ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Victors or Victims?

Gunga Dins of World War I

The Indian Government is spending large amounts of political and financial capital to whitewash the use of Indian soldiers as cannon-fodder by the colonial British Indian Army in World War I. An exploration of the possible reasons for this about turn in understanding the role of Indian soldiers in the colonial wars.

Hundred years ago colonialists and nationalists worked in tandem to recruit Indians to dig trenches and offer themselves as cannon fodder in the imperialist war in Europe. Today, once again, the erstwhile colonialists and present-day nationalists have conjoined to commemorate the centenary of the so-called “Great War.”

Both President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are keen to celebrate Indian contributions in World War I and publicise them among the youth of the country. On 10 March 2015, the government launched a four-year-long programme to showcase “gallantry” through exhibitions, seminars and other commemorative events.

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