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Jennifer Rosenberg

Mustard Gas Tested on Indian Soldiers

By September 4, 2007

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According to recently discovered documents at the British National Archives in London, British scientists tested the effects of mustard gas on Indian soldiers for over a ten-year period. Beginning in the early 1930s, scientists at Rawalpindi sent Indian soldiers, wearing only shorts and cotton shirts, into gas chambers to experience the effects of mustard gas. The scientists hoped to determine the appropriate dosage to use on battlefields. Many of the subjects suffered severe burns from their exposure to the gas. No long term effects of exposure were documented or studied.


September 7, 2007 at 1:20 am
(1) Tim says:

This is in keeping with the racist thinking of the time. No wonder there were accusations of the British ruling class being sympathetic to the Nazi ideology of racial superiority.

September 7, 2007 at 4:55 am
(2) jack Dunster says:

This isn’t ‘new’ news. Mustard and other war gasses were tested by all combatants of both the First and Second World War. Indeed in Canada there is documented evidence of this testing. The question that would arise is whether these Indian soldiers were volunteers, or were volunteered. Testing of war gasses is however, not a racist issue.

September 7, 2007 at 7:41 am
(3) maj gen aps chauhan says:

India provided the largest volunteer army in the world to those who commandeered the subcontinent and ruled it as a colony.That Indian soldiers were involved in these experiments in England is not surprising therefore and clearly a colonialist discrimination if not racialism .There was very thin line between the two perceptions.

May 28, 2012 at 11:36 am
(4) Graham Olive says:

Well it needed to be tested so it was just like we invented the gas mask because we studied the effects and nature of the gas ,giving all soldiers from Britain and her empire safety

June 20, 2012 at 6:53 am
(5) Glenn2601 says:

At Major Chaun…. The tests were carried out in Rawalpildi in India, please read the article before commenting.

August 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm
(6) Richard Ellicott says:

No you cannot defend this it is a mistake, even in the 30s

it’s not representative of the governments we want to create and thank god it we could not get away with such conduct now.

However to say this is racist or think of this problem as uniquely British is incorrect, this is simply what a government will do when you tell them “we want the most effective weapons” and you do not put any moral boundaries on them.

@Graham Olive no actually they didn’t need to test mustard gas in the 30′s are you mad? It had been around for like over 15 years, the effects where well know and further the weapon had been banned. Also the indians where supposed to be part of the British empire and by this time us (the british) had a lot of respect for them, you should NEVER treat your soldiers like this, it’s worse than experimenting on the enemy which is bad enough in itself

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