Netizens have wondered why the Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat wears a slanted hat with a chin strap below his mouth rather than the neck.
Yaar, pehley apni topi toh seedhi ker ley, bhai. https://t.co/tyL0hzjsqL
— Nadeem Farooq Paracha (@NadeemfParacha) September 22, 2018
Or for that matter, why India’s former army chief general Dalbir Singh wore it in the same manner.
But why General VK Singh wore a hat associated with traditional military attire.
The reason why the Bipin Rawat and Dalbir Singh wore that particular hat is because they hail from Indian Army’s 11 and 5 Gurkha regiments respectively.
The Gurkhas are ethnic Nepalese soldiers who serve in the armed forces of Nepal, India and United Kingdom while performing military duties for Singapore and Brunei. The Gurkhas became a part of the British Army during the colonial era and since then have developed a reputation for bravery, combat skills and stellar military performance. They have served in conflicts ranging from both the world wars, Afghanistan, Waziristan, Burma and with the UN in other parts of the world.
The tradition of wearing the slanted hat with the chin strap below the mouth rather than the neck is an integral part of a long tradition of the Gurkhas.
Like many military traditions, the reasons behind why the hat is worn in the manner that it is is not certain with explanations ranging from stature to chattiness to the advantages provided by the strap in hand-to-hand combat. But what is clear is that the tradition is not limited to the Indian Army.
Similarly, the tradition of wearing the chin strap below the mouth is also not unique to the Gurkhas either.
Here are the Royal Queens Guardsmen wearing the strap below the mouth.