Drawings of Hindu deities made by an Indian prisoner of war in the Halfmoon camp

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Description

These three drawings made by Ganga Ram Gurung in spring 1917 in the Halfmoon camp are preserved in one of the photo albums of Otto Stiehl at the Museum of European Cultures in Berlin. They depict various Hindu deities and were made for the Dugra (or Dassehra) festival celebrated by Hindus in the camp.

Context

The Halfmoon Camp at Wünsdorf, a so-called Sonderlager (special camp) was created for the internment of Muslim prisoners of war. While French colonial soldiers from North Africa were all Muslim, among the South Asian prisoners there were also Sikhs, Hindus, and even a small group of Christians. As part of a broader propaganda strategy, prisoners were allowed to practice their religions and celebrate religious festivals.