chapter  5
13 Pages

India and the African experience in the Great War

WithLindsay Frederick Braun

This chapter provides background and a basic accounting of the engagement of forces from India in Africa. The experiences of Africa and Africans in the First World War, like those of South Asia and its soldiers and civilians, have only rarely figured as subjects of intrinsic value in the broad historiography of the war. The intensification of the British official presence in South Asia and the creation of European colonies and protectorates on the African coast changed the tempo of this traffic, but it did not create the connections. The long-term effects of the experience of British India-and Indian veterans-with the East African stage of the First World War are even harder to define specifically. Much like its importance to the main centres of the war effort, East Africa was a minor part of the Indian engagement in the conflict, so the major discussion of reverberations tends to focus on the direct Indian encounter in Europe.