The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second

The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second
  • ebook
  • 432 pages
  • The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second World War
  • Yasmin Khan
  • English
  • 09 September 2018
  • 1409029646

The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second World War❰Ebook❯ ➠ The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second World War Author Yasmin Khan – Essayreview.co.uk The Second World War was not fought by Britain alone India produced the largest volunteer army in world history over million men But, until now, there has never been a comprehensive account of India at War: ePUB ´ The Second World War was not fought by Britain alone India produced the largest volunteer army in world history overmillion men But, until now, there has never been a comprehensive account of India s turbulent home front and the nexus between warfare and India s societyAt the heart of The Raj at War are the many The Raj eBook ´ lives and voices of ordinary Indian people From the first Indian to win the Victoria Cross in the war to the three soldiers imprisoned as traitors to the Raj who returned to a hero s welcome, from the nurses in Indian General Hospitals to the labourers, prostitutes and families their testimonies reveal the great upheaval experienced throughout Raj at War: Kindle Ó the landYasmin Khan presents the hidden and sometimes overlooked history of India at war, and shows how mobilisation for the war introduced seismic processes of economic, cultural and social change decisively shaping the international war effort, the unravelling of the empire and India s own political and economic trajectory.


About the Author: Yasmin Khan

at War: ePUB ´ Yasmin Khan is Associate Professor of History Fellow of Kellogg College at Oxford University She studied history as an undergraduate at St Peter s, College Oxford and quickly developed a passion for the history of Asia Her DPhil, also from Oxford, was in the History of the British Empire She has taught at the Universities of The Raj eBook ´ Edinburgh and Royal Holloway, University of London Her first book,The Great Partition the making of India and Pakistan, won the Gladstone Prize for History from the Royal Historical SocietyShe s written for the New Statesman and Guardian and appeared on BBC radio and television, most recently on In Our Time discussing the British radical, Annie Besant Other Raj at War: Kindle Ó publications include Gandhi s World in JM Brown, edThe Cambridge Companion to Gandhi Cambridge University Press, Yasmin is an editor of History Workshop Journal and a trustee of the Charles Wallace India Trust Her next book is about India during the Second World war and will be published by The Bodley Head in .


10 thoughts on “The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second World War

  1. says:

    When I was in high school in India, the study of History covered India s struggle for Independence with extensive commentary on what happened during the first half of the twentieth century, leading to Freedom in 1947 However, the 1940s were marked mainly by the Congress Party s Quit India movement, the disastrous famine in Bengal, the imprisonment of all the Congress leaders and the ascent of the Muslim League leading to the partition of India There was hardly any mention of the impact of Wo When I was in high school in India, the study of History covered India s struggle for Independence with extensive commentary on what happened during the first half of the twentieth century, leading to Freedom in 1947 However, the 1940s were marked mainly by the Congress Party s Quit India movement, the disastrous famine in Bengal, the imprisonment of all the Congress leaders and the ascent of the Muslim League leading to the partition of India There was hardly any mention of the impact of World War II on India or of Indians fighting in North and East Africa, Europe and the Middle East for the British Empire The Indian National Army INA led by Subhas Bose, fighting in SE Asia and making common cause with the Axis powers to liberate India from British rule, found some mention but the main focus was always on the non violent struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi Consequently, most Indians like me have little idea of the role played by Indians in the Second World War and how it impacted the struggle for Independence One can understand the reasons for a narrative that excluded this part of Indian history because the Indian Republic was built on the idea of non violence, democracy and secularism and India s post independence education did not want to dwell much on the role of the World War in accelerating the exit of the British from India On the other side of this story, in Britain, post war reconstruction and regeneration quietly erased the Indian contribution which was at odds with the story of plucky small island British heroism standing up to Fascism against all odds So there was no room either in the British narrative for including the role of the soldiers from the occupied lands of the Empire There is a need to fill this very important hole in modern Indian history and this is where this book comes in Author Khan does a splendid job to tell us the forgotten story of undivided India s contribution in the Second World War through personal accounts of soldiers, seamen, peasants, orderlies, cooks, washermen, tailors, nurses, prostitutes all of whose lives were turned inside out by the War In short, the author says, Britain did not fight the Second World War, the British Empire did.Reading the book turned out to be a revelation for me It was a shock as well because it brought home to me how ignorant I was about such recent Indian history For the generations of Indians who were born after Independence like me, the phrase India at War simply meant the three major conflicts in 1962 China , 1965 and 1971 Pakistan In these three conflicts together, India perhaps saw less than 10000 deaths In contrast, India s role in WWII shows that as many as 2.5 million Indians fought on the side of the Empire and as many as 89000 were casualties Indians had fought in Tobruk, in Imphal, in Eritrea and in Lebanon Author Khan brings the irony and sadness of this undocumented story through the poignant words of a Nepali peasant woman, whose husband was drafted into the army to fight faraway in Europe She says, I hear the whole world was fighting but why they needed my son s father to settle it, I can t understand The simple fact was, unlike the British and other allied European nations, Indians did not see the Second World War as a clear cut, epic ideological struggle or even as a just war Many in Britain, not just Churchill and the pro imperialists, believed that India s opposition to the war was based on its inability to see the international picture because of its backward, irrational, uneducated and superstitious people Little did they understand that in 1939, on the eve of the War, Indians had an average longevity of 26, a literacy rate of 12.5 %, poverty at 90% of the population and a ruinous subjugation of political rights South Asians were mainly concerned with what the war meant for the political future of their own country and not with Fascism.What I liked most in the book is its colorful depiction of history, through the eyes and words of the many participants, which gives it a panoramic view There aren t just the accounts of Indian peasants, mothers and businessmen but also that of American GIs, Polish refugees, Chinese soldiers in India, British memsaabs and many others Though the book is scholarly in its approach, the author has mixed an academic style of writing with anecdotes of lived human history in an engaging manner I liked the considerable attention in the book to the mercurial freedom fighter, Aruna Asaf Ali, and how her transformation from a Gandhian to a militant revolutionary occurred in the 1940s Any book dealing with the 1940s in India has to contend with the horrendous Bengal famine of 1943 It is a bone of contention between Indian and British historians Scholars like Mukherjee have laid the blame at the door of Churchill and the British administration in India English historians have disputed the charge of wilful neglect of starving Indians in favor of British troops in SE Asia and elsewhere Author Yasmin Khan says that this debate may never be resolved but points out certain incontrovertible facts for us to mull over In the 1940s, there was the fear that Japan would invade India on the eastern sea side and so the colonial administration destroyed as many as 20000 boats that Bengali fishermen used normally to catch fish and move essential commodities to all those villages which are reachable only through water As a result, the rural agrarian economy in Bengal was destroyed completely thereby laying the possible roots of the famine Khan says that the British administration took the approach that some peoples lives were not worth preserving and that the state should be geared to prioritizing the war at all costs above human lives Two singularly hostile and unsympathetic leaders in Churchill and Linlithgow didn t help matters either There is much evidence to corroborate such discrimination by what happened earlier in Burma As many as 600000 Indians fled Burma for India on foot when the Japanese onslaught started But 80000 of them never made it home At crucial bottlenecks when leaving Burma, Europeans were prioritized, accessing safe passage away from the Japanese, leaving Indians stranded The author cites the Tamu Palel Road in Burma being closed to Indians but open for escape for the British Such British conduct in India during the war completely removed whatever little legitimacy the colonial regime had in the eyes of Indians The return of hundreds of thousands of sepoys from Europe, the middle east and Africa and the inspirational courage and struggle of Subhas Bose s Indian National Army INA made the younger generation impatient for freedom and less inclined towards the epic non violent struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi The Congress Party was forced to capitalize on the mass groundswell of support for the INA In this context, Churchill s victory speech of Long live freedom, Advance Britannia sounded incongruous to Indian ears How could the cause of freedom live alongside the advance of Rule Brittania With all the major Congress leaders in prison and those of the Muslim League outside, Gandhi and Nehru in 1944 found that Jinnah had consolidated his support for the partition of India among the Muslims of Bengal and Punjab Author Khan says that the War simply unleashed forces in India and Britain uncontrollably to rapidly accelerate the exit of the British from India India saw massive refugee and other influxes into the country Jews and Poles from Europe, Indians and Brits from Burma and large internal migration from rural to urban India There were many British and American troops coming to India as well, to train for the fight in Asia Out of the 150000 American troops, some 22000 were black GIs In addition, over 100000 African troops also disembarked in India along with another 100000 Chinese troops belonging to Chiang Kai Shek s Kuomintang Race discrimination was a fact of life under Colonialism and war time was no different In India, the British Military decided on training Indians in Hindustani rather than in English because it would be easier for ten thousand comparatively intelligent Englishmen to reach a high standard in Hindustani than to instruct a million far less intelligent Indians in English In actuality however, many Indian sepoys ended up communicating effectively in English within a short time Even sex was affected by race In the Eritrean city of Asmara, soon after the fall of Keren, two sets of racially segregated brothels were established, one for Indians and one for the British.Apparently, the British administration in India was wary of so many black American GIs in India, feeling that Indians are a hierarchical and color conscious people and hence, the black soldiers may experience discrimination during their stay The book notes that, in the end, the black GIs got on quite well with Indians but were discriminated against by their own senior officers in the US army After all, it was still the 1940s I think this book is a seminal contribution to modern India s history Textbooks in India must be updated using this book to include the core details of India s participation in the War and its impact on the independence movement and how it hastened the exit of Britain The book shows vividly how the massive scale of India s participation in the war by way of soldiers and resources had the simultaneous effect of bringing home to Indians the proof if it was needed that the British were there primarily to advance only their own interests at all costs, thereby making it extremely difficult for them to continue their occupation of India It is extremely difficult to document such history, ground up from the viewpoint of the foot soldiers, especially in a country like India in the mid 20th century, because most of them were illiterate and they do not put down any of their experiences or thoughts in writing This has always been the problem with other Indian expatriate experiences as indentured labor in Africa, West Indies and Fiji too But Yasmin Khan has been able to accomplish such a difficult task and craft a book that is an absorbing read

  2. says:

    It is fascinating to me that the British version of this book was titled The Raj at War A People s History of India s Second World War I would love to know the thinking in changing it for a US reader does the Raj just not mean anything to us Does A People s History scare off military history readers with visions of pinkos Are we uninterested in anything that isn t WWII for us Khan, whose previous major work was on the partition, here includes WWII as a vital context for partition as she It is fascinating to me that the British version of this book was titled The Raj at War A People s History of India s Second World War I would love to know the thinking in changing it for a US reader does the Raj just not mean anything to us Does A People s History scare off military history readers with visions of pinkos Are we uninterested in anything that isn t WWII for us Khan, whose previous major work was on the partition, here includes WWII as a vital context for partition as she illustrates using a wealth of primary sources from a whole language and religion spectrum of Indian participants how many developments women working, movies, wartime globalization paralleled the experience of Great Britain, while others the famine, Chandra Bose, nationalist resistance to British rule must be considered as crucial factors in subsequent events This genuinely is a people s history, with the contours of WWII playing out in the lives of people we get to know intimately the Gurkha widows in remote villages, the Sikh engineers on campaign in the western desert, local villagers debating subscribing to the War Fund under pressure from the authorities, Nazi recruiting propaganda towards Hindus in POW camps, young couples communicating through censored letters, WWI veterans retired into colonial service doing their best to run helpful regimental family assistance boards and the Lascar sailors who manned the shipping industry that kept Britain fed by plying U boat infested waters

  3. says:

    For most of us, World War II is mostly about Hitler, Churchill, the Munich Pact, Pearl Harbour, D Day, the Battle of Midway, Stalingard, the Holocaust and of course Hiroshima and Nagasaki A few years back, a poll conducted by the National Army Museum in Britain to pick the greatest battle which Britain ever fought and won, turned up a surprising winner to many the Battle of Kohima fought in India s North East during the Second World War Yasmin Khan s The Raj at War is a great book which br For most of us, World War II is mostly about Hitler, Churchill, the Munich Pact, Pearl Harbour, D Day, the Battle of Midway, Stalingard, the Holocaust and of course Hiroshima and Nagasaki A few years back, a poll conducted by the National Army Museum in Britain to pick the greatest battle which Britain ever fought and won, turned up a surprising winner to many the Battle of Kohima fought in India s North East during the Second World War Yasmin Khan s The Raj at War is a great book which brings together different aspects and characters both the known and the unsung millions of the period The economic impact of the war was experienced through inflation, rise of a nascent manufacturing base, the emergence of hospitality as a business think Oberoi , the horrors of the Bengal famine etc Her analysis of the changes in the social sphere marked by the influx of Americans and other foreign soldiers, the letters about loneliness and homesickness, absence of grooms in many villages, rise of prostitution and to a certain extent women emancipation thanks to the Quit India movement made for some fascinating reading Politically, the period was also unique With the leaders of the Congress in prison for the major part of the war Gandhi in Pune and Nehru who wrote his Discovery of India while interned in Ahmednagar fort , Khan argues that the War also marked the beginning of the end of the Age of Gandhi With Bose on the ascent, the exploits of the INA and the real specter of aerial bombing becoming a reality, patience with Satyagraha was slowly running out For me, the book will linger for a while mainly for its introduction to the life and times of a little known Bharat Ratna of India Aruna Asaf Ali With her husband who later went on to become India s first Ambassador to the US jailed along with Nehru, Aruna spent the period from 42 to 46 underground and led the national movement against the British In spite of all its might, the British empire struggled to locate and detain this woman from Daryaganj She died in 1996 and was honoured a year later not while she alive

  4. says:

    The Raj at WarWW2 is probably the most thoroughly documented event in human history There are hundreds and thousands of book on almost every aspect of the war that shook the entire world Most of the the history, however, concerns itself with European theater of the war with little sprinklings of coverage in Japan and Americas How about the various colonies of European powers How much did they partake in the most deadliest war in human history A lot, it seems.The contribution, whether forced The Raj at WarWW2 is probably the most thoroughly documented event in human history There are hundreds and thousands of book on almost every aspect of the war that shook the entire world Most of the the history, however, concerns itself with European theater of the war with little sprinklings of coverage in Japan and Americas How about the various colonies of European powers How much did they partake in the most deadliest war in human history A lot, it seems.The contribution, whether forced or voluntary, of the colonies of European power is mentioned just as a side note in most history books I remember reading Second World War by Martin Gilbert last year I came a single sentence which mentioned about Rajputana Rifles an Indian Armed Forces Regiment showing great bravery in the battle of Monte Castello It surprised me to know that Indians were so directly part of conflict in European Theater of war What that sentence didn t mention was that five Victoria Cross were awarded to Indian Soldiers fighting in Italy The number may not sound much But if this is taken in the context of how India simmered with wave of nationalism to free itself from British Rule, it is surprising that people laid down their life for the same empire that people back home were trying to overthrow.This and many such passing references to contribution of Indians in the war made me pick up this book I wasn t disappointed This is a very well researched book that paints a very balanced and scholarly look at the World War from India s point of view.By 1939, The Raj had already lost the sheen of its Imperialistic pride in India due to massive nationalistic movements of previous two decades It was already struggling to contain the bubbling spirit of nationlism that was trying to remove the shackles of colonialism The Raj, till 1939, had been pretty much in control of the situation by playing two strategies in equal measure Delaying tactics in implementation of Legislative Reforms and brutal, if occasional, suppression of people s voice Also, Gandhi was gaining sympathy throughout the world with his non violent movement There were voices coming from many quarters including the US for Britain to free India.It was at that time that the war started and things changed quite drastically in India The Raj, adamant on keeping its Colonial prestige, cracked down heavily on any anti Raj activity This was a departure from its policy of selective appeasement of last decade by which Congress at least had started getting some measure of legislative bargaining e.g establishment of state legislative councils in 1937 Economy in certain sectors related to military manufacturing boomed which provided hitherto unacceptable employment opportunities to Indians both in Civilian and Military roles A massive recruitment drive and donations to War Chest made Indians part of Government Machinery like never before.India also became an oasis of sort in the Empire besieged by battles Europe and Asia Pacific China were directly involved in fighting There were battles in Middle and Africa as well India, even though lied at the geographical center of the two warring theaters, was peaceful and not directly involved in any combat As such, it became it became a manufacturing sweet spot for the Allied War Machinery.India provided 2 million soldiers, millions of tonnes of grain, clothes and other supplies necessary for the war But in keeping with the trend that the Raj started as soon as they captured territories in India almost two centuries earlier, most of the benefits of War Machinery were not for the local populace to enjoy Rate of Inflation increased, even grain became out of reach for the vast majority of Indians The worst affected was Bengal province Natural factors alleviated by lack of empathy from Raj led to the most deadliest Indian famine in 20th century killing 3 million people The book also covers Japanese attack on Indian soil in Imphal and Kohima The brutality that soldiers and civilians alike witnessed at the hands of Japanese made them question the rosy image produced by nationalist The Japanese were supposed to be India s liberators from the Raj Yet, when Japanese attacked, they killed Indians as easily as Allied soldiers This was a shock to many people who never realized how brutal Japanese WW2 campaign had been.The book gives a lot of coverage to the struggles of Indians and Allied forces in Burma now Myanmar The struggles of thousands of people to bring a little bit of defensive against the Japanese onslaught is captured well Also, the book focuses on a lot of issues like STD epidemic while the war raged The rise of Indian industry is given its share as well along with the life of common soldiers whose lives were transformed in both negative and positive ways by the War.The book is very good reference for anyone looking for Indian contribution and perspective of the Second World War

  5. says:

    This is history from below and Yasmin Khan shows how the war affected and was affected by soldiers and their families, civilians forced encouraged to producefood and steel, even the bureaucrats of the vast Indian Civil Service many of whom worked for five or six years without a home leave back to England The social effects of the war exacerbated the differences of class, caste and religion and made the gulf between the wealthy elites and the very poor most of the population evenob This is history from below and Yasmin Khan shows how the war affected and was affected by soldiers and their families, civilians forced encouraged to producefood and steel, even the bureaucrats of the vast Indian Civil Service many of whom worked for five or six years without a home leave back to England The social effects of the war exacerbated the differences of class, caste and religion and made the gulf between the wealthy elites and the very poor most of the population evenobvious Donald Horowitz did most of his research for his magisterial The Deadly Ethnic Riot in India and for good reason communal violence there has been as common but muchmurderous as football riots in England Women, industrial workers and the urban middle class were mobilized and activated in new ways Nationalism in both India and Britain was heightened with one side effect being that loyalty to the British king both real and symbolic was weakened in the subcontinent Even so, Indian lower classes gave themselves wholeheartedly to the war at first by the end of the war India had the largest volunteer army in world They never had to resort to conscription although the pressure to fill recruitment quotas on civil servants, rulers of princely states and local governors occasionally led to the equivalent of press gang methods In many cases the lure of enlistment was a steady paycheck and three meals a day As much as possible of the soldiers pay was sent back as remittances to their families which allowed them to escape or at least ameliorate the constant presence of malnourishment and their shamefully low standard of living for example life expectancy in India at the start of the war was 26 years Others joined because they came from a martial caste or a province with a history of service In Punjab elderly veterans of World War I helped round up recruits with their stories of heroism, adventure, travel and exotic women Whatever the method of recruitment, the result were everything that could be dreamed of by the leaders of the war including Churchill who seemed not to miss any chance to privately declare how he detested India and Indians, for example I hate Indians They are a beastly people with a beastly religion The Indian Army set an example of valor, discipline under fire and willingness to gain an objective even when the British generals sent them into a meat grinder due to poor knowledge of the battlefield and simple stupidity The actual history of the Indian Army in North Africa, Italy and Burma is a stirring one Yasmin Khan is one of several historians looking at the role of India during the war Despite the toll the Indian forces suffered 90,000 killed or wounded it has been overlooked The main reason, of course, is that the end of the war preceded the independence of the subcontinent and formation of India and Pakistan along with the horrors of millions of people moving from their homes because they were either Muslim or Hindu India at War is as close to people s history as one will find and is well worth reading by anyone interested in the subject

  6. says:

    My rating reflects a lower opinion than what a book like this objectively deserves But, I found it an extremely frustrating work, and so have deliberately given a 2 to what could have been a 3 for a less important subject For any Indian remotely interested in History, India s role in World War II would be a welcome read But, buckets of water were poured over my enthusiasm by the uninteresting manner in which this book is written Elements within the same chapter seem to have no connection and My rating reflects a lower opinion than what a book like this objectively deserves But, I found it an extremely frustrating work, and so have deliberately given a 2 to what could have been a 3 for a less important subject For any Indian remotely interested in History, India s role in World War II would be a welcome read But, buckets of water were poured over my enthusiasm by the uninteresting manner in which this book is written Elements within the same chapter seem to have no connection and just end and begin randomly The narrative across chapters has very little semblance of a chain or a story It s great to have quotes from people who were present when these events took place, but very often there is no background given on who these people were, making those quotes lose any emotional investment I had to keep pushing myself, and the trip through this book seemed almost as painful as the one taken by all those people who fled Burma to reach eastern and southern India in 1942.Added 5 minutes later I just saw the high ratings and glowing reviews by other, mostly non Indian, readers I suppose this would beinteresting to those for whom the very presence of India in the World War II theater might come as a surprise Or, I am missing something

  7. says:

    There are books on WWII and there are books on India s freedom struggle, but not enough has been written about how the two are so intricately linked from the Indian subcontinent s perspective To me this book was a revelation, introducing me to information from the period that I had no clue about, courtesy the limited scope of school textbooks It starts in 1939 and goes on till 1947 in a systematic fashion, with anecdotes, facts and stories of a number of soldiers, civilians and political leade There are books on WWII and there are books on India s freedom struggle, but not enough has been written about how the two are so intricately linked from the Indian subcontinent s perspective To me this book was a revelation, introducing me to information from the period that I had no clue about, courtesy the limited scope of school textbooks It starts in 1939 and goes on till 1947 in a systematic fashion, with anecdotes, facts and stories of a number of soldiers, civilians and political leaders Of course, that means it throw a LOT of info at the reader, so it can get slow at times, but it is well worth the time spent

  8. says:

    This book provides a very interesting perspective on a side of World War II that is not often written about The author addressed a variety of different topics from this war and looks at them from the several different points of view The variety and different perspectives are good but also make it a little bit tough to become fully engaged because the book seems to change directions so many times It might be better served as a reference book than something to read from beginning to end for enj This book provides a very interesting perspective on a side of World War II that is not often written about The author addressed a variety of different topics from this war and looks at them from the several different points of view The variety and different perspectives are good but also make it a little bit tough to become fully engaged because the book seems to change directions so many times It might be better served as a reference book than something to read from beginning to end for enjoyment, but it was still very enjoyable, educational, and worthwhile to read

  9. says:

    This book was a disappointment for me It never quite came together It s like the old line about four blindfolded people holding parts of an elephant They describe what they feel, but they don t have any sense of the whole Here, I got a collection of elephant parts, but I never felt like I had the elephant Over 2 million Indians served in the armed forces in the war Mind you, 73,000 had died in the First World War Many others served in the merchant marine Many were pressured into donating This book was a disappointment for me It never quite came together It s like the old line about four blindfolded people holding parts of an elephant They describe what they feel, but they don t have any sense of the whole Here, I got a collection of elephant parts, but I never felt like I had the elephant Over 2 million Indians served in the armed forces in the war Mind you, 73,000 had died in the First World War Many others served in the merchant marine Many were pressured into donating to voluntary war funds early in the war In January 1941, Gandhi launched a satyagraha against India s poverty Many fought in North Africa, where there wasn t much racism The economy went up early in the war, as did inflation and urbanization Things changed after Pearl Harbor and the losses after it There was a decision to destroy all of Bengal s boats so they couldn t be used to aid the Japanese, but this helped cause the 1943 famine the killed 3 million There were Indians in southeast Asia and they especially those in Singapore formed the basis of the Indian National Army working with Japan There was anger at the British for security their own safety during the retreat over that of any other The credibility of the state may have been lost in 1942 Islands in the east of the Indian Ocean were lost There was a feeling of despair, disenfranchisement, and stagnation The Cripps Mission to India calling for reform came 30 months too late After it, England could easily sanction coercive measures The war was a blessing for Jinnah The communists and INA also gained ground US UK soldiers began arriving in 1942 There was a backlash against them There was alsoprostitution and rape US anti colonial rhetoric angered the British Land property was requisitioned for a series of air fields There was norice from Burma or Indonesia, which also helped cause the famine As the threat declined, troops were taken out The communists were legalized as a government tally On Aug 9, 1942, a wave of arrests were taken out But there was an anti state groundswell beyond Gandhi s control Peasants and workers were the real leaders now Over 1,000 protesters were killed Bose was in Japan by April 1943 His radio broadcasts were increasingly popular Allies were ready for the 1944 offensive by Japan The Burma Road Ledo Road was built, nicknamed the Man a Mile Road The overall death toll in building it is unknown The government s size scope increased during the war The state could repress, but it had very limited ability to monitor

  10. says:

    This book managed to shame this reviewer you might reasonably expect a Briton to know something about one of the largest wars that Great Britain has been involved in and understand how members of its then Empire contributed No excuses can be given and whilst one was aware that British forces were active in India and other Empire countries, the scope of their contribution and involvement to the war effort was not so known This book changed that.So much changed because of the war Maybe change This book managed to shame this reviewer you might reasonably expect a Briton to know something about one of the largest wars that Great Britain has been involved in and understand how members of its then Empire contributed No excuses can be given and whilst one was aware that British forces were active in India and other Empire countries, the scope of their contribution and involvement to the war effort was not so known This book changed that.So much changed because of the war Maybe change was inevitable in any case, at least as far as India s relationship to the Empire was concerned, yet when the call came it was prepared to help and sought to do its bit for the war effort It did a lotthan a bit too viewed in isolation it produced the world s largest volunteer army in world history with over 2.5 million men The country also contributed heavily to the war s logistics chain India wasn t unscathed it had to change a lot to provide the help and by the end of the war quite a lot of lives had been lost both in battle and because of it.The author packs a lot of powerful history into this sensitive, authoritative work An admirable level of academic neutrality is deployed to let the story tell itself This isthan just a war history the author seeks to consider how the Indian subcontinent itself was reshaped by the war as its impact shuddered throughout the country Was all change good and for whom What about those who didn t jump on board and wholeheartedly want to support someone else s war Some of the claims made are shocking to this reader even ifinformed people were aware of it racial division and segregation was actively practiced in some areas to protect the prestige of the European community This massive book features an extensive bibliography and index so the reader can dig in as deep as they want, even following the sources if they so require.This book is positively overwhelming A pleasurable immersion into a subject that is hardly pleasant at its core, yet the underlying stories and actions that came about due to it makes for a fascinating read A highly recommended book, even if you tend to shy away from war and history titles.India At War, written by Yasmin Khan and published by Oxford University Press ISBN 9780199753499 YYYYYAutamme.com

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