Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow:
[The] Indian government [has] announced an international competition to design a National War Memorial in New Delhi, to honour all of the Indian soldiers who served in the various wars and counterinsurgency campaigns from 1947 onwards. The terms of the competition also specified that the new structure would be built adjacent to the India Gate - a memorial to the Indian soldiers who died in the First World War. Between the old imperialist memorial and the proposed nationalist one, India’s contribution to the Second World War is airbrushed out of existence.
The Indian government’s conception of the war memorial was not merely absent-minded. Rather, it accurately reflected the fact that both academic history and popular memory have yet to come to terms with India’s Second World War, which continues to be seen as little more than mood music in the drama of India’s advance towards independence and partition in 1947. Further, the political trajectory of the postwar subcontinent has militated against popular remembrance of the war. With partition and the onset of the India-Pakistan rivalry, both of the new nations needed fresh stories for self-legitimisation rather than focusing on shared wartime experiences.
The Indian army recruited, trained and deployed some 2.5 million men, almost 90,000 of which were killed and many more injured. Even at the time, it was recognised as the largest volunteer force in the war. . . . India’s material and financial contribution to the war was equally significant. India emerged as a major military-industrial and logistical base for Allied operations in south-east Asia and the Middle East. This led the United States to take considerable interest in the country’s future and ensured that this was no longer the preserve of the British government.
However, the Second World War played a crucial role in both the independence and partition of India and wartime developments pointed in the direction of India’s independence. In a stunning reversal of its long-standing financial relationship with Britain, India finished the war as one of the largest creditors to the imperial power. Such extraordinary mobilization for war was achieved at a great human cost, with the Bengal famine the most extreme manifestation of widespread wartime deprivation. The costs on India’s home front must be counted in millions of lives. Indians signed up to serve on the war and home fronts for a variety of reasons. . . . [M]any were convinced that their contribution would open the doors to India’s freedom. . . . The political and social churn triggered by the war was evident in the massive waves of popular protest and unrest that washed over rural and urban India in the aftermath of the conflict. This turmoil was crucial in persuading the Attlee government to rid itself of the incubus of ruling India. . . .
Seventy years on, it is time that India engaged with the complex legacies of the Second World War. Bringing the war into the ambit of the new national memorial would be a fitting - if not overdue - recognition that this was India’s War.
The author suggests that a major reason why India has not so far acknowledged its role in the Second World War is that it:
By the term "mood music", the author intends to convey that the war set the stage for the Independence and partition of the country. He does not mean that the war was an allied effort and India's contribution to the war was merely supportive.
The author mentions that the political trajectory in both the countries has been against the popular remembrance of war. He states that the countries were focused on building a non-colonial identity and the war narrative did not fit in well in the picture.
Create a FREE account and get:
CAT Averages, Ratios & Proportions
CAT Logarithms, Surds & Indices
CAT Functions, Graphs & Statistics
CAT DI Data Change Over Period
CAT Tables With Missing Values
CAT LR Selections With Conditions