Religion and Culture Abroad

The presence of a large number of Indian soldiers in Europe and other places abroad spurred many efforts in these countries to help these men feel ‘at home’. Ensuring that their religious and cultural practices could be followed was one of the ways through which this was enabled. Such efforts ranged from the construction of religious facilities and memorials for soldiers as per religious, cultural norms to ensuring that food was cooked in separate kitchens in the Brighton hospital as per caste requirements.

Adhering to religious rites, Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died in Brighton were cremated and their ashes were scattered in the sea, while Muslims soldiers who died were buried in a purpose built burial ground near the Shah Jahan mosque in Woking. A Chattri, constructed in the traditional Indian style, was built in memory of the Indian soldiers who fought in the Great War and was unveiled by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in 1921.

These steps taken by European powers to ensure the loyalty and comfort of Indian soldiers and honour their memory heralded a new understanding and acceptability of ‘foreign’ customs and cultural symbols in traditional European public spaces. Indian soldiers, for their part, found themselves exposed to European customs, practices and new ideas of freedom and emancipation.

  • 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.
    Read More

  • 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