The world changed after the First World War. Its aftermath saw the collapse of the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman empires, and the world map never seemed the same again. Though the Great War is widely considered to be a European war, it had enormous effects halfway across the world in India. At the advent of the war, the number of Indian soldiers fighting exceeded the number of British soldiers. Because of funds reallocated to Britain's advantage, India's economy took a toll as well. The Indian National Congress believed that supporting Britain's war efforts would benefit India's move towards independence. As a result, over a million Indian men were deployed to fight for the British. Post war, Britain's refusal to grant India home rule created hostility among the Indians towards them. This dissent eventually paved way for the Indian independence movement, which was to emerge later. For the first time India's contribution to the First World War is carefully documented with details of the different theatres in which Indian soldiers took part. In addition, the authors also examine the unsettling encounters the Indian soldiers had with Europe and European culture.
What did the war mean for the political climate in India? What was it like for the Indian soldiers to fight a war they were unprepared for? Using first hand accounts such as letters home, documents from the various army archives and incredible photographs, the authors reconstruct the story of a war which was as much India's as it was Britain's.
Vedica Kant holds an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford, where her thesis focused on pan-Islamic movements in the Middle East and South Asia during the Cold War. She also has a BSc in Economics and Political Science from Singapore Management University. Vedica has written widely on Turkish and South Asian history, politics and culture including for The Turkish Review, The Majalla, Asharq Al-Awsat, Live Mint, The Sunday Guardian and The National Geographic Traveller. In addition to working on the history of the Indian involvement in the First World War, she is also contributing to a chapter on the remembrance of the First World War in Turkey to an edited volume Remembering the First World War to be published by Routledge UK. Vedica is a native speaker of both English and Hindi, is proficient in Urdu and Turkish, and has a basic knowledge of French.