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16. From Loyalty to Dissent: Punjabis from the Great War to World War II

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the unique relationship between communities recruited from Punjab and the colonial state in British India between c.1914 and c.1947. It demonstrates the loyalty of enlisted groups, reciprocating decades of favourable treatment by the governments of Punjab and India. The chapter charts how Punjabi 'martial classes' responded to the withdrawal of these privileges during World War II, and to the dynamic political environment of the time: by transferring their loyalty from the British and their allies to sundry local dispensations. It is remarkable that so soon after the Ghadar, and with the extraordinarily strained circumstances of 1919, the 'disorders' did not snowball into a general anti-British movement across the province. A unique feature of Punjab politics until World War II was the circumscribed spread and limited authority of the two major 'national' parties. Politics in rural Punjab had been dominated and embodied by the Unionist Party until 1946.

Keywords:Ghadar; Punjabis; rural loyalty; World War II

10.1163/9789004211452_018
/content/books/b9789004211452_018
dcterms_subject,pub_keyword
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