'Germany tried to exploit Muslim sentiments during World War I'

'Germany tried to exploit Muslim sentiments during World War I'

While Britain and its allies were busy waging a battle against the Axis powers during World War I, Germany was hatching a complex plan to weaken Britain’s standing in India and other countries by using the religious sentiments of Muslims.

This was revealed during the course of a discussion on the theme, ‘A World Undone: 100 years of World War’ at the Bangalore Literature Festival. German author Stephen Kopetsky, a panelist at the discussion, said: “Germany sent an expedition from Constantinople to Kabul with an agenda of bringing various tribes like the Pashtuns and start a war in the name of Islam. The idea was that Germany would act as the protector of Islam.”        

The expedition, according to Kopetsky, was one of many such expeditions around the world to start a ‘worldwide jehad’.

Vedica Kant, who has written a book on World War I from the Middle Eastern point of view, said that while the British were waging a war in different parts of the world,
 it was primarily Indian soldiers who were fighting the wars for them.

“The written records are very poor on the participation of Indians in the WW I. There are, however, a number of interesting records in the form of letters that were translated by the British officers and audio records where one can hear folk songs sung by these people a hundred years back,” she said.

As many as 1.5 million Indians participated in the World War I, with 70,000 to 75,000 of them losing their lives.

Elke Falat and Julia Tieke, curators of German exhibition on the World War I at Max Mueller Bhavan, ‘Digging Deep, Crossing Far’ - also talked about their experience in organising the exhibition.  

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