Armies of the Raj: From the Mutiny to Independence, 1858-1947

Byron Farwell, Author
Byron Farwell, Author W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (399p) ISBN 978-0-393-02679-5
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
With a profusion of anecdotes conveying the character of India under British rule, Farwell ( Eminent Victorian Soldiers ) offers a panoramic survey of the Indian Army during the 90 years between the Sepoy Revolt and the births of independent India and Pakistan. Warfare, however, is not the focus here; instead, the author investigates military recruiting strategies and organization, relations between the colonists and the colonized, and the fluctuating state of morale. Manned mostly by Indians yet led by the British, the army campaigned against boredom nearly as often as it defended the North-West frontier. Farwell is particularly entertaining on the subjects of polo playing, tiger hunting, pig-sticking and promiscuous romancing--all popular forms of relaxation for army men. Other matters of interest include discussion of the Sikhs, whose innate ferocity was fully exploited by the British, and an account of the 1919 massacre at Amritsar--a catalytic event that convinced many that the British would never accept Indians as equals. Photos. (Sept.)
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