Salt of the Sarkar

A New Image of the First World War

What We Do

Through the novel Across the Black Waters by Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004),
join us in exploring the story of a million soldiers from Undivided India
– who fought in World War One –

In 2020, Salt of the Sarkar is marking the 80th anniversary of the publication.
In light of the impact of  the COVID-19 pandemic, we are even more committed to
our work on the ebook of the novel and the new print edition. We will also be producing specially commissioned blog posts, a new short film, webinars, and a pilot online course.
Sign up here to receive updates about our new programs. 

Our Story

Read the story of our journey in the development of the Salt of the Sarkar project.

Across the Black Waters

Mulk Raj Anand, the son of a soldier, is the author of ‘Across the Black Waters’, one of the most powerful and perceptive war novels ever written. – Alastair Niven, Man Booker Prize Judge 1994 and 2014
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Salt of the Sarkar

Powerful Fiction – Historical Facts and Photos

The Meaning of “Salt of the Sarkar”

“Salt of the Sarkar” is a term used by the Indian soldiers in their letters home, and in the classic World War One novel Across the Black Waters by Mulk Raj Anand (1940). “Sarkar” means the ruling authority. “Eating the salt” refers to the oath that binds one to a political superior through obligations of protection and loyalty.

A key strand of our work is to broaden young people’s knowledge of the First World War and the contribution of Undivided Indian soldiers – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and others. Mulk Raj Anand’s novel and writing is also celebrated as a foundation stone of modern and post colonial writing.

Our Story In Photos

As we celebrate the 80th Anniversary of Across the Black Waters we showcase a few photos reflecting our progress over the years discovering and sharing the story of over a million Indian soldiers who fought in World War One.

The Salt of the Sarkar Blog

Across the Black Waters a must read for schools

Across the Black Waters a must read for schools

  Across the Black Waters  - a must read for schools This post was written by John Perkins Head of History at Guru Nanak Sikh Academy, Hayes, West London. He delivers the Edexcel course 'India the Road to Independence'. As part of the course he uses the novel,...

The Amazing Journey of Salt of the Sarkar

The Amazing Journey of Salt of the Sarkar

  The Amazing Journey of Salt of the Sarkar This post was written by Caroline Goffin. "There is much to be found that is relevant to encouraging respect, reconciliation and peace in our communities through the experiences of Empire soldiers one hundred years...

Shalimar Books – our publishers

Shalimar Books – our publishers

  Shalimar Books - our publishers This post was written by Chetan Kumria of Shalimar Books, publishers and distributors of Across the Black Waters, with an introduction by Caroline Goffin. Introduction We are excited to share with you the story of our partners,...

Get In Touch

Find out more about the work of Salt of the Sarkar and the 80th anniversary of the publication of  the first Edition of  Mulk Raj Anand's renowned novel Across the Black Waters