Reforms in the Indian Army

The failure of the East India Company prompted the Queen to take over governance of India and proclaim it under the 'Crown'. After the 1857 war of Independence the Company rule came to an end and the crown took over India. A grand durbar was held at Allahabad on November 1, 1858.

Lord Canning sent forth the royal proclamation that the queen will be the deciding authority in India and this proclamation declared the future policy of the British Rule in India. The document was called "Magna Carta of the People of India". It gave clear guidelines on Principles of Justice and religious tolerance in the Queen's rule.

The Doctrine of Lapse (allow company to annex the principality of any Indian ruler who died without natural heirs or one who was manifestly incompetent or not fit to rule) was cancelled and the British stopped the policy of annexation. The document also granted forgiveness to all, except those who had directly taken part in murdering the British people. Peace was proclaimed throughout India on July 8, 1859. The armies of the East India Company came to an end and the forces in India were incorporated as an integral part of the British army.

The most important thing happened due to this proclamation was that the Indian Sepoys were enlisted in the regular service in the British Indian Army and they participated in the Wars fought by the British army. The British Indian army was becoming stronger as time passed by and modern technology was introduced in the form of guns, rifles and ammunition. By the end of the nineteenth century the army had changed from mere guards and temporary recruits of locals, it had become a professional fighting force with proper regiments of infantry, cavalry and artillery. Indian officers were recruited to lead the battle.

The native Indian army was now called the British Indian army and the soldiers were professional, honest men with a sense of unity. The organisation of the army was also strengthened The professionalism of Indian soldiers and officers would be put to test during World Wars I & II. During these wars they showed the world how brave and disciplined they were. Many battles were won in both the wars because of the Indians.

The reforms in the army that were carried out were:

Organisation of Infantry: Just as companies have managers, supervisors, an army also has a rank structure which essentially gives levels of responsibilities to capable persons. A battalion of infantry had 600 sepoys with Subedar, Jamadar, Havildars and Naiks. The officers were British initially, with 6 officers in a battalion. Later, Indian officers were commissioned and given responsibility to lead the men. They were called the King's Commissioned Officers or KCO in short. The first batch of KCOs included, Commander-in-Chief Tripura Forces and Colonel Rana Jodha Jung Bahadur, Amar Singh, Major General A A Rudra, K A D Naoroji (grandson of Dadabhai Naoroji), Field Marshal K M Cariappa and C B Ponnappa.

Organisation of Cavalry: Similar reorganization was made in Cavalry too. In 1861 it was decided that each regiment of the Native cavalry in Bengal would consist of 420 sowars (sepoys), divided into six troops with, making a total of 499 of all ranks. They would have Risaldars (same as Subedars in Infantry), Wardi Major, Jamadars, Dafadars (same as Havildars in infantry) and Trumpeters. Each regiment had One British Commandant and 5 British officers.

A Native Cavalry regiment was divided into three squadrons. Each Squadron had 152 men and 152 horses. These in later years would be converted to tanks. After the 1857, young British Officers were posted to Native regiments only after they had been thoroughly trained in the British regiment. They were compulsorily required to learn the Indian languages so that they could establish rapport with their men and also ensure that orders and instructions were explained to the sepoys in the local language. The Native soldiers were deliberately armed with inferior weapons to those given to the British privates, due to a fear that Indians could revolt anytime.