British authorities were sensitive to the possible problems brought about by a large number of Indian troops, mostly Muslim, Hindu and Sikh, being in Christian countries a long way from their homes. There was anxiety that any rumours alleging attempts to convert Indian troops to Christianity could cause unrest both among the troops in England and France and the civilian population in India.
The prayer card shown here was found with a letter from an Indian soldier to a friend in India. The card had been given to the soldier by a lady who asked him to send it to his home in India. Captain Howell suggested that steps could be taken to prevent such material from falling into the hands of ‘well meaning but ignorant persons who might conceivably cause really serious trouble by their present ill timed efforts at making converts’.
Captain Howell also suggested the more sinister possibility of enemy agents using devout Christians to distribute such cards in the hope of making trouble.
- Article by:
- Matthew Shaw
- Life as a soldier
From organised religion to visions of angels on the battlefield, Curator Dr Matthew Shaw explores the profound impact of World War One on religion, belief and superstition for individuals and communities around the world.