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Book Reivew: Sikh Soldier - Policing The Empire


Jun 1, 2004
Book Reivew: Sikh Soldier - Policing the Empire
Review by: Graham Watkins B.Sc. (Hons)

This book is a stimulating investigation into a subject hitherto treated insufficiently. Narindar Singh Dhesi examines in successive chapters the Indian Army’s role in extending and securing the British Empire, especially the employment of Sikh Soldiers to be in the vanguard of military operations, and as the Sentinels of the Empire. In the style which caused his earlier books, Sikh Soldier: Battle Honours and Sikh Soldier: Gallantry Awards to become mainstays of Sikh martial history since their publication, Narindar Singh Dhesi again brings his orderly thoroughness to the evaluation of colonial warfare and policing of the distant outposts of the British Empire by the Sikh Soldier. Sikh Soldier: Policing the Empire, takes us from the fall of the Sikh Kingdom to the horrors of the Sepoy Mutiny, where the Sikh Soldiers fought to save the British in the principal centers of the revolt across India. In a long series of inconclusive skirmishes and major campaigns, the Sikh Soldier, went on to secure and police the most strategic frontier of the British Empire, the North West Frontier of India.

In the Foreword of this book, Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Baldev Singh Johl writes;

‘The British military success over Burma in 1826 and the annexation of the Ahom kingdom of Assam marked the entry of the British to the Northeastern region of India. The right of conquest brought these territories directly under the control of the British government. The steady annexation of Chinese territory by Europeans led to British occupation of Hong Kong and Shanghai. This led to extensive recruitment of Sikh soldiers for paramilitary forces of these territories. The same tale of recruitment and policing is told of the Straits Settlements, Especially the Sikhs of Singapore and Malaysia, who carry on the martial traditions of their forefathers in their respective countries. After the Indian Army’s conquest of East and Central Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and Somaliland, the Sikh soldier policed the forests and barren lands of these countries. Dhesi tells us that the Sikh soldiers were especially recruited to fight the slave hunters in Nyasaland and after defeating them went on to fight in the Ashanti war and in Somaliland. And finally, we see the Sikh soldier’s gallantry in the bloodletting of the two world wars’.
Narindar Singh Dhesi’s earlier books have been acclaimed as compendiums of information, vital components in the library of every Sikh household; these qualities are all present in this outstanding contribution to the Sikh soldier’ martial heritage.

Review by: Graham Watkins B.Sc. (Hons)

SIKH SOLDIER Policing the Empire

Product Code: 2176
Author: Narindar Dhesi
ISBN: 9781781519851
Format: SB 398 pp
Shipping Time: This item is usually dispatched Next Day
Our Price: £16.00
Available from: (The Naval &Military Press Ltd.)
By Narinder Singh Dhesi.

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