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tive government is not the solution of all prob-
lems, not the remedy for all diseases. In many
of our communities they have discovered the
viciousness of this circle of responsibility, with its


tail in its mouth. There are nearly an hundred
towns and small cities in America governed by
Commissions, at the time of this writing. The
citizens have chosen from three to half a dozen
experts to manage their municipal affairs. They
have transferred their authority as representatives
to them, and they hold them responsible. This
method has proved so economical, so efficient, and
gives the private citizen so much more time for
his own affairs, that the number of communities
wishing to be so governed is rapidly on the in-
crease. Government by reverberation touched
up with stealing, has proved so costly, and so
insolently negligent, that even the easy-going
and optimistic American is turning from it to
government by experts. As we have shown in
another chapter (From Mughal to Briton) the
roads of life are becoming overcrowded, and
men have all they can do to carry their burdens
and to keep on the road, without the delay and
amateur fumbling of keeping the road guarded
and in repair. That should be left to trained

If the British in India, and we in the Philip-
pines and in the West Indies, permit ourselves to
be led astray in our colonies, either by ignorant
politicians at home or by self-seeking politicians
in our colonies, we shall prove ourselves unfaith-


ful to over 300,000,000 of ignorant and helpless
wards, representing one-fifth of the inhabitants
of the globe.

The cleanest, the healthiest, and the most eco-
nomically governed towns and cities in the world
are in Germany, and the viewy reverberator and
the politician by trade receive small shrift there;
for their passing has enabled Germany to support
the most formidable army, one of the most
powerful navies, the second largest merchant
marine, and the second largest export and import
trade in the world, with a population of 65,000,-
000, living in an area of slightly more than
200,000 square miles.

The conflict in India should not be narrowed
to an academical discussion between Oxford and
Cambridge babus, and Bengali babus. No
buncombe plea at home, no cunning arguments
by educated natives abroad, should tempt us to
hand over our wards to the mercy of amateur



FROM the south to the north of India is a
long way; but the difference in the alert-
ness, the physique, and the faces of the
inhabitants makes it seem as though you had
gone clean out of one country into another. It
is almost like going from the streets of a factory
town in New England, or old England, to our
Western plains, or to the Highlands of Scotland,
to go from the bazaars of southern or central
India to the northern frontier. They are a
bold, fine-looking lot, these Pathans and Afridis.
The Pathans are allied to the iVfghans; and the
Afridis are one of the large clans, or tribes, of
the hills between India and Afghanistan,

Never have I seen, in one hour's walk, so many
lean, upstanding, fearless-looking, fine-featured,
eagle-eyed men, as in Peshawar and the Khaibar
Pass. Their faces remind one of the faces of our
own Indians of the North-west of twenty-five
years ago, chiefs like Red-Cloud and Hollow-



Horn-Bear, whose faces were like reddish-brown
masks of Dante or Savonarola.

Peshawar is the head-quarters of the first army
division, and is in the extreme northern corner of
India. It is the residence of the Chief Commis-
sioner of the North- West Provinces. It is at the
southern entrance to the Khaibar Pass, which
is the narrow road through the mountains to
Afghanistan. Twice a week, on Tuesdays and
Fridays, the caravans go and come. Hundreds
of camels, donkeys, and oxen, loaded with mer-
chandise from Central Asia, from Afghanistan,
from Merve and Bokhara and even beyond, choke
the road. The British distribute a subsidy of
about fifty thousand dollars a year among the
headmen of these fighting tribes, in lieu of the
loot that they took from the caravans in the old
days; and for these two days in each week cara-
vans are permitted to go and come in safety. The
British have organized a force of some fifteen
hundred men from these Afridis, nine hundred
infantry, and six hundred cavalry, in charge of a
dozen European officers, and they are the guar-
dians of the Pass. It is a lonely business for
the British officers who command these wild fel-
lows at these outposts. They are not only the
British pickets on the outermost frontier, they
are the pickets for the whole white race, between


them and the Tartar and the Mongol; between
Asia and Europe in short. Through this Khai-
bar Pass they have rushed the defences, these
Persians, Tartars, Turks, Afghans, and ^lughals,
time and time again, and in every century down
to this present century, and they are untamed
still. The officers in these mountainous wilds
may not even go out for a day's shooting without
an armed escort.

When we left Peshawar to drive through the
Pass, the officer with us carried his holsters with
him; not that there is danger of a rising, or an
outbreak, but these fanatical Muhammadans
sometimes break out, one at a time, into hys-
terical religious rage, run amok, as it is called,
and seek salvation by the murder of an infidel.
It is a narrow road, and all along it on the
hills above one sees at intervals the Afridi
Rifles, stationed to guard the passing cara-
vans. The camels shuffle along, their noses in
the air, loaded with women and children, and
all sorts of goods of every description. The
donkeys too carry baskets filled with chickens,
amongst other things; and women and children
and chickens alike seem no more concerned than
the people one sees in a passing train at home.

There are noise, and bustle, and dust, and
shouting enough when the caravan from the north


meets and passes the caravan from the south;
but camels, and donkeys, and bullocks, and
sheep, and men, pass one another somehow in
the clouds of dust, and come out of this moving
cat's cradle each with his own. Boxes of tea,
furniture, pans and kettles, and here and there a
Jewal, or camel bag, one of the beautiful carpets
made in Merve of silk and Pashmina, a kind of
sheep; the wool being taken for these fine car-
pets only from the root part of the wool, may be
seen, and perhaps bought, or perhaps an old
Pindi carpet, and than these there is nothing
finer of the kind in the world.

But it is only on Tuesdays and Fridays that
this road is a safe and quiet place for the traffic
and merchandise. On other days you go at
your own risk. Family and tribal feuds have
free play, at other times, and there is seldom a
day when one or another is not taking a pot shot
at an enemy; there the dogs of war, small though
they be, are snarling, snapping, and biting all the
time. The recruits for this corps of Afridi Ri-
fles are drawn from men of different tribes, who
forget their feuds for the time, but renew them
diligently when they have a few weeks' leave.

An officer of high rank was leading some troops
through the Pass on one occasion, when he was
annoyed by a tribesman above the road who kept


abreast of them, and every now and then took a
shot at them. One of the Afridi escort volun-
teered to hunt this man down, but the officer said
no, it did not matter. At last a bullet struck so
close that the officer's horse stumbled and nearly
fell. Then the soldier was told he might go and
try to track down the persistent marksman. In
an hour or two, the escort saw a puff of smoke,
and the man was seen to fall and roll down the
cliff. The Afridi returned and reported. The
officer complimented and thanked him. "Oh,
that's nothing," replied the soldier, "I should not
be worthy to serve the white king if I could not do
that." Why was it so easy.^ he was asked. *' Be-
cause that man up there himself taught me to
track," he replied. "You knew him, then ? " said
the officer. "Oh, yes, I knew him. That was
my father!"

They are indeed a w^ild community. Their
women are slaves who are trafficked in like cat-
tle. A man's father dies, for example, and the son
puts up his mother and sisters at auction, as part
of the estate. You see men working in the fields,
or on the road, a gun slung over their shoulders,
carried there as the safest place for it. Here and
there are small fortresses of mud, where this fam-
ily or that protects itself from attack, or sits watch-
ing an opportunity to bring down a passing ene-


my. I saw a long ditch leading from the road,
and looking like the dry bed of a canal, and I
was told that this was the ingenious path made
by a certain householder to get to the road out
of reach of his enemy's rifle, whose house was
near by. It is veritably the last remaining cock-
pit of the world, these hills and mountain paths
between northern India, and central Asia and

The Amir of Afghanistan winks at the lawless-
ness, not altogether displeased to have these wild
tribesmen between his dominions and the Brit-
ish. The Amir is an independent ruler, except
that he may not make treaties or give franchises
without the consent of the British Government.

It was from these wild fellows that the truly
wonderful corps of "The Queen's Own Corps
of Guides " was recruited. There are some four-
teen hundred of them, infantry and cavalry, com-
manded by British ofiicers and picked from the
dare-devils of this devil's own country. There
are Afridis, Pathans, Khuttucks, Sikhs, Punjabi
Muhammadans, Punjabi Hindus, Gurkhas, Tur-
comans, Persian Farsiwans, Kabulis, and Dogras
among them. Sir Henry Lawrence, of Lucknow
fame, started the organization and gave it its name,
and Harry Lumsden was their first commander.
For sixty years they have deserved the confidence


and the hopes of their founder, by their loyalty,
their daring, their trustworthiness; and as their
founder was a Lawrence, one can hardly say
more. When the Mutiny broke out they marched
five hundred and eighty miles to Delhi, marching
on an average twenty-seven miles a day, at the
hottest time of year, through the hottest re-
gion on earth. As they neared the Ridge at
Delhi after this almost unprecedented feat of en-
durance, a staff officer rode up and said:*' How
soon will you be ready to go into action .^" *'In
half an hour," was the cheery answer of their
commander, Daly; and in the fight that followed
every British officer, including Daly, was killed
or wounded.

"And men in desert places, men

Abandoned, broken, sick with fears
Rose singing, swung their swords agen,
And laughed and died among the spears.'*

Readers weary of the self-advertising crew of
explorers, amateur soldiers, sportsmen, and poli-
ticians ; weary too of even the gallant Sir Galahads
of fiction ; may turn to "The Story of the Guides,"
by one of their commanders, Younghusband,
with promise of refreshment and encouragement.
There are real men among us still, both brown
and white, who not onlv do their dutv without


making a fuss about it, but who die doing it; and
their only reward is, that there is a gulp in the
throat and a wetness about the eyelids as we
read; and a tightening of the lips, and a prayer
that we may do half as w ell, but, well or ill, that
we may not be tempted into the maudlin modern
malady of self-advertisement. It makes the
chorus-girl posturings of many of our candidates
for popular applause look shamefully ridiculous.

That Khaibar Pass is indeed "the way of sin-
ners" ; but the "Story of the Guides" shows how
these very sinners may be made weapons, and
ideally-tempered weapons, for the defence of the
right, when they are disciplined and led by the
right men.

Very different is this Muhammadan city of
Peshawar from those villages in the Punjab.
The streets are crowded with fierce-looking men,
Kashmiris, Nepalese, Beluchis, Tibetans, Yar-
kandis, Bokhariots, and Turcomans, armed most
of them, and in every kind of costume. They
pour in here twice a w^eek from Afghanistan, from
the surrounding districts, and from central Asia;
and you have seen something new indeed in the
way of wild life from the top of the world, after a
few hours among them. They have the look of
men w^ho depend upon their own prowess, and
not upon the law, for their safety.


I stationed myself upon the top of the high city
gate one morning, and watched the housekeeping
in the town. Each house has a roofless room,
with walls some ten feet high, and as you look
down, you may see the women and children, the
cats and pigeons, the sewing and washing, the
combing of hair, and the home life of the whole
population. The women and children, the cats
and pigeons are there, but the men are in the
streets ; and to see the barber stropping his razor
on his shin, and shaving a customer in the road,
full of camels, goats, bullocks, carts, and pedes-
trians, is to see two men whose nerves must have
been disciplined by much familiarity with cold

The military is much in evidence here, and at a
dinner at the house of the general commanding,
one sees uniforms from every branch of the ser-
vice, and medals won all over the world ; and hears
talk, and stories of the adventurous life of these
frontiersmen of the Empire. I dance in the state
quadrille with my host, the Chief Commissioner's
wife, as my partner, and a crow one must look, in-
deed, in this crowd of brilliant uniforms. During
these holiday weeks at Christmas-time, Peshawar,
and Lahore, and Lucknow, where I happened to
be, were gay indeed with dinners and dances, and
polo and horse-shows, and one catches glimpses


now and then of some of the hangers-on of the
official life here, who, having no duties and no
responsibilities, furnish the gossip, scandal, and
heart-burnings of the social life of India. "Do
you see that woman ?" said a bluff colonel to me
at a certain dance. "Well, she ought to be de-
ported." It was easy to see what he meant,
particularly if you had met the lady at dinner.
They drift out from England, through some at-
tenuated connection with the civil or military
life here, and some of them are odd specimens
enough. Weather-beaten female warriors they
look. One I can see now, in the twilight of her
youth, a widow, grass or genuine I know not
which, lean and tough of physique; no matter
how long she stewed she would not make broth
for a meal; with a prehensile smirk, as though
she would fasten on to anybody. Indeed, watch-
ing her methods, I should not have been sur-
prised, at any time, to see her take flight with a
juicy subaltern dripping in her talons.

Harvard men may be surprised, as they will be
proud to learn, that a Doctor of Philosophy of
their making, an archaeologist now in the employ
of the British Government, has turned up here as
the discoverer of the casket said to contain the
bones of Buddha. It is a recent discovery, and
one of the most important, and he brought it him-


self, and showed us the Greek designs, and the
name of the Scythian King Kanishka upon it;
Kanishka who ruled in north-east India about
40 A. D., and who was an enthusiastic disciple of
Buddha, and who had the sacred books codified,
after a great council of Buddhist priests and
scholars, which he convened to discuss the mat-
ter. This learned enthusiast from Harvard rep-
resents the West in the East indeed, and with

During the greater part of one's wanderings in
India, one sees little, and how wise it is that this
is so, of the armed men who are the real grip on
India ; but as you travel north you see the bow-
string drawn tauter and tauter, until here at
Peshawar it is ready to let fly the arrow at any
moment of the day or night ; and from these fron-
tier tribesmen themselves, is welded the arrow-

It is easy to understand the British respect,
and even reverence, for health and character and
courage. They are the foundations of his su-
premacy as a ruler at home, but particularly
abroad. It is evident at once, out here, liow^
useless is a weak man either physically or mor-
ally. No amount of mental brilliancy would
compensate for the lack of physical staying
power. The Indians understand these qualities


and trust them. The educated Indians have
carried off many prizes in the way of intellectual
feats of prowess, even at the English universities,
and against the stoutest rivals, but they them-
selves recognize that the world rests upon the
bulk and steadiness of the elephant, rather than
upon the cunning of the fox; or as the Chinese
w^ould say, upon the tortoise, which they claim
is one of the nine offspring of the dragon, and
the emblem of strength.

Some of these dark people have the faces, and
the port and carriage, of power; but it is hollow,
the shadow^ of an inheritance not the real sub-
stance. It is as though the masks of warriors
and sages were w^alking about untenanted. The
character and pow-er have become exhausted,
leaving the husk of a great civilization gone to

The hospitality of these Englishmen knows no
bounds. Despite his crowd of guests at this holiday
season, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab
takes us in at Lahore ; and the famous camel car-
riage, drawn by six trotting camels harnessed in
pairs, each pair w^ith a postilion, swings us away,
soon after our arrival, at a good pace, to the polo
ground. I have seen no polo anywhere, prob-
ably no one else has, comparable to the polo
played by our American team when they won the


championship in London; but on these hard In-
dian grounds, mounted on thorough-bred ponies,
the polo, played with sticks with whippier han-
dles than ours, is an astonishing exhibition of
speed. The Indian players, light and supple,
seem to depend upon their wrists, and upon the
resiliency of the shafts of their mallets, to send
the ball along over the hard ground. The w^hite
and the brow^n play together. Here, as at home,
the Englishman knows no class on the play-
ground ; the only distinction made is between the
straight and the crooked, the skilful and the

It was here in Lahore that the British Em-
pire's patriot poet, Kipling, began his w^ork in the
local newspaper oflfice; and what I am now see-
ing all over India, of the cheery, stout-hearted
civil and military officers, bred in him that flavor
of virility which he has distributed for the white
man's encouragement around the world.

The city was here before even Alexander the
Great came; was in its glory when the lieutenants
of the Great Mughals were its governors; was
later the capital of the Sikh warriors, who gave
the British the toughest resistance of all tlieir
fighting experiences in India, under their great
commander ]\Iaharaja Ranjit Singh; and is now
a city of two hundred thousand souls, living in


a space of some five hundred acres, surrounded
by the remains of the old city wall.

The Lieutenant-Governor mounts me upon his
elephant, for the narrow streets are too crowded
for a carriage, and a foot-passenger would make
his way but slowly; but "My Lord the Ele-
phant," with his bell hanging from his neck, his
trunk swinging from side to side, his great bulk
shuffled along on his cushioned feet, needs no
police nor outriders to make way for him. He
is himself bigger than many of the shops and
houses, and from his howdah you may see all
the layers of domestic life on both sides of the
streets, from the squatting merchant on the level
of the door-sill, to the women and children
above, and the son training his carrier-pigeons
on the roof. Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and
Aurangzeb, all left monuments of their rule here;
and when Shah Jahan was ruler in Delhi, and
his Vizier, Wazir Khan, ruled in Lahore, were
days of wealth and splendor; but the Sikh con-
queror had no taste for these; he was, and is for
that matter, a warrior, and most of the splendid
monuments have crumbled and gone; and in
their place are the broad avenues of the British
residential quarters, with Government House,
the English and Catholic cathedrals, and the
fine buildings of the Aitchison College.


How the iNIughal rulers, or Alexander the
Great, would have stared in bewilderment had
they seen what I saw in Lahore! First, early
one morning I accompanied the Lieutenant-Gov-
ernor to the grounds of Aitchison College, and
saw the ceremony of the laying of two corner-
stones, one for a Hindu temple, the other for a
Sikh Dharmsala. The Aitchison College is a
sort of public school for the education of the
sons of chiefs, and as Hindu and Sikh are both
represented, both are encouraged to have tem-
ples of their faith there. Later on that same
morning, I was present at the opening of the first
reform council, and heard the members sworn
in and take the oath, some in the native language,
but the majority in English. The reformed coun-
cil here, as in other provinces of India, is a recent
and far-reaching change, which permits a certain
number of elected members, and also widens the
scope of discussion to such an extent, that gov-
ernors and lieutenant-governors will need the
delicate diplomacy of skilful presiding officers, to
expedite the business of their provinces. It is
another burden, another demand for uncommon
ability, and one wonders whether the breed of
laborious archangels in Great Britain, is keep-
ing up with the ever-increasing demands made
upon it.


These things would have astonished Jahangir,
but had he accompanied me to the prison, he
would have been bewildered indeed. In La-
hore is the central prison of the Punjab for long-
sentence prisoners. It is situated in an airy,
healthy spot, and its cleanliness and orderliness
and air of comfort must make it a tempting place
of residence, to natives accustomed to the village
hut or the crowded bazaar. What a change
from the dungeon, or a sack and the river; from
the gibbet, or the crushing knees of an elephant,
which were the swifter and surer methods of
India's former rulers.

The Aitchison Chiefs' College takes its name
from a former lieutenant-governor, and is in-
tended for the training of the sons of the princes
and chiefs of the Punjab. The buildings are in a
fine park, and there are playing fields, stables, and
gymnasium, and dining-rooms and dormitories.
There are some eighty boys there now, ranging in
age from eight to seventeen. They get, with
modifications, the training of an English public-
school boy. Some of them were strikingly hand-
some, with a look of breeding about them. They
take to hockey, but not so well to the hurly-burly
of foot-ball, the masters told me ; and as in sim-
ilar institutions in the West, the results are good
in some cases, indifferent in others. The corner-


stone was only laid as lately as 1888, so that it is
not fair, perhaps, to ask proof of the value of the
college. India needs administrators, men who
will devote themselves to the care and develop-
ment of their own property, whether it be small
or great; but the Indian Raja inclines to the
military profession, and there he is shut off by
the disinclination to let him rise to a grade where
he would be given the task of commanding
Europeans. This is one of the problems of ad-
ministration in India: to know what to do with
these young men, many of them wealthy and am-
bitious, but who are barred from holding the
higher offices to which their rank and their pref-
erences lead them.

The college; the swearing in of the reformed
council; the prison; and the two temples side by
side but of different faiths, are the monuments the
British are setting up here, in the room of the
mosques, and tombs, and palaces of dalliance,
now in ruins, of their predecessors.

I visited the Rajput College founded by the
Maharaja of Jaipur; the college at Amritsar,
where stands also the Golden Temple, the centre
of Sikh worship; the Daly College at Indore;
and the Anglo-Muhammadan College at Aligarh,
founded by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who seems to
have been a broad-church Muhammadan ; and the


college I have just mentioned . The reason under-

Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 18 of 29)