Reading the Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad

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Reading the Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad

Post by MaxEntropy_Man on Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:15 pm

A story of a family of Parsi officers who fought in WW2. Indian soldiers, airmen and officers who fought in WW2 have never had their story told. If you watch any documentary of WW2 it is always about British, American, and Russian troops. Indians never figure anywhere in the story. Raghu Karnad tells the story of men from his mother's side of the family whose stories were not part of even their own family lore, possibly because they were thought to be fighting the war of the oppressor.

An panel discussion featuring Karnad:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5Az6j7nfJI

The discussion is led by Sashi Kumar whose face I haven't seen in decades! I used to enjoy the English news on AIR read by Sashi and he also made TV appearances.
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Re: Reading the Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad

Post by Merlot Daruwala on Fri Jan 06, 2017 1:32 am

MaxEntropy_Man wrote:A story of a family of Parsi officers who fought in WW2.  Indian soldiers, airmen and officers who fought in WW2 have never had their story told. If you watch any documentary of WW2 it is always about British, American, and Russian troops.  Indians  never figure anywhere in the story.  Raghu Karnad tells the story of men from his mother's side of the family whose stories were not part of even their own family lore, possibly because they were thought to be fighting the war of the oppressor.  
 

Were they not?

Indian soldiers who fought in pre-independence wars were just mercenaries. It's ok for today's Indian Army to take regimental pride in their historical wartime exploits, but the rest of us are not obliged to join in on the lionizing of a bunch of collaborators and ingratiators.
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Re: Reading the Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad

Post by Merlot Daruwala on Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:33 am

Great so see Sashi Kumar after so many years. But I wish it was moderated by someone more knowledgeable of Indian military history like Nitin Gokhale or Srinath Raghavan.
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Re: Reading the Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad

Post by MaxEntropy_Man on Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:50 am

Mercenaries? Yes but so were the middle class civil servants, our ancestors, who also served the Brits benefiting from their English education. And yet we don't demonize them. I think this is a story worth telling. When I saw the profusion of Indian names at the WW2 memorial outside Buckingham palace some years ago, it choked me up. Young men who fought for the right cause, whatever their motivations may have been, but unheralded in their own country.  The ones who survived and then served in the army of free India are lionized though. What separates them is simply death.
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Re: Reading the Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad

Post by Merlot Daruwala on Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:07 am

MaxEntropy_Man wrote:Mercenaries? Yes but so were the middle class civil servants, our ancestors, who also served the Brits benefiting from their English education. And yet we don't demonize them. I think this is a story worth telling. When I saw the profusion of Indian names at the WW2 memorial outside Buckingham palace some years ago, it choked me up. Young men who fought for the right cause, whatever their motivations may have been, but unheralded in their own country.

I agree with you that every story is worth telling. But a mercenary service doesn't merit any greater heralding or lionization. We don't demonize the clerks and other petty revenue officials who served the British, but nor do we sing their praises and erect memorials to commemorate their service. They did what they had to do - in a poor, feudal society with few economic opportunities - to put food on the table. It's nothing to be proud about. I don't see why the sepoys or Indian officers who served in the British Indian army merit a different treatment.

MaxEntropy_Man wrote:The ones who survived and then served in the army of free India are lionized though. What separates them is simply death.

Yes, they never got a chance to serve their own country and that is unfortunate. It would have been a part redemption for their effort in propping up a colonial power far longer than it deserved.
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Re: Reading the Farthest Field by Raghu Karnad

Post by Guest on Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:49 pm

http://indiafacts.org/deconstructing-gandhi-gandhi-recruited-indians-world-war/

http://anurupacinar.com/blog/nonviolent-gandhi-recruiting-agent-in-chief-in-wwi-part-i/

http://anurupacinar.com/blog/nonviolent-gandhi-recruiting-agent-in-chief-in-wwi-part-ii/

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