A Tribute to the Pioneer of “Garhwal Rifles”
MAJ.BALBHADRA SINGH NEGI
The birth of Garhwal Regiment is credited to this soldier born in April 1829 in Haida Kholi Village of District Pauri. In 1847, he went to Abottabad, 500 miles from his native place to get recruited in the 5th Gorkha Rifles. He grew through the ranks rapidly due to his honesty, sincerity, hard work, and intelligence.
In the Afghan war, he fought under General F.S. Roberts and displayed strategic intelligence, courage and audacity. He also displayed exemplary courage in the battles of Kabul and Kandhar; resulting in his honor with the “Order of Merit”. He was also bestowed with the title of “Sardar Bahadur” on being promoted to the rank of Subedar Major. When Lord Roberts became the Commander-in-Chief & then Field Marshall, he deputed S.M. Balbhadra as his ADC and honored him with the title “Laat Subedar”.
During this period, he was decorated with the “Order of British India” and awarded “Outstanding Soldier Medal”. Subedar Major Balbhadra had a dream that Garhwalis should have a separate battalion of their own. At the opportune moment, he shared his thought with Lord Roberts who was convinced and proposed the same to the Viceroy Lord Dufrin and in the meeting that followed; he conveyed that “A homeland which can produce men like Balbhadra Singh must have a separate battalion of their own”. As a result, the first battalion of Garhwalis was raised on May 5th, 1887.
On 28-29 April 2006, the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre (GRRC), Lansdowne celebrated the first Balbhadra Divas. It was the first time in the 119 years of the history of the Garhwal Rifles that an event was celebrated to honour a person who was a visionary and, in a way, may be seen as the ‘Father’ of Garhwal Rifles; Laat Subedar Balbhadra Singh Negi, OBI, IOM, an outstanding persona of Garhwal.
In his fond memory, his third generation formed Shri Balbhadra Singh Negi Educational Society; registered on April 16th, 2004. The Institute of Hospitality, Management & Sciences. (IHMS) was established at Kotdwar under the aegis of this society in the year 2006.
We have made an effort to pay an honest tribute to this great persona with a vision of IHMS emerging as modern abode of learning constituted with elements of diligence, devotion and dedication.