Sagar (MP), Apr 14 (PTI) The oath of affirmation was administered to 158 young soldiers who passed out of the Mahar Regiment Centre here after a rigorous military course of 34 weeks, Army officials said today.

They were administered the oath at the Passing Out ceremony yesterday by the Centre’s officiating commandant, Colonel Brajesh Singh, who asked the young soldiers to perform selfless service and to be prepared to meet existing operational challenges, an Army release stated today.

The Colonel recounted the contribution of gallant and brave Mahar soldiers who achieved martyrdom in the service of the nation.

The release informed that the recruits were presented with medals for excelling in various fields including drill, physical training, firing among others.

The “Gaurav Padak” was also presented to the proud parents of young soldiers in the presence of army personnel, civil dignitaries and students of local schools attending the parade, the release said.

The Mahars have a long tradition of bearing arms and were respected members of Shivaji’s and later the Maratha armies, the release said, adding that they became part of the Bombay Presidency Army when the British administration in India formed the Indian Infantry in the early 19th century.

The first Mahar battalion was raised in 1917 and saw action in the First World War.

After being merged with other regiments, it was re-raised in 1941 and fought valiantly in Burma, Persia and Iraq in the Second World War, the release said.

In 1946, the regiment converted to the specialised role of fielding medium machine guns and for a decade and half rendered the most effective combat support for infantry troops.

In 1956, the regiment absorbed three battalions of the Border Scouts, which were raised for manning the Punjab border, the release informed.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.