Altered Allegiances: Indian Soldiers, Non-Combatants, and Revolutionaries during the Balkan and First World Wars

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Rebekah McCallum


At the beginning of the 20th century, in the years encompassing the First World War, diverging views on colonial rule and securing self-rule were spreading in the Indian subcontinent. When the First World War broke out, many leading revolutionaries encouraged allegiance to the British in their war effort as a means of proving capability for self-rule. Nevertheless, among Indians from different social classes, allegiances were mitigated or reified according to various situations that arose, including the treatment of Indians under British command on the battlefield and official British attitudes towards the Ottoman Caliphate before and after the war. By examining the life work of Dr. Mukhtar Ansari, who led a medical mission from India to the Ottoman Empire during the Balkan Wars, and that of the Indian sepoys in Mesopotamia in 1915-1916, this paper explores the changed and bargained allegiances affected by religious, ethnic, and colonial contexts.

Article Details

Working Paper
Author Biography

Rebekah McCallum, Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University

PhD Student, Indian Ocean World Centre


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