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India and World War IIWar, Armed Forces, and Society, 1939–45$
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Kaushik Roy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463534

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463534.001.0001

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Morale, Discipline, and Discontent in the Indian Armed Forces

Morale, Discipline, and Discontent in the Indian Armed Forces

(p.94) 3 Morale, Discipline, and Discontent in the Indian Armed Forces
India and World War II

Kaushik Roy

Oxford University Press

The very absence of large-scale mutinies in the Indian armed forces between 1939 and 1945 indicates that Indian soldiery was quite content with British military service. Moreover, there were no overt hostile communal feelings among different religious communities within the Indian Army despite the rise of Hindu–Muslim animosity in the ‘greater’ society. How, in the absence of a nationalist ideology, the Indian soldiers were motivated to fight and die in the age of total war is a puzzle which this chapter attempts to resolve. The British could separate the soldiery from the host society by providing tangible and non-tangible incentives to the jawans. Military discipline further converted the agricultural labourers in the ranks into automatons of sorts, while racial/ethnic pride partly enabled the Indian soldiery to encounter the brutal ‘face of battle’.

Keywords:   British military service, British Indian Army, military discipline, Indian soldiery

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