The remembrance
THE WEEK|August 02 2020
The remembrance
A multimedia installation will spotlight the forgotten history of Indian soldiers in World War II
ANNU PALAKUNNATHU MATTHEW
A SOLDIER FELL into the ocean and was there so long that his nails fell off; a young groom left his wife of six weeks to fight in another continent; four prisoners of war escaped and were hidden by Italian villagers; a soldier came home to find his wife remarried. She thought he had died. These are some of the largely unremembered stories that I heard, of the 2.5 million Indians who fought in World War II, during my project to collect their stories and pictures.

The project started on the opening day of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in December 2018, when a friend, Yamini Nayar, read that I was exhibiting an installation on Indian soldiers and the Battle of Monte Cassino of the Italian campaign of World War II. She sent me a photograph of her grandfather, Lt Col Goal Chakraborty, posing casually in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in his army uniform. The striking photograph gave me a visceral connection to those 2.5 million Indians.

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August 02 2020