Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by the Rereeti Organisation

This learning resource captures the valuable contribution of Indians during the First World War. It challenges the Eurocentric narrative of war and victory by presenting diverse dimensions of war narratives through an Indian lens. 

Curriculum Links

  • KS4: History

Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge: about India’s contribution during WW1 and how India supported Britain during times of hardship.
  • Understanding: the impacts of this support on both Britain and India.
  • Skills: Interpreting historical sources. Forming a coherent argument based on historical sources.

Discussion Ideas

  • The massive export of food crops to Britain affected life in rural India
    • List all the ways that people were affected.
      • Was it fair of Britain to ask India to supply food in this way?
        • Give reasons for your answer.
  • What  are some of the challenges faced by Indian soldiers during war in foreign lands?
  • Do you think being awarded a medal does justice to the receiving soldier's contribution, or is it a merely a piece of metal? 
  • Do you think war memorials are a great way of keeping the memory of soldiers' sacrifices alive?
    • What are some of the other ways to remember their stories and struggles?
  • How can we commemorate the contribution of countless men in WW1 without glorifying war?
  • How might Britain’s refusal to honour their promise to grant Dominion to India in return for India’s support during the war have affected how Indian people viewed the British government?


  • On a world map locate some of the memorials dedicated to the Indian soldiers during WW1.
    • Why are these memorials located in these places?
  • Taking inspiration from the Victoria Cross award, design a medal to award a soldier. Keep in mind that each symbol should signify something that the medal stands for. You could use the interactive here. [Link to the medal interactive here]
  • Watch the White Pepper, Black Pepper video in the Supporting Links. following video
    • Reflect on how history could be re-lived and re- told

Essay Questions

  • "Britain could not have won the war without the contributions made by countries under British rule as part of the Empire".
    • How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer.
  • “The army was an equaliser for Indian people coming from different walks of life”.

    • How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer