Events of the day in History
On 25th August 1917 the first concrete step towards the Indianisation of the Army was initiated
(AZADI KE PANKH CREATIONS )
25th Aug. 1917
On 25th August 1917 the first concrete step towards the Indianisation of the Army was initiated when seven selected Indians, serving the Army, were granted King's Commission in the Infantry and the Cavalry. Before the World War ended, two more Indians, who previously held temporary commissions, were granted King's Commission.
The British Indian Army (also known as the Indian Army) was the main army of the British in India before 1947. This army was responsible for the defense of the British India and the Princely states (many of which had their own armies).
The term “Indianisation” meant the process of introducing Indians into the Commissioned ranks of the defence forces in India. The First World War saw the brave contribution of Indian troops who eventually looked forward to be treated equally like their British colleagues. Gradually, steps were taken towards that direction in the Army. Through the replacement of British officers with Indians remained a matter of dispute.
Edwin Montagu, a British liberal politician and Secretary of State for India from 1917 to 1922 believed that it was not merely enough to observe principles, but it was important to act upon them as well. Montagu appreciated the services of the Indian members of the army at war and thought it was important that a number of commissions be given. He was against any kind of discrimination, neither in the army, nor in the Civil Service.
On the other hand there was Lord Frederick Roberts, a British soldier and one of the most successful commanders of the 19th century, who while acknowledging the courage of the Indian soldiers at war, was convinced that they did not have what it took to create future leaders. Another influential person against the Indianisation of the Army was Claude Auchinleck, a British Army Commander during World War II and who eventually became the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army in 1941.
It was in 1918, following the Montagu-Chelmsford report which laid down the foundation of self governance in India that the task of transferring the complete nationality of the Indian Army officer corps from British to Indian began; though self-governance was only a principle until World War II.
The Montagu-Chelmsford report was a reward to the Indians for their trustworthy service during World War I. In 1921, Lord Rawlinson, a British World War I General observed that it would not be possible to vision a self-governing India without an Indianised army. Reason being that it would not be practical for India to be a self-governing nation with its army largely in the hands of the British. But as opposed to establishing a principle, the execution of it is another thing altogether.
Three years after the Montagu-Chelmsford Report, nothing much had been done towards Indianisation of the army. Merely ten places each year were given to Indians at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst. It was in 1921 when the India Legislative Assembly demanded a future policy that the Military Recruitment Committee was established, with Lord Rawling as Chairman, who would establish a policy to set up for final Indianisation.
It was after World War I that the process of Indianisation began. Lord Rawling believed that Indians soldiers needed to be given a fair opportunity to prove that they were effective as officers in the army in every way. Indian soldiers were promoted to higher ranks and Indian cadets were sent to the Royal Military Academy in England. Later, these newly trained officers were given full commission as a King’s Commissioned Indian Officers. These officers were equal in every way to the British and enjoyed complete authority over British troops.