This panel examines the profound impact of the Great War on the subcontinent and India's contribution. From the analysis of social relations, literature, memory, and politics, the panel offers research findings on how the Great War fits within the trajectory of India's history of the past century.
This panel offers new research perspectives in the subfield of war studies known as war and society, which looks at "war as a major determinant of social change." The focus of this panel is an examination of the impact of the Great War, especially in reference to experiences, to memory, and to identity. We will analyze how the war altered relationships between the colonial power and Indians, both the political and cultural elite, as well as 'ordinary' people, soldiers and civilians alike, and highlight the remarkable contribution Indians made to the war effort in Europe, the Middle East, and on the Indian subcontinent itself. The war changed India both with regard to the body politic and in terms of economic, social, political, and psychological relations. Political events and processes, namely the introduction of mass politics by Mohandas Gandhi after his return to India in January 1915, the Silk Letter Conspiracy of the same year and Muslim agitation over the threat to the Khilafah, the Lucknow Pact of 1916, and the historic Montagu Declaration of 1917 all had significant repercussions both on the colonial rulers and the ruled and proved to have long-lasting effects. Overall, the Great War set in motion the premises of Indian decolonization.