Unnamed Subadar

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Unnamed Subadar
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Unnamed Subadar
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At the time of the story, 'subadar' was a rank roughly equivalent to captain, given to Indian nationals who led Indian troops as part of the British armed forces. The subadar in "Ad Astra" identifies himself as a "prince" in India, "my country" (408). Before the War, Bland saw him deliver a speech in Oxford, England, a time when the subadar himself says "I was a white man also for that moment" (409). In France he is attached to a battalion of Indian soldiers who serve the British military, probably by relaying British orders to them. He is well-educated, egalitarian, opposed to warfare and the authorities who insist upon it, and prepared to live as "an exile" afterward (427). On the evening of November 11, 1918, he seems to sum up Faulkner's story when he says: "What will any of us do? All this generation which fought in the war are dead tonight. But we do not yet know it" (421). Like the German prisoner, the subadar asserts "I too will not be baron" by declining to accept the responsibilities of his caste; he says: "I undid in one day what it took two thousand years to do. Is not that something?" (427). He insists to his companions of the evening that "this life is nothing" (417).

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