Challenge: Write something (prose or poetry; fiction, nonfiction, or essay) about teamwork. It can deal with a child or an adult; it can be set in school, the business world, the military, or whatever else you can come up with. The teamwork can result in something wonderful happening, or in a major disaster.
My grandfather was serving in the British Indian army prior to the country getting independence. He was never tired of telling stories about how the British Indian army came to be formed. The British people came to India primarily as traders, in the early eighteenth century. They formed the East India Company, with offices in Calcutta and Madras. At that time, the French had also established colonies in a few pockets to carry out trade. They had befriended the local kings and with the help of their armies, they attacked the British East India Company,
In 1743 a young Englishman named Robert Clive, joined the East India Company in Madras as a clerk and book keeper. He saw the need for the company to raise an army to defend itself against the attacks by the French. He volunteered to undergo military service and lead a small contingent of British soldiers. These soldiers were not enough to quell the attacks. So he decided to raise a contingent of Indian soldiers. He faced a real problem in implementing this decision.
The local Indians were illiterate and could not speak or understand English. They were not familiar with army discipline and teamwork, although they were skillful individually, in wielding the sword and archery. Clive invented an ingenious method in training them into a disciplined force of the army. He ordered some grasses to be tied on the left leg of each person and a few leaves on the other. Then he altered the left-right command into the local language equivalent of grass and leaves. Whenever the command “grass” was given the men had to forward the leg on which grass was tied. Similarly, when the command “leaves” was given, the leg with the grass tied had to be put forward. In this way the men were taught to march together in a formation. In a similar way, the other commands used in the army, were altered to a command in the local language which the men understood.
Within a few months the Indian army was trained to fight, alongside the European counterpart. Clive led the combined army and attacked the kings, who had earlier supported the French and defeated them. They were forced to sign a treaty and cede large territories to the British company. Thus was born the British Indian army, whose deeds of valor during the world wars, was recognized by the British rulers