Assam Regiment

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Not to be confused with Assam Rifles.
The Assam Regiment
Active 15 June 1941 - Present
Country India India
Branch Army
Type Line infantry
Role Light role
Size 25 battalions
Regimental Centre Happy Valley, Shillong, Meghalaya
Nickname(s) The Rhinos
Motto(s) Asam Vikram (Unique Valour)
War Cry Rhino Charge
March Badlu Ram Ka Badan
Mascot(s) Uni-horned rhinoceros of Assam

1945 (Burma Front)

1971 (Chaamb Sector)
Decorations 1 Ashoka Chakra, 2 Maha Vir Chakra, 3 Kirti Chakra, 5 Vir Chakras, 14 Shaurya Chakras, 2 Padma Shris, 5 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 1 Yudh Seva Medal, 51Sena Medals and 8 Vishisht Seva Medals
Brig 'Papa' Pandey Padmabhushan, Brig. Thenphunga Sailo
Colours Black and red (golden stripe added to the flag on the occasion of golden Jubilee)

The Assam Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army. The regiment consists of 25 battalions: 15 regular battalions, 3 Rashtriya Rifles battalions, 5 Territorial Army infantry battalions (including 2 Eco Battalions) and 2 battalion of Arunachal Scouts. It recruits exclusively from all the Seven Sister States of northeast India.


An Assam Regiment sepoy

The Regimental Center is situated at Happy Valley, Shillong, Meghalaya. The Regiment's emblem is the Rhino, which is worn on the berets and belts that the soldiers (the self-named "Rhinos") wear. Rhinos in India are commonly found in the state of Assam. The regimental salutation of "tagra raho" ("stay strong/fit") is unique in the Indian Army. This unique greeting was introduced by the regiment's commanding officer during the 1960s, the late Maj. Gen. S.C. Barbora. He used to inquire about the morale of his soldiers by asking them "tagra ho?" ("are you strong/fit?"). Invariably, the answer used to be "tagra hai saheb" (I am strong/fit, sir). This greeting became popular in a very short period of time.


The initial draft of the regiment was drawn from Undivided Assam, consisting of the doughty Ahoms who had proved their martial prowess by defeating the Mughals at the Battle of Saraighat and the hardy, tough and cheerful Nagas, Mizos, Kukis, Garos, Meiteis and other tribals. Later, the Adis, Nishis, Monpas, other tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, domiciled Gorkhas and Sikkimese were also drafted into the regiment and, today, the regiment can boast of being composed of troops of diverse customs, cultures, languages, traditions and ethos belonging to the seven states of the northeast and Sikkim.

The regiment was raised on 15 June 1941 in Shillong by Lt. Col. Ross Howman to meet the claim of the then undivided State of Assam for its own fighting unit and to counter the threat of the Japanese invasion of India. The young regiment soon proved its capabilities within three years of its raising, at the consecutive battles of Jessami, the epic defence of Kohima and the capture of Aradura, all of which were awarded as battle honours (now as pre-independence battle honours) to the regiment. The regiment earned high praise for its combat skills in World War II. After independence, the regiment increased in size and its battalions have taken part in all wars and counter-insurgency operations since independence with distinction. It was awarded a battle honour for its tenacious defence at Chamb in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

Two battalions were part of the Indian Peace Keeping Forces in Sri Lanka in 1988 and a battalion served in Cambodia in 1993 as part of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia. Five Territorial Army (TA) battalions (including 2 Eco Battalions) and three Rashtriya Rifles (RR) battalions are affiliated with the regiment. The unique cultural and tribal character of the regiment makes for a fine combination of cheerful, tough and willing soldiers who excel in operations in mountainous and jungle terrain. The regimental colours are black and gold (state colours of undivided Assam) and scarlet (the colour of the infantry). Badges are silver with black backings. The side arm is the 'Dah'. The regimental Language is Hindi. When spoken in the regiment, it is a quaint and unique mixture of Hindi generously sprinkled with words from all the northeastern languages and sounds cryptic to the uninitiated.

The area of Elephant Falls in Shillong was chosen to raise the first battalion and here, under British instructors, the troops were trained to become a fighting machine. Within six months of its raising, the regiment was ordered to move to Digboi to defend the oil fields. In early 1942, it moved to Ledo and was involved in reconnoitering the alignment for the famous Stilwell Road. In 1944, when the invasion of India by Japan was imminent, the regiment was moved to Jessami and Kharasom to delay the advance of the Japanese 31st Division.

In its very first operation, the regiment won 71 gallantry awards. In addition, the regiment won six battle honours including Jessami, Kohima, Aradura, Toungoo, Kyaukmyaung bridge-head and Mawlaik. It was also awarded the theatre honour Burma: 1942-45. Seldom has a regiment won so many gallantry awards, battle honours and theatre awards in a single campaign.

The regiment, from a small group of three battalions at the time of independence, has now become a 25 Battalion strong force with 15 regular battalions, three Rashtriya Rifles battalions, Five Territorial Army Battalions (including 2 Eco Battalions) and 2 Battalions of Arunachal Scouts, raised specifically for counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. After independence, the battalions of the regiment participated in all the conflicts against China and Pakistan and proved their mettle in each one. Two of its battalions, 4 Assam and 7 Assam, have had the privilege of being part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka and 1 Assam, 15 Assam and 10 Assam have the unique distinction of being part of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cambodia (UNTAC), Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) respectively.


Battle Honours[edit]

  • Chaamb 1971
Assam Regiment contingent in Delhi Republic Day parade

Honours & Awards[edit]

Soldiers of Assam Regiment

Regimental Battalions[edit]

  • 1st Battalion - Always First
  • 2nd Battalion - Second to None
  • 3rd Battalion - The Phantom Third
  • 4th Battalion - The Formidable Fourth
  • 5th Battalion - The Fighting fifth
  • 6th Battalion - The Sabre Sixth
  • 7th Battalion - The Striking Seventh
  • 8th Battalion - The Head Hunters
  • 9th Battalion - The Nimble Ninth
  • 10th Battalion - The Thundering Tenth
  • 12th Battalion - The Daring Dozen
  • 14th Battalion - The Ferocious Fourteenth
  • 15th Battalion - One Five
  • 16th Battalion - The Soaring Sixteen
  • 17th Battalion - Saggital Ek Saat
  • 119 Infantry Battalion (TA) - Assam Terriers
  • 165 Infantry Battalion (TA) - Manipur Terriers
  • 166 Infantry Battalion (TA) - Tezpur Terriers
  • 134 Infantry Battalion (TA) - Eco Battalion
  • 135 Infantry Battalion (TA) - Eco Battalion
  • 35th Rashtriya Rifles
  • 42nd Rashtriya Rifles
  • 59th Rashtriya Rifles
  • 1st Arunachal Scouts
  • 2nd Arunachal Scouts

By 2016 the regiment has grown into a family of 25 battalions, 15 regular units, 3 Rashtriya Rifles units and 5 infantry battalions of the Territorial Army ( Including 2 Eco Battalions) and 2 battalions of Arunachal Scouts. Comprising exclusively troops from all the seven North-Eastern states, the regiment has established itself as a highly respected infantry regiment of Indian Army. In its six decades of martial history, the regiment has served with distinction in different wars and in various operational areas of the country. It has also been a part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka and UN Peace Keeping Force in Cambodia. The regiment has won seven battle honours, three theatre honours, six exclusive unit citations and several gallantry awards. The 42nd Rashtriya Rifles (Assam) formed specially to combat insurgency and terrorism, came into existence at a simple inaugural ceremony at the Assam Regimental Centre, Happy Valley in Shillong. Major General I. J. S Bora, GOC 101 Area, unfurled the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) flag heralding its formal birth. While four RR battalions had already been raised in the recent past, the 41st RR battalion (Maratha Light Infantry) was simultaneously raised in Karnataka's Belgaum. Major General Bora said as Meghalaya was relatively peaceful, there was no contemplation of deployment of armed forces at present. The force, raised to relieve the Army of counter insurgency operations, proved its mettle both in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East.

The Phantom Third recently celebrated its Diamond Jubilee. The Sabre Sixth has performed Ceremonial Duties at Rashtrapati Bhawan and was selected for its outstanding work in Counter Terrorist operations. The contingent of the Assam Regiment was judged "Best Marching Contingent" thrice in the Republic Day celebrations held at Delhi in 1995, 2004 and 2016. The team of the Assam Regimental Centre won the 'Army Young Blood Firing Championship' in 2005 and stood second in 2006.

The Ferocious Fourteenth won the Division and Command Football Championships and had fielded four players for the Army Red's & Green's. It had also won the first position in the Division Cambrian Patrol Championship 2009 -10 & will be fielding its patrol in the Command Championships later in the year.The Thundering Tenth won the division firing and sniper competition for the year 2011-2012.


The regiment wears Hat Terai worn by the Gurkhas.

See also[edit]