On a pleasant October morning in the year 1746, a small army of one thousand men put together by the French East India Company, consisting of 300 hundred Europeans and 700 hundred Sepoys, the French-trained Indian soldiers, faced a massive Mughal Army of 10,000 across the Adyar estuary on the Southeastern seaboard of India. In a feat of arms that has few parallels in history, the puny French force forded across the river braving artillery, and trounced their opponents in a classical show of European musketry salvo; drawn up in three ranks and advancing while firing successive volleys of shot, before they pounced on the enemy with bayonets. The French had made a point; numbers didn’t matter, training and discipline did. This landmark event in Indian History was to conceptualize the greatest military enterprise the subcontinent has ever known – the creation of the Indian Army. The British, who were mere bystanders to the event, were to pick up the trend and raise the first of their Presidency Armies, the Madras Army, and closely thereafter the other two, the Bengal and the Bombay ones; all of which were later, towards the end of the 19th Century, to be amalgamated to form the grand edifice that’s the Indian Army.
Here, contained in the pages of this book, is a vivid recreation of the glorious battles the old Madras Army fought, those of the Carnatic, Mysore and Maratha Wars in India, and of the Burma and China Wars overseas; as well as those their descendants, the soldiers from the South in the Indian Army, fought during the two World Wars overseas and in wars that independent India fought. It’s a two-and-a-half-century old saga of guts, gore and glory, from Adyar to Kargil all the way, that the doughty fighters of the South have woven in to the fabric of Indian nationhood; and part of the grand legacy that goes into the making of an Indian Soldier; always and every time, ‘Better than the Best’.
Author: D P Ramachandran