Tilak on forehead and mauli tied on hand… why is this Indian Army commander's photo in discussion on social media

Ananya Shroff
3 Min Read
Tilak on forehead and mauli tied on hand… why is this Indian Army commander's photo in discussion on social media


New Delhi: A picture of Lieutenant General Ajay Kumar Singh, GOC-in-Chief of the Southern Command of the Indian Army, has been in the news on social media since yesterday. Retired soldiers are raising questions on this picture of his and people are reminding him of the secular nature of the Indian Army. On Wednesday, a post was made from the official handle of Headquarters Integrated Defense Staff Headquarters. In this post, Lieutenant General Ajay Kumar Singh is seen wearing a uniform and has a Tilak on his forehead and a Mauli (Raksha Sutra) tied on his hand.Religious symbols cannot be displayed on uniforms
Ever since this photo was posted, a discussion has started on social media. Retired soldiers are raising questions that religious symbols cannot be displayed in uniform like this. Retired Brigadier Sandeep Thapar from the army posted that photo and wrote – This was not done sir, not in uniform, in the office.

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On this post, former Indian Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash commented that as per the Defence Service Regulations, no religious symbol of any kind can be displayed on the uniform. Many times one has to attend many religious ceremonies in uniform, it is a custom, after that Tilak is done and the Mauli is opened and placed on the Tulsi plant.

Permission must be obtained first
Brigadier Sandeep Thapar (Retd) while talking to NBT said that the Indian Army is a secular army and any kind of religious symbols cannot be worn in uniform. He told that according to the Defense Services Regulation, Sikh soldiers are allowed to wear turbans and Kada. However, if a soldier or officer wants to do something for his religious commitment, he has to first take permission for it. For example, if someone has to go on Haj and has to grow a beard for that, then first he has to apply and take permission and permission is given for that period. Similarly, if someone has to go to Tirupati and shave his head, then he has to take permission for that too. He said that many times officers have to go to different religious ceremonies and they also go in uniform. If they go to a temple in an official ceremony, they also apply Tilak and also tie Mauli in the hand. But after this they remove it, they do not keep wearing it continuously.

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