THE IN­DIAN EMPIRE AT WAR

“FROM JI­HAD TO VIC­TORY”, THIS NEW HIS­TORY OF IN­DIA’S CON­TRI­BU­TION TO WWI SHEDS LIGHT ON OF­TEN-FOR­GOT­TEN SAC­RI­FICE AND HERO­ISM

History of War - - REVIEWS -

Au­thor: Ge­orge Mor­ton-jack Pub­lisher: Lit­tle, Brown Price: £25.00

The con­sid­er­able con­tri­bu­tion made by In­dia to the Bri­tish war ef­fort dur­ing both world wars has sadly been ne­glected by his­to­ri­ans. Thank­fully, in re­cent years a num­ber of new stud­ies have at­tempted to ad­dress this glar­ing gap in the cur­rent lit­er­a­ture, some of which have proved fas­ci­nat­ing re­gard­ing our ‘for­got­ten he­roes’. How­ever, his­to­rian Ge­orge Mor­ton­jack has pro­duced what can fairly be de­scribed as one of the most in­ter­est­ing and in­for­ma­tive works yet pub­lished on the In­dian Army dur­ing World War I.

Bas­ing his re­search on ma­te­rial from archives across a dozen coun­tries and pre­vi­ously un­pub­lished vet­eran in­ter­views, the au­thor sets the scene by ex­am­in­ing the hugely mul­ti­cul­tural In­dian Army as it was just prior to the out­break of hos­til­i­ties in 1914. Here Mor­ton-jack dis­pels some of the myths that have en­dured over the past 100 years and of­fers some facts that even many mil­i­tary his­to­ri­ans of the pe­riod may be un­aware of. In­ter­est­ingly, he de­scribes how the In­dian Army was cel­e­brated as loyal he­roes of the Bri­tish Empire from 1919 to the 1930s, thus not al­ways be­ing as for­got­ten as we think to­day.

The ma­jor­ity of the book, of course, fo­cuses on the In­dian Army dur­ing World War I, and in par­tic­u­lar the Mid­dle East, where it fought against the Ot­toman Empire. Mor­ton-jack’s use of lit­tle-known ac­counts from In­dian Army vet­er­ans, how­ever, is what re­ally brings the book to life, of­fer­ing the reader a rare and unique glimpse into the per­sonal or­deals, hopes and even joys ex­pe­ri­enced by the In­dian soldier at war.

“ONE OF THE MOST IN­TER­EST­ING & IN­FOR­MA­TIVE WORKS YET PUB­LISHED ON THE IN­DIAN ARMY DUR­ING WORLD WAR I”

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