The Special Forces of the Indian Military rank amongst some of the most elite and most feared soldiers in the world. The way they are groomed mentally and physically, pushes the boundaries of human behavior and the threshold of pain tolerance. They can survive the harshest wilderness. They can eat almost anything that moves. They aren’t really the same kind of humans that we are. They are bred to kill. One such band of brothers who protect us while we sleep is the Special Forces Para Commandos, one of the world’s most elite covert operations units.
Groomed by the Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army, these are the same commandos who recently tore through the terrorists camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, in a surgical strike. To the world and more formally, they are known as the Para Commandos. Those who fear them, call them the ‘Glass Eaters’. All that hellish and brutal training gives the Parachute Commandos an edge over regular forces not only physically but also, mentally. And this glass eating tradition is one such ritual that fosters their sense of absolute fearlessness and superiority.
A blog post, named Tales From The Army, brings forth this rarely talked about and unknown tradition. The blog is written by a retired Ex- Special Forces Para Commando himself. The officer recalls the time when he was asked to eat glass and how he did it. In short, here’s how the tradition goes- upon successfully completing the hellish training, soldiers are inducted as a Maroon Beret but before they are handed the badge, they have to down a Patiala peg of rum, bite off and chew the rim of the glass. Yes, bite it, chew it and swallow it. While it was hard for me to believe like it would be for most who read this, a program on Discovery channel called Earning The Badge settled my doubts forever. The Paras DO eat glass upon induction in the unit.
While it seems humanly impossible to eat glass but once chewed enough, it’s pulverized into nothing but sand. Glass is sand. But while only the thought of chewing glass makes our stomach bleed, these men of steel continue to follow this tough-as-nails tradition.