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1915 Diary

We’ve been in these trenches for just over a year now. 4 months of it was spent training in some hidden village area. I am honoured just to be apart of this moment in time. To fight for the cause of the British is wonderful, they are the most inspiring and enlightened race on the earth and the visit of the King into the hospitals last week was welcomed by all of us in the infantry. I hope we can make the King proud.

 

They have treated us well, we are equals with our English colleagues, in the barracks with them fighting against the evil Germans. When I made my first kill, all the nerves which had overwhelmed me in the first instance disappeared. Killing these enemies of the empire felt right. How dare they think they can oppose the British. We are here as lions fighting for the homeland pride of the great lion who has recruited us. Tomorrow we go further into France, I do not know the names of the lands which we are going further into, but I wish to make my country proud. I wish to make India proud of being part of the war effort.

 

Jabir was in the hospital recently, he unfortunately took a bullet to the back from a German rifle. I was not there when he got shot but the amount of war I am seeing means I cannot take everything into account. They may have told me straight away, but when you’re in the middle of it, your mind is focused, everything is a blur, you cannot register what is happening when you are facing the inevitable. Thankfully he is fine and he told me how they treated him well in the hospital, the Christians who came in to speak to the English were specifically told to not speak to us as we were to be respected. He even said that he was treated by an English woman. Their fair skin and calm demeanour is even more wonderful in real life compared to everything we are told back home. I understand why the English are so protective of them.

 

Jabir was in Brighton and he mentioned how everyone there holds hands, this is awkward. He was taken on a walk when he was able to move around again and the nurse who was helping him guided him around the area by holding his hand. This made me laugh. Look at us becoming cultured in this foreign land. We were warned when we first came over how we would not be accepted here but I recall two things… Jabir told me that when he walked around with this nurse, people stopped him to take pictures.

 

It was the first time they had seen Indians in the motherland and when they discovered he was a soldier fighting for their cause, they were even more in awe and secondly, the men we are here stationed with, they are interested in our ways the way we are with them. There is one man here, James his name is, he was very forward about us only referring to him by his first name, and he after asking us why we do not cut our hair asked us if he could learn how to tie a turban. Jabir and I happily showed him, I believe we are all doing our bit to build camaraderie as they say here. I wish to be home soon. I miss it. but I know the cause here is great and I am one of the honoured few to fight this cause. Tomorrow we go further into France