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I saw this picture which was shared by my Indian friend online for 75th Indian Independence Day:

India Gate - New Delhi Freedom Fighters

95,300 names of freedom fighters are inscribed at India Gate, New Delhi

A list of religion and caste

  1. Muslims - 61,935
  2. Sikh - 8,050
  3. Hindus (Backwards) - 14,480
  4. Hindus (Dalits) - 10,777
  5. Hindus (Higher caste) - 598
  6. Hindus (Sanghi from RSS) - nil - 0000

Note: Senior journalist Jeswanth Singh says Indian freedom struggle history is written by "Muslims blood"

Were more Muslims killed taking part in the Indian independence movement (1857–1947) than any other religion/caste in British India?

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    There does not appear to be a notable claim and a list of names on a war memorial does not appear making any sort of claim about the makeup of the freedom fighters.
    – Joe W
    Aug 15 at 13:45
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    @JoeW: ?? A quick search reveals it is a popular meme, with multiple variants. The war memorial may not be making such a claim, but the meme is making several.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 15 at 13:59
  • @Oddthinking It may be a popular meme but we should require more then posting it on the site with a comment saying that it is something that the poster has seen.
    – Joe W
    Aug 15 at 15:05
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    @JoeW: "If you suspect that a claim is not notable, you should perform a minimum amount of research before acting. Performing a quick google search using search terms taken from the question is a good idea. If you don't find any evidence of notability that way, you should comment on the question and vote to close or flag as inappropriate. [...]" -Source
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 15 at 15:21
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    @JoeW: Because there will always be newbies, and we want to be welcoming while they learn.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 16 at 1:30

1 Answer 1

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This meme has been around in several forms for many years.

The Bangalore Mirror "busted" it in 2019.

At a recent political rally, AIMIM chief and MP from Hyderabad, Asaduddin Owaisi claimed that New Delhi's India Gate has the names of over 95,000 freedom fighters inscribed on it and 65% of those are of Muslims. This has been shared across social media platforms.

[...] The claim is false.

They explain that the inscriptions are not of "freedom fighters" (i.e. those who fought for India's independence - see below), but soldiers who fought in World War I.

Newschecker.in reached a similar conclusion in 2022:

According to the investigation conducted by Newschecker, the India Gate does not commemorate India Freedom Fighters but rather has the names of Indian and British soldiers that died in World War I fighting for the British Army.

Commenters have questioned what "freedom fighter" might mean.

In India, where the meme was shared, freedom fighter refers to those who fought against the British colonial rule, rather than with the British as Allied Forces in World War I.

In 1972, India legally recognised freedom fighters for a special pension. The Pension Scheme documentation explicitly lists a number of movements and mutinies (see Annexure 1) that qualify. No World War I battles are listed.

In 2022, Deccan Herald listed 11 freedom fighters. Each one "spearheaded an uprising against the British" or "helped the tribesmen stand united against the British" or "rose to the position of leader of guerilla troops opposing the British authorities" or similar. None fought with the British in World War I.

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  • "Factcheckers" are notoriously unreliable propaganda outlets, a source far removed from facts or real sources, and not ever a good source/reference to begin with, especially not in any skeptical sense. If words like "bust", "debunk" appear, the proper heuristic is: the source is per se category Garbage. // That said, for example en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_Gate gives also a quite different number of names? (enWP says 13000names inscribed, other WPs repeat ~90000?) Aug 16 at 10:07
  • @LangLаngС: If you don't like fact-checkers, wait till you hear what we do here! I disagree with your heuristic; mine is almost the opposite. The second site cited is a better quality article in that in includes references to where they got their information about the number of names, so you don't need to simply trust the newspaper's journalism.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 16 at 10:46
  • Dodging issues via rhetoric, like 'fact-checkers'? Yea, plenty of evidence found for amping the echo chambers. This is x-hand material, doesn't explain the number of names inscribed (which seem to differ all around). Evidence for misleading rhetoric: claim says 'were Muslim', FC says 'no distinction made', well: claim isn't about distinction, but affiliation, so: is there a diff between those people listed? No answer anywhere. Claim says 'Freedom', UK-history says~: WWI was about freedom. WW1 also part of decolonialisation. Who interprets 'India's independence' (antiGB)? Thread says: U & OP. Aug 16 at 11:26
  • Meh, I suppose this is more likely a (semantics) dispute about what counts as a "freedom fighter" in India. It is trivial to check on Wikipedia that the India Gate is a WWI memorial, so not much need for other fact checkers. OTOH if you look at the map provided there, they have added a memorial to the 1971 war roughly part of the same complex (but it's not literally India Gate.)
    – Fizz
    Aug 16 at 11:29
  • I maintain that this claim is unlikely to be made up out of thin air. Show the connections or kernels of truth and weigh the arguments used, to expose the propaganda (which I do expect the claim to be), but don't fall for the rather primitive looking counter propaganda, which you cite uncritically. @Fizz That I expect as well: WW1 as important stepping stone in declonialisation is a well established narrative in most history textbooks. A simple 'false' thus unwarranted. Aug 16 at 11:30

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