INDIA -- India General Service Medal 1947-75

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ID: 1   Posted (edited)

A draft royal warrant was prepared in January 1949 for the possible institution of this award in the name of the British sovereign as, during the dominion period, such a step would have been necessary to give the award status within the Commonwealth. On consideration, this course was abandoned and the medal was created by No.3-Pres./50 of 5 June 1950, by the President of India (with effect from 15 August 1947). The reverse designs were altered by Presidential amendments No.30-Pres./54 of 21 June 1954 and by No.49-Pres./54 of 6 December 1954.

General Appearance: A circular 35-mm copper-nickel medal. The medal is suspended by a straight-bar non-swiveling suspender to which the clasps are attached. The naming is usually impressed on the edge. The clasps are distinguished by having different motifs in the "roses" at their ends. As later bars were issued loose to the soldiers, and had to be mounted by them, multi-bar medals are uncommon.

Obverse: A representation of Bhavani, or the "divine sword of justice and true discrimination", point upward and within a halo.

Reverse: The original design of 1950, which was never issued, described the reverse: in the center, a lotus flower with buds with the legend above ?The General Service Medal? and, below, ?1947?. In June 1954, the lower reverse legends were altered to read ?1947? with ?INDIA? just above this. Finally, in December 1954, the design of the reverse as actually issued was specified as having the upper inscription read ?GENERAL SERVICE? and, below, ?INDIA?. No specimens have been seen of the first two reverses, though prototypes may exist.

Ribbon: 31 mm, red with five 1-mm dark green stripes. As it has been so common and so widely produced, there is some variability of the precise shades of the colors in this ribbon. These color variations have no significance (as some have stated). The notifying gazette unusually specified the sybolic significance of the ribbon colours; red representing valour and passion, and green, auspiciousness. There is, however, the indication that after the creation of the Samanya Seva Medal, 1965, in 1975, orders were issued that this medal should be worn from the ribbon of that later medal; this directive seems to have been widely (and appropriately) ignored.

Over the lifespan of the medal, before its replacement by the Samanya Seva Medal 1966 (which seems now to have gone moribund), seven clasps (all in English, unlike most other post-1947 Indian medals) were issued:

1- Jammu and Kashmir 1947-48 - For one day of service in specific battles within the geographical limits of Jammu and Kashmir State in the first Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir, 24 October 1947 to 1 January 1949. The bar has chinar leaves at the ends.

2- Overseas Korea 1950-53 - For one day of service ashore in Korea between 22 November 1952 and 8 July 1953 on the active strength of the 60th Para Field Ambulance Unit. Probably the rarest of the medals for the Korean War. The bar has a caduceus ascending from a lotus flower at the ends.

3- Naga Hills - For 180 days (90 days for temporary inductees) of operational service in the Naga Hills or Tuensang area of northeastern India between 27 April 1955 and 1 April 1956. Awarded for the first phases of a particularly nasty anti-insurgency campaign that still simmers to this day. The bar has atalks of bamboo in the roundels at the ends.

4- Goa 1961 - For service in ?Operation Vijay?, the reunification with India of the remnant Portuguese colonies along India?s coast. This bar was awarded for two days (48 hours) of actual service within the geographical limits of Goa, Daman and Diu from 18 to 22 December 1961. The bar has a palm tree at the ends.

5- Ladakh 1962 - For services against Chinese forces in Ladakh, along India?s northern borders, 20 October 1962 to 21 November 1962. This is one of two bars for the 1962 war with China. The bar has mountains at the ends.

6- NEFA 1962 - For services against Chinese forces in the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA), along India?s northeastern borders, 10 October 1962-21 November 1962. This is one of two bars for the 1962 war with China. The bar has a leafy tree tree at the ends.

7- Mizo Hills - Awarded for 180 days (90 days for temporary inductees) of operational service deployed and operating in the erstwhile Mizo District of Assam between 20 February 1966 and 8 May 1975. The ?Mizo Hills? bar has uniquely plain ends.

The successor medal, the Samanya Seva Medal 1965, would be awarded with six clasps, covering services from 1965 to the present. Although the medal appears today to have become moribund, as has the GSM model in the UK.

The medal illustrated, for Jammu and Kashmir 1947-48, was awarded to "5092 SEP. KARTAR SINGH, 1 PATIALA INFANTRY S. F."

Edited by Ed_Haynes

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ID: 2   Posted (edited)

2- Overseas Korea 1950-53 - 43.43-10 JEM A-ASST. MOHAN LAL, A. M. C. - 60th Para Field Ambulance - Enlisted 19 September 1940, Jemadar 10 July 1953

3- Naga Hills - 339007 SEP. JAGIR SINGH, SIKH R.

4- Goa 1961 - 1121601 HAV. DILBAG RAI, ARTY. - In 17th Artillery Brigade?, 17th Infantry Division Task Force.

Edited by Ed_Haynes

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ID: 3   Posted (edited)

5- Ladakh 1962 - JC-12615 SUB VISHWNATH SINGH, RAJPUT R.

6- NEFA 1962 - 1162613 L-NK JODHARAJ, ARTY.

7- Mizo Hills - 2862325 RFN. CLK. KANSHI RAM, RAJ RIF.

Edited by Ed_Haynes

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One of the few multi-clasp IGS 47 groups I have seen. Not mine, of course, and image leaves some things wanting, but still nice.

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ID: 6   Posted (edited)

Very nice!  For a brief period I collected post '47 Indian medlas but never got above a few examples, as here in Canada they are quite rare, except as worn by members of our Corps of Commissionaires.  

The Corps are security guards at government establishments and one must have served in a Commonwealth armed force to apply for the job.  We have a good number of South Asians, mostly Sikhs, in the Corps and it always used to catch my eye to see British medals for WWII worn AFTER the Indian Army awards as, of course, they count as foreign awards in India.

Thanks for sharing that, Shubham!


Edited by peter monahan

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