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1) Discuss the contribution of India to war efforts during world war 1? How was India awarded by the British for war efforts?(250 words)

Topic– The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

1) Discuss the contribution of India to war efforts during world war 1? How was India awarded by the British for war efforts?(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question

The article highlights the role played by Indian soldiers in liberating Palestine from turkish hold during world war 1. The contribution of Indian soldiers to war efforts on World war 1 is often unrecognised and has come to the forefront only in recent years. This makes it one of the lesser asked questions, yet quite important for history section of GS1.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to answer the following points for this question

  • The situation in India at the time of world war and the response of INC to India’s participation in world war 1
  • The detailed summary of how Indian army contributed to war efforts in World war 1
  • The response of the British post the war – whether they made any efforts for granting self government to India post the war

Directive word

Discuss – Here, your discussion should bring out the situation prevailing in India during world war 1, the conditions for support if any, and the detailed contribution of Indian soldiers to world war 1.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – mention that when war broke out in 1914, India was in a state of growing political unrest. The Indian National Congress had gone from being a group that simply discussed issues to a body that was pushing for more self-government. Before the war started, the Germans had spent a great deal of time and energy trying to stir up an anti-British movement in India. Many shared the view that if Britain got involved in a crisis somewhere in the world, Indian separatists would use this as an opportunity to advance their cause.

Body

  • Mention that these fears were unfounded. When war was declared on August 4th, India rallied to the cause. Those with influence within India believed that the cause of Indian independence would best be served by helping out Britain in whatever capacity India could – including the Indian National Congress.
  • Highlight the contribution of Indian soldiers in world war 1 – India made a huge contribution to Britain’s war effort. It sent staggering numbers of volunteers to fight and die on behalf of the allied forces. Almost 1.5 million Muslim, Sikh and Hindu men from regions such as the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Bihar volunteered in the Indian Expeditionary Force , which saw fighting on the Western Front, in East Africa, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Gallipoli. Volunteering offered a chance to break through the caste system, because becoming a soldier paid well and meant becoming part of the ‘warrior’ caste, which gave high status. However, of these men, around 50,000 died, 65,000 were wounded, and 10,000 were reported missing, while 98 Indian army nurses were killed. The country also supplied 170,000 animals, 3,7 million tonnes of supplies, jute for sandbags, and a large loan (the equivalent of about £2 billion today) to the British government.
  • Discuss how British government “rewarded” India for the war efforts – government of India Act. Mention that because no substantial steps were taken for self government, Gandhi responded with khilafat and non Cooperation movement

Conclusion – Mention that Indian contribution is often unrecognised and it is only recently that India has started creating awareness of the role played by it in both world wars.