Kumaonis have been famous for their valour, their courage was legendary, their honour indomitable. The Kumaonis were never fully subjugated by the powerful Muslim dynasties of Delhi. Kumaonis were observed by the British, their valour was thus given recognition by the British and was included in the British Army. It is interesting to note that the 3rd Gorkha Rifles was known as the Keemaon battalion when it was formed and it included Kumaonis as well as the Garhwalis along with the Gorkhas. The Kumaonis, once accepted as a martial race, were themselves to be recruited in the Hyderabad regiment and displace the native troops, ultimately becoming the Kumaon Regiment after Independence of India. The Kumaon Regiment is one of the most decorated regiments of the Indian Army. The regiment traces its origins with the British Indian Army and has fought in various campaigns including the two world wars. After independence, the regiment has fought in all major conflicts involving India. They showed their exceptional courage in the Indo-Chinese War, the Battle of Rezang La has been proverbial for valour.
Their Kumaoni language forms the Central subgroup of the Pahari languages.
Kumaoni is one of the 325 recognized Indian languages, and is spoken by over 2,360,000 (1998) people in Uttarakhand, primarily in districts Almora, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Champawat, Udham Singh Nagar as well as in areas of Himachal Pradesh and Nepal. It is also spoken by Kumaonis resident in other Indian states; Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.
UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger designates Kumaoni as language in the “unsafe” category and which requires consistent conservation efforts