Diya Gupta is a second-year PhD researcher in the Department of English at King's College London, working on discovering the Indian soldier's experience in the Second World War through letters, interviews, memoirs, and other life-writing material. Diya seeks to highlight how Indian soldiers understood and explained their own war experiences, and how such self-representation, in turn, engages with photographs, paintings and other forms of visual and material culture. Diya is also looking at the literary and intellectual responses to the Indian war experience. She is considering a selection of civilian literary works, as well as examining the complex political climate of the 1940s in both England and India, by studying the elite intellectual discourse of the time. Diya's writing on the Indian soldier in the Second World War has been published in The Telegraph (India) and the AHRC-funded literary journal The Still Point. She was an invited speaker on King's College London's radio show 'Footnotes' on the theme of conflict. She has also been a project researcher for the AHRC-funded BBC Monitoring Workshop on the Second World War, organised by the Imperial War Museums, and is working on a series of blog posts on archives and fragments for The Still Point.
Caroline Goffin discovered the history of Indian soldiers fighting on the Western Front via a play written by Dominic Rai in 1993. Due to the impact, this play made she worked with the Mán Melá Theatre Company (1994 to date) being involved with the dramatisation of “Across the Black Waters” by Mulk Raj Anand in 1998 and linked symposium at the Imperial War Museum, London for Remembrance weekend, combining literature and history. Her interest is in the way fiction, and the voices of individuals bring historical facts to life. SaltSarkar.co.uk.
Davinder Dhillon is a passionate campaigner for keeping the legacy of Indian soldiers who fought for freedom alive. He took over the stewardship of the annual Chattri Memorial Commemoration in Brighton in 2000 after the Royal British Legion could no longer sustain it. Davinder felt strongly that the contributions and sacrifices made by Indian soldiers, particularly in WW1 should never be forgotten and today's generation should be aware of their heritage. Since taking over the annual event, Davinder has single-handedly helped to keep the awareness of the Memorial Service in the public psyche with the number of attendees increasing from a handful to over 400. Further, the Memorial has now become a landmark that is profiled locally, nationally and internationally. It attracts visitors from all over the world. The success of the Memorial Service stems from Davinder getting his family, friends, and volunteers involved in organising it. True to his beliefs, Davinder feels that this serves to not only to underline the contribution made by the sons of undivided India but also honours their rightful place in British and world history. It is this heritage that can help in building cohesive communities in the UK and beyond.
Dr. Anirudh Deshpande
Anirudh Deshpande was appointed an Associate Professor at the University of Delhi in 2009. He graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University in History Honors with a first division and completed his post-graduate studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University with a doctorate in modern Indian history. A former UGC and ICHR Fellow, he was a Nehru Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, researching visual history in modern India (2001-2005). He taught history at the Motilal Nehru College (E), University of Delhi (2005-2009). Anirudh was the ICCR Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna (2014-2015) as well as a Visiting Fellow to the North Bengal University, Siliguri. He is an Associate Editor of the online academic journal inclusive.org published by the Kolkata Centre for Social Sciences.
Historian Dominiek Dendooven (Bruges, 1971) has been working as a researcher and curator for the award-winning In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres since 1998. He is associated researcher at the University of Antwerp and a guest lecturer at the University of Louvain. Dominiek Dendooven has published extensively on the First World War and his main fields of interest are the involvement of ethnic minorities in the conflict and individuals’ war experience.
Dr. Santanu Das
Educated in Calcutta and Cambridge, Santanu Das is Reader in English at King’s College London. He is the author of Touch and Intimacy in First World War Literature (Cambridge, 2006) and the editor of Race, Empire and First World War Writing (Cambridge, 2011) and the Cambridge Companion to First World War Poetry (2013). A visual sourcebook Indian Troops in Europe, 1914-1918 (Gallimard/Mapin) was published in 2014 while India, Empire, and the First World War: Words, Objects, and Images are forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2017. He has worked extensively with the BBC, including presenting a two-part series on 'India and the First World War' for Radio 4. He is currently directing a three-year collaborative research project 'Cultural Exchange in the Time of Global Crisis' (cegcproject.eu) and editing the Oxford Book of First World War Empire Writing.
Dr. Virginia Crompton
Dr. Virginia Crompton is CEO of Big Ideas Company, an innovative public engagement agency developing and delivering community participation projects. Current projects include the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Living Memory project which has funding from the government to support UK communities to discover explore and remember war graves in the UK. Big Ideas Company is also developing India Remembers, a significant new remembrance project with the Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research at United Service Institution of India and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Virginia is a former BBC Producer and had worked as the Executive Producer for the British Council's First World War Centenary. She has a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia and an MA from Cambridge.
Squadron Leader Rana TS Chhina
Squadron Leader Rana TS Chhina served in the Indian Air Force as a helicopter pilot. A Qualified Flying Instructor, he is a recipient of the prestigious Macgregor Medal for best military reconnaissance in 1986 and had the distinction of carrying out the highest landing in the world by a medium-lift class of helicopter, at the time. He is currently Secretary and Editor of the United Service Institution of India Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research and Vice President of the Indian Military Historical Society, UK. Squadron Leader, Chhina’s main field of interest is colonial Indian military history. He is a member of the joint USI-MEA Steering Committee responsible for coordinating national commemoration of India’s participation in the First World War in connection with the centenary of the conflict. He is also a member of the IAF Aerospace Museum Apex Steering Committee and the Government of India’s Archival Advisory Board.
Dr. Bruce Cherry
Bruce Cherry has enjoyed a varied career in both the public and private sectors, covering journalism, transport and tour operation, university lecturing and extensive overseas consultancy work on behalf of the British Council. He holds a Ph.D. in military history, but his interest in the Indian Army stems from his grandfather's 'North West Frontier' service in the 1920s. In between running a company specialising in delivering London's award-winning music heritage tours, he spends a great deal of his time researching, planning and leading battlefield tours.
Ashok Kumar Chauhan MBE
Ashok Kumar joined the Army worked with the British Army for around 40 years rising through the ranks from a Gunner Surveyor to Regimental Training Warrant Officer. In 1998, he was awarded the Adjutant General’s Commendations and the Goshen Medal, followed by an MBE in 1999. In 2007/8 while on Operation Herrick he was awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal and was NATO SNCO of the year. Ashok Kumar has worked all over the world and has also represented the Armed Forces in sports including boxing, squash, cricket, and hockey. His current role is as Operations Warrant Officer Civil Engagement in Headquarters Regional Command, which promotes the role of the Army in Britain’s ethnic communities. Ashok Kumar works tirelessly offering voluntary time and his expertise to local community projects.
Nicola Benge is a Creative Director of Strike a Light (Arts and Heritage) which is a sustainable non-profit community arts and heritage organisation based in Sussex. It focuses on involving people’s life stories and local memories to engage a wide range of groups and individuals in creative and heritage activities, encouraging engagement and outreach as well as involving memories and archive material; making art transform public and private spaces. The organisation also centers on capturing history and memories in creative ways through creative reminiscence, oral history, and exhibitions to bring together diverse communities. We regularly run reminiscence, creative and heritage activities, specifically older people and BME groups, as well as arts and heritage workshops with children and young people, and curate’s heritage and arts events with clients.
Janita Bagshawe has over thirty years’ experience in museums, much of it at the Royal Pavilion & Museums (a multi-site local authority service). Prior to becoming Director, she held a number of senior management positions with a range of responsibilities including learning, exhibitions, income generation, sponsorship, operations, and fundraising. Previous employment and experience included voluntary work and posts in museum education and teaching in Norfolk, Swindon, and Brighton. She is an MA rep for the South East, a Trustee of Culture 24 and is on the steering groups for Brighton and Hove’s Arts & Creative Industries Commission and Women Leaders in Museums Network.
Sir Hew Strachan, FRSE, Hon. D. Univ (Paisley)
Sir Hew Strachan, FRSE, Hon. D. Univ (Paisley) has been a Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews since 2015. He is a Life Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he taught from 1975 to 1992, before becoming Professor of Modern History at Glasgow University from 1992 to 2001. He was Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College 2002-15 (where he is now an Emeritus Fellow), and Director of the Oxford Programme on the Changing Character of War 2003-2012. He serves on the Strategic Advisory Panel of the Chief of the Defence Staff and on the UK Defence Academy Advisory Board, as well as being a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum, a Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner, and member of the national committees for the centenary of the First World War of the United Kingdom, Scotland and France. In 2010 he chaired a task force on the implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant for the Prime Minister. In 2011 he was the inaugural Humanitas Visiting Professor in War Studies at the University of Cambridge and became a specialist adviser to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy. He is a Brigadier in the Queen's Bodyguard for Scotland (Royal Company of Archers). In December 2012, Foreign Policy magazine included him in its list of top global thinkers for the year. He was knighted in the 2013 New Year’s Honours and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Tweeddale in 2014. His recent publications include The Politics of the British Army (1997); The First World War: To Arms (2001); The First World War: a New Illustrated History (2003); and The Direction of War (2013).
David Omissi - Senior Lecturer in Modern History at University of Hull
David Omissi is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Hull. He holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from King’s College, London. His recent publications include ‘The Indian Army in Europe, 1914–1918’ in E. Storm and A. Al Tuma (eds), Colonial Soldiers in Europe: ‘Aliens in Uniform’ in Wartime Societies (2016); and ‘A Dismal Story? Britain, the Gurkhas and the Partition of India, 1945–1948’ in A. Jeffreys and P. Rose (eds), The Indian Army, 1939–47: Experience and Development (2012). In 2014, his edited collection Indian Voices of the Great War: Soldiers’ Letters, 1914–1918 was reissued by Penguin Books India.
Amanda Scales is a Historian and teacher with a keen interest in military history and the role of Indian soldiers in the First World War. She has developed a learning programme based on the Royal Pavilions time as a military hospital for Indian soldiers which was aimed primarily at adult learners who face barriers to education. For the centenary commemorations of the First World War, Amanda initiated and works on the creation of Brighton and Hove's ‘Heritage Bus’, utilising images and illustrations which included the Royal Pavilion during its time as the hospital for injured soldiers. Thus for the four years of commemorations, there is a mobile picture gallery travelling all over the city raising awareness of the First World War and the Indian contribution. Amanda is further undertaking professional development with the Museum history and archaeology department where she is archiving the museum's medal collection.
Dr. Glyn Prysor
Glyn Prysor is Chief Historian at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Formerly an academic, his current role involves steering historical interpretation, research and communication projects for the CWGC. He has worked closely with the UK government on First World War commemorations and also represents CWGC in the media.
Dominic is a writer/director and founder of the Mán Melá Theatre Company. Commissioned work includes a drama about honour-based crimes for 43 police constabularies, two bilingual community health plays about diabetes and cancer awareness for NHS Derby City and librettist for the Ballad of Bethnal Green for the BBC Singers. Across the Black Waters (1940), by Mulk Raj Anand is at the heart of Salt of the Sarkar, bringing soldiers voices to life Hindu, Muslim, Sikh in The Great War. In 2014, his company acquired the rights and launched the WW1 Centenary edition of the novel and its four-year project Salt of the Sarkar at the House of Commons. A personal journey of discovery led him to produce Across the Black Waters for the stage at Hackney Empire in 1998. A new production of Across the Black Waters is planned for 2018-2019. SaltSarkar.co.uk
Dr. Gavin Rand
Gavin Rand lectures in History at the University of Greenwich, London. A cultural historian by training, Gavin works principally on the history of the imperial military in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is currently writing a book on the history of the Indian Army in the late nineteenth century and then intends to pursue a new project exploring decolonisation, violence and the legacies of empire.
Anna Frances Ravenscroft
Anna Ravenscroft is the Learning and Audience Advocate at Imperial War Museum. As part of the Transforming IWM London team that will be creating new Second World War Galleries (2020) and new Holocaust Galleries (2021), her role is about audience development, helping IWM to put audiences at the heart of everything it does. This includes advising about learning and audiences and creating a learning and activity programme to complement and create content for the Galleries. Her previous projects for the first phase of Transforming IWM London include innovative platforms to engage children and young people in the First World War and museum learning for which she won the 2015 M+H’s Educational Initiative Award.
Barry Renfrew is managing editor of Durbar, the journal of the Indian Military Historical Society. He is a foreign correspondent and military historian who has covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and southern Africa. His publications include Wings of Empire: The Forgotten Wars of the Royal Air Force 1919-1939 and Forgotten Regiments: Regular and Volunteer Units of the British Far East.
Jane Roemer is a Project Consultant with over twenty years’ senior management experience in the private sector, small enterprises, and not-for-profit businesses. She has a Masters Degree in Museum and Gallery Management from City University. London. She specialized in regenerating economic renewal through local communities and culture as a platform for growth. Jane currently represents the Voluntary and Community Sector as Board Lead for the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership. She was a Project Manager for an interfaith initiative, working with Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities, commemorating the first engagement of Indian troops in the First World War. This centenary event took place on 10th March 2015, on the centenary of the second Battle of Neuve Chapelle, at the Imperial War Museum in Salford. Working with the Golden Tours Foundation team they recently secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for our “Remembering Indian Soldiers in WW1: Sharing this Heritage with Hindus and other less well-known communities” project.
Tony McClenaghan’s keen interest in Indian military history has seen him as Secretary/Editor and now Secretary/Treasurer of the Indian Military Historical Society since the mid-1980s. He has published Indian Princely Medals (Delhi: Lancer, 1996), co-authored with the late Richard Head The Maharajas’ Paltans – a History of the Indian State Forces 1888-1948 (Delhi: USII/Manohar, January 2013) and contributed a chapter to The British Indian Army – Virtue and Necessity (Ed. Rob Johnson, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014) as well as articles in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, the Bulletin of the Military Historical Society, the Journal of the Orders and Medals Research Society and, of course, Durbar, the journal of the Indian Military Historical Society. In the last few years he has presented to conferences on the Indian contribution to the First World War in Delhi (2014), The High Commission for India in London (2014), Pondicherry (2015), and University of Fraser Valley, British Columbia (2015). His next book, being produced by Helion & Company Ltd (2018), will cover the contribution of the Indian Princely States to the First World War.
Mira Kaushik OBE
Akademi’s project ‘The Troth’ follows the story of soldier Lehena Singh and denotes his experience of WW1. It is based on the first Hindi short story ‘Usne Kaha Tha’ written in 1919. Even though I work in the creative sector, the factual and academic dialogue about WW1 at the symposium, constantly reminded me of the global human tragedy which marred civilisation for decades and has subsequently taken me closer to the narrative of our production. I look forward to working with many future collaborators and friends on this project, thank you for including me.
George Morton Jack
George Morton Jack studied history at Oxford University before writing his first book, "The Indian army on the western front" (Cambridge University Press, 2014). He is writing his next book, a general history of the Indian army in the First World War, for Little, Brown. George qualified as a barrister in 2010, and now practices planning, Parliamentary and environmental law as a solicitor for a national law firm."
Quote India and Brighton have a shared history, linked forever through the events of the First World War. The outbreak of war led to the Royal Pavilion being converted into a military hospital for Indian soldiers from 1914-1916. These events are now commemorated and remembered in Brighton by the Indian Gate, at the entrance to the Royal Pavilion, which was a gesture from the people of India to Brighton inhabitants in 1921, and through which thousands of people walk each year; the Chattri Memorial, built high on the Downs overlooking the city; and the newly unveiled Blue Plaque to Mir Dast, a patient at the Royal Pavilion Indian Military Hospital who was awarded the Victoria Cross here in 1915.
Brigadier (Retd) Clive Elderton CBE
Brigadier (Retd) Clive Elderton CBE was commissioned from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1973 and enjoyed a 38-year career in the British Army which took him all over the world. In 2005, he attended the National Defence College in Delhi as a student and from 2006 to 2009 served as the British Defence and Military Attache based in Delhi. During this time he was able to indulge his passion for Indian military history and travel. He is currently the Chairman of the Military Historical Society www.militaryhistoricalsociety.co.uk.
Kevin Bacon is the Royal Pavilion & Museums’ Digital Development Officer but has worked in a variety of roles since joining the organisation in 2003. As its former Curator of Photographs, he co-curated the Indian Military Hospital gallery in the Royal Pavilion, which opened in 2010. More recently, he led the development of a new audio tour for the Royal Pavilion focused on the story of the building’s use as a WW1 hospital, which launched in 2015.
Jasdeep Singh is the curator of the Indian Army collection at the National Army Museum. Jasdeep has worked extensively with the collection which spans 250 years having catalogued, digitised and disseminated the collection to various community projects and exhibitions. The Indian Army Collection at the National Army Museum consists of over 100,000 objects and charts the evolving relationship between Britain and India. This rich and largely unexplored collection boasts some fascinating photographs including the earliest known photography in India, a fine collection of art and prints featuring architecture and personalities of India as well as archives, uniforms, and equipment linked to regiments raised in India. In 2014 NAM received funding from the Esme Fairbairn Foundation to revisit parts of this collection and expanding on the cataloguing and digitised. In the coming months over 15,000 photographs and objects will be published on the online collection, many of these have never been seen by the public before. The NAM's Collection relating to the First World War is especially rich with rare objects and papers linked to the various theatres of The Great War and the men of the British Indian Army, and we are in a position to forge academic partners to further research this important collection. Prior to his work at the Museum, Jasdeep lectured at the University of West London teaching Indian classical music.
Paresh Solanki is a specialist on social innovation projects in conjunction with media technology. His work has won awards in diverse areas including television documentaries & features; events production; office design; community cohesion and talent development. He was a senior executive at the BBC where his credits include Executive Producer. Network television; Editor, Asian Programmes; Managing Editor, Network Television Factual Features and Chairman of the Board, BBC Relocation. After leaving the BBC, he worked with the Council of Europe as a Media Expert. He then became Assistant Director of the Inter Faith Network for the UK where he helped create the national Inter Faith Week. Paresh currently works on projects with various NGOs including the Golden Tours Foundation. He also does photographic assignments for various publications. Paresh was made Fellow of the Royal Television Society and a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Development. He is a Trustee of the Media Diversity Institute and the Sanford St Martin Trust Awards as well as a judge for the annual Faith through a Lens national photographic competition. He is a member of BAFTA, Royal Television Society, and British Psychological Society.
Kesh Morjaria, a former businessman, joined the Palan Foundation to oversee the 'Inspiring Young Minds' community project. This project reached out to millions across the UK and Europe, with the aim of understanding and recognising India's contribution to WW1. Mr. Morjaria was in charge of taking the WW1 Exhibition bus to various communities, schools and events all over the UK. His role was to educate students, academics, and members of the public on India's contribution to the First World War. He also initiated and managed a campaign on social media to raise further awareness and honour the fallen Indian soldiers.