The Mahar Regiment
is an Infantry Regiment
of the Indian Army
. Although it was originally intended to be a regiment consisting of troops from the Mahars
in Maharashtra, the Mahar Regiment is one of the only regiments in the Indian Army that is composed of troops from all communities and regions of India.
Under Shivaji and the Maratha Empire
The Mahars were recruited by the Marathi king Shivaji
as scouts and fort guards in his army. They were also heavily recruited by the British East India Company
, at one part forming one-sixth of the Company's Bombay Army. The Bombay Army especially favoured the Mahar troops for their bravery and loyalty to the Colours
, and also because they could be relied upon during the Anglo-Maratha Wars
. They achieved many successes, most notably on the 1st of January 1818, when 500 men of the 2nd Battalion 1st Regiment of the Bombay Native Light Infantry along with 250 cavalrymen and 24 cannon defeated 20,000 horsemen and 8,000 footsoldiers of the Maratha Army in what would be called the Battle of Koregaon
. This battle was commemorated by an obelisk, known as the Koregaon pillar, which featured on the Mahar Regiment crest until Indian Independence. The Bombay Army also saw action in the Indian Mutiny
of 1857, and two regiments (the 21st and 27th) joined the revolt under the British.
The Martial Races theory and disbandment
After the Revolt, the British officers of the Indian Army, particularly those who had served in the First