250 Glorious Years of Maratha Light Infantry
Maratha Light Infantry Regiment is crossing the milestone of 250 years of Glorious Raising. The regiment is one of the oldest and most decorated infantry regiment of the Indian Army.
The first battalion of the regiment was raised as 'Second Battalion Bombay Sepoys' in 1768 which was later known as 'Jangi Paltan'. The 3rd battalion of Bombay Sepoys which is today known as 2 Maratha LI or Kali Panchwin was also raised in the same time-frame.
By the end of the 18th Century, both the battalions had seen most of the important campaigns which included 'Seedasser', 'Seringapatan' and 'Mysore'. For its special fighting ability, the regiment was the first infantry regiment of the Indian Army to be awarded with the title of 'Light Infantry' in 1841 during the first Afghan War.
The regiment has a proud history of gallantry and sacrifice and has proved this time and again. During the First World War, Maratha Light Infantry was honoured with 15 Battle Honours.
In the Second World War, the regiment rose from six to 13 battalions and the regiment was bestowed with the rare honour of winning two Victoria Crosses to its heroes 'Nk Yeshwant Ghadge' and 'Sepoy Namdev Jadhav'.
Today, the regiment has 21 regular battalions, 4 RR battalions and 2 TA battalions. Maratha Light Infantry is the only regiment which has contributed two battalions of the special forces to the Indian Army. The regiment has affiliation with 10 MECH Infantry which was earlier 20 MARATHA LI, two arty regiments and an Air Defence regiment in the Indian Army.
The regiment has inter service affiliation with Indian naval ship Mumbai, 20th Sqn Air Force (Sukhoi) and Indian Coast Guard Air Station Daman and Diu.
The 4th of February 2018 was the curtain raiser day to the year long events which would be unfolding in the days to come, because February  4th is celebrated as Maratha Li Day across the regiment throughout the country.
February 4th also has a historical significance as on this day in 1670, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj concurred the Fort of Kondana which is known as Sinhgarh today.
Maratha Light Infantry Regiment celebrated this day all over the country in a major way. In Delhi, the function was held at the Manekshaw Centre in which Minister of State for Defence, Dr Subhash Bhamre was the Chief Guest with the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat. The Republic Day Parade Contingent of Maratha Light Infantry was present in the function. The families of the Maratha Light Infantry soldiers posted in Delhi were also present in large numbers.
- Manoj Tuli
pic: Davinder Singh Rana
Dr Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State for Defence and Gen Bipin Rawat, COAS releasing a book on the 250 years of MARATHA LI at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt on February 4, 2018.