New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Saturday presented a silver trumpet and banner to the President’s Bodyguard, the oldest regiment of the Indian Army.
The grand ceremony, in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, has been in existence since 1923, when the then viceroy, Lord Reading awarded two trumpets to the elite force on completinf of 150 years.
Pranab Mukherjee is India’s 12th head of state to honour the force. Former president Zakir Hussain could not bestow the honour due to his untimely demise.
The significance of the ceremony is that once the trumpet is presented to the bodyguard and blown, it is then sounded whenever the president is taking the ceremonial salute.
The ceremony began with with the national salute, after which the president reviewed the parade.
Astride their caparisoned steeds, the PBG, commanded by Colonel T.S. Mundi, formed a hollow square from which a non-commissioned officer, Satnam Singh, headed towards the president to receive the trumpet and banner.
This was followed by the horses and their mounts walking, trotting and finally cantering past the president, which enthralled theaudience.
The silver trumpet, with a mounted banner with the Ashoka Lions symbols and the initials of the president in the centre, was blown.
Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee said: ” I am confident that the President’s Bodyguard would continue to uphold the lofty values of professionalism, dedication and commitment that they had displayed over the years.”
The origin of the force goes back to 1773 when the first governor general of India, Warren Hastings, chose 50 hand-picked troopers to fight the marauders in Benaras.