Letter from Pay Havildar Shadma Khan to Gunner Hafis Nawat Khan
This is an excerpt from a letter written by an Indian soldier, Pay Havildar Shadma Khan of the 40th Pathans, while recovering from his wounds in the Kitchener Indian Hospital in Brighton. He was writing to Gunner Hafiz Nawat Khan, stationed in Hong Kong.
In his letter, Shadma Khan describes his injuries, and the treatment he was receiving in the hospital. The Kitchener Indian Hospital was one of three hospitals in Brighton for wounded Indian soldiers, the other two being the Royal Pavilion and York Place School.
Shadma Khan also comments on the high rate of casualties reported in the newspapers, and uses code to make his own observations on the progress of the war. The Indian soldiers were aware that their mail was censored, and looked for ways to communicate their experiences to friends and family. In his report for 5 June 1915, to which this excerpt was appended, the Censor of Indian Mail noted that the tendency to indulge in veiled metaphors, or secret writing, was on the increase.
- Article by:
- Santanu Das
- Race, empire and colonial troops
Dr Santanu Das reveals the role of the Indian sepoy in World War One and explores the fragments of historical sources that shed light on the experiences of the one million Indians who served.