Army Medical Corps
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Arvind Chauhan, March 26, 2021: The Times of India
On March 30, when the Army Medical Corps centre in Lucknow celebrates its foundation day, the band contingent in march past would be led by a 4-foot havaldar, reports Arvind Chauhan.
Meet Munna Havaldar — not a man but a goat of Marwari breed – serving as a ‘noncommissioned officer’ without a break for 70 years under a practice introduced in the Army on April16,1951, by Maharaja of Gwalior, Jivajirao Scindia. Considered auspicious for the corps, he is the official mascot of the AMC band. The current mascot is the eighth in the medical corps.
‘Havaldar Munna essential part of AMC military band’
The current mascot is expected to serve the military band for next two years, following which the AMC will start searching for another Marwari breed to continue the tradition.
According to AMC sources, at the time of merger of Maharaja Jivajirao Scindia’s army with the Indian Army, the maharaja’s band was merged with the AMC. At the time of amalgamation, the present mascot of AMC band, Havaldar Munna, a black Marwari breed from Rajasthan’s Barmer district was offered to the Indian Army by the maharaja.
“Havaldar Munna is an essential part of the AMC military band. He is considered to be a good sign for the medical corps. He is present in all ceremonies such as passing out parade of medical officers, attestation parade of newly-inducted trained jawan and others,” said an AMC official. For ceremonies, Havaldar Munna uniform includes ankle bells (musical anklets), maroon scarf, silver sautoir, headgear bondage hood with feather and insignia of AMC along with three strips revealing his rank. Subedar M S Reddy, who has been associated with Havaldar Munna for the past 30 years, said, “Munna’s diet includes multigrain, jaggery, fruits and grass.”