I have asked myself the question and so have others. What is that strange looking helmet the Indian Army troops wear?
NOW we have the answer. The patka.
"Patka Helmet-Really An Advanced Combat Helmet"
1. The patka was designed with reasons in mind to include:
* "Patka was made for the SIKH soldiers in the Indian Army (because they had to wear turban alongside and to account for this PATKA was made)". Turban underneath the Patka.
* "Patkas were actually been developed for Sikh soldiers, as they wear their ‘Pagdi’ ( Turban ) always , so initiation was to make such a platform which can be fitted easily inside Turban."
* "The 'strange' head gear that you see in the picture is called 'Patka'. It was evolved keeping in mind the tactical mobility and ballistic requirement of forces engaged in counter-insurgency operations."
* "These patkas are good for counter-terrorism ops but in war they cannot be used, especially if enemy is armed with artillery."
2. As to the protection offered by the patka:
"In terms of protection, the front section of the Patka provides protection against 7.62 x 39mm AK-47 round which is the standard weapon used by militants."
"From all the sides [??] it is highly bullet proof, it can withstand [from the front] a AK-47 from a distance of 25 meters, 9 mm pistol from a distance of 10 meters and so on. [can stop a 9mm round from the side]"
PATKA NOT SUFFICIENT TO PROTEST AGAINST ARTILLERY AND MORTAR INDIRECT FIRE WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF AN AIR-BURST ROUND DETONATING OVERHEAD!
Indian Army troops on actual combat patrol in Kashmir. These are not necessarily Sikhs. The patka is worn by all [?] troops operating in Jammu and Kashmir, most versatile in counter-insurgency operations where indirect weapons fire [with air-burst] is very rare.
Yet one more image of an Indian Army soldier wearing the patka! "Patka helmets are indigenous concept of India to provide a light but effective protection to head. They are those tiny round shaped things usually can be seen with Indian armed personal in J and K [Jammu and Kashmir]. As they are smaller and do not look like typical helmets some time they are called as Head Protective Gear."
NOW you know the rest of the story and as a devoted reader to the blog are so much the better for it too!