Author Archives: The Field Marshal

Writing Drama from History

sepoys-avin-shah_DSC_6540Premila Trivedi uncovers a missing link in writing drama.

Suddenly I could see how I could write more authentically, since the workshop exposed me to feelings and emotions I might never have otherwise experienced and importantly located them in my body rather than confining them to my head.

 I’ve had a bit of a go at creative writing myself in the past, mainly snuggled under my duvet with my notebook or sat on a chair at my computer. But I never could have imagined how insightful and beneficial it could be to let go of my pen or keyboard, get off my backside, put conscious thinking to one side and allow myself to (maybe very indirectly) share something of the experiences and events my characters were going through

Was that what the workshops were meant to be about, to provide Avin with material that could be used in his play?



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Sepoys’ Letters

Who wrote them? Who read them?Ganesh Letter to Wife

How did they fool the censor? How did they write an intimate letter?

Some Thoughts On Scribes

Would the scribes have much time or would they have to see several soldiers one after the other?
Would the letter be read back to the soldier so he knew what had been written?
Would the soldier be able to “sign” the letter in any way?
Where were letters actually written – in trenches or behind lines?

Researcher Terhi Manuel-Garner explores the rich dynamics of the forgotten world of the illiterate sepoys and the scribes by stepping into their shoes.

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Challenging Assumptions

I came to the Subterranean Sepoys Project full of enthusiasm and very keen to learn about the Sub Sepoys Workshop OneIndian soldiers deployed on the Western Front in WW1.

I never thought this process would also involve me having to learn some painful truths about myself too, specifically re the need for me to broaden the lens through which I seem to see the world.

Researcher Premila Triveda uncovers the close familial bond between Indian sepoy and British officer.

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British Indian Army Officers

subterranean sepoys Indian army world war one

The British Indian Army Officer was like ‘ma and baap: father and mother,’ to the sepoys of his regiment. Even a 21 yr old Lieutenant was expected to lead without fear. There were only 12 white British officers in a battalion of around 800 men.

They spoke Hindustani (Urdu) and encouraged religious and cultural observance amongst the Indian sepoys, imperative for the ‘esprit de corps’. The regiment was their family.

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