'Indian gunners filling an Indian water vessel from the water-cart. Near Pas, 11 June 1918', courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM, Q 8913

'India and the Great War' Centenary commemoration project & conference

Posted on centenarynews.com on 05 November 2013
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The United Services Institution, Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research, has launched a project with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to highlight India's contribution during the First World War.

The project aims to organise "a range of activities" across the four year Centenary period, "primarily aimed at exploring India's engagement in war efforts from a variety of perspectives".

"In revisiting ideas and interpretations regarding India's involvement in the war, we wish to examine dimensions as diverse as strategy and tactics, race and gender, filmography, visual representation, and the intercultural aspects of the conflict".

The project highlights the numerous fields of battle Indian troops served in, including Belgium, France, Gallipoli, Persia, Russia and China.

Approximately 1,100,000 Indians served overseas, with a figure of 60,000 deaths, according to the United Service Institution, with 9,200 decorations being won, including 11 Victoria Crosses.


As part of the project, an international conference on 'India and the Great War' is scheduled to be held at the United Service Institution in New Delhi from the 5th-7th March 2014.

Described as the project's "flagship event", the conference aims to "explore India's participation in the war through a variety of perspectives, ranging from the representation of Indian involvement in propaganda films, music, and poetry, to the larger political consequences of the War that impacted India and its struggle for independence".


The project also plans to publish material relating to India during the First World War. This will include booklets, coffee table books, battlefield guides, an anthology of material from USI's journals and edited volumes of academic papers, which will be presented during the conference.

The project invited contribution of photographs, posters, stories and souvenirs relating to Indians who served in the First World War. To contact the project, please email: cafhr@usiofindia.org.

Source: United Services Institution, Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research press release

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News