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'Badluram ka badan': Origins of Indian Army's favourite marching song, and why it retains its iconic status

  • A group of Indian soldiers were joined in by their American counterparts in singing the Army's favourite marching song, 'Badluram ka badan zameen ke neeche hai' during a joint military exercise in the US

  • Badluram, a jawan, died during World War II but his quartermaster did not strike his name off the roster and continued to draw rations in his name. When his platoon was surrounded by Japanese troops (which entered India in 1944) and cut off supplies, this extra ration supposedly saw the rest of the men through the siege

  • Hence the lyrics: 'Badluram ka badan zameen ka neeche hai/ toh humey uska ration milta hai'

In July, a video shared on Twitter caught everyone's attention. A drill sergeant in Nagaland sings '"Dhal gaya din..." to his troops who marched in unison with quirky additions to the 1970s hit song, starring Jeetendra and Leena Chandavarkar in the film Humjoli, like: "Aage jaake kya karega…peeche mud." The video went viral on social media.

Months later, a group of Indian soldiers were joined in by their American counterparts in singing the Indian Army's favourite marching song, 'Badluram ka badan zameen ke neeche hai' during a joint military exercise in the US. There is a video and that's all Twitter is talking about.

In light of latest developments in Jammu and Kashmir and neighbouring areas, (Uri surgical strikes, Balakot air strikes and post revocation of Article 370 in the Valley), the spotlight has, for quite some time, been on the Indian Army. During a joint military training program Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2019, conducted as a part of the ongoing Indo-US defence cooperation at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, USA, different images and videos of the Indian and US soldiers practising drills together have made their way online. But the netizens love this one particularly.

The Indian and American soldiers broke into a dance while singing the popular marching song dedicated to Badluram, a soldier in the Assam regiment who was killed during World War II.

Origin of Badluram

Based on US civil war song The Battle Hymn of The Republic — John Brown's Body, Badluram ka badan zameen ke neeche hai ends with ‘shabaash, hallelujah’. It is Assam regiment's iconic marching song and these are lyrics of the song:

Ek khubsurat ladki thi… Usko dekh ke rifleman… Chindi khichna bhul gaya… Havaldar Major dekh liya… Usko pittu lagaya… Badluram ek sipahi thaa… Japan war me mar gaya… Quarter Master smart thaa… Usney ration nikala… Badluram ka badan zameen ke nichey hain… Toh humein uska ration milta hain… Sabashh… hallelujah… Toh humein uska ration milta hain…

Badluram, a jawan in the Assam Regiment, died during World War II in Japan when India was still under British rule.

The quartermaster was supposed to report deaths of the soldiers to the authorities so that the ration for the slain soldiers be stopped. But he didn’t remove Badluram’s name from the list. Every soldier was entitled to ration (food supplies) and the quartermaster continued to take rations on Badluram's name. Many, however, say he forgot to remove the name.

The surplus food supplies, Badluram’s share, kept coming until the Japanese Army surrounded the platoon in 1944 and cut off their supplies. It was Badluram’s extra ration that kept the soldiers alive.

Usually exclusive to the units, these songs are used to break the "tedium" and help recruits march better, ThePrint quoted an Indian Army official as saying. Experts also said that instructors use different methods to get recruits to drill effectively. 'Badluram ka badan zameen ke neeche hai' is surely one of its kind, but it is not the only one. 'Yo Nepali sir uchali', Kumaoni folk song 'Bedu pako baromasa', Mizo song 'Haste lushai' are other popular marching songs. Speaking to ThePrint, Indian Army officials said that military bands these days can play several jazz tracks.

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Updated Date: Sep 16, 2019 17:50:34 IST