Historian searches for Indian World War II prisoner. Twitter on alert
You probably have read about India’s role in the Second World War when the country was still in the shackles of the British Empire. But our school textbooks were not elaborate enough to cover the intricate details of war history or how thousands of Indian soldiers were made prisoners by the enemy camp.
Most of us only know about the politics of war and the role of leaders in tackling the crisis. Very few lines mention the problems at a grass root level. But there are historians who are working hard to provide people with a clear picture of the people whom history doesn’t remember.
Dr. Ghee Bowman took to Twitter to share a post of enquiry about an interesting figure he found while sifting through the dark historical accounts of World War II in India. Before we dive into the elaborate search initiated by Dr. Bowman, let us tell you a bit about the kind of historiography Dr. Bowman practices and how it made him stumble across the forgotten character from the dusty pages of documents from the British Empire.
Dr. Bowman’s research is based on primary sources that include diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, memos, photographs. He came across a person named Jai Lal who was taken as a prisoner of war during the Second World War.
“Indian twitter - Can you help? I’m trying to trace an Indian Army Prisoner of war from the Second World War. He may be in the photo below. His name was Jai Lal, he was born around 1922 in Madina village, Godhana Tehsil, Rohtak, about 90 kms west of Delhi, in #Haryana,” he wrote.
Adding some more information, he said, “Taken prisoner at El Alamein in June 42, he had an extraordinary career as a POW, with escapes in Italy & France. He was awarded the Indian Order of Merit for his work in starting and running a #frenchresistance group in the Haute-Saone department.”
Attaching a rare photo, Bowman also shared that the man was in the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, attached to the 18th Indian Infantry Brigade.
Netizens were highly intrigued by the post. The historian got prompt responses as well. While some pointed out how the man in question could be traced with some more information, others were simply intrigued at the unraveling of history in front of them.