Episode 116 – WWI Series Part 2: Indian Army
About a year ago I started studying different aspects of World War One. Over one million Indians served the British in World War One.
Come to find out, I haven’t even scratched this surface on India’s involvement in World War One and World War Two. I like to think of myself as fair military historian. I am not expert by any means, but I used to consider myself pretty knowledgeable. My knowledge about World War One and India’s involvement was woefully inadequate.
In the mid 1700s Britain began expanding and grabbing territory in India. It took almost 200 years for India to regain its independence as a country. Britain declared war on Germany on behalf of India, and so started road to independence won by blood.
Great Britain desperately needed troops to help with the war effort. Indian units served in Africa on the Western Front and other places. The Indians, comprised of Gurkas, Sikhs, Bengalis, and Punjabs were fearsome fighters. One such example was Khudadad Khan. He was the first Southeast Asian to be awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. (Story of Khudadad Khan) He was a machine gunner who manned a machine gun even while his fellow soldiers were killed and the gun was rendered inoperable by German forces.
I began talking my Indian colleagues at work about World War One. I discovered that they were extremely proud of their grandfather’s and great grandfather’s service. The pride in their eyes as they talked about how their service and sacrifice helped restore India as an independent country was something I don’t see a lot anymore.
There is so much to learn about our history and World War One. I realize I have a lot to learn. However, taking the time to dig into this really put things into perspective. I hope that we never forget what these brave soldiers did for their country.
YouTube Video about India in World War One
2018 Leave No One Behind Gala
I wanted to bring some attention to a great organization in Boston – New England Center and Home for Veterans. Check out their 16th Annual Leave No One Behind Gala here –> 16th Annual Leave No One Behind Gala