For King and Another Country: Indian Soldiers on the Western Front 1914-1918
Over a million Indian soldiers fought in the First World War, the largest force from the colonies and dominions. Many soldiers were illiterate and travelled from remote villages in India to fight in the muddy trenches in France and Flanders. Many went on to win the highest bravery awards. For King and another Country tells, for the first time, the personal stories of some of these Indians who went to the Western Front: from a grand turbanned Maharaja rearing to fight for Empire to a lowly sweeper who dies in a hospital in England, from a Pathan who wins the Victoria Cross to a young pilot barely out of school. Shrabani Basu delves into archives in Britain and narratives buried in villages in India and Pakistan to recreate the War through the eyes of the Indians who fought it. There are heroic tales of bravery as well as those of despair and desperation; there are accountsof the relationships that were forged between the Indians with their British officers and how curries reached the frontline. Above all, it is the great story of how the War changed India and led, ultimately, to the call for independence.
Shrabani Basu is a journalist and author and has been the London correspondent of Ananda Bazar Patrika Group since 1988, writing for Sunday, Ananda Bazar Patrika and the Telegraph. She has appeared on several radio and television programmes in theUK including Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 and several documentaries on QueenVictoria, Noor Inayat Khan and curry. She founded the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trustin 2010 to campaign for a memorial for the WWII heroine. The memorial was unveiled by The Princess Royal in November 2012.
2 December 2015
Where: The Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1
Commences at 1.15pm
A Sandwich lunch with wine and/or soft drinks is available from 12.30pm but must be booked in advance by the previous day. £10 with wine or £7 with soft drink.
Tickets: Free: Members and their guests only