• 20 Jul, 2024

Indians in the Armed Forces in the Diaspora: Disinterested or Denied Recruitment and Promotion?

Indians in the Armed Forces in the Diaspora: Disinterested or Denied Recruitment and Promotion?

Indians in the Armed Forces in the Diaspora: Disinterested or Denied Recruitment and Promotion? INVITATION TO OUR 124st weekly ICC ZOOM PUBLIC MEETING

The Gurkhas are fearless soldiers from Nepal and parts of Northeast India.  Admiring the Gurkhas’ military abilities and honourable tactics, the British Army first recruited them in 1815.     Since then, Gurkhas have served with distinction throughout the world, earning an incredible 13 Victoria Crosses for acts of extreme valour, along with countless other medals.     Former Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw stated: "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha."     https://www.gwt.org.uk/about-the-gurkhas/gurkhas/  

Also from the Indian subcontinent are sepoys - native/Indian soldiers or sipahi, originally a large, powerful and mainly Brahmin-and-Kshatriya high-caste Hindu fighting force. They were

trained and employed by the British East India Company (BEIC) from 1757 to 1857, and then by the British Indian Army from 1858 to 1947. In 1857, there were 257,000 sepoys (88 percent of the BEIC’s army) compared to a mere 34,000 European soldiers in all of India, which then included Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma). As a result of the 1857 Sepoy Rebellion and/or the First War of Independence in India, many ex-soldiers left India during indentureship (ending in 1917) out of fear of reprisals from the British army. To escape, they changed their names and downgraded their caste identity to that of labourers. Anthropologist Dr. Kumar Mahabir (2021)  estimates that at least 20,000 Indian ex-soldiers secretly migrated to the West Indies. This figure is based on the 70,000 sepoys who actively fought against the British, the 10,000 veterans proposed to be expatriated to Trinidad, the 30,000 recommended to be exiled to British Guiana, and the mere 3,000 deported to the Andaman Islands.   

Coming from such a long and sustained military tradition, why is it today that Indians comprise such small numbers in the police, army, navy and coastguard in countries such as Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname, where they constitute the majority population? Are they not interested in joining the armed forces? Or do they not receive fair and equal treatment in the recruitment and promotion process? Are the armed forces in the Indian Diaspora like those of the USA, where it was found recently that racism or discrimination against Blacks and Coloureds is deep-rooted and festers stubbornly, despite repeated efforts to eradicate them? These are some of the questions that will be addressed in our ICC ZOOM discussions this Sunday.   

Please join us THIS SUNDAY for the 124rd weekly ICC ZOOM Public Meeting, October 16, 2022 at (1.00 p.m. Belize), (3.00 p.m. New York/Eastern time), (3.00 p.m. Trinidad/Atlantic time), (3.00 p.m. Guyana), (4.00 p.m. Suriname), (8.00 p.m. England), (9.00 p.m. South Africa), (Sun 12 midnight, India, ND), (Mon 7.00 a.m. Fiji).   


Indians in the Armed Forces in the Diaspora:

Disinterested or Denied Recruitment and Promotion?


NARENDH GANESH (South Africa) - Durban community activist and relentless human rights campaigner. Chair of the local Civic Association. Global Indian Series (GIS) correspondent.

PROFESSOR VIJAY NAIDU (Fiji) - Professor and Director of Development Studies at the University of the South Pacific. Wrote on ethnicity, human security and military coups in Fiji. 

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BOB MANGAL (Suriname) - Chief of General Staff, Ministry of Defence. Graduate of China Army Commanding College, and in Brazilian Jungle Fighting.

PROFESSOR JOAN MARS (USA/Guyana) - Attorney and Associate Professor at the University of Michigan-Flint. Author of Deadly Force, Colonialism, and the Rule of Law: Police Violence in Guyana.

PROFESSOR GEORGE DANNS (USA/Guyana) - Professor of Sociology at the University of North Georgia. Author of Domination and Power in Guyana: A Study of the Police in a Third World Context.

Followed by Q&A   

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