New Delhi, December 30: The BSF’s women contingent atop camels that will be featured for the first time in next month’s Republic Day parade will be wearing military regalia designed by popular fashion designer Raghavendra Rathore, a force spokesperson said Friday.
The annual parade held on January 26 will witness the border forces’ first-ever women contingent on camels this time, riding alongside their male counterparts. The famed camel contingent of the Border Security Force (BSF) has been a part of the Republic Day celebrations since 1976, after it replaced a similar squad of the Army which had been participating in the annual parade since it was first held in 1950.
“The uniforms for the ‘mahila praharis’ (women guards) represent the many treasured craft forms of India, fashioned in different parts of the country, and assembled in-house at the Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur studio. Republic Day 2023: All Government Offices in Kashmir To Hoist National Flag on R-Day.
“The uniform incorporates sartorial and cultural elements of Rajasthan’s history in its designs,” the BSF spokesperson said in a statement. While designing the outfit for the female troopers, the spokesperson said, “functionality as well as the privilege and honour of wearing one of the national forces’ uniforms has been reflected, which resonates with the iconic RRJ Jodhpuri bandhgala that is stately, classic and elegance personified”.
The camel contingent comprises armed BSF personnel and members of its band contingent. They follow the foot marching contingent during the parade that ambles down the Rajpath, now Kartavya Path, from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the Red Fort via the India Gate. BSF Director General Pankaj Kumar Singh had told reporters last month that “half of the personnel that will be part of the camel contingent at the next Republic Day parade will be women.”
The BSF is the only force in the country that uses camels for both operational and ceremonial duties. The animals are used by BSF personnel for patrolling along the Thar desert running along the India-Pakistan international border in Rajasthan.
The contingent usually comprises 90 camels — 54 with troops and the rest with band personnel. According to tradition, the lead camel contingent on Republic Day showcases smartly dressed armed BSF border guards, sporting big moustaches, and the second follows with bandsmen in beautiful multicolour dresses, riding camels and playing martial music. Kashmir’s Divisional Commissioner Asks All Govt Institutes, Offices to Hoist Tricolour on R-Day.
The contingent is also part of the Beating the Retreat ceremony that is held three days after Republic Day on January 29, as it stands guard on the ramparts of the North and South Blocks atop Raisina Hill. The 2.65-lakh strong BSF is primarily tasked with guarding India’s international borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
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