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Swords Trembling in Their Scabbards: The Changing Status of Indian Officers in the Indian Army 1757-1947
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Swords Trembling in Their Scabbards: The Changing Status of Indian Officers in the Indian Army 1757-1947 (Hardback)

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The Indian Army founded by the East India Company in the eighteenth century was unique among the armies of the world in that it had two groups of officers - British and Indian. The intention was that the Indian officers, coming from similar backgrounds as their men and naturally understanding their social and religious mores and customs, would form the crucial link between the British officers and the sepoys. It is surprising, therefore, that there has been very little written, by either British or Indian historians, regarding the role and experience of those officers. They were promoted from the ranks and served for many years in their units, embodying both the spirit and the traditions of their regiments. So who were these Indian officers who look out at us from photographs taken from the eighteen eighties onwards? What was their background, education and training? How did they, and their British officers, interpret their role? The present volume is a long over-due attempt to answer these questions and to pay due tribute to the men who served the Raj and their country so well in peace and war. A wide variety of sources has been drawn upon, including interviews with British officers who served with the Indian Army. A thread running through the book is provided by the diary of Amar Singh, a Rajput from Jaipur. He was one of the first members of the elite Imperial Cadet Corps and served in China, France, Mesopotamia and on the North-West Frontier. He ended his military career as Commandant of the Jaipur State forces.

Dr Michael Creese is a retired headteacher and educational consultant with a lifelong interest in military history and uniforms. His interest in the Indian Army was sparked by a visit aged eleven to an exhibition of model soldiers at Hamleys in 1947. He now has his own collection of model soldiers which naturally includes a strong Indian contingent. His doctoral thesis at the University of Leicester focussed on the Indian officers in four cavalry regiments, drawing on material in Britain and India. The scope of this thesis has been widened in the present volume to include infantry officers together with a broad history of the Indian Army. He has written a history of the Jodhpur Lancers which is awaiting publication in India.

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