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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sikhs are no Longer Joining the Indian Army en Masse

The Sikhs have a long association with the army in India. After the Anglo-Sikh wars(1845-49)and the subsequent annexation of the Punjab by the British a transformation took place and the British impressed by the Sikhs as a martial race incorporated them in large numbers in the British Indian army. The British created exclusive Sikh and Punjab regiments which continued after India gained independence from the English. But after independence a new phenomena appeared. In fact this phenomena only gained momentum after 1947 but in reality extends to the beginning of the 20th century when Sikhs began to migrate abroad to the USA, UK and Canada.
Over the decades the West beckoned the Sikhs and they migrated abroad in large numbers. The reason was obvious as the money was good and the living standard better. Thus the first aim of a young man from Punjab is to try and migrate abroad. It must be remembered that almost a million Sikhs have migrated abroad and every household in Punjab has its fair share of migrants in the UK, USA and Canada. The result on recruitment to the army has in the bargain suffered. Recently a senior officer friend of mine commented to me that quality Sikhs were no longer joining the army as they preferred to go abroad and earn more money.
This is a fact and the elite Sikh and Punjab regiments of the Indian army are facing a quality crunch. Can anything be done about it. I am afraid nothing much as the West is the El Doradao and Sikhs prefer going there than holding a rifle in the bleak mountains of Ladakh.\