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In India, advocates of martial race policy were able to shift profoundly and dramatically the recruiting base of the army to the populations of the north and north-west in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. And despite the political and strategic motivations of this shift, through the use of the language of scientific racism such people also played an important role in shaping the structure of racial discourse on the subcontinent. In Britain, the successes of martial race discourse and military intervention in popular culture were even more ambiguous. In the context of the late Victorian British Empire, Highlanders, Sikhs and Gurkhas were identified so strongly with the attributes and values of martialness that alternative constructions of their identities and realities all but disappeared from public discourse. They became the alter ego of British men - the colonised, simple, violence-prone imperial subjects who would fight Britain's battles without question.

Martial races

The Military, Race and Masculinity in British Imperial Culture, 1857–1914

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