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India Ribbon bars

David S

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Not a common items but fascinating to me.

Awards are:

Special Service Medal

Raksha Medal

Sainya Seva Medal (with Jammu - Kashmir bar)

50th Independance Anniversary Medal

Long Service Medal - 20 years

Long Service Medal - 9 years

Edited by David S
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References are few and far between, so am unsure on one of these.

Samanya Seva Medal (not sure)

Special Operations Medal

Raksha Medal

Sainya Seva Medal

High Altitude Service Medal (see note below)

Videsh Seva Medal

50th Independence Anniversary Medal

Long Service - 20 years

Long Service - 9 years

Note that the High Altitude Service Medal is made of coated paper. I have several other Indian ribbon bars with this same material.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Hi David, here I am. Will add some images and some information.

(Shameless capitalism: The book is with the publisher. Sounds of anxious waiting!)

Your unknown ribbon, by the way, is the OP Vijar Star (first ribbon); it has now been changed to add a blue stripe for the navy. What you call "Rakash" is the OP Vijay Medal. These miniature clasps are an unfortunbate recent addition, though the Chief is being urged -- even as I write -- to reverse this dumb decision.

Ed Haynes

Edited by Ed_Haynes
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Here is an interesting post-1947 ribbon bar.


2- VrC, Samanya Seva, Samar Seva, Poorvi

3- Paschimi, Vishesh Seva, Raksha, Sangram

4- OP Vijay Medal, Sainya Seva, High Alt., 50th Indep.

5- 25th Indep., 30 Yr., 20 Yr., 9 Yr.

There has been some evvort at identifying the recipient and the prime candidate is Lt Gen Arjun Singh Khanna PVSM, AVSM, VrC.

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Ed . . . You've got the good bars, especially the ID'd (possible) one . . . to a General no less.

Dumb question - Why is the High Altitude Service usually in coated paper? I thought that one might be able to find other ribbons of such material would be . . .but not that I have seen so far. Do you have an answer, or at least a guess?

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Hi David,

The High Altitude Medal is one of those awards that had its ribbon designed by a committee of "experts" who never dealt with the pragmatic question of how or whether the ribbon could actually be produced, or produced economically (for a medal that more members of at least the army and air force would qualify for at some time in their careers). Apparently, this chevron ribbon seemed a sexy and evocative design on paper and no one thought about the realities until later.

Early awards came on a thick plastic ribbon where the blue "chevrons" seem to be embossed or painted on (see the image below). This ribbon, I am told this proved to be expensive and cumbersome (thicker than a "normal" ribbon and therefore hard to mount, c.f. the Vayu Sema Medal ribbon which all the military tailors hate). They were back to the nasty plasticised paper "ribbons" for the High Altitude Medal that we know and hate so well. Though note Khanna's (?) ribbon bar, above, that uses the plastic rather than paper ribbon.

When it comes to post-1947 Indian medals I could go on and on and on.


Edited by Ed_Haynes
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And, you think this is bad, just ponder the Garaj Star ribbon (on one of the police ribbon bars I show above - very uncommon!) of that for the newly-issued Coast Guard 20 Year Service Medal (they have one for 9 years too).

user posted image

Edited by Ed_Haynes
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I came across this picture earlier today. Nothing exceptional, but I noted some similarities to Ed's general's bar so I thought to test my squinting skills. I read:

1st row -

1. Param Vishist Seva Medal

2. Ati Vishist Seva Medal

3. Vayu Sena Medal

4. Samar Seva Star

2nd row -

1. Paschimi Star

2. Raksha Medal

3. Sangram Medal

4. Operation Vijay Medal

3rd row -

1. ?

2. Sainya Seva Medal

3. Videsh Seva Medal

4. 50th Independence Anniversary Medal

4th row -

1. 25th Independence Anniversary Medal

2. 30 Years Long Service Medal

3. 20 Years Long Service Medal

4. 9 Years Long Service Medal

Any idea what #1 on the 3rd row is?

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This is the new Op Parakram Medal (shown below), established in 2005 for the near-war between India and Pakistan 2001/2. This is a controversial medal, as it is a campaign medal (not a clasp to an existing general service medal) for not a "war", but for a deployment.

The extremely naughty Air Chief Marshal is, however, wearing the OP Parakram ribbon BACKWARDS. He needs to "have a word" with his military tailor. But, then, I doubt the Germans would notice. wink.gif

He is also wearing a commendation badge below his ribbons, most likely a Chief of the Air Staff Commendation Badge.

Nice snap, Dave!

Edited by Ed_Haynes
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  • 1 month later...

Just to "clear the palate", a nice, early, elegant, if a bit tattered ribbon bar:

1: GSM 1947, Sainya Seva (reversed)

2: Videsh Seva, Independence, WWII WM, UNEF

And a very nice group, too. As a Peacekeeping collector I'd love to have the originals in my collection. I do have a Videsh Seva, Rakhsha, UNEF to the Dogra Regiment.

I seem to recall the Gen. Lewis Mackenzie said in his autobiography that the Indian Contingent of UNEF were sports-mad, and dominated every game by sheer persistence - until the Canadians claimed that darts was our national game.

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  • 2 months later...


Nice score Daniel !

Not much on TJ Master . . . he did make it to Air Marshal and was still around in 1999. I'll keep looking.

added: Retired on 31 Dec 02 as Air Marshal, Chief of The Training Command Became President of the India Air Force Association in 2003.



Edited by David S
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Pretty one, Daviel. With nothing higher than the VM, gtting information won't be easy. This is made worse by the unfortunate lack of IAF lists in public access. Unlike the other services, the air boys treat their lists as high security items. Not even the USI has many.

However . . . I sense a problem with your attribution. According to the very useful database over at the Bharat Rakshak site


7224 F(P) Air Marshal Teshter Jall Master, IAF, (commissioned 9 March 1962) was not awarded a VM, but was awarded an AVSM 26 January 1991 and a PVSM 26 January 2001. This site is not perfect and VMs (especially if for being a good boy and not for gallantry) are devilish hard to trace in the Gazette of India. Yet, the webmaster over there has done a darned good job in getting VM (and other) citations together. See his


The absence of Master's VM from the list is quite troubling. Otherwise, I'd be inclined not to challenge your attribution as a pre-AVSM (pre-1991) cast-off ribbon bar, perhaps when Master upgraded following his AVSM.

As it is, though, it remains an interesting, if unattributed, ribbon bar. Not to sound like an Imperial German collector, but can we see a scan of the backside, er, um, back side, the reverse?

Edited by Ed_Haynes
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