A unique event marking the centenary of a rare postcard written in the Great War by Kishan Devi to her father, Sepoy Sewa Singh, was held at the Pictorem Gallery in Walthamstow, London on 25th January. This postcard is possibly the only surviving example of its kind.
The card is postmarked 7 February 1916, and is written in reply to a letter home from Sepoy Singh, who was serving with Empire troops in the Sinai and Palestine campaign against the Ottoman Turks.
Kishan Devi, who was from a Panjabi background, had recently learned to read and write.
The postcard’s owner, Avtar Singh Bahra, spoke at the event and the contents were read in English translation and in Panjabi by the actor Pia Khan.
Dominic Rai, the organiser of the event, shared about the four-year project, Salt of the Sarkar, which tells the story of over a million soldiers from Undivided India who fought for Britain in the 1914-18 War.
Last year Shalimar Books, in association with Salt of the Sarkar, published a World War One centenary edition of Across the Black Waters, a classic novel by the great Indian writer Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004) the father figure of modern Indian literature in English.
The novel follows the progress of the sepoys from their arrival by ship at Marseilles in September 1914 to the bloodstained wastes of the Western Front during the first winter of the War.
The project was launched in October 2014 in the House of Commons at a Commemorative Event chaired by Labour MP John McDonnell.
Details of Across the Black Waters can be found here