Two and a half million Indians volunteered in the Second World War. Their stories had been lost and silenced, until now. Award-winning historian Yasmin Khan marshals interviews, newspaper reports and unseen archival material to tell the forgotten story of India’s role in the Second World War. We meet soldiers, sailors and non-combatants "prostitutes, nurses, cooks, peasants" whose lives were upended by a war far, far away. From a small Muslim boy arrested for singing anti-recruitment songs, to cooks preparing chapattis on army boats, to a family listening to illicit German radio broadcasts, and a love letter from the first Indian soldier to receive the Victoria Cross, Khan makes us feel and hear the lost voices of a people involved in a war that wasn’t of their choosing.
Dramatizing a cataclysm that transformed the subcontinent and led to its independence, The Raj at War undeniably inserts South Asia back into WWII history and confirms that the Empire" and all its subjects" formed both the heart and limbs of Britain’s war efforts and eventual victory.
Author: Yasmin Khan
Features: PB, Penguin India