour "Uri". 1991 counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir- For its exemplary services in 'OP Rakshak', it was awarded the COAS Unit Citation and the Governor's Appreciation. It was amongst the first Battalions to be conferred with COAS Unit Citation after the award was instituted in 1991.

(vi) GOC-in-C South Western Command Unit Appreciation 2011 - The Battalion was conferred with 'GOC-in-C South Western Command Unit Appreciation' for its commendable performance in Faizabad in 2011.

(vii) GOC-in-C Western Command Unit Appreciation 2016 - The Battalion was conferred with 'GOC-in-C Western Command Unit Appreciation' for its appreciable services in Kharian, Miran Sahib, Jammu, in 2016.

The Battalion continues to serve the nation with pride, passion and devotion on the Line of Control.

Source: Information Brochure, India Post

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