Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Indian Army Reborn

During the long period of the British Raj, both before and after the Sepoy Rebellion, officers developed a very intimate knowledge and relationship to the subcontinent. They learned obscure languages, they conducted historical researches, they learned the ground. That was the Indian Army that Kipling knew, where many officers had as deep a textural relationship with the Bhagavad Gita as they did with the Aeneid.

That was then, in the new Kiplingesque wars of central Asia officers and noncoms need the same relationship with the ground, locals, anthropology that Kipling's officers would recognize and admire. Here is an article in Harper's that could have been published a century ago about some expedition to Kabul except for the references to computers. satellites and AFVs.

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