The Characters

Ganesh

Ganesh
is a loyal Havildar (Sergeant) of the British Indian Army.

He is a Hindu from a  village in Northern India.

When war breaks out in Europe in 1914, he is delighted at the opportunity to go to France to fight for Izzat (Honour) and Glory.

He is a translator, helping his British officer to censor the sepoys’ letters.

He encourages his men to write letters home which glorify the War.

Click to read one of Ganesh’s letters – “The French Culture”.

PLAY MP3: Ganesh writes to his sister whilst sheltering in his dugout


Lieutanant McSwineyLieutenant McSwiney
is an inexperienced British officer who arrives from England.

He finds the sepoys  still grieving the death in action of their much-loved commander, Captain Taylor.

Feeling inferior to his predecessor, he strives to improve  morale and recruitment.

He uses Ganesh to help him censor their mail, seeing their letters as windows into their souls.

He punishes any negativity but rewards those whose letters encourage others to enlist.

PLAY MP3: McSwiney & Ganesh censor sepoys’ mail


Ayub KhanAyub Khan
is a Muslim sapper, skilled in making bombs and digging tunnels.

He marvels at how the French treat him as an equal whilst, in India, he is treated as an outcast by Hindus.

He has become a war hero, recovering in a French hospital and idolised within the predominantly Hindu regiment.

He becomes angry and resentful when he is sent back to the Front Line.

 

Click here to read one of Ayub’s letters – “God has forsaken us”

PLAY MP3: Ayub Khan’s love of France and the French


RaichandRaichand
is Ganesh’s nephew, having followed him to War. He is excited by the promise of adventure.

True to his Hindu religion, he does not eat beef but he idolises the Muslim war hero, Ayub Khan.

A gifted scribe, he reads out and writes letters for Ayub Khan and the other illiterate sepoys.

Eager but naive, his loyalties are tests when Ayub’s thoughts turn to desertion.

Click here to read one of Raichand’s letters – “Stalemate”

PLAY MP3: Ayub teaches Raichand the Art of Sentry Duty


Cpt. EdwardsCaptain Edwards
is an Indian Army officer who has lived in India his entire career, fluent in Hindustani (Urdu).

He is almost a surrogate father to the men, respecting and promoting their religion and beliefs.

Following the death of Capt. Taylor, the sepoys’ morale is low. He hopes Lt. McSwiney can adapt quickly.

He feels he is able to think both like an Indian and an Englishman.

PLAY MP3: Capt. Edwards views on the mind of the sepoy


Corporal Pritchard
is a sniper. He is a Scottish working-class soldier in an all-white Indian Army battalion.scotland flag

He travels along the Front Line as a lonely sniper, trading contraband items on the black market.

He has lived in India, speaks fluent Hindustani and eats with the sepoys.

He misses Indian food.

PLAY MP3: Pritchard Eats with the Sepoys on the Front Line


GovindaGovinda
is a ‘spiv’ or black market trader.

He is not a soldier but a ‘follower’, taking on the multiple roles of cook, orderly, dogsbody and looter.

The Army turn a blind eye to his illegal activities because he also procures useful materials for the trenches or luxury items for the officers.

A crook, but a useful crook.

Play MP3: Govinda & Pritchard do a little business deal