Recently a friend of mine mentioned to me that there was nothing like a martial race. I tend to agree with him, but the fact remains that over the pages of history certain races have dominated over others. We have people like the Mongols and the Greeks advancing and conquering distant lands.The names of Alexander and Chengiz Khan come to mind immediately. In contrast the Hindus rarely ventured out side the subcontinent and were content to face the enemy at the gates of their kingdoms. Thus the basic principle of war-offense was conspicuously ignored.
In India also all races were not passive and over a period of time certain races perforce faced greater dangers and thus had greater recourse to arms than others. In this connection the Indian races of the North West of India who faced frequent invasions had greater chance to weld arms than other races of the subcontinent. Thus the Sikhs, Pathans, Baluchis among others, because of their frequent war situations came to be classified as Martial races. The British codified this concept and created Martial and non-martial races. One may agree or not agree with this concept, but the British used this principle in their recruitment policy to the Indian Army. Independent India retained this class composition for the army as well. Thus the regiments of yore like the Sikh, Dogra, Gurkha regiments continued to be part of the Indian military scene.
I remember reading the Pandit Nehry the first Indian Prime Minister after 1947 specifically insisted that the class composition of the Indian Army should not be changed. We do not know what he had in mind, perhaps he accepted the British division of martial and non martial races. Whether he was right or wrong is another matter.
However with the passage of time and the development of new technology, the concept of a martial race per se is no longer valid. The LTTE armed with AK 47s fought the superior Sri Lanka Army in a determined manner. They were the first to bring the concept of the suicide bomber into operation.This was used with great effect in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and the President of Sri Lanka (Premdasa).
The world is changing and new concepts are arising everyday. The concept of the martial race has also undergone a change and today anybody whose very existence is threatened will have no choice but to wear the mantle of a martial race to survive.