Council of Asian People’s Chairman, J P Agrawal, speaking at the project launch in 2015 (Photo courtesy of Katie Mulcahy/Asian Centre Wood Green, London)

'Far From the Western Front' - project remembering South Asian WW1 soldiers

Posted on on 14 March 2016
Share |

Volunteers are being sought for a project in North London highlighting the stories of South Asian soldiers who fought for the Allies during the First World War.

Far From the Western Front is looking at why so many men joined the fight in countries far from home.

Researchers will be developing and curating an exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society in London, opening in November 2016.

The project, supported with a grant of £88,200 from the UK's Heritage Lottery Fund aims to 'bring light to an under-explored part of all our history'. 

WW1 Indian soldiers remembered on the Menin Gate, Ypres (Photo: Centenary News)

One and a half million troops and other personnel from undivided India (now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) and Nepal were recruited in support of Britain's war effort during 1914-18.

Soldiers of the colonial Indian Army played an important part in the early battles in Flanders, as well as the campaigns in the Middle East and East Africa. They were also sent to Gallipoli.

Far from the Western Front says it will "explore why so many men volunteered to fight with Britain in countries far from home; the individual stories behind soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross and their comrades; and how racial and Imperial politics affected the lives of South Asian soldiers".

In doing so, the project seeks to provide a broad new perspective "drawing together the contributions of people from across South Asia; Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs; people from current-day Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal".

For full details, and information about volunteering, visit Far From the Western Front.

Images: Project launch - courtesy of Katie Mulcahy/Asian Centre Wood Green, London N22; Menin Gate memorial - Centenary News

Information supplied by Far From the Western Front. More project photos can be found on Flickr.

Posted by: CN Editorial Team