Faithful Fighters


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ISBN: 9789356402607 Category:


During the first four decades of the twentieth century, the British Indian Army projected an illusion of racial and religious inclusivity. The army recruited diverse soldiers, called ?Martial Races,? including British Christians, Punjabi Sikhs, Hindu Rajputs, Muslims from northwestern India and Afghanistan, and ?Gurkhas? from Nepal. They incorporated some of these soldiers’ traditions into the army to keep them disciplined and loyal. This included allowing Muslims to fast during Ramzan, mandating purification ceremonies for Nepali Hindus, and enabling Sikhs to carry religious swords. Military officials hoped that bringing these practices into the army would undermine criticisms of imperial military service within communities where anti-colonial sentiment grew stronger. Instead, as Faithful Fighters shows, it created unintended dialogues between soldiers and civilians while hardening differences between and among communities. Though the illusion of soldiers’ detachment from anticolonialism crumbled during World War II, Kate Imy argues that the army militarized racial and religious difference, creating lasting legacies for the violent partition and independence of India, and the endemic violence of the postcolonial world. Faithful Fightersreceived the NACBS Stansky prize and the Pacific Coast Branch Book Award of the American Historical Association.

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Author Name

Kate Imy