A Silladar, is "an irregular cavalryman who provides his own horse and arms."  The soldier of a silladar regiment was paid more than his counterpart in the regular army but received no support services from the Commissariat and other similar supply departments. It also followed that the quality of horses and equipment used varied from soldier to soldier.
The silladar system was extended to the regular cavalry of the Bengal Army and Bombay Army in 1861 following the Indian Mutiny. However, some changes were effected at this time. The army would supply the horse and equipment but the soldier had to pay a surety (known as an “Assami”). A monthly salary would be received but, as previously, there would be no ancillary services at the soldier’s disposal. When he left the army the Assami would be repaid in exchange for the return of the soldier’s horse and equipment.
The Assami also acted as an incentive for honourable behaviour as men who were dismissed on behavioural grounds would often lose their entitlement to a refund.
Firearms and ammunition were not subject to silladar rules as these were supplied freely by the Government .
The silladar system was abolished shortly after the end of the First World War.
- "Origin of Cavalry in Indian Army and the Silladar System" by Sumit Walia 10 April, 2018. indiandefencereview.com
- Great War Forum topic "Silladar Cavalry".
Historical books online
- Abolition of the Silladar System in Indian Cavalry August 1921 (276 pages, Defence Dept document) abhilekh-patal.in National Archives of India. Log in required.