Sestercentennial Celebrations of Kali Panchwin Battalion of Maratha Li
The 250 years celebrations of The KALI PANCHWIN Battalion, the Maratha Light Infantry started with a traditional and ceremonial fervour at Pune on February 9, 2018. The day started with the arrival and reception of a large number of senior veteran officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks. A special Mandir Parade was organised on February 9 followed by a review parade. The ceremonial parade was reviewed by Padma Shri Lieutenant General MA Zaki (Retired), Param Vishist Seva Medal, Ati Vishist Seva Medal, Vir Chakra wherein the Colours of the battalion were brought on Parade.
Thereafter, a Wreath Laying Ceremony was organised as a solemn memorial service in the honour of the gallant martyrs who laid down their lives for the glory of the Paltan. A befitting First Day Cover to commemorate the landmark occasion was released during a Special Sainik Sammelan addressed by veterans. To celebrate the strength behind the brave men of the Battalion past and the present, a special cultural programme followed by traditional meal was organised for all including families of the brave Marathas.
The celebrations of KALI PANCHWIN Battalion continued with vigour and zest. The second day witnessed a Pagal Gymkhana. This function had a Dog Show by the special Army Dog Unit. A total of 5 Labradors and 5 German Shepherds marched in style with the handlers. These dogs are trained for explosive and mine detection, tracking, assault and guard duty. During the show, the furious canine soldiers identified the terrorist hiding in crowd and caught him by smelling aggressively. The dogs performed various drills and tricks on the command of the handlers.
A Gymnastics Show was also performed by the team of Bengal Engineers Group. The synchronised formations of the team awestruck one and all. Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art form of Kerala, was performed by the soldiers of Madras Regiment. Kalaripayattu means practising the art of battlefield. It is believed that other various forms of martial arts have evolved from it. The show involved the use of sticks, swords and other weapons for self-defence.
Among all the thrilling performances, a major attraction was the Motorcycle Show performed by the "The Dare Devils" team. The event came alive with the stunts of motorcycle riders. The splendid driving skills of Dare Devils (the acrobatics teams) on motorcycles glorified the event. The riders performed stunts like salute, ladder, double bar and wheeling on moving motorcycles.
A fantastic display of acrobatics and gymnastics was showcased by a team of Assam Regimental Centre known as "Warriors of North East". A display of various formations and magical tricks by "Warriors of North East" amused the spectators.
The event was a reunion for erstwhile comrades in arms who travelled from all over the country to be together at this momentous once-in-a-lifetime occasion. The spirit of bonhomie and espirit-de-corps was on display during the course of the Reunion which was emblematic of the strong ties between officers and men alike.
- Col Aman Anand