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Forgotten stories of the bravery of the 1.5m Indian soldiers who fought alongside the British in WWI and the racism they faced in the trenche


dallysingh101
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17 hours ago, dallysingh101 said:

?????

Don't get ya.

Mate, they still follow a lot of the traditions in weapons wielding and horse riding, bow stringing etcetera such as in the article.   You can't call going to gatka classes anything like what they do or what the panth once did.

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8 hours ago, namespace said:

Mate, they still follow a lot of the traditions in weapons wielding and horse riding, bow stringing etcetera such as in the article.   You can't call going to gatka classes anything like what they do or what the panth once did.

I don't even think they are doing things like the people mentioned in the article. Those guys in the past obviously kept uptodate with the military technology of the time, and they were actually genuinely battle ready. 

It's great that modern day nihungs keep some traditions alive, but don't for a second think that they are in the same league as the Sikh soldiers from pre-annexation Panjab. Those guys were active, especially the nihangs who would be on the forefront of the toughest battles like against Afghanistan. 

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  • 3 years later...
22 hours ago, Ranjeet01 said:

Unfortunately he died before I was born so I never could gauge him. My father was young when he died.

That generation even though they had stories never fully disclose a lot of things.

We don't even know if that generation had PTSD as they seem to be much mentally stronger.

I hear that. There are olders in my family who've passed away that I would have loved to get a perspective from.

A lot of the old school (as in my grandfather' generation and above) where known to be tight lipped. Didn't talk to many people in general. 

They were resilient as f**k. A lot of them have hardcore background stories. They never talked about them though.

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On 10/29/2018 at 9:45 PM, namespace said:

Why do in old punjabi photos these people are dark and so unfed.  We see so many depictions of history where the people were big, light, and strong like today.  Times must have been so harsh back then and I doubt I would survive. 

I know my statement is a bit ignorant but it is how I feel when seeing the photos!

 

They were dark from sun tans probably. Punjabis are still tiny today, so that part hasn't changed.

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  • 3 months later...
On 10/30/2018 at 12:21 AM, dallysingh101 said:

They were dirt poor and completely illiterate, very limited options for them. Proper pendus. 

Village Panjabis who served in the army were generally poorer and didn't own enough land.

There are even British guides on how to recruit them and which ones are better fit for the army according to area! 

"As regards military qualities, it is doubtful whether there is anything to choose between the two. ‘'The Manjha Sikh is as a rule brighter, smart-er, quicker, and more refined than the Malwai, while the latter on the other hand is more stubborn, works quite as conscientiously but less cheerfully

* It may be mentioned, however, that the Sikhs of the country between the Beas and the Sutlej, i.e., Kapurthala, Jullundur, and Hoshiarpur, are generally called Doaba Sikhs. Their  lands are fertile, and they as a rule prefer agriculture to soldiering. This, coupled with ; he fact that their Sikhism is rather lax, renders them, in the opinion of some commanding officers  somewhat inferior as soldiers to the men of the Malwa and the Manjha."

From the "Handbook on Sikhs for the use of regimental officers"

https://ia802901.us.archive.org/19/items/handbookonsikhsf00falc/handbookonsikhsf00falc.pdf

"The men of the Manjha are, by nature, very hardy. Though the average of them is smaller physically than the average of the Malwa Sikhs, they are often met with of very powerful physique, they are very hard and full of work, includes from their antecedents to habits of looting, cattle lifting, and rough play, they are not perhaps so quiet and amenable to discipline as Sikhs of other parts, they can carry great weights and are of a fearless and independent sprit."

"The Manjha recruit will show more coolness and freedom from nervousness..."

"Though comparatively a small tract of country, the Manjha gives more men to service than any other tract..."

"The Sikhs of the Doaba are of a much softer type, they are too absorbed in cultivation, for the Doaba is exceedingly fertile, to have leisure for much else. Their Sikhism is very diluted by Hinduism...In the northern parts of the Doaba, recruits should be very carefully selected, as the quality is very poor"

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On 10/30/2018 at 8:09 AM, puzzled said:

Well they were outdoors most the time and in bad conditions. 

They started working outside at very early ages. It was normal to start working under the age of 10. 

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Another reason why people in old photos looked darker was because were more likely to get exposed to the sun than the average Panjabi today. They didn't have any help from labourers from central Indian states either. 

This is how every farmer would've worked before

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This is how most people work in Punjab today. There's more shade and protection from sun exposure. 

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