“Indian Army Recruitment is Not Based on Caste but on Region,” Senior Lt General on Ahir Protests

By Sonal Nain, 25 Mar 2022

Members of the Ahir community have staged massive protests at the Delhi-Gurgaon border, demanding the formation of an Ahir regiment in the Indian Army. The protesters, led by the Sanyukt Ahir Regiment Morcha, a group of Ahir community leaders from south Haryana, assert that the Indian Army has several caste-based regiments, such as the Jat, Rajpur and Mahar. 

They argue that since the Ahirs have a large representation in the army, a separate regiment for Ahirs is justified. However, the Army has previously stated that it does not recruit soldiers based on caste, religion, or region. 

Lt Gen Ata Hasnain, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 15 Corps, speaks to Mojo Story about the unbiased and diverse nature of the Indian Army, stating that he is a Muslim who has commanded Hindu troops, including leading the aarti, “In peak stations such as Lucknow, the unit mandir was led by me and unless the aarti thali came to me, aarti would not start. And, I had a company of Grenadiers who were all Muslims and led by a Hindu company commander. He would keep 30 Rozas and say five prayers with his troops first thing in the morning. This is the Indian Army for you.”

According to Lt General Rakesh Sharma, ex-Adjutant General of the Indian Army, recruitment in the Indian Army is conducted impartially, “Armed forces are not social mobility equipment. Let politics be carried out by politics. Don’t carry out politics on the shoulders of India’s finest institution. You are causing unnecessary problems within the organizations. We take pride in our ability to work together.” 

He further added that there are 1600 major units in the Indian Army, all commanded by colonels, with only 500 units being pure units. The remaining 1100 units are impure, “Aren’t they going to fight wars?” he questions.

Watch the full conversation below.