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November 18 , 2007

The Raj at War

A People’s History of India’s Second World War


The Second World War was not fought by Britain alone. India produced the largest volunteer army in world history: over 2 million men. But, until now, there has never been a comprehensive account of India's turbulent home front and the nexus between warfare and India’s society.

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At the heart of The Raj at War are the many lives and voices of ordinary Indian people. From the first Indian to win the Victoria Cross in the war to the three soldiers imprisoned as ‘traitors to the Raj’ who returned to a hero’s welcome, from the nurses in Indian General Hospitals to the labourers, prostitutes and families—their testimonies reveal the great upheaval experienced throughout the land.

Yasmin Khan presents the hidden and sometimes overlooked history of India at war, and shows how mobilisation for the war introduced seismic processes of economic, cultural and social change—decisively shaping the international war effort, the unravelling of the empire and India’s own political and economic trajectory.

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