Lance-Naik Qayyum Gul of the 40th Pathans is the other main character who animates this tale through the warp and weft of which runs Empire. Along with his friend and subordinate Kalam, he fights for the British in the Great War. At Ypres, he is saved by his friend but loses an eye in combat. He is nursed back to health in Brighton and returns to Peshawar.
The First World War is not normally remembered for its epic battles outside the tranches of Europe, as there was nothing Ypres-like about, say, 'Edwardian' Southeast Asia. We just don't associate it to be as globally engulfing as World War Two. Yet, it would a mistake to think that there were geographical limits to the range in which this first (only if one discounts the Seven Years War) recognisable 'world war' was fought.
What is there to love about a country that still glories in an empire that was an exercise in grand larceny, mass exploitation, human suffering, and cruelty? What is there to love about a country which still believes in bending the knee to that wretched institution, otherwise known as the monarchy, in the 21st Century?
Steve raises his voice, a bit of the old punk rage perhaps asserting itself again after all these years. "You had to work to go and see a band back in '77, had to get off your arse and go to a gig, and then go to a record store to purchase the product. There was a lot more work involved. Now it's just mindless consumption."
What we need in this dispute is a healthy dose of pragmatism. Ultimately, the modern dispute over sovereignty is focused on mineral rights - who can earn from oil and gas discovered in the vicinity of the islands.