Small Business Software and Tools

Small Business Software and Tools

Starting a business is always difficult, and trying to start one in the middle of an economic crisis be even harder. To add to the problem, many small businesses are unaware of the internet’s power when it comes to free business advice. So we’ve compiled a list of simple small business software applications and tools to help small business managers setup and grow their businesses for little or no cost.

Zoho CRM – This customer relationship management software allows small businesses to track inventory, sales, customer databases as well as offering customer support combined with sales data. It even syncs calendar, contact and e-mail information with Microsoft Outlook.

Dropbox – This program is essentially a virtual hard drive that can sync to your computer when new files are added. The first two gigabytes are free making suitable for any small business.

Mozy – A cloud computing service that backs up your data.

Portable Apps – This download fits easily onto a flash memory drive and contains popular programs such as Open Office and audio-editing program Audacity. No matter what computer you’re working on, you can be sure to have the tools you need to get the job done.

oDesk – This program finds remote employees all over the world. Search for a particular job that needs to be done and you’ll find an employee to do it.

Google Docs – Create and edit documents that are kept safe on remote servers, no software necessary. You can allow others to access and edit your files as well, allowing employees all over the world to work on a project, such as a spreadsheet.

MailChimp – Free mass email client, but you have to pay after the first six emails per month.

Fulfillment by Amazon – This system allows you to own your business’s inventory but have it stored in a warehouse owned by

Skype – An online utility popular with thousands of small businesses allowing video conferencing for free to other Skype users. The system also offers VoIP international calls for rates cheaper than most major telcos on traditional telephone lines.

Northwest Centre – This centre gives disabled adults a place to work by handling outsourced inventory and packaging work for other businesses.

Benchmark Your Wealth – Ever wondered how your personal fortune stacks up against the rest of the population? This free calculator has been developed by Melbourne-based wealth planner Doug Turek, who started his Wealth Benchmarks site as a research project. The quick check tool is free and you can enter your details anonymously, or you can register for regular updates (also free).

Business Finance Affordability Calculator – If you’re looking for a loan to start or grow your business, it’s nice to know if you’ve got any chance before you walk into the business banking manager’s office. Most banks have finance affordability calculators that allow you get a quick idea about whether you are likely to get your loan, based on some basic business information.

Loan Repayment Calculator – Nearly every Australian is keen to enter the property market, but with such tight lending restrictions and high prices it isn’t an affordable endeavour. Input the loan amount, the interest rate and the length of the loan to determine your weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments and see if you’re ready to enter the market.

Guide to writing a business plan – Business plans can come in all shapes and sizes – from a one-page summary through to a detailed War and Peace-style manuscript. To get an idea of how to set out a thorough but useable business plan, check out this guide from the  ANZ Bank. There’s a fictional example to guide you through as well as some tips on where to get the information you need to develop a good plan.

Business Set-up & Growth Calculator – Preparing a business for growth is a daunting task, and one that is only achievable when you have a complete understanding of how your business is run at any given moment. This calculator from Infochoice provides a detailed analysis of set up expenses including advertising, marketing and technology costs, as well as monthly product/service revenue and monthly running expenses.

Customer Acquisition Calculator – Here is a tool to help businesses determine the cost of each customer obtained online. Judged against the amount of money spent by each online customer, businesses can determine how much these customers are contributing and whether their online strategy needs to change.

ATO’s Rates Calculators & Tools  – Engaging with the tax office can be a daunting affair, but there is enough information on the ATO’s official site to make tax time a touch easier. The site provides information and rates for PAYG withholding tax, income tax, excise rates and fuel tax credits. There are also calculators available for employment termination payments, capital gains tax, fringe benefits tax, fuel tax credits, GST, income tax, PAYG withholding, prepayments and superannuation.

Additionally, the site also provides calculators for ABN entitlement decisions, an employee/contractor decision tool for the construction industry and a link for information on how to obtain the tax withheld calculator on CD.

Financial Plan Template – This spreadsheet from the Commonwealth Bank allows users to calculate set-up costs, along with a profit and loss forecaster. This break-even analysis tool provides a cashflow forecast and a balance sheet. While it may seem cumbersome to fill out – the budget details even stationery costs – this Excel spreadsheet is as comprehensive as a free online tool gets and can even be saved to your computer for offline use.

Sales Target Calculator – Targets are crucial for any business developing a sales strategy, but taking the next step in the budget process can often be difficult – especially for online businesses. But another calculator from Panalysis allows businesses to determine how many visitors a website needs in order to meet those targets. Online retail can change dramatically from day-to-day, so regular updates will be crucial for developing a detailed sales budget.

Break Even Calculator – Breaking even is an important milestone for a business, but unfortunately one that many start-ups don’t even reach. This tool from ANZ allows businesses to determine whether they are breaking even, along with detailed analysis of business drivers including sales volumes, average cost of production and the average sale price. It also calculates the number of units that must be sold in order to: cover start-up costs, cover fixed costs in an established business and achieve a certain profit level.

Industry Analyser – Maintaining your own business is all well and good, but how do you stack up against others in your sector? This calculator, based on information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, will give a snapshot of a typical business in any industry given a particular financial year. Based on annual turnover, the calculator can give information such as the industry average for gross profit margin, quick assets ratio, debt to income ratio and sales per employee.

Retail Markup Markdown Calculator – Determining how much to charge for merchandise can be a difficult task, particularly when considering how much your business stands to lose. This calculator allows businesses to see how much they stand to lose, or gain, when setting a retail price for merchandise. Simple, but fundamental for any retail business.

Search Engine Ranking Tool – Search engine optimisation is becoming more crucial as the use of the internet grows on mobile devices such as smartphones. This survey from SEOmoz of SEO experts delivers a range of information on what prominence websites should place on specific SEO techniques, such as the top five ranking factors for websites and the “effectiveness of link building tactics”. If you’re looking to improve your presence on the web, this information should be your first stop.

Free Web Monitoring – If your website provides a substantial amount of your sales, then having it crash for several hours without warning is an entrepreneur’s worst nightmare. Thankfully, a service has been set up that will allow webmasters and site owners to be made aware of their site’s status whenever they like. This service allows free updates of a site’s availability, 24 hours a day for seven days a week. It includes website testing every hour, a weekly statistics report, email alerts, false alarm protection and accounting for multiple URLs within one account.

Keyword Spy – As more websites become dependent on search engine optimisation for traffic, the use of “keywords” will become more prominent in developing a new website. It’s hard to know where to begin, which is where becomes useful. This service obtains data about various keywords and how much they can help your site, along with information on competitors’ sites and what keywords they are using. The service also provides “profitable keyword and ad copy combinations”, and information on how much a particular site is spending on Adwords.

Google Insights for Search Tool – Building up a website is all well and good, but knowing how customers look for and find your site will only help you improve your traffic. Using Google Insights for Search Tool allows entrepreneurs to compare volume patterns across geographic regions, categories, time frames and other details. For example, users can see how popular certain search terms become during different times of the year, which can allow companies to determine when and where to spend their advertising budgets – particularly for online businesses.

SEO Pro – While keywords and good amounts of content on a site are important for determining your site’s prominence on the web, the number of links to your site is just as important. There are a variety of free back-link tools on the internet, but many are unreliable and some even contain malware ready to infect your computer. This free tool documents the number of links to your site – the higher the number of links, the more likely your site is to appear higher on a search engine ranking.

Website Grader – Knowing how to optimise your website for search engine results will only go so far until you can see how you stack up against everybody else. This tool asks users to submit a URL for their websites, along with the URLs of competing websites in their field. The subsequent report features information on how your website ranks in comparison to others, your Google front page ranking and advice for your page title, meta description and meta keywords. It also provides information on whether your page has too many images, how optimised your internal pages are, the “readability level” of your site and how healthy your presence is in the “social mediasphere”. – There are hundreds of currency convertors out there, but Oanda offers a tool that allows you to check what the local currency was worth on a past date – very useful when you are trying to compare price movements from foreign suppliers, or check how the value of your export sales have changed over a set period. There’s also a nice function that lets you print out a foreign exchange “cheat sheet” to take on overseas trips and helps you make sure you’re not getting ripped off.

Here are 10 of the best and most popular open-source programs to get you started.

Here are 10 of the best and most popular open-source programs to get you started.

1. Mozilla Thunderbird – This email product is produced by the same gang behind web browser Firefox. It works in the same manner as Microsoft Outlook, gathering a number of different email accounts in the same application. But with a number of different add-ons and extensions, Thunderbird can be customised as much as an individual or business wants.

Equivalent – Microsoft Outlook Express $94 – $180

2. GIMP – Top visual editing programs like Adobe InDesign and Photoshop cost a pretty penny, but this open-source alternative can do nearly everything.

Equivalent – Adobe Photoshop $149 – $1489

3. GNUCash – This accounting program implements a double-entry bookkeeping system. The program features small business accounting facilities and even portfolio management. Similar to Quicken.

Equivalent – Quicken Quickbooks $28 – $1178

4. OpenOffice – Similar to the Microsoft Office suite, it includes programs for word processing, spreadsheet development, PowerPoint production and database management. Supports “.doc” programs, the default, and most popular, file type used in Microsoft Word.

Equivalent – Microsoft Office Suite $368

5. Picasa – Developed by Google, this photo-editing software also organises a computer’s photos into a single library, making it easy to locate lost files. Users can also create web albums and make edits similar to Adobe Photoshop.

Equivalent – Adobe Light Room $158 – $478

6. WordPress – This blogging application is partly responsible for launching the blog phenomenon across the web, making it easy for anyone to create a blog online and update it frequently.

7. Joomla – This is one of the better content management systems online, but has the added benefit of a large user community, constantly solving problems and adding improvements.

8. OSCommerce – This commerce and online store-management program that, while basic, provides most of what an online business would need to get going. Sets up features such as PayPal, etc.

9. LimeSurvey – An online survey application that allows users with little coding knowledge to create, develop, publish and collect responses to surveys.

10. PhpBB – A forum package software application that allows the easy creation of forums for a website. Like most popular open-source packages, the script has a community of developers constantly fixing bugs and improving features.

Assange has lung trouble: Ecuador

Assange has lung trouble: Ecuador

Date  November 29, 2012 – 3:15 PM

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up at Ecuador’s London embassy for five months, has a lung condition that could get worse, the South American country’s envoy to Britain says.

“He has a chronic lung condition that could worsen at any time,” Ambassador Ana Alban told reporters ahead of an annual gathering of Ecuador’s diplomatic corps with President Rafael Correa in Quito.

In an interview with CNN from Ecuador’s embassy in London, the 41-year-old Australian refused to offer details about his condition, saying only: “I don’t think it’s important.” He did not appear ill on camera.

Alban said Ecuador was “covering his medical expenses” and arranging “regular medical check-ups,” noting that Assange has been living “in a confined space” since seeking asylum 162 days ago to avoid extradition to Sweden on charges of rape and sexual assault.


She did not give further details on his health.

A spokesman for WikiLeaks in London, Kristinn Hrafnsson, declined comment on Assange’s health when contacted by AFP.

WikiLeaks enraged Washington in 2010 by leaking hundreds of thousands of classified US documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and embarrassing diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world.

Assange was arrested that same year in London but eventually released on bail.

He denies the allegations of rape and sexual assault and claims that if he is extradited to Sweden, he could be passed on to the US and prosecuted, facing a long prison term or even the death sentence.

Ecuador granted Assange asylum on August 16, but Britain has refused to grant him safe passage out of the country — leaving the two governments in diplomatic deadlock and Assange stuck inside the embassy.

Assange said in an interview published on September 30 that his health was “slowly deteriorating” in the embassy, adding that he had “a racking cough.”

Last month, Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said he had requested a meeting with his British counterpart William Hague to discuss Assange’s health, claiming he was losing weight and suffering vision problems.

Former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who is representing Assange, said earlier this month in Brazil that he was concerned about his client’s condition.


Read more:

Islamic History

“….ISLAM actually had a very advanced civilisation hundreds of years before the western world caught up from about the 1600s.
Islam had universities, a diplomatic corp, cryptography, astronomy, chemistry, soap, and medicine: at a time when most of Europe was illiterate and living in poverty or serfdom….”

Wikipedia really does provide correct unbiased history of Muslims.


TabCloud – Only Novice stay with IE

CLICK HERE to get Downloadable FireFox and/or Extension


TabCloud is a browser tab and session manager which allows you save groups of open tabs to access later or on another device.


  • Name and save any open window.
  • Uses favicons to easily recognise websites.
  • Access your saved tabs anywhere with Android (iPhone support coming soon).
  • Quickly reorganise your tabs by dragging and dropping (Currently Chrome only).
  • Securely hosted by Google, login with your Google Account.

About this Add-on

Like TabCloud? Flattr it

Tab Cloud allows you to save any window session and restore it at a later date or on another computer. Effectively allowing you to sync open tabs between multiple computers.

To use you simply click the TabCloud icon on the menu, you will then see your current open windows and previously saved windows, you can save open windows, or restore saved ones. You can also delete previously saved windows.

TabCloud uses Google Accounts for login and Google App Engine to store data you save on an external server, all information is encrypted when being sent to and from the server using SSL. Cookies for external sites or for will need to be enabled for this extension to work.

Support site
Chrome extension
Android app

Bring on warm and fuzzy taxes

Bring on warm and fuzzy taxes

November 25, 2012
German Chancellor Angela Merkel ... wants to put more Greek and Spanish youth on the dole.German Chancellor Angela Merkel … wants to put more Greek and Spanish youth on the dole. Photo: Reuters

We face a surplus curse. The desire to be in surplus is doing and will do nothing for the health of our economy.

Only to those who worship at the altar of neo-liberalism does it make any sense. OK, our economy is not that of Greece or Spain, where austerity is devastating. Half the youth of those countries are unemployed – and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, want to put yet more Greek and Spanish youth on the dole. (There was never any chance that Greece and Germany could survive in the same monetary union. To believe otherwise was just French and German neo-liberal arrogance.)

However, in Australia we are light years away from such problems, if not the neo-liberal arrogance. Nonetheless, here we are having our own dose of austerity – or at least some of us; that is, the poor and disadvantaged.

But let’s accept that the Australian Treasurer, Wayne Swan, is determined to maintain his surplus, even if it is only because he will be upset if he doesn’t and loses political face.


So, what should he cut to get us into surplus? What services can the nation most readily forgo? Why not cut the private spending of the better-off?

Not so long ago, Swan was sounding off at mining billionaires Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest and Clive Palmer, and I think quite rightly, too. But where has that gone? Was it just rhetoric?

Nowhere is the issue of raising taxes to get into surplus mentioned.

Now this is odd. Surplus is about bringing in more than goes out. You don’t need even economics 101 to understand that. What Swan and his supporters (and most of his detractors) seem to look at is only the outgoings side of the equation: what public services to cut. How one-eyed can one get?

Let’s look at the input side. Now, we are a low-taxed nation. That needs to be said again and again because too few Australians realise or acknowledge it.

Our public sector as a proportion of gross domestic product is small in comparison with those of, for example, the Scandinavians. The Danes’ national tax burden is nearly 50 per cent, while ours is less than 31 per cent.

There are so many things private individuals and families cannot do or struggle to do. Many of these are in the ”warm and fuzzy” category, such as being proud of our country (instead of being ashamed of our policy on refugees); such as providing opportunities for a good education for all (instead of watching the value of education fall further and being measured in something other than some principle of developing a good, caring and critically informed citizenry); such as knowing everyone has access to good-quality healthcare when they need it (instead of seeing Medicare being eroded); and such as celebrating Aboriginal Australia (instead of indulging in the racism and apathy that currently exist).

Some of these tax-loaded issues do have tangible outcomes, but if we are to achieve them, there needs to be a recognition that they are driven primarily by warm and fuzzy sentiments that come under the broad heading of compassion.

Taxation cannot buy compassion, but it allows it to develop. An economic surplus seems to make sense to the Treasurer. For many economists such as myself, it is a mistake, in economic terms, to aim for a surplus at this time. But if we are to have a surplus, let’s not cut services but raise taxes and foster social compassion.

Taxes are good for all of us. They not only allow us to be socially compassionate, they encourage us to be involved as citizens, to think through how we want our tax money used and to take part in public debate about what sort of society we want to be.

Warm and fuzzy? Unashamedly so. Why not push back the tide of materialist consumerism that seems to be enveloping us and rethink society’s values? It might mean forsaking a new barbecue or delaying a new car or rethinking a holiday. Worth it? I think so, but let’s at least put it on the agenda.

The ”deficit” in thinking about such values is present in an Australia that is obsessed with private consumption and in a Treasurer transfixed by the notion of an economic surplus.

But if we are lumbered with this surplus fixation, let’s at least think about resolving it not by cutting services to the disadvantaged, but by raising taxes for the advantaged and, at the same time, build a more decent and compassionate Australia.

Gavin Mooney is an honorary professor at the University of Sydney.

Read more:

Malala research

Sadly Mullah or Wahhabi Mullah has created TALIBAN and OSAMA types and Mullah knows UNEDUCATED will “always support” Taliban and their TERROR in name of “their religion”. Like Lal Mosque FRAUD Islamist terrorist brothers. Take Zia ul Haq – He started reduction in WAPDA investment and CLEVER Army Generals KNOW uneducated Mullah supporters DO NOT want ELECTRICITY or new ROADS. Just make Pakistan like Afghanistan and MULLAH will be happy.

To tell Pakistanis Osama and Taliban are bad is not difficult only problem is NEWSPAPERS and RADIO and TV FEAR bombs from Taliban more than bullets from Army or USA. So SEE yourself in Pakistan everyone SUPPORTS Taliban !!!

So what happens next ? EXPLODING population does not hear about people like me BUT PLENTY of “Islam” of WAHHABI no GIRL education. Here is my answer to Malala is FRAUD theory :: Pashtoon Taliban ONLY do NOT allow Girl education. Malala is PASHTOON and wanted and was getting OPENLY WORLDLY education !! Plus SHE was PROTESTING by MAKING BBC video of her EDUCATION PLIGHT created by SWAT MULLAH. Pakistani Mullah ? Oh he is SO FRIGHTENED of bullet or bomb himself that Pak Mullah says Taliban are ANGRY so they BOMB Muslim Pakistanis !!!

Here is 10 minute research saying Malala is GOOD or BAD GIRL !!! Lets wrap Malala into USA hate.

“….Malala was born on July 12, 1997 in Mingora in the Swat valley. She has two younger brothers. Her father, who ran a number of schools in the region, is an education activist.

Malala grew up as the Taliban, which had gained a stranglehold in the Swat region, terrorised the people issuing regressive dictats, among them that women must not be given an education. Zaiuddin defiantly continued to teach girls at his schools and young Malala learnt at her father’s knee. She shot to fame in 2009 when she wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC detailing a life of fear and oppression, often bewildered at schools being shut and even destroyed, sometime fearful and always strongly critical of the Taliban. Her identity began to get known even as she blogged and the New York Times later featured her in documentaries as did other publications…”

At just 15, Malala Yousafzai could earn a Nobel Prize

Thousands gather across the world to mark ‘Malala Day’ in tribute to brave schoolgirl shot by Taliban gunman

On Tuesday night, I spoke to Professor Samina Yasmeen from the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Muslim States and Societies to find out more about the situation in Pakistan. She explained the context of Malala’s pro-education campaign, and discussed the impact of her shooting.

The best friend of Taliban shooting victim Malala Yousafzai has said she is praying for her school friend and is calling for more education for girls in Pakistan.

Kainat Riaz, 16, who was shot in the arm when the gunmen attacked her and Malala as they were returning home from school last month, told ITV: ‘I miss Malala. I am praying for Malala.’

Islamist leader lends voice to Malala conspiracy theories

Schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai could be victim of government plot, Labour peer claimed

Malala Yousafzai’s recovery ‘miraculous’  KAFIR QATARI aljazeera lies while BOMBING TALIBAN are honest.

“…In early 2009, at the age of 11/12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls.[11] The following summer, a New York Times documentary[4] was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat.[12] Yousafzai began to rise in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television[13] and taking a position as chairperson of the District Child Assembly Swat.[14] She has since been nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu[15] and has won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize[5]. A number of prominent individuals, including the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, are supporting a petition to nominate Yousafzai for the Nobel Peace Prize.[16]………….

Islamic New Year – Ashurra, Muharram

Islamic New Year 1434 –
15th November 2012
Today marks the start of a new year in the Islamic Calendar of Hijrah.
The first month of this year, Muharram, it is a time when many significant events took place for Muslims. As such the month provides the vision, inspiration and an opportunity for solemn reflection and renewal of spirits. This is a solemn time to commemorate the immense sacrifice and contribution of those who dedicated their lives in the service of the Creator.The sacred month of Muharram is filled with many significant events, particularly the 10th of Muharram which is commonly known as Ashura.

Ashura is however commemorated for the tragic massacre at Karbala, in Iraq in 61 A.H. of Imam Husain, his family and supporters. They sacrificed their lives in order to uphold the Prophet’s message of truth, freedom and justice.

“Their message is important today as Muslims suffer violence, civil war and retribution: be that Bahrain, Syria, Pakistan or Burma. Moreover, while Israel escalates war in the Middle East by attacking Gazans in the last few days, the prospects for peace is further and further away.”

“While we mark the months of Muharram, let us use the opportunity to forge greater unity amongst British Muslims of whatever persuasion: finding common cause and greater strength to seek the common good of all people, regardless of faith or creed.”




North Africa – (opposition is Italian and German)
Italy – (opposition is German)
Burma – (opposition is Japanese Army)
65% of all regiments serving in North Africa, Italy and Burma were Muslim.
(Ian Sumner, Indian Army 1914 – 1947. Osprey Publishing 2001)

Second World War begins

On 1 September 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, two days later Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany. The Second World War had begun.

At the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe, Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy of India addressed the people of Hindustan,‘…we find ourselves at war with Germany today’.  His unilateral decision raised a storm of protest, particularly from members of the Indian Congress party.

The Indian political response was as follows:

Mahatama Gandhi
The Hindu leader of the Indian National Congress Party (India’s largest political organisation), expressed his sympathies, but was unimpressed by Britain’s request for military support especially as India was still under colonial rule. It is also worth noting he
was a pacifist. Irrespective of Gandhi’s stance, approx 900,000 Hindus volunteered for military service.

Sir Sikander Hayat Khan (The family of Hayat Khan originated from Attock, Pakistan)
The Muslim Chief Minister of the Punjab Unionist Party was unanimous in his support for Britain. On 25 August 1939, Sikander announced, ‘The manpower and resources of the Punjab will be unhesitatingly placed at the disposal of Great Britain and her allies for the sacred cause of justice and freedom.’ Sikander is described as a moderate politician with ultra British tendencies, many of his contemporaries viewed him as a British subordinate.

Mohammad Jinnah
The founder of Pakistan and leader of the Muslim League was not convinced by Gandhi’s acts of civil disobedience and believed that the only way to secure an independent state for India’s Muslim minority was to support Britain.

Winston Churchill
In a letter addressed to US President Franklin Roosevelt, dated 4 March 1942, Winston Churchill wrote, ‘We must not on any account break with the Moslems, who represent a hundred million people, and the main army elements on which we must rely for the immediate fighting’.

Over a period of 5 years the British Indian Army expanded its intake from 189,000 to 2,500,000. By the end of hostilities it was the largest volunteer army ever recorded.

Approximate numbers by ethnicity, 1939 – 1945

Gurkhas: 110,000
Hindus: 900,000
Sikhs: 150,000

Major Muslim recruitment areas in descending order:
Mahatama Gandhi
The Hindu leader of the Indian National Congress Party (India’s largest political organisation), expressed his sympathies, but was unimpressed by Britain’s request for military support especially as India was still under colonial rule. It is also worth noting he
was a pacifist. Irrespective of Gandhi’s stance, approx 900,000 Hindus volunteered for military service.

Sir Sikander Hayat Khan (The family of Hayat Khan originated from Attock, Pakistan)
The Muslim Chief Minister of the Punjab Unionist Party was unanimous in his support for Britain. On 25 August 1939, Sikander announced, ‘The manpower and resources of the Punjab will be unhesitatingly placed at the disposal of Great Britain and her allies for the sacred cause of justice and freedom.’ Sikander is described as a moderate politician with ultra British tendencies, many of his contemporaries viewed him as a British subordinate.

Mohammad Jinnah
The founder of Pakistan and leader of the Muslim League was not convinced by Gandhi’s acts of civil disobedience and believed that the only way to secure an independent state for India’s Muslim minority was to support Britain.

Winston Churchill
In a letter addressed to US President Franklin Roosevelt, dated 4 March 1942, Winston Churchill wrote, ‘We must not on any account break with the Moslems, who represent a hundred million people, and the main army elements on which we must rely for the immediate fighting’.

Over a period of 5 years the British Indian Army expanded its intake from 189,000 to 2,500,000. By the end of hostilities it was the largest volunteer army ever recorded.

Approximate numbers by ethnicity, 1939 – 1945

Gurkhas: 110,000
Hindus: 900,000
Sikhs: 150,000

Major Muslim recruitment areas in descending order:

Rawalpindi, Pakistan – largest British garrison in British India
Jhelum, Pakistan
Attock, Pakistan
Abbottobad, Pakistan
Kohat, Pakistan
Mardan, Pakistan
Peshawar, Pakistan
Rohtak, India
Mirpur, Pakistan

Main Muslim martial traditions

Awans – Native to Punjab and Frontier Province (Pakistan)
Jats – Native to Punjab and Kashmir (India and Pakistan)
Rajputs – Native to Punjab (Pakistani)
Pashtuns – Native to Frontier Province (Pakistan)

The Battle for France

Four mule companies (approx 1400 men) from the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, known as Force K6, joined the British Expeditionary Force in France in December 1939. These men played a commendable role in the battle around Dunkirk, one Indian company was captured while the other three were evacuated back to Britain when the Germans unleashed a ferocious offensive in May 1940.  The majority of the men serving in mule companies were of Muslim orientation and natives of north-west Punjab, Pakistan.
One British officer states:
‘… during the chaos…’ they ‘…. maintained the discipline, turn-out and self respect which many around them lost, greatly enhancing the reputation of the Indian Army.’

The North & East African Campaign 1940 – 1943

In Aug 1939, a month before the outbreak of war, the 5th and 11th Indian brigades were dispatched to Egypt to safeguard the strategically important Suez Canal from an Italian attack. The 7th Indian infantry brigade arrived in 1940. The three brigades would form the nucleus of the 4th Indian Division. On 8 June Mussolini declared war on Britain and the Italians advanced cautiously on British and Indian positions in Egypt. Between Aug 1939 and May 1943, five Indian divisions (approx 100,000 men) were involved in the fighting. The Italians sustained heavy casualties and Hitler, mindful of the rich oilfields, sent an expeditionary force to aid the beleaguered Italians. This force would be eventually known as the Afrika Korps, its astute commander Erwin Rommel alias the ‘Desert Fox’.

Essentially the North African Campaign was a series of see saw battles which dragged both armies back and forth across an inhospitable terrain covering hundreds of miles of barren desert. There was a special code of behaviour in place between both sides, strangely it is a war without hate. An Indian Officer exclaims, “there is time to be helpful to those who share your adventure”. The initiative passes from one side to the other, then back again. Reinforcements, ammunition, fuel, food and, water, determine the outcome of the war; the Allies control both land and air supply lines.

Accounts of Muslim heroism

‘Hardly had the first wave of panzers gone when another and much heavier attack was launched by over two hundred German and Italian tanks. They came rumbling up towards the south face of the position, held by the Royal Lancers. They were greeted by a hail of fire from all remaining
anti-tank guns and the forward guns of the second field regiment. The first to meet the enemy was an anti-tank gun manned by the 2nd Lancers. One by one the men became casualties under the hell of shells and bullets, until only Lance Daffadar Ali Mehboob Khan remained. He continued to fire the gun alone. How well he fought was proved by his success. Around his battered and broken gun a week later was found the wreckage of 6 heavy tanks, so damaged that the Germans had not considered them worth salving.’

‘In the meantime the 16th Punjab regiment had waited impatiently in the valley below the main ridges. This great battalion thought little of a plan of battle which left them in reserve. When fighting broke out after midnight, Lieutenant-Colonel H.A. Hughes dispatched one company…, to seize low ridges on the left of the main battle position. As these companies moved off, a heavy shoot came down on the crests ahead of them. Then through the night burst the yell that has rung over so many hills. The Punjabi Muslims were charging with their age-old war cry of ‘Allah Ho Akbar’. They swept over the ridges and cut down or captured every defender.’

Final Battle for North Africa

The final battle for North Africa, culminates on 11 May 1943 in Tunisia, 275,000 Italian and German soldiers surrender to the Allies. Montgomery, the British commander declares that the 4th Indian is Britain’s ‘best’ infantry division in North Africa.

In a letter to Churchill, General Alexander writes; ‘Sir, It is my duty to report that the Tunisian Campaign is over. All enemy resistance has ceased. We are masters of the North African shores’.

The Italian Campaign 1943 – 1945

The Allies are ready to assault mainland Europe through the toe of Italy. Thousands of battle hardened Germans pour into the Italian peninsula, among them, the legendary Fallschirmjaegers and paratroopers. On 3 Sept, the Italians surrender, and the Germans are forced to fight alone. Italy’s mountainous terrain, fortified villages and numerous rivers are perfect for military defence. The Italian topography, combined with the skill of elite German units, makes the conquest of Italy an arduous and bloody affair. The Allies will be forced to fight for Italy metre by metre.

Among the first to arrive on the Italian mainland are the 8th Indian Division who sailed into Taranto harbour on 19 September 1943. The 4th Indian Division follow on 8 December 1943. The last Indian Infantry Division to arrive on mainland Italy are the 10th in March 1944.

Muslim Award winners

Ali Haidar of the Frontier Force Rifles, on the Senio River in Apr 1945, attempted the hazardous river crossing. Single-handedly he charged and destroyed a German machine gun post, taking four prisoners. Though wounded, he illustrated a complete disregard for his own life and charged a second, once again hit, he crawled forward and forced the occupants to surrender. His selfless action enabled his company to establish a bridgehead. Haidar was awarded the coveted Victoria Cross – Britain’s most prestigious military decoration for valour in the face of the enemy. It was presented to him by King George VI in Buckingham Palace in Oct 1945.

Jemadar Abdul Hamid, a Punjabi Muslim, was recommended an award for his daring actions near the Sant Angelo area. Though his platoon had been reduced to thirteen men he pushed forth, in a subsequent skirmish he killed two and captured twelve Germans in the first positions and captured thirteen in the second.

Overall, the Italian campaign came with a dreadful cost to the Indians, in total they had approximately 60,000 men on the ground.  Over a period of 22 months, there were more than 15,000 injured and 7,000 dead. The heaviest Indian losses, 4,000 casualties, were sustained in the battles for the strategically important Monte Cassino. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War.

Unbeknown to many, Italy is home to the graves of some 122 Indian soldiers aged between 15 and 17. Ninety out of the 122 are Muslim and 89 of them belong to areas within pre-partition Pakistan. Because of the dip in Hindu and Sikh enlistment between 1940 – 1942, Britain came to rely heavily upon the Muslim population. Since the majority of the Muslim martial traditions resided in north-west Pakistan this is where Britain filled its ranks from. Most of the adult population were already fighting in Britain’s wars which meant that an increasing number of teenagers were accepted into the military.

The details of the four youngest South Asian casualties of the Italian Campaign are listed below: Three Muslims and one Hindu.

AMIR KHAN, 4th Bn., 13th Frontier Force Rifles. 14 October 1944. Age 15. Attock Pakistan. Grave Ref. XV. C. 10. (Florence War Cemetery, Italy)

GULAB KHAN, 6th Royal Bn., 13th Frontier Force Rifles. 17 December 1943. Age 15. Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Grave Ref. XVIII. B. 13. (Sangro War Cemetery, Italy)

JAGAN NATH, King George V’s Own Bengal Sappers and Miners. 27 December 1944. Age 15. Almora, India. Grave Ref. Column 5. (Forli Cremation Memorial, Italy)

MIAN KHAN, 1st Bn., 12th Frontier Force Regiment. 10 December 1943. Age 15. Kohat, Pakistan. Grave Ref. XVIII. C. 7. (Sangro War Cemetery, Italy)

Clearly the action of so many Muslim soldiers illustrates the shared histories and sacrifices of all those forgotten heroes who fought to demolish fascism!

For precise information on the Italian Campaign of the Second World War please read Jahan’s recently revised paper. ‘Linking Britain’s Pakistani communities and their kinsmen to the Italian Campaign of WWII.’