Fight­ing mis­con­cep­tions

Has high praise for an am­bi­tious his­tory of In­dia’s role in the Se­cond World War

BBC History Magazine - - Reviews - Allen Lane, 576 pages, £30

ROBERT LY­MAN In­dia’s War: The Mak­ing of Mod­ern South Asia, 1939–1945 Sri­nath Ragha­van When the young of­fi­cer cadet Sri­nath Ragha­van was al­lo­cated to the Meik­tila Com­pany at the Indian Mil­i­tary Academy at Dehradun, he had no idea of the prove­nance of his com­pany’s un­usual ti­tle. He re­alised that there was some­thing wrong about his lack of knowl­edge: why did this and other names, de­signed as bat­tle hon­ours – in this case, a 1945 Al­lied vic­tory against Ja­panese forces – not res­onate with him and other young men join­ing up as po­ten­tial ju­nior lead­ers in In­dia’s mod­ern army? It would have been in­con­ceiv­able for an Aus­tralian of­fi­cer cadet to fail to recog­nise the name of Gal­lipoli, for in­stance, or a young Bri­ton ar­riv­ing at Sand­hurst to know noth­ing of Nor­mandy or El Alamein.

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