The global nature of the Great War created spaces for intercultural interaction between colonial troops and local populations and acted as a platform through which ideas of identity in the context of Empire were negotiated. The presence of Indian troops abroad further strengthened perceptions of racial identity and difference in Europe, even as notions of equality and unity within Empire became prevalent.

In many ways, the Great War was an opportunity for citizens of imperial powers to directly view the extent and diversity united by Empire in their own homeland. Indeed, as one British officer wrote in reference to the Battle of the Somme, this was ‘an offensive on a scale worthy of the Empire’. The arrival of Indian troops in Europe generated a great deal of curiosity and publicity, even as concepts of racial superiority and fears of miscegenation predominantly governed the reactions and responses to these men.

  • About Us

    The Joint USI-MEA Centenary Commemoration project highlights the oft-forgotten role of India in the First World War and commemorates those soldiers who served during the War. The project is aimed at exploring India’s engagement in the war from a variety of perspectives.
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  • Project Partners


    The United Service Institution of India
    Rao Tula Ram Marg (Opposite Signals Enclave)
    Post Bag No 8, Vasant Vihar PO, New Delhi - 110 057

    Ph: +91-11-26147464