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‘One of the reasons that I am very fond of this movie is its ability to precisely describe the state of affairs in India under the Raj. The following scene depicts the years of the Great War (WWI), when the British recruited thousands of Indian soldiers to fight in Europe against the Axis powers.

Pertinent to note here is that the British had shifted all military recruitment from Bengal, Madras and Bombay to the Northern and Western regions of India (i.e. Punjab, Kashmir, Himachal, Baluchistan, NWF) after the 1857 War of Independence.

Despite countless services by Indians in the defense of Britain (e.g Khudadad Khan – Victoria Cross at the First Battle of Ypres – British equivalent to Nishan e Haider & Vir Chakra), the British would never allow Indians to join the Army as Officers.

Jinnah was one of the few Indian lawyers at the time who advocated equality for Indians who were laying down theirs lives for the Empire. Jinnah’s advocacy continued through out the period, as a member of the Indian National Congress Party.

The British responded by delaying matters until the war ended, and later in 1923 introduced the ‘Indianisation reforms’, which were supposed to create quotas for Indians applying as Officers to government services. This was of course just to be done on paper, as British officers and civil servants alike resented the idea of Indians being their superiors.

The Indianisation reforms did however initiate the process which was in 1938 to result in the formation of the Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehradun, and in 1948 as the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) at Kakul.

(Note: I believe this scene was shot in one of the halls of the King Edward Medical College, Lahore.)

Video Credits: Jamil Dehlavi & Akbar S. Ahmed



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