Mirrors of Violence: Inter-racial Sex, Colonial Anxieties and Disciplining the Body of the Indian Soldier During the First World War

  • Gajendra SinghEmail author
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


This chapter will explore the war letters of Indian soldiers during the First World War. It will argue that the letters that survive are simultaneously artefacts of colonial surveillance and soldiering polysemy—sites of alterity as soldiers became aware they were being surveilled. Soldiers’ letters reveal that the violences of military service in the colonial Indian Army were twinned and mirrored in the violences soldiers began to perform upon their own bodies. The inter-racial sexual encounter both threatened imperial hierarchies and enflamed markers of ethnicity and religion for soldiers trapped in the trenches of France. It led to extraordinary efforts to police and prevent its occurrence first by the Indian Army and then by its soldiers alone.


Sexual Encounter Andaman Island European Woman British Library Assistant Surgeon 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of ExeterExterUK

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