Martial Races – Do They Have a Meaning?

Julia James 0

There’s nothing like a martial race, a friend of mine recently spoke to me. I tend to agree with him, but the truth remains that some races have oppressed other people in the pages of history. We have Greeks and Mongols who conquer and advance far-off lands. We immediately recall the names of Alexander and Chengiz Khan. In comparison, the Hindus never went beyond the sub-continent and were able to meet the enemy at the doors of their kingdoms. Thus the underlying concept of war crimes was explicitly overlooked.


In India too, not all races had been passive and some races were met by greater dangers over a period of time, thereby having a greater use of weapons than others. In this regard, the northwestern Indian races that faced repeated attacks were more likely than any other subcontinent races to weld their weapons. Thus, among other things, the Sikhs, Pathans and Baluchis were known as Martial races due to their frequent war situations. This idea was codified and non-Martial races were developed by the British. This idea could be agreed or not, but it was in their recruitment strategy for the Indian Army that the British applied this theory. This class composition, too, has been maintained by Independent India. Thus, yore regiments such as the Sikhs, Dogras and Gurkhas remained in the Indian military scene.


I note that after 1947, the First Indian Prime Minister Pandit Nehry explicitly stressed that the Indian Army class structure should not be altered. We don’t understand what he felt, maybe the UK ‘s martial and non-martial division welcomed him. It is another matter whether he was wrong or right.

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The notion of a martial race itself is no longer true with the passing of time and also the emergence of modern technologies. Equipped with AK 47s, the LTTE resolutely battled against the Superior Sri Lankan Army. They were the first to put in place the concept of the suicide bomber. It was used in the murder of President Gandhi and Rajiv from Sri Lanka (Premdasa), for a wide range of reasons.


The world is evolving and every day new ideas arise. The definition of martial race has changed as well, and today anyone who threatens to live has no choice but to wear the mantle of a martial race.

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