the fully loaded magazine
The World War One commemorative package is nothing short of a well-written book with rare photographs, good articles and informative material about a conflict in which Indians—just because of our colonial status—were sent off to far-off places to fight a bloody war (First Action Heroes, Mar 31). Indian blood was ‘liberally’ used by the British empire to protect their territorial interests. Though some war memorials mention the names of Indian soldiers, they were just another band of obedient mercenaries.
G. Anuplal, Bangalore
I cherished the memories of old, forgotten wars that the special wwi issue brought up. It’s certainly a useful way to sensitise the youth of this generation. Seeing how the war gave impetus to our freedom struggle, it is important to cherish it.
M. Vignesh, Madurai
How and why the war broke out is a secondary point, but the coronary juncture between Indian soldiers and this western conflict is worth mentioning. India, as a British colony, had its allegiance decided ipso facto.
Ishfaq Pirzada, Kupwara
I am confused about why the great Indian soldier needs to be remembered. They were used as cannon fodder for a cause they understood very little about. They were brave, yes, but for what? As oil was discovered in Iraq around 1908, with the advent of wwi the need for gaining control of oil became vital. Britain (the Royal Indian Army, to be precise) invaded Iraq in 1915, was beaten back by the Turks, and lost a lot of lives. The British occupied the area after the war, and extended their ‘mandate’ over Iraq’s oil-rich areas. All costs of the operations were billed to the “government of India”, as the rationale offered was that it was necessary for Indian security. But India got nothing out of it.
M.K. Saini, Delhi
World War One—a conflict where white Europe used their petty disputes to fight among themselves on an industrial scale and drew in millions of people from other nations, so many of whom suffered and bled, were maimed and killed.
The timing of the issue has left me confused. The war started in August 1914. Thus an issue to remember Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the war would be appropriate in August.