Puslapio vaizdai

of India is now impossible. This vast Empire, with its three hundred and fifty million inhabitants, must now continue with ever-increasing momenmomentum to follow the course on which it has been launched. Kings who abdicate may be wise or foolish, but there can be no question as to the folly of a king who, having abdicated, wishes to resume the sceptre. For him there remains nothing but the halter of Maximian or the dungeon of Victor." And so with a tragic humour Mr Al. Carthill sketches the views held of India by the absurd personages whom his dramatic sense has created. John Collins, the official optimist, has no doubts. He is sure that the grant of full responsible government can no longer be delayed. India," says he, "will be free to make her own destinies. . . . An equal partner in the Empire, and no longer a mere possession, she also will develop the exuberant loyalty which is characteristic of the Dominions. She will require no foreign troops, no foreign officers, no foreign officials." We remember Ireland, and we tremble at the silly optimism of John Collins, who naturally is quite sure that "in serious cases the League of Nations would would intervene to protect one of its members from serious trouble!"


Nor shall we find much more hope in the burning words of Professor Athanasius Giggleswick, the eminent mugwump. He spares no words in expressing his satisfaction: "The great and beneficent act," says he, "of the emancipation of India, known loosely as the Reforms, seems to me the noblest act of statesmanship effected since the abandonment of Britain by Honorius." He sees plainly, does Athanasius, that the first thing is to get rid of the alien. "The foreign bureaucracy must go," he says, "and their places be taken by a permanent band of ardent young salaried patriots." And when it is all over, when John Collins and Athanasius Giggleswick have had their say, when Panditji has had his will, what then? The men from the hills will descend into the plains, and make an end of Moslems and Hindus alike. They will be murdered, the Moslems and Hindus, and their women will be carried off, the slaves of the conquerors. Then at last shall Panditji and all his heresies be avenged. But the responsibility of the massacre will not rest upon him. It will rest upon the feeble personages from Burke and Macaulay down to Montagu and Rufus Isaacs, who took upon their shoulders a burden which they were not good enough nor wise enough to bear.

Printed in Great Britain by




JUNE 1924.




IN the autumn of one of the early years of the present century I was returning to India after short leave, and among the motley crowd of people that one meets in a P. & O. steamer at that season, I had the good fortune to be thrown into the society of an elderly gentleman who was travelling to the East for the first time. It may, indeed, have been his first journey outside the limits of Great Britain, for he showed fresh and enthusiastic interest in all that he saw, and all that he saw appeared to be new and unfamiliar. He was a Member of Parliament, and had sat for some industrial constituency for many years. At that time he was also Under-Secretary in some department of the State concerned with interior and not foreign affairs. In appearance he was a man of singularly handsome and re


fined features, with silver hair, kindly face, and charming manners.

One might have supposed him to be a scion of some ancient patrician house, but as a matter of fact this was not the case, for I learnt that his origin was a humble one, his education attained with difficulty, and his early life a struggle. But he had been successful in business, and had concurrently devoted himself to philanthropic work and social problems directed towards the amelioration of the lives of the humbler classes of the community. To this laudable work he had brought to bear much practical and personal experience, and the influence of a very sympathetic nature.

In the curiously intimate routine of a board-ship life

wherein one is brought into close association with total

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arranged. Nothing could be easier, and I made all arrangements accordingly, only regretting that pressure of duty prevented me from accompanying him personally. He asked me to dine with him at his hotel the following evening, both because he would like to ask me about frontier matters, and also he wished to tell me of his delightful and interesting experiences since we parted at Bombay.

strangers, sometimes to find next day if this could be that they are angels unawares, though often one parts with them at the close of the voyage never to meet again-we became very friendly, and, possibly from the very fact that our paths in life were over very dissimilar lines of travel, we had a good deal to say to one another. Arrival at Bombay severed our acquaintance, and we bade each other farewell amid the usual bustle of landing. He went off, armed with introductions to "governors, councillors, and all in authority under our King," and to see the sights of India, while I took the familiar road once more to the North-West Frontier, the only part of India that I know well, and, to my mind, the part best worthy of a man's service. My friend and I parted with many expressions of hope, rather than of expectation, that we should meet again.


Accordingly, the following evening I arrived at the hotel, to learn that the arrangements for the day had worked quite smoothly. A young officer had met him at Jamrud, and had shown him the old fort there at the mouth of the Pass. Then he had accompanied the visitor through the defile to Ali Musjid, pointing out all the various matters of interest on the way. They had climbed up the steep path to the fort However, as it happened, which dominates the centre of we did chance to meet. the Pass, and, after admiring was riding along the road past the view there, had descended Government House in Pesha- and proceeded up the precipwar one day some months later, itous gorge a little farther on. when out of one of the usual There they had come across a shabby carriages then obtain- kafila, or drove of shaggy able at hotels, there emerged camels, laden with merchandise my friend, intent on writing from Central Asia, in charge his name in the Chief Commis- of traders, picturesque but sioner's book. Mutual recog- rough-looking men, clad in nition was followed by cordial greasy sheepskin coats and greeting, and I asked if I could help him in any way. He had just arrived, and his time was very limited, but he would like to make a little excursion up the Khyber Pass

baggy breeches, with their
womenfolk and fierce
fierce dogs.
All of this evidently had inter-
ested our British statesman
intensely. He had driven back
in comfort, arriving in ample

time for dinner after a most pleasant day in bright sunshine and crisp cold air.

ing and working hard for children from whom they had parted years before, and who were growing up among strangers, affections on both sides becoming inevitably colder as years went on. All this had impressed itself most vividly on his mind as something that was unspeakably pathetic and full of unconscious nobility, for it was part of the task we had as a nation to bear, a duty to an alien people, who before our coming had been torn asunder by internal strife, and for whom now we had provided peace and justice. But what seemed to me all part of the day's work was to him a marvel in that no complaints on the subject were made, and in the House no questions were asked !

He proceeded to tell me with pleasure of his other experiences in India, dwelling not so much upon the architectural beauties of Agra and Delhi, or the historical associations of Cawnpore and Lucknow (though he had thoroughly appreciated these), as on the moral qualities of his countrymen and countrywomen, hitherto unsuspected by him, which now elicited his warmest admiration. He had been the guest of great men, and he was grateful for their hospitality, but he had tried to see a little below that high level, and he found that the great administrative machine, both in official and private life, was being carried on by the continual and cumulative self-denial of thousands of his own people in exile. Hitherto all this had been to him a matter of vague and shadowy possibility; now it was an admirable reality. Certain politicians had accused these compatriots of his of living in luxury; he saw little signs of that, for the conditions of their lives showed that, in addition to isolation and family separation, there was the everpresent risk of illness, with medical assistance often difficult to obtain, and, in many seasons of the year, intense climatic discomfort. Above all, and most trying of all burdens, were the family separations, This question came to me as husbands and wives living a shock. Ignorance of Indian necessarily apart, parents sav- affairs is universal and to a

This turned the talk to Parliament, and as dinner proceeded he poured forth most amusing anecdotes of the various leaders on both sides whom he had known. All he had to say was as new to me as the scenery of the Khyber was new to him, and I was much interested. I was in no way tired of this cheery and good-humoured gossip, when, the recollection of the day no doubt passing over his mind, he suddenly paused and said

"I suppose the Khyber, and the road I drove over to-day, is important as being the only route from India to Afghanistan and Central Asia ? "

great extent excusable among the mass of our people at home, and the average Member of Parliament knows little of the subject and cares less, judging by the attendance in the House of Commons when the matter of India is under discussion. But here was one who, if not a great statesman, was at least a politician holding office in the Government of the day, and yet he was not aware of the condition of affairs on the one land-frontier of the Empire where we are in touch with the actual possibilities of warfare. He apparently thought this Achilles heel of His Majesty's dominions was an impassable wall, such as the Himalayas, and that this wall was penetrable by one door only. From the average M.P. one would not have been surprised to hear such a question, but he was far above the average, one of the best of white men, full of appreciation, and anxious to see below the surface.

So after a pause I replied that it was very far from being the case that there was only one route into Central Asia. In the North-West Frontier Province alone there were five such trade-routes leading to Afghanistan, not to mention other and important roads farther south, by Quetta to Kandahar, and in the north towards Chitral, and north-east through Kashmir, into Central Asia.

This roused his curiosity at
Alert for all useful in-


formation, he asked for more details.

Laying my right hand, palm downwards, and fingers outspread on the table, I replied—

"My fingers represent the five routes from this province, not to scale, of course, nor in length proportionate to their importance, but still with sufficient accuracy for the purposes of a diagram. These fingers show the valleys, and the blank wedge-shaped parts indicate the mountainous country lying between the valleys, country which is only partially surveyed, and is inhabited by fierce tribes, constantly at war with each other, and owing allegiance neither to the Amir of Afghanistan nor the British. To-day you saw blockhouses guarding here and there the road through the Pass. These


placed on the traderoutes for the protection of the trader; otherwise highway robbery would be universal and trade almost impossible. The four knuckles of my hand represent the four towns in this province from which the routes proceed-Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, and Dera Ismail Khan,-though here again the proportionate distances are imperfectly represented, for the distance between the first two is less than half the intervals between the others respectively. There is a good road, recently made, from Peshawar to Kohat, and a still better road, finished about ten years ago, from Kohat to Bannu and Dera Ismail, but this is the only

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