17th NOVEMBER, 2017 | NEW DELHI.
The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind presented the Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner to the President’s Bodyguard at a ceremony that was held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 17th of November, 2017.
Speaking of the occasion, the ceremony begins with the Regiment falling ‘On Parade’, with the troopers in their impressive ceremonial attire mounted on their splendid steeds. On arrival, the president inspects the Bodyguards. Subsequently, the Parade forms a ‘Hollow Square’ and the President presents the Silver Trumpet with the Banner to the Trumpet Major.
Quoting the President, “It is a matter of pride that warriors of the President’s Bodyguard have served with distinction during our country’s major wars, as well as with the Indian Peace-Keeping Force in Sri Lanka and on the icy heights of the Siachen Glacier. They have also been deployed overseas as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions.”
“I am delighted to have such impressive troops as my personal Bodyguard. You showcase our military might, whether on Republic Day or Beating the Retreat, at state functions or investiture ceremonies. The men of the PBG comprise the only regiment in the Indian Army fully trained as horsemen, paratroopers and tank-men. This gives them a special position in our Armed Forces.”
The President’s Bodyguard is the oldest regiment in the Indian Army, having been raised as the Governor-General’s Bodyguard (later the Viceroy’s Bodyguard) in 1773. As the President of India’s own Guard, it has a unique distinction of being the only military unit of the Indian Army that is privileged to carry the President’s Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner. This distinction was conferred on the President’s Bodyguard in 1923 by the then Viceroy, Lord Reading, on the occasion of the Bodyguard completing 150 years of service. Each succeeding Viceroy, thereafter, presented the Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner to the Bodyguard.
On January 27, 1950, the regiment was renamed the President’s Bodyguard. Every President has continued the practice of honouring the regiment thereafter. Rather than a coat of arms, as was the practice in the colonial era, the monogram of the President appears on the Banner. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, presented the Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner to the President’s Bodyguard on May 14, 1957.
The President’s Bodyguard, as it is known today, was raised in Banaras (Varanasi) by the then Governor-General, Warren Hastings. It had an initial strength of 50 cavalry troopers, later augmented by another 50 horsemen. Today, the President’s Bodyguard is a select body of hand-picked men with special physical attributes. They are chosen after a rigorous and physically grueling process.
In recent times, the Silver Trumpet and Trumpet Banner Presentation Ceremony is followed by an audio-visual presentation covering the saga and the present day role of the PBG. Another highlight of the ceremony is the display of traditional equestrian skills including trick riding and tentpegging, followed by Musical Ride, which showcases the bond between the rider and the horse at it’s finest and is a treat to watch.