Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Calcutta R&R

May 13th, 2009 · 1 Comment

We’re swamped with Wired reporting duties for the remainder of the day, so today’s NtHWS Extras installment must once again be a visual quickie. The photo above depicts several African-American GIs enjoying rickshaw rides in Calcutta, the only Indian city with a nearby rest camp willing to accept black soldiers. White American officers, by contrast, were given a choice of a dozen vacation spots, including the famous ski slopes of Kashmir. Because Calcutta at that time was suffering through a terrible famine, many black GIs chose to forgo their R&R opportunities and keep working in the Indo-Burmese jungle. For some young men, cracking rocks on the Ledo Road apparently beat stepping over fetid corpses in Howrah.

(Image via the National Archives)


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One Comment so far ↓

  • Jordan

    This is actually one the big issues that makes me twitchy about traveling to countries like India. How does one respond to such vast and often abject levels of poverty? Doing nothing would make me feel callous. But doing something is often at best misdirected and at worst counterproductive.