Jat ki kamai, kahan-kahan kis kam mein aati hai
Karen kheti hai zamindara, fauji kam hamaara
Aur jitney hain ahalkaar, yeh kam ainek kehti hain
This quote from an army recruitment propaganda pamphlet around World War I exemplifies the ethos of the average Indian sepoy. For him cultivation and soldiering were honourable professions and he was careful to distinguish himself from the menial followers in the army who performed the avowedly lowly tasks. The menial labourers were in reality a motley crowd comprising sweepers, latrine cleaners, porters, mule and ox-cart drivers, stretcher bearers etc. Radhika Singha in her book euphemistically refers to these diverse set of men performing in reality extremely valuable and fundamental tasks for the British Indian Army in the Mesopotamian war theatre and European war theatres during World War I. This brings us to the fundamental tenor of Singha’s book, a work which seamlessly traverses disciplinary boundaries and in the process challenges the Eurocentric approach to the study of World War I by lending a centrality to the Indian role, albeit that of the non-combatant.