Indian Soldiers in World War I


Indian Soldiers in World War I

Race and Representation in an Imperial War

Andrew T. Jarboe

Studies in War, Society, and the Military Series

334 pages
11 tables, index


July 2021


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eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

July 2021


$60.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

July 2021


$60.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Third place in the 2022 SAHR Templer Best First Book Prize

More than one million Indian soldiers were deployed during World War I, serving in the Indian Army as part of Britain’s imperial war effort. These men fought in France and Belgium, Egypt and East Africa, and Gallipoli, Palestine, and Mesopotamia. 

In Indian Soldiers in World War I Andrew T. Jarboe  follows these Indian soldiers—or sepoys—across the battlefields, examining the contested representations British and Indian audiences drew from the soldiers’ wartime experiences and the impacts these representations had on the British Empire’s racial politics. Presenting overlooked or forgotten connections, Jarboe argues that Indian soldiers’ presence on battlefields across three continents contributed decisively to the British Empire’s final victory in the war. While the war and Indian soldiers’ involvement led to a hardening of the British Empire’s prewar racist ideologies and governing policies, the battlefield contributions of Indian soldiers fueled Indian national aspirations and calls for racial equality. When Indian soldiers participated in the brutal suppression of anti-government demonstrations in India at war’s end, they set the stage for the eventual end of British rule in South Asia.

Author Bio

Andrew T. Jarboe is an assistant professor of liberal arts at Berklee College of Music. He is also a history teacher at Match High School in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the editor of War News in India: The Punjabi Press during World War I and coeditor with Richard Fogarty of Empires in World War I: Shifting Frontiers and Imperial Dynamics in a Global Conflict


"Indian Soldiers in World War I counters nostalgic views of the British Empire and presents critical insight into the global nature of Indian involvement in the war and its consequences for India and the British Empire. General readers and specialists alike will find Jarboe’s prose both engaging and accessible."—Alex Paul, Journal of Military History

"The variety of themes covered in the text and the style in which Jarboe writes make this a great book for anyone."—Tamala Malerk, H-War

"This is a welcome addition to the literature on the Great War and imperialism."—S. L. Smith, Choice

Indian Soldiers in World War I portrays, for the first time, a nuanced picture of what it was like for Indian soldiers during World War I. . . . Andrew Jarboe brings out both the globality and interconnectedness of the soldiers’ experience during the war. In addition he uses the hitherto neglected source of the Indian press. This extremely readable monograph will inevitably become an essential text for anyone interested in Indian soldiers during World War I.”—Alan Jeffreys, senior curator of the Imperial War Museum and author of Approach to Battle: Training the Indian Army during the Second World War

Table of Contents

List of Tables
1. Peasants into Sepoys
2. India’s Splendid Rally
3. In Flanders Fields
4. Healing the Empire
5. In the Hands of the Enemy
6. The Empire’s Fighters
7. The War’s Most Critical Phase
8. Into the Face of Bayonets


Third place in the 2022 SAHR Templer Best First Book Prize

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