Like the Home Front in Britain, people in the Punjab had to carry on despite the worsening conditions. In the early months of the war, newspapers reported cutbacks in government departments which included reducing railway employees wages and rising taxes to pay for the war.
Even worse, the price of grain began to rise as a result of poor harvests and over fears that the war would drag on. International trade was disrupted which meant hardship for local businesses as well as shortages of necessities like medicines.
There were fears of cholera outbreaks and, in 1918, there was an outbreak of plague in Rawalpindi, Punjab. At the end of the war, the most serious pandemic occurred when the Spanish Flu killed an estimated 16 million people.
The situation for women in India was not quite the same as for British women who took on men’s jobs and became bus drivers, plumbers and fire-fighters among other things. But in the many villages of the Punjab reliant on farming, women took on running the farms as well as looking after their families while the men were away at war.
Many women supported the war effort directly and collected relief parcels to send to the injured overseas. Medical students in Indian colleges treated the returning war-wounded and some wealthier, independent women volunteered to serve overseas as nurses, most famously Princess Sophia Duleep Singh.
As well as financing the army through taxes, the people of India made donations to buy ambulances and supplies for hospital ships. In late 1915, Punjabi newspapers reported that an aeroplane fund had been started to raise funds for the British air force.
Like people from all across the British Empire, Indians were encouraged to loan money to the British Government in the form of war bonds. The people of the Punjab alone contributed £700,000 (about £50 million in modern terms) by 1918.
The country also sent millions of tonnes of food and raw materials, such as rice, sugar, timber and steel, as well as equipment and uniforms. Estimates have placed the total value of this at an astronomical £600 million (£600,000,000).