Indian Sepoy (read cannon fodder) letters from the world war trenches are now online

A large collection of documents and letters preserved by the British Library’s India office has been digitized and hosted online. This is the first collection of World War I India office records to appear online. It’s got reports of the censor of Indian mails in France, letters from soldiers, treatment of British and Indian prisoners of war in Germany among other details of the first world war, says the British Library blog.

Image Courtesy: British Library

One of the largest groups which fought in the trenches during the first world war were South Asians of the British Indian Army, the blog pointed out. More than 1.5 million people form the subcontinent fought on the British side on many fronts when the Indian Army contingents were deployed in a European war for the first time.

Dr Florian Stadtler, a research fellow at The Open University who has partnered with the British Library on the project notes:

Translated excerpts of the censored mails in the India Office Records, housed at the British Library, are an important account of South Asian soldiers’ involvement in the war and document their fears, concerns and harrowing experiences.

Soldiers would often write in codes or euphemisms to evade censorship.

If you are a history buff, or simply a curious soul, take a look at the collection here.

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