During World War II, Indians were under the colonial rule of the Britishers as a result of which the latter recruited Indians too for their army to go fight against the Axis powers. India had no liberty to choose their stand in this case and hence the recruited ones were merely at the mercy of the imperialists.
Conditions at the war were indeed horrifying, as they had to lake long voyages to the West. Surprisingly, sacrificing themselves on the battlefield seems to have been the least of their problems back then.
Those recruited from India were often made the subjects of various experiments for the Allies’ side to help them at war. In most cases they weren’t even informed about what was to come – just pushed into chambers where they came across their agonizingly painful fate.
In recent times, certain documents have been discovered from the National Archives, which shed light on some fatal experiments that had been conducted during that time. These experiments were about injuring or disabling these soldiers to extreme limits.
The Mustard Gas Experiment
Both World Wars had witnessed the use of lethal gases like mustard gas which would cause the enemy to be murdered by the masses. However, before using them on the battlefield, these had to be tested in order to determine their efficacy and the exact amounts required to wreak havoc.
The scientists from a chemical warfare establishment named Porton Down were appointed for this purpose. The experiments were conducted in Rawalpindi which is currently a part of Pakistan. This firm had been asked to develop a poisonous gas for use against the Japanese.
They had begun their human testing program on a large scale from more than 10 years before the war had even started, and they continued throughout the period of the war as well. The program included more than 20,000 British soldiers, compared to which the Indians used for the same were quite a minority.
There were innumerable complaints from the subjects regarding them having been duped to take the tests which had ruined their health for a lifetime and even for their next generations.
The Guardian in their articles mentioned – “Alan Carr, a lawyer representing British troops tested at Porton, said: I would be astonished if these Indian subjects gave any meaningful consent to taking part in these tests, particularly as they were conducted during the days of the Empire. No one would have agreed … if they knew beforehand what was going to happen.”
Here is a short video that traces the entire journey of mustard gas in the World Wars:
After-Effects Of The Experiments
It has now come to attention that mustard gas has carcinogens which cause cancer and other diseases. Thus, the experiments were not only forced upon the subjects but also conducted with a heightened light of irresponsibility.
It is true that the reports from the archives don’t mention the duration for which these people were exposed to the gases.
However, those who had to participate in it were hardly ever kept a track of once the experiment was over, leaving plenty to succumb to their injuries. Only a few who were in an extremely critical situation were sent to hospitals thereafter.
There were instances where the masks slipped off as a result of which the subject faced serious burns and injuries. A lot of their genitals got burnt too in the process, leading to irreparable damages. There was no help rendered to these people by the government to compensate for the services they had provided.
There is still a bit of confusion regarding the era when the mustard gas experiments had been conducted on the Indians. While most reports indicate that it was during World War II, the British seemed to have claimed that these experiments were from a different time and had an absolutely different purpose.
Whatever be the truth, there is no doubt that many had been forced to sacrifice themselves for a cause which they probably weren’t even aware of, let alone believe them. It’s indeed evident, such are the atrocities of what the warmongers call – ‘collateral damage in a war’.
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This Post Is Tagged Under: Rawalpindi, World War-II, mustard gas, collateral damage, poisonous gases, warfare, Allied Powers, Axis Powers, Colonial rulers, imperialist, Britishers, Alan Carr, The Guardian, carcinogens, serious burn marks, duped, fatal experiments, National Archives, Porton Down