Video: The Making of a Maratha Soldier - Maratha Light Infantry

The Making of a Maratha Soldier - Maratha Light Infantry

This is a beautiful documentary on the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment at Belgaum, set in the 1980s or early 1990s. The audio of the documentary is mostly in the Hindi language, as are some of the signs, but a full translation of the text is below for non-Hindi speaking readers:



Translation of the Audio

(0:57) Soldier to civilian: Come over here.

(3:44) Soldier salutes Officer: Recruits are now ready for their training.

(4:50) Sikh Trainer: Do pushups!

(5:20) .. lift with the back straight

(5:31) Officer: The drill teaches you how to go and come, wear clothes. From the drill, your morale becomes known. And the drill is such a thing that you should feel within your heart to learn its principles. Drill's foundation is discipline.

(6:08): Sign reads "Drill Prarambheek Prashikshan Shetra" ("Basic Drill Training Ground")

Lots of soldiers marching around shouting "Ek, do, ek, do, ...", which is Hindi for "One, two, one, two, ..."

(6:57) Green sign with white lettering reads "Regimental School"

(7:00) Instructor: (with a hint of a South Indian accent) We are all Indians. The national language of India is Hindi. Because Hindi is our national language, in the Sena (regiment), all instructions will be in Hindi only. In the Sena (regiment), our new jawans (recruits) from non-speaking Hindi areas, after they have finished training, will be posted in various corners of the country to do their service, therefore Hindi knowledge will be important for the non-Hindi speakers. Now, everyone, please lift your earphones and stick them in your ears.

(8:00) Board has letters written in various languages. First line and fourth line are in Hindi, Second and Fourth line are in Telugu?, Third and Sixth lines are in Tamil. The letters represent the same sounds, written in different languages. (e.g.) a, aa, e, ee, u, ooo etc.

Instructor (with pointer): Uh, Aah, Uh, Aah, E, Eeh, Cha, Chhah, Na, Ta, Tha etc. (basically pointing out how the letters are written in Hindi, with the corresponding sounds in the other language alphabets) 

(8:38) Instructor: Today, we will learn about the history of our regiment. In the 1800s, the British had come to our country as businessmen. Slowly, they began to take over the whole of the country. In the western part of India, they occupied Bombay and made it their address. To protect their goods, they started to form a fauj (army). That's when for the first time, Marathas began to serve their army. The soldiers who were stationed in Bombay, were called as the "Bombay Native Infantry". The British gave the soldiers of our country their first uniforms, based on the customs and rules of their own regiments (shows picture of a Maratha soldier in red coat and white shorts). These uniforms were made by them, keeping in mind the requirements of climate (seasons) and battles here. Slowly, over time, change came to these uniforms as well (shows picture of a Maratha soldier in a Khaki uniform). The recognition of the strength of the Marathas and excellent soldier qualities became known to the British even before World War I. After it (World War I), the name of "Bombay Native Infantry" was changed to "Bombay Infantry". During World War II, this regiment became known as "5th Maratha Light Infantry". During World War II, in Italy, 3rd Marathas' Naik Yashwant Ghadge, with a disregard for his own life, attacked a German position on his own and captured it, when all his comrades around him were killed. This brave man cleared the way for his company to advance. For this deed, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. In this same paltan (platoon), Subedar Keshavrao Talekar received the Military Cross, Order of British India and increased the prestige of his regiment. You all should aspire to higher standards and when you return to your platoons, I hope you will remember such brave soldiers and will follow in their footsteps.

(11:40) Officer: Today, I congratulate you all in joining the Maratha Light Infantry. From today, this regiment is your home and you have now become a member of this very large family. You are all very fortunate in that you're now members of the Maratha Light Infantry. Today, many educated youth are sitting around wastefully in civilian life, with prestigious degrees, they are searching high and low for gainful employment. But, they have not reached the heights that you gentlemen have reached today. By coming to the army, you will get a chance to serve the nation. By coming to his place, you and your family's prestige will rise in society, and you can plan your future in the army. For all of you, the Goverment will grant you medical, clothing, rations, rations for family members at a discount, CSD canteen and free railway pass for travel will be given. Some of these conveniences will remain with you, not only through your service, but also after retirement. I have full faith that all of you will, from this day, in the manner of Emperor Shivaji Mararaj (video slightly skips here, so content lost a bit), and will work for your country, and when the need arises, will give your life as well. Also I have full faith that you will keep the name of the regiment and the nation raised up high. 

(13:20) Barked order: Stand up! Regiment Attention. Chhattrapti Shivaji Maharaj ki jai ("Victory to Emperor Shivaji")

(Commencement of Training: Lots of "left-right-left" type marching.)

(14:45) Sikh Instructor giving jawans hanging from a wooden bar some training: "Three, down, four, down, five, down, six, down, lift feet on bar, seven, down" etc.

(rope climbing instructions, where hands and legs go e.g. "left arm up, right arm below it, legs around rope etc.")

(counting off situps)

(piper playing tune on what appears to be a Shenai, people working on gardens)

(16:39) Instructor: You are shooting towards the top because you've got the post aimed to the top and that's why it is striking there. Ok, now you're hitting it in the right place, now do it again in the same spot."

(17:00) Instructor to students unrolling the bricks: The purpose of this exercise is to get you used to handling the rifle via the muzzle and also build up your firing technique.

(17:10) Generic instructions, students counting off 1 to 5 and then "hup", then go to prone, ready, aim, fire.

(17:45) Teaching crawling techniques

(18:00) Lots of yelling left-right-left, one, two, three, four, then instructor yells "all ready" and students yell back "yes".

(18:15) Bayonet technique

(18:25) Karate training

(18:40) Swim training

(19:38) Soldiers yelling: Victory to Emperor Shivaji! (Then some yelling about "Rifle Company" and "Echo company"???)

(22:15) Officer advising unit: In your unit, In your center, four or five soldiers need to travel together, that way you can watch your belongings and your welfare and nothing bad will happen

(22:30) Officer talking to soldiers: Today, you are all sitting here in this long range, and you have undergone 20 weeks of training so far. Do you have full confidence in your weapons?

Soldiers: Yes

(Lots of range firing practice)

(23:13) Instructor: Number one. Fire! Two, fire! Three, fire! Four, fire! Five, fire! Six, fire!

(23:57) Sign reads "Gingee" (probably refers to the Gingee Fort, which was the seat of the Maratha Empire for a little while.)

(26:12) Kondana Asssault Course: In here, based on our awareness of combat situations, we have prepared 21 obstacles here. These obstacles are like this (points at one of them)

(27:49) Shabash ("Very good/Congratulations")

(28:35) Instructor: Raise your legs

(29:00) Soldier: Yelling stuff about "Number 1 section, Number 2 section <needs translation of a couple of words here>"

(29:45) Soldiers yelling battlecry and charging.

(32:02) Instructor: Number 1 section commander, Soldier: Yes sir!. Instructor: Number 2 section commander, Soldier: Yes sir! Instructor: Number 3 section commander etc. 

(32:10) Instructor: From now on, whatever shall be done, will be done in the sense of battlefield or tactical situation, per my orders. Our attack, when arriving on dangerous ground, if you look on your left, you'll see 50 Yards, broken ground, there (unclear) will be done. (unclear) once the threat is over (unclear).

(digging trenches and setting up camouflage nets)

(Culmination of tactical training)

(Attestation Parade)

(37:40) (Indian National Anthem plays)

(38:38) (Soldiers reciting pledge): I, under God, hereby vow that, I, under the rule of law, (hard to tell, translation needed), for the benefit of India, with industriousness and with pure mind, will remain alert. And through my actions, I will serve with industriousness and pure mind, in India's army. And I will stay on the straight path, despite anyone trying to divert me. I will obey the orders of the Indian President and my superior officers, even if I have to sacrifice my life.

(41:20) (Officer presenting medals to top graduating soldiers)

(41:57) Bol Chhattrapti Shivaji Maharaj ki jai ("Say 'Victory to Emperor Shivaji' ") (battlecry of the Maratha regiment)

(Lots of marching tunes)

(Progressive Training: A Must for Every Soldier)

(video ends)