For use of Military Personnel only. Not to
be republished, in whole or in part, without
the consent of the War Department.
SPECIAL SERVICE DIVISION, ARMY SERVICE FORCES
UNITED STATES ARMY
WAR AND NAVY DEPARTMENTS
YOU and your outfit have been assigned one of the most important military missions ever given to American
soldiers - the task of driving the Japanese back to Tokyo.
In this global war it is not enough that you should be able to destroy or immobilize all who are your nation's
enemies; you must be able to win the respect and good will of all who are not.
Right now the world is our workshop and whether we, and the other United Nations, can get it back in running
order again depends on how much we know about the materials in it - meaning the people.
By winning their confidence and convincing them of our good faith, we shall find many short cuts to success
over the enemy and lay the foundation of international understanding that are essential to building a
worth-while, enduring peace.
In India your job is doubly difficult. To drive the Japanese armies out of Burma where they now threaten
invasion of Assam, India's easternmost province, is a military operation of sizeable proportions.
To keep them on the run, out of Indo-China and China itself, is still more formidable.
Then too, India is a complex country, difficult for people like ourselves to understand.
It is a country whose people are going through a far-reaching political upheaval.
They, as we did over 160 years ago, seek to gain political independence.
If you are to complete your mission in the measure expected of you as an American, discretion
and tact will be required of you at all times in your dealings with the Indian people and the soldiers
beside whom you will fight.
Most of all you will need to know something about India, her people and the problems they face.
That is the reason for this guide, prepared for your continuing study.
With its help and by keeping your eyes and ears open, you'll find out enough about the country, complex
and contradictory as it is, to get along.
INDIA AND THE GLOBAL WAR
ONE glance at the world map below will show you why the United Nations must hold India and why
that need is great enough that American forces have been sent to share in the undertaking.
This sub-continent, jutting into the Indian Ocean, lies across some of the most vital sea lanes
of the United Nations.
It is the greatest territorial barrier to the joining of the major forces of our Axis enemies.
India is just about equi-distant between Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo.
It is 2,000 miles from Aden, the important base covering the southern end of the Red Sea and
protecting the Allies supply lines looping around South Africa to serve our forces in
the Middle East and Russia.
Singapore, the gate on the Malacca Strait which is the main highway to the waters of eastern Asia,
is a like distance away.
Thus India might become the main base of our advance against Japan's positions in Burma, Malaya,
and Thailand, or the springboard by which the Japanese can drive westward against the positions
which enable the forces of the United Nations to control the Middle East and the Indian Ocean.
The forces of the United Nations hold India's numerous excellent ports. Likewise, the United Nations
hold the great naval base at Trincomalee in Ceylon, and the strong British base at Aden which covers
the entrance to the Red sea.
These holdings give our side strategic command of a body of water - the Indian Ocean - which
serves three continents.
Were Axis forces to gain control of the bases, we would no longer have command of the seas.
India is the principal base which must be strengthened to assure the continuation of this command.
Our forces and those of the British Empire are cooperating toward this end.
YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS
INDIA is a strange, colorful land, one that relatively few Americans have seen.
Customs, dress, language, color, religious beliefs and political institutions will have little
resemblance to anything you have known in America.
If you exercise a normal amount of curiosity you'll learn much that is fascinating;
much that will enable you to begin stories to your children or grandchildren in later years,
"Now, when I was in India ..."
Probably the first thing you will notice is the strangeness of Indian dress.
After you've experienced the Indian sun you'll realize that the costume worn by Indian men
and women results from centuries of living in a climate one American soldier described as "too hot, too cold,
too wet, too dry."
As you see more of the Indian people, you will encounter many customs that are strange and new to Americans.
A large number of them have grown out of the religions of the country and are therefore most sacred.
You should respect them as you would wish your own beliefs and ways of living respected by strangers.
Naturally, there are a number of obstacles to establishing friendly relations with the people of India -
differences of language, custom, and religion.
Furthermore, Indian soldiers and people are apt to be shy and reversed toward foreigners.
But they will respond to friendly treatment.
If you do nothing to wound their pride or insult their religious beliefs, you will have little
difficulty in winning their respect and good will.
THE PEOPLE OF INDIA
When Christopher Columbus sighted landfall - the island of Santo Domingo - he thought he had reached the
fabulously wealthy lands known as the Indies and he called the people he found there Indians.
The people you will meet, more than 12,000 miles from home, are the real Indians.
It may take you some time to get used to calling them that, but it is important that you do.
The Indian people dislike being called natives; it makes them think you regard them as inferior.
Some Facts and Figures.
There are two things about the Indian people you will notice almost immediately.
There are a lot of them and they are bewilderingly different in their language, religion
and physical appearance.
Today, one man in every five in the world calls India his home. In an area a little more than half
as large as the United States there are about 389,000,000 people - three times as many as we have.
Nine out of ten Indians live off the land, farming very small patches of earth, and it is an incredibly
poor living for most of them. The average Indian farmer for instance, will earn in
a year, if he's lucky,
about as much as you, as an American soldier, are paid in a month. Indian farmers live in small villages
- there are some 700,000 of them - and often have to walk a mile or two from their homes to reach
the small plot of farm land that belongs to them.
The country has about 100 different languages, and dialects, but there are only 24 important ones, each
of which is spoken by a million or more people. If you inspect Indian paper money carefully, you'll notice
that on the backs of the bills the word "rupee" is written in eight different languages.
If you want to amaze your comrades, incidentally, win a few bets, here is the list to memorize -
Urdu, Hindustani, Bengali, Burmese, Tamil, Telegu, Kanarese, and Gujerati.
Sixty-five percent of the Indian people observe the Hindu faith; slightly more than 25 percent are Moslems,
followers of the prophet Mohammed. The other 40,000,000 Indians belong to a bewildering variety of
religions and cults. Since India's problems are complicated by the religious differences of the people,
the first thing to do in finding out something about the Indians is to tackle the problem of religion.
There are 256,000,000 Hindus in India, believers in the God Brahma, creator of everything in the world.
Brahma is so great and so far removed from ordinary human affairs that the Hindus do not worship him directly.
Rather they worship his presence in other Minot gods of whom there are a great number.
Religious observance by the Hindus is an individual matter; there is no group ceremony like the church
services we know. When you see a Hindu with a U-shaped or three-pronged fork freshly painted on his forehead,
he will have just returned from worshipping at a temple of the god Vishnu, one of the most important Hindu
gods. Likewise, the Hindu who worships at a temple of Shiva will have a horizontal smear of ash runned across his
forehead. As a rule, the Hindu makes individual offerings of incense or fruit and says his prayers in a temple
or before a shrine, many of which you will see along the roadside. Every Hindu honors a collection of
ancient books called the Veda.
We Americans use the term "sacred cow" in a joking way. In India there isn't anything funny about it.
Literally, to the Hindu, the cow and the bull are sacred; so much so that while you may see Hindu pushing
cattle out of the way or driving them from open market stalls, no Hindu would dream of killing a cow.
There are nearly 200,000,000 cows in India - one for every two persons - so you will see plenty of them wandering
unmolested along the main streets of towns and along the highways. Compared to the cattle you see in
America, India's cows are a sorry lot mainly because there are too many of them; there is not enough fodder
to go around. They are no respecters of motor traffic and one does have to be particularly careful when driving along
the roads. In some parts of India the penalty for killing a cow, even by accident, may be as much as seven
years in jail. There are other sacred animals besides cows - monkeys and peacocks, for instance.
It is just as well to avoid harming any of these animals no matter where you are.
The Caste System.
Every Hindu is born into a caste from which he must take his wife and which often determines how he shall earn a living.
For instance those belonging to a certain caste will be water-carriers by occupation and their sons, as a rule,
will continue to carry water. In modern times members of such a caste will go into other occupations without losing
their place as a member of that caste. All together there are some 2,000 castes and subcastes.
Originally, there were four main caste groups: the Brahmas, or priests; the Kashatriya, or warrior group;
the Vaisya, or merchants; and the Sudras, who were the farmers. Within these main groups, innumerable
sub-castes developed until the main group itself became all but forgotten.
Today, as the highest caste, the Brahmans stand at the top of the social ladder. They often are the priests
and the scholars of Hindu society. Brahmans may carry the honorary title of Pandit (learned man), as Pandit
Nehru, from which our term pundit (meaning heavy-duty thinker) derives.
Brahmans also are found in many other occupations, ranging from farming to accountancy.
Many are messengers in government service, while others are cooks.
Brahmans are especially desirable as cooks since food prepared by them, under caste rules, can be eaten
by members of any caste or subcaste. Otherwise Hindus may only eat food prepared by one of equal or superior
caste standing. No matter what his occupation, the Brahman is still a member of the elite class.
The present caste system is by no means fixed. There are many subdivisions within each caste and new ones are
constantly being formed. For instance, a former regiment of the Indian Army known as the Queen's Own Sappers
and Miners used to recruit its men from Indians living near Madras in south India. It is reported that among
these there is a special and highly superior caste growing up known as Queensap, made up of those who have served
or descended from those who have served in the Queens Own Sappers and Miners.
Getting back to the Brahmans, you will see them everywhere wearing a sacred thread over the left shoulder
as insignia of their rank. All Brahmans are vegetarian, as are most Hindus of the higher castes.
To them killing any animal, even for food, is a sin.
As the highest caste, Brahmans take extreme care to keep themselves pure, according to caste rules.
I a Brahman should brush against someone of a lower case, he will have to take a bath immediately in order to
become pure again. If his food is touched by one of a lower caste, it immediately becomes unfit for him
to eat. Because of these special rules, the food problem with Indian troops is a difficult one.
Try not to offend their religious customs and stay away from Indian soldiers when they are eating.
As a foreigner you have no caste standing and even your shadow falling on their food might make it necessary
for them to throw it away.
With the growth of industrial development and modern living conditions in the cities, there has been
some break-down in rigid caste rules. You may see Indians of different castes eating together in Calcutta
or Bombay. But the rules are strictly observed in villages in rural India, particularly in the south.
It is the best course of action not to risk giving offense no matter where you are. If you are in doubt
about what to do, be frank about it and ask someone's advice.
There are a large number of Hindus who are outside the caste structure. They are called "Untouchables" or
in official documents the "Depressed Classes" and are often pitifully poor. In rural Villages the section
in which the Untouchables live is sometimes set off several hundred yards from the rest of the houses.
Many of India's present leaders have worked to improve their miserable conditions of life, but progress
has been slow.
Next to the Hindus, the largest and most important group in India are the Moslems. They first came to India
about 1,000 years ago, pouring down through the mountain passes in the northwest. They settled in the conquered
northern regions and made converts to the religion of Islam.
Because of their warlike background and because their religion is a more militant one than that of the Hindus
who ordinarily believe in nonviolence, the Moslems make up a substantial part of the Indian Army.
That doesn't mean that Hindus don't make good soldiers. They have proven that they do in this war, as well
as the last.
In contrast to the many Hindu gods, Moslems believe in one god only - ALLAH. They have no caste system and they
follow the teachings of their great prophet Mohammed. Their religion is called Islam (is-LAHM).
Moslems pray five times a day, kneeling and bowing to the ground, facing in the direction of Mecca, their holy
city in Arabia. They worship in congregations at their mosques where the service consists mainly of reading
from the Koran, their holy book. Moslems eat beef but not pork. They are extremely touchy about this, so
be careful never to offer a Moslem pork or anything cooked in pork products. They use separate drinking
fountains and toilet facilities which are provided at railroad stations and other public places. They regard
it as a sin to expose the body. Be most careful not to offend them in this respect.
It's a good rule to keep away from both Moslem mosques and Hindu temples unless you are in the hands of
a competent guide. The presence of unbelievers is resented. You might innocently offend their most sacred
customs. For instance, you would be desecrating a mosque or a temple if you entered wearing shoes.
Always keep an attitude of respect and your unintentional offenses will be more readily forgiven.
Never smile or joke among yourselves at peculiarities or strange customs that you observe. Your English
may be understood. Even if not, your mocking attitude will be sensed and fiercely resented.
You will hear much about the enmity between Hindus and Moslems. There are religious and political problems
which sometimes result in clashes between the two groups. Yet many Hindus and Moslems live side by side
all of their lives without trouble; in the main, you probably won't be able to tell a Moslem from a Hindu
at a glance.
The Sikhs, from Northern India, belonging mostly to the Punjab region, are neither Hindu nor Moslem.
They are followers of 10 teachers called Gurus, the last of whom was Guru Govind Singh who died without
naming a successor. They have great reputations as fighting men. A Sikh to become a "Singh," that is,
a follower of the tenth Guru, goes through an initiation ceremony which entitles him to include "Singh"
(which means lion) in his name. There are about six million Sikhs in India. They are tall and large of frame.
In peacetime they are farmers, policemen and mechanics as well as soldiers. They operate most of the taxicabs
in the larger cities and for all of their fierce looks, they are friendly unless aroused.
The Sikhs are not supposed to cut their hair. They braid their beards and tie them up inside their turbans.
The legend is that as warriors, they must always be ready to fight at a moment's notice with no time to shave
or cut their hair, hence the long hair and the comb always stuck in it. The long hair is one of the five "k's"
observed by the Sikhs. They must have their hair long (kesh), use an iron bracelet on the right wrist
(Kara), wear short underpants (kachh), use a wooden comb (kanga) and carry a full size or miniature knife
with an iron handle (kirpan).
Almost everywhere in India, but especially around Bombay you will see the Parsee merchant, distinguished
often by his shiny black hat. The Parsees are a relatively small group numbering only about 100,000.
They came from Persia originally and follow Zoroaster as their prophet. Usually Parsees are well-to-do,
mostly business and professional men. Some of them are among the greatest industrialists in India.
The Tata family, which built the huge steel works at Jamshedpur, the largest in the British Empire,
Special mention should be made of the Gurkhas, a warlike, sturdy and cheerful race.
They are Hindus but unlike most Hindus have a strong military tradition. They came from the independent
kingdom of Nepal, on the northeast frontier but are permitted to join the Indian Army as volunteers.
They have maintained a spirit of close camaraderie with British soldiers and especially enjoy playing
western games, particularly football.
Europeans in India.
The term "European" in India generally means British. But it also includes other European peoples and
some Americans. The British once held all the important governmental posts in the country and still
hold many of them. British business men have developed India's trade and control much of the banking
system. They manage many of India's factories.
GETTING ALONG WITH THE PEOPLE
For many years outstanding graduates of Oxford and Cambridge went to India as young men and served
there all their lives in the Indian Civil Service, which is the administrative branch of the government.
But in recent years Indians have come increasingly into positions of responsibility both in business
You go to India at a time when the relations between the Indians and the British are under strong tension.
It is better for you not to discuss this situation. You can rub a Britisher or an Indian the wrong way
by trying to give him advice about Indian affairs. The statement made by your own State Department, printed
in the front of this book, should govern your actions and your talk.
When you come into contact with Britishers in India, remember they are naturally reserved. They respect
each other's privacy. If Britons are slow to strike up conversation with you, remember they are that way
with each other. It does not mean they are being haughty or unfriendly. They don't speak to you because
they don't want to appear intrusive or rude.
The British dislike bragging or showing off. American wages and American soldier's pay are the highest in the
world and money goes a long way in India. When pay day comes, it would be sound practice to learn to spend
your money according to the standards of the community where you are. The British consider you highly paid.
They won't think any better of you for throwing money around. They are more likely to think you have not
learned the common-sense virtues of thrift. The British soldier is apt to be especially touchy about the
difference between his pay and yours. Keep this in mind. Use common sense and don't rub
him the wrong way.
Don't be misled by the British tendency to be soft-spoken and polite. If they need to be they can be plenty
tough. The British can take it. They have proved it in the course of this war. In India they have every
reason for building solid friendship with us - as we have with them. Remember that the British soldier who
has been out in India has learned many things about how to live and get along in the country. He can give you
many practical tips that will help you in India. At the same time it is a good idea to form your own
impressions and learn for yourself.
If you are good-natured and patient in your dealings with Indians you won't have any trouble with them
even if you find some of their ways hard to understand and even annoying at times.
For instance, they feel it is only polite to tell you what you want to hear. Very often that politeness
of theirs will get you much misinformation. If you ask: "Is this the right road to ----?", the Indian
probably will say "Yes", even if it isn't. To be on the safe side ask: "Which road goes to our camp, etc?"
Almost anywhere you go in India, you will find people who speak at least some English. Although many
languages are spoken, the most widespread is Hindustani. It will pay you to learn some common words and
phrases of Hindustani, which you will find at the end of this book.
Indians are great family men. But their wives are kept much more secluded than western women. In certain circles
it is a breach of good manners to inquire of a man about his wife or to mention women in any respect in conversation.
A married woman wears a red spot in the center of the forehead. Many wear a small jewel in the side of the nose
purely as an ornament as American women wear earrings. The jewel has no religious or caste significance.
Indian women keep to their homes as much as possible. Most Moslem and many Hindu women take particular care not
to show their faces before strangers and wear heavy veils when out of doors. In the villages and rural sections
where women are working out of doors, you should exercise special care not to stare at them or address them.
Many will run at the approach of a white man.
Indians are hospitable people. If they invite you to their homes, accept the invitation. They will be glad to
have you and the experience will be interesting. But don't be surprised if the women members of the household
You should follow the example of your host. Often that may mean sitting on the floor and eating with your
fingers instead of with knife and fork. Whatever the family custom is, you should follow it. The Indians
will overlook your social errors and give you full credit for trying to adapt yourself.
Indians chew betel nut, much as we smoke cigarettes. The nut is wrapped in a leaf buttered with lime and then
chewed like tobacco, only you will spit red instead of brown. When you are offered betel or any gift, you may
just touch it if you do not wish to take it. Touching the gift means that you have accepted it in the spirit
in which it was offered.
Don't accept any presents from an Indian other than some small token, never anything of value. You would
be expected to return in kind, often with some favor.
Shopping in India.
A small storekeeper or trader at a bazaar in most cases will ask you more for his goods than he expects to get.
Bargain with him. It is a game. He expects to be beaten down to anywhere from two-thirds to one-third of his
asking price. Everyone bargains. It is part of the social life of these people. But they do it politely and in
good humor. Larger stores of the American and English type may have fixed prices, plainly marked.
If you ride in a taxicab, tonga, or rickshaw, settle the fare before you get in. The prices of any service
should be fixed in advance or you may have an argument when the time comes to pay, and in any such argument
the stranger is at a disadvantage and usually loses.
One should tip for everything, but only at the end of the service or stay. Do not
over tip. Keep small change
on hand. In hotels you tip everyone - a rupee for the head-waiter and the head room bearer, half a rupee (8 annas)
for the sweepers, porters, water boys and luggage porters at the station.
Be careful not to leave firearms around. They are likely to be stolen.
Telephone communication is slow and poor. Messenger service often is more satisfactory.
Most Indians have a different idea about time and punctuality from ours. If a man says he will come at 5 o'clock
he doesn't necessarily mean 5 o'clock sharp but within and hour or two of five. If you instruct a workman to
finish a job by Tuesday, he may take it to mean merely sometime soon. If you want work done on time, you must
keep a close check on the progress of it. All work stops on holidays, which sometimes last for several days.
Beggars and Holidays.
The most important of the Hindu holidays are: Holi, which is a spring festival, something like our Hallowe'en
in spirit, at which red or yellow powder is thrown around like confetti and colored water is used for water fights;
Diwali which is the "feast of lamps," when every city and village is ablaze with lights;
and Dashara, in October, at which time all Hindus pay their respects to the tools of their trade.
In India you will see more beggars with more pitiful faces and misshapen bodies than you have ever seen before.
If you give something to one a dozen others will crowd around you, especially at railroad stations. Many of them
are professional panhandlers. But there are also many holy men - or fakirs - among them; religious men who have
given up their homes and possessions to wander from place to place, living on the charity of the people.
Some wear orange-yellow robes. Others wear little clothing and smear their bodies with ashes. Most have matted
hair, often worn in a coil on top of the head. They may ask you for something. Whether or not you give them anything,
treat them with respect. They are holy to the people because they have devoted their lives to religion.
Wherever you go, people may crowd around you, especially where American soldiers have not been seen before.
The only way to shake the crowd is to go away fast. If you are in a jam, find a policeman. Don't try to fight
your way out. One of the worst things you can do in India is to lose your temper. If you keep your temper,
and remain good-natured, Indians who are courteous by nature will respond. But avoid even good-natured rough-housing.
You may accidentally injure an Indian and trouble would result. Furthermore don't ever touch an Indian's turban.
It is sacred. Even the most playful touch from you would be an insult. Address Indians with courtesy, never in
such abrupt manner as calling out, "Hey you." The word "bhai," or brother is always safe and will not give offense.
If you find yourself out alone and need something in a village, be sure to go to the headman of the village.
He will help you, and it is well to negotiate everything through him.
INDIA'S teeming millions live in an ancient country, rich in lore, with contrasting splendor and poverty,
and filled with sights you will never forget. In a country as large as all of Europe west of Russia, about
2,000 miles from east to west and from north to south. By train it is three days from Karachi on the west coast
to Calcutta on the east.
In India is the world's highest mountain peak, Mount Everest in the Himalayas, towering more than 5 miles.
Some of the wildest and least explored country on the globe is to be found in the north. There are the blazing
deserts of Sind and baluchistan, the flat moist tracks of Bengal, and the wheat fields of the Punjab and the
United Provinces. Jungles with strange beasts - some of which you have seen in zoos or circuses - the tiger,
elephant, bear, rhinoceros, jackal, hyena, wolf, and leopard. Many villages are protected from marauding
animals by stockades of tall, pointed sticks. In the hill districts of Assam, for instance, some tribes
are almost untouched by modern civilization.
India's civilization is ancient. Long before the time of Columbus, when Europe was peopled by primitive tribes,
Indians were building great masterpieces of architecture. Excavations reveal that populous cities were in existence
5,000 years ago. For centuries, India's gold and diamonds and precious stones have enabled native princes to
decorate themselves in glittering splendor unequaled anywhere.
The valley of the sacred Ganges, in eastern India, is the most densely populated part of the country and most of
the industry is there. Bengal province has 60 million people. Its capital, Calcutta, is the next largest city
in the British Empire, second only to London, and is India's first industrial center.
Eastern India, particularly Bengal and Assam which adjoins it, are militarily important because they are next
door to Burma where the Japs are now established. This area is one of the gateways to China.
Some distance up the Ganges from Calcutta is the holy city of Benares where thousands of pilgrims go each year
to bathe in the sacred waters. Further up is Agra, famous for the Taj Mahal. This exquisite structure,
made of white marble is one of the architectural wonders of the world. Thousands of tourists visit it every
year in peacetime. See it if you have the opportunity. Especially, see it by moonlight.
A short distance above Agra is Delhi, the capital city. It is an ancient community, one of the oldest in India,
with crumbling forts and palaces. In the old city wagons and throngs of people provide one of the most colorful
scenes in all of India. Five miles away is the modern city of New Delhi, built in the present century as the capital
of India. It is laid out on a spacious plan that reminds an American of Washington. Forty years ago it was a desert
The Indus river flows southwest through the province of Sind and into the sea near the important port of Karachi.
It has an enormous watershed but the western lands through which it flows are mainly barren deserts.
POLITICALLY, India is composed of two parts, the one called "British India" and the other, "the Indian States."
Both are subject to the authority of a Governor General, known as the Viceroy, appointed by the British
Government in London. He is assisted by a Council of 15 members whom he appoints. He and his Council have final
authority in India, but they are subject to the rule of the British Parliament back home.
In British India there is a central legislative assembly elected by the people which makes laws and votes on the
spending of the government's money, except appropriations for defense. The legislature has wide powers although
the Viceroy may veto its actions if he so wishes. British India has 11 provinces each of which has a governor
appointed by London. Also in each province there is a legislature elected by the people. The system is somewhat
like that of our own country where we have a Federal Government in Washington and a Government in each State
which deals with local affairs.
Each of the provinces of British India has roughly 25 districts, with a capital and a group of civil-service
officials to administer it. The head officer in any district is the magistrate. Usually an Indian, he is also
the liaison man for his district with the outside world. At district headquarters there is also a doctor and the
superintendent of police, plus other officials who deal with problems of agriculture, forestry, and public
health. If you want to get something from the Government, the place to go is district headquarters. It is
customary for army officers to call on the magistrate and the police chief when they arrive in a district.
In the Indian states, government is organized differently. These states are ruled by Indian princes who have
treaties with the British Government under which they have surrendered all control over their foreign affairs,
but have retained the right to run their own internal business. Some of the biggest states have small armies,
all the larger ones have at least police forces. There are 562 of these states, whose princes may have curious
names, such as the Jam Sahib of Nawanagar or the Wali of Swat. The largest is about the size of Kansas; one of
the smallest, Bilbari, has a total population of 27 and an area of 1¾ square miles. The Indian states,
scattered all over the country, all together make up about two-fifths of India.
In British India there are schools, hospitals, irrigation works and many other things which the country needs.
Many of the Indian States have the same sort of advantages and some are even more progressive. There are others
which have made almost no modern progress. The reason is that in the Indian States, the ruler is able to
do as he pleases, within limits. When he wishes, the state is well governed. When he spends the state's
money on luxuries and takes no interest in the welfare of his people, conditions are most appalling.
Many of the improvements in living conditions and in political development of the Indian people have come about
in the last 50 years. You may think there is a good deal more to be done. There is. At the same time, you
should realize that much has been done and that the problem in India has been partly one of how fast it is
possible to advance.
There is a great deal of feeling in India that the country should be entirely self-governing and no controlled
at all by the British Parliament. A number of Indian parties exist which are trying to get full self-government,
but they do not entirely agree with one another on the details of how this self-government should be organized.
The strongest party is the Indian National Congress, most of whose members are Hindu. Its chief leaders are
Mohandas Gandhi, called Mahatma, meaning "great soul" and Jawaharlal Nehru, both of whom are Hindus, and
Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, a Moslem, who is the president of the party. Most members of the Congress wear
round white caps shaped somewhat like an American soldier's service cap. The Congress wants the British
to give the government of India completely over to the Indian people.
The problem of Indian independence has been made difficult by the fact that in India politics are closely tied
to religion. Some of the religious groups mentioned earlier in the Guide distrust one another politically.
There are only about one-third as many Moslems as there are Hindus and they are afraid that a
controlled by the more numerous Hindus would mean that they would be neglected. They have their own party called
the Moslem League. Its president is Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Not all Moslems belong to this party any more than all
Hindus belong to the Congress, and many Moslems do not think that the fears of the Moslem League are justified.
The league has been demanding that India be divided into at least two separate nations. One nation would be part
of the country where the Hindus are in the majority. The other nation would be that where the Moslems are in the
majority. This plan is called Pakistan.
A third political group is that of the Sikhs. The Sikhs live in the Punjab where the Moslems are in the majority,
but they are afraid of the Moslems and have the same feeling toward them that the Moslems have toward the Hindus.
They do not want to live in a nation where the Mohammedans would be ruling.
The Hindu Untouchables, members of the lower castes, called the Depressed Classes, also have a party. They want
independence for India only if they are sure that they will have a better life than is now possible for them.
Another group consisting of middle and upper caste Hindus make up a party called the Hindu Mahasabha. This demands
that India would be ruled by the majority, meaning the Hindus, and is willing to fight for that principle.
It is different from the Congress because the Congress says that it does not stand for either the Hindus or
the Moslems but merely for all India, but the Hindu Mahasabha says that India belongs to the Hindus and that
they should rule it.
After the Cripps Mission in the spring of 1942 failed to reach a solution with the Indian parties to India's
bewildering political problems, Gandhi began preparations for a nation-wide campaign of civil disobedience and
non-cooperation. This weapon has been frequently used. Its principle is to avoid the use of violence but to refuse
to work, to refuse to obey Government orders, to paralyze the country by strikes in shops, stores, and
communications. When the campaign was attempted in the summer of 1942, the British authorities arrested Gandhi,
Nehru, Azad and other Congress Party leaders.
You can see how complicated all this matter is. The British say that they will give India full self-government
after the war but claim that they cannot do so now when the Indian parties disagree among themselves.
Many Indians, on the other hand, want full self-government now and believe if it is granted, their political
differences could be settled.
American soldiers should keep out of argument on this controversy with either British or Indians, no matter
where their sympathy lies. Americans are in India to fight the Axis. You should stick to that and not try to
settle the Indian political problem. What we want is to cooperate with both the British and Indians to beat
the Japanese. Your place is to keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut.
INDIA'S FIGHTING FORCES
THE Indian Army, now numbering well over 1,000,000 men, all of them volunteers, forms an important part of the
United Nations spear head against the Japanese in Asia. Indian units have made brilliant fighting records in
the fighting in Libya and other fronts. Because you will be fighting side by side with these splendid soldiers,
you may want to know something about the Indian Army and the men in it.
Evolution of the Indian Army.
The first Indians enlisted as troops by the British were recruited as guards for the East India Companies
factories (trading posts) in 1763.
The guard units increased greatly in size and by 1796 were organized into three armies - those of Bengal,
Bombay, and Madras - with a total strength of 57,000 Indian troops and 30,000 British. After 1857, the
British government took over control of India and the Army stood at 72,000 British and 153,000 Indian troops.
Basically, the Army's job, in addition to internal security, was to protect the northwest frontier from the
raids of the fierce tribesmen of Afghanistan.
India in the Last War.
When World War I broke out, the Indian Army consisted of about 235,000 troops, 67 percent Indian. Indian troops
fought in France, in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Palestine and at Gallipoli and Salonika. More than a million Indians
volunteered for military service during World War I and India's fighting forces suffered 120,000 casualties.
The Modern Indian Army.
Starting in 1921, the Indian Army was reorganized, with infantry troops divided into 19 regiments of roughly
five battalions each; the cavalry was divided into groups of three regiments each. Each infantry regiment had one
battalion set up whose sole job was to train new recruits.
Also at this time some Indian officers were granted the King's Commission and an Indian Military Academy to train
Indian officers only, was established at Dehra Dun. The Indian Air Force was established during this period.
In 1938 the Chatfield Committee, appointed by the British government to study this Indian Army and make
recommendations, proposed that as far as military operations are concerned, India's frontiers should be considered
extended to Egypt on one side and Burma on the other. An external defense force for operations in these areas
was organized. The committee also recommended that the whole of the cavalry be mechanized and the infantry,
and other arms, equipped with modern weapons.
At the beginning of the war, the Army of India consisted of 177,000 Indian troops and 43,000 British troops.
New volunteers are being taken in as fast as they can be equipped. Since the war, India has sent about 300,000
men to overseas fronts.
In December 1940, an Indian division defeated the Italians at Sidi Barrani and took more than 20,000 prisoners.
The same division, plus another one, smashed Italian resistance in East Africa. In April 1941, and heroic Indian
brigade, fresh from home, held a superior and heavier German force under General Rommel for 3 days, allowing
Tobruk's defenses to be manned. Besides Libya and East Africa, Indian troops took part in operations in
Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and bore the brunt of the fighting in Malaya and Burma.
KNOW YOUR ALLIES
IN today's Indian Army, there are three types of officers - European and Indian officers, who hold the King's
Commission and wear the rank insignia of the regular British Army. These officers command, or are second in command
of companies and higher formations. The third group are holders of Viceroy's Commission.
When addressing Viceroy's commissioned officers say "Subedar Sahib" or "Risaldar Sahib" as a matter of courtesy.
"Hey Buddy" is not the best way to approach either an officer or a noncomm.
INDIA AT WAR
IN addition to her fighting forces, India is making other large contributions to the cause of the United Nations.
Her factories are producing small arms, fuses, hand grenades, land mines and shell cases. She is manufacturing
millions of pieces of military clothing, boots, tents, parachutes and tropical helmets. So it is fair to say that
whatever political difficulties exist internally, India is backing the United Nations war effort to the best of
her ability. One thing to remember.
Indians want democracy to win. Some of the bitterest anti-totalitarians in the world are among the leaders
of the Indian Nationalist movement. But Indian politics have been bitter and complicated. Sometimes political
interests overshadow matters of national defense. That has been true in the other countries.
India is threatened as we are threatened. Your very presence in India may help draw all Indians together in
the common cause if you win their confidence and friendship. American democracy has been a source of inspiration
to many Indian leaders. Our ideals, our way of living, give them hope for the future. it is up to you to live up
to that idea they have of us.
You as a soldier and as an American, have it in your power to make this possible. Remember that ancient India
and young America are both fighting to make a free world.