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m<OU 168493 >m 






1914-17 (H.M. Stationery Office) 


Chief of the Ti\\anas (Rajput Mussalman clan of the Punjab) In 
uniform ot his regiment. (Then the i8th K.G.O. Lancers.) 

F Frontispiece 




K.C.B., K.C.S.I., D.S.O. 
Colonel Commandant The Royal Artillery 




THE constant interest that people of Great Britain and the 
rest of the Empire take in matters Indian, their appreciation 
of the share that Indian soldiers took by our side in all 
theatres of the World War and our admiration of the way 
that they and the police have resisted inoculation with the 
Ghandi poison, have induced me to try to present to the 
English-speaking world some account of the Martial Races 
of India. 

India unlike almost any other country has a vast mass of 
unwarlike people whose hand has never kept the head. In 
this class must be mustered many who have the brains and 
aptitude to assimilate WesterflJ education far more rapidly 
than the more virile races. But it is these virile races that 
have dominated India in the past, and as the Simon Report 
has stated, would do so again if British control were removed. 
It is moreover in these forceful classes that the real future 
of India for good must lie whether it be peaceful or whether 
it be otherwise. I have therefore endeavoured to draw the 
picture and tell the story of Rajput and Turk, of Afghan 
and Sikh, of Mahratta and Mogul, not as the scientist and 
ethnologist would want it, but rather as the ordinary reading 
and understanding public would wish to see it. I have 
therefore but drawn the outline, and tried to concentrate on 
the drama, the romance of the old time before and the times 
that have just gone, with all the fidelity to the British Crown 
and trust in British leaders that have been so phenomenal, 
and I have tried to gaze a little way into the future. I have 
endeavoured to draw the picture so that it may be useful to 


the younger officers of the Indian Army, and to those of the 
British Service who have, as most must, to soldier in India, 
while making it a book that parents whose sons will soldier 
in the East may like to see in their hands. I do not attempt 
to emulate the detailed knowledge that an officer in a Sikh 
regiment should have of his Sikhs or in a Mahratta corps of 
his Mahrattas, but I have served in close touch with most 
of the races, and try to show a reel, a hasty reel perhaps, that 
all who care for India may wish to glance at. 

To me the whole story is so glorious, so stimulating and 
so rich in all that makes an active life worth while, that I 
should like to think that anything that I might write will 
encourage our sons still to seek their careers in this great 
Indian continent. It is their forebears, the British and the 
British alone who have rebuilt it, and are endeavouring to 
restore it in some part to those who are fit to inherit the 

Lest anyone should say that I am but a beater on a drum 
that has lost its sound, I would urge all and sundry to read 
what an American authoress, Patricia Kendall, has written 
on this subject of tl\c British in India and their following 
there. For the first time America has got it ' straight off the 
ice* at American hands. It is called India and the British. 
A quest for truth (Scribner.) 

The coloured illustrations herein are from the brush of 
Major (later Brigadier- General) A. C. Lovat of the Gloucester 
Regiment who illustrated for me The Armies of India 
(A. & C. Black, 1912) and are reproduced by special courtesy 
of Messrs. Black. General Lovat was the most succesful 
painter of Indian military types, but died some years ago 
from the results of the winter of 1914-15 in France. 





The Meaning of the Martial Races The Divergent Races Out- 
line of Indian Ethnology The Conflicting Religions The Aryan 
Castes The Rajputs and Jats The Afghans and Pathans The 


The Kshattriyas Alexander Enters India The Rock of 
Aornas -The Defeat of King Poros The Story of the Brahmin's 
Recruit The Rise of Chandra Gupta The Empire of Asoka 
Between Asoka and Harsha. 


The Rise and Fall of Buddhism The Empire of Harsha The 
Hindu and Rajputs of the Revival The Jats The Grouping of 
the Rajputs The Outer Conquests. 



The First Coming of Islam to India The Ferment in the Afghan 
Hills The Rajputs invade Ghuzni The Slave Dynasty of 
Ghuzni Sultan Mahmud Ghuznavi The Coming of Muhammad 
of Ghor The Slave Dynasty of Delhi and After The Mogul 
Period The Moslem Peoples of the Mingling. 




SAGAS . . . . .80 

The First Sacca (A.D. 1303) Baber Crushes the Rajputs The 

Second Sacca (1533) The Third Sacca (1568) Rajput Sagas: 

i. The Bridal Cortege of Koramdevi. 2. The Rajputni and the Bear. 

3. The Rajputs and Aurungzebe. 4. The Answer of Queen Sunjota. 



Ancient Maharasthra The Moslem Kingdoms of the Dekhan 
Shivaji and his House The Story of Afzul Khan Mahratta and 
MogulThe Last Battle of Panipat The Mogul Ruin and the 
Mahrattas The Pindari Horror. 


The Sikhs Baba Nanak -The Sikh Canon The Tenth Guru 
The Sikhs as a Militant Body Mogul Sikh and Afghan The 
Rise of Runjhit Singh. 


The Early European Settlements The British and the French 
in Madras The British in Bengal Plassey and Buxar Warren 
Hastings The Regulating Act The Mysore Wars The Early 
Sepoy Armies of Madras The Third and Fourth Mysore Wars 
The Second and Third Mahratta Wars The Fourth Mahratta 



The Growth of the Presidency Armies After Lake and Wellesley 
The Brahminization of the Army The Five Wars of Queen 
Victoria Sind and Gwalior. 




THE GURKHA STORY . . . .184 

The Rise of the Dynasty of Gurkha The Gurkha Invasions of 
British India The First Assembling of the British Army The 
Second Campaign The Races of Nepal The Gurkha Regiments 



After Runjhit Singh Anarchy in the Punjab The Execution 
by Army Soviets The Sikh Army Enter British India Sobraon 
and After The Second Sikh War The Mutiny of the Bengal 
Army The Sikhs as British Soldiers Modern Sikh Troubles. 

THE INDIAN ARMY, 1860-1914 . . .220 

The Reforming of the Indian Army The Frontier and Afghan- 
istan The Long Wars of the 'Nineties The Army of Lord 
Kitchener The Army of the Great War The Army Indianization 
Problem before the War The Soldiers of the Indian States. 


A Summary of the Races The Tribes on the Frontier The 
Pathans who Serve the Crown The Punjabi Muhammadan Jammu 
and Kashmir The Dogra The Sikhs of To-day The Women 
of the North The Sikh Regiments The Tragedy of Saragarhi 
The Women of the Punjab The Water-Bailiff's Wife. 



The Rest of India The Anglo-Indian The Brahmin as a 
Soldier The Hindustani Moslem The Ja"t The Men of 
Rajputana The Rajputana Moslem and Aboriginals Gujars 
and Ahirs Garhwalis and Kumaonis The Mahratta of To-day 
The Men of the Old Coast Army Moplahs and Coorgs. 




IQD-I-GUL 296 

The Chaplet of Roses The King's PawnsThe White Lie The 
Subahdar's Tita Bhal 



The Army of 1914 France Egypt and Sinai The Dardanelles 
Palestine and Judaea Mesopotamia The Lesser Theatres The 
Afghan Frontier. 



The Future Generally The Future of the Indian Army An 
Indian Sandhurst The Indian Army and the Simon Report The 
Conclusion of the Whole Matter. 



K.C.I.E., C.B.E., M.V.O. . . Frontispiece 






























MARTIAL RACES OF INDIA .... Preceding Index 







WHO and what are the martial races of India, how do they 
come, and in what crucible, on what anvils hot with pain 
spring the soldiers of India, whom surely Baba Ghandi never 
fathered? Who is the great bearded Sikh with his uncut 
Nazarite hair, his curling beard, and the enormous head- 
dress with encircling quoit ? What brings the jaunty swagger- 
ing hill-man from the frontier, 'who treads the ling like a 
buck in spring ', to the wars of the East and West ? Where 
does the square-shouldered athletic Mussulman of the 
Punjab fit in the system of India, of the lithe Mahratta, with 
the uncouth Prakrit, whom Lord Lake's army in the be- 
ginning of the nineteenth century provoked to a fine Mahratta 
fury, by dubbing them the * Untoo Goorgas ' because of their 
out-land speech ? Does the squat, pug-faced little Mongolian 
Gurkha with a Kilmarnock cap on the side of his little head 
fit at all with the tall Rajput longhead, and where comes in 


the Pariah of Madras who builds the Empire's frontier roads, 
dammed by some coal-black mammy of the South? Do 
they the * gloriamur ' swell or the ' quare fremuerunt ' ? 

Who is the Afridi soldier who salaamed to the life-size 
crucifix in Belgium, for some reason he could not fathom, 
or the men of the lost patrol in Sinai ? 

Indeed, to understand what is meant by the martial races 
of India is to understand from the inside the real story of 
India. We do not speak of the martial races of Britain as 
distinct from the non-martial, nor of Germany, nor of 
France. But in India we speak of the martial races as a 
thing apart and because the mass of the people have neither 
martial aptitude nor physical courage ... the courage 
that we should talk of colloquially as ' guts '. 

India has a population of 350 millions. During the World 
War when the Empire asked India for some more men, the 
Army Recruiting Board at Delhi and Simla spread their net 
very wide, and searched into every possible pocket where 
men of martial proclivities and a modicum of galvanizable 
physical courage might be found. They estimated that not 
more than ten per cent., perhaps thirty-five million souls, 
men and women, old men and children existed, from among 
whose males of suitable ages soldiers could be found. That 
is a remarkable fact, and one that opens up on to a strange 
medley of causes, as scientific as the question of red cor- 
puscles, as historical as the story of Aryan, Dravidian and 
Aboriginal. It also brings into the discussion the effect of 
prolonged years of varying religions on their adherents, of 
early marriage, of premature brides, and juvenile eroticism, 
of a thousand years of malaria and hook-worm, and other 
ills of neglected sanitation in a hot climate, and the deteriora- 
ting effect of aeons of tropical sun on races that were once 
white and lived in uplands and on cool steppes. 


Three hundred and fifty million people, and perhaps of 
them thirty-five millions whose young men are manly young 
men, there may be three million males between the military 
ages of 20 and 35 1 Astounding! and at 35 in the East a man 
is even then ageing for work in the ranks ! 

This fact, astounding as it is now, begins to clear up the 
story of the conquerors from the North, the coming of the 
waves of Tartar, Turk, Mongol, Persian, and Afghan who 
have ridden through India to dominate, almost from all time 
and to a very definite extent, since days parallel with the 
Norman Conquest of Britain. 

To follow the story and the romance of the martial races, 
to see the Rajput soldiery, the 'sons of Princes', struggling 
against Alexander of Macedon and his Greek phalanx, to 
read of the Rajput chivalry immolating their wives in the 
pyre of a burning castle rather than let them fall to the rude 
hands of Moslem invaders and Tartar pagans, to see them 
led by British officers to cross bayonets with the French in 
Java, in Egypt, and in The Mauritius, to watch them carry 
the Union Jack from the Great Wall ot China to the flats 
of Flanders a story, a brief story, of the India races is 
necessary. Things being such, it is possible to understand 
why Sir John Simon and his Commission reported that 
without the British officer and the British soldier, the Indian 
Army the races of the North, would once more eat up the 
people of the South. 

The gentle yet merciless race of hereditary moneylenders, 
from which Lala Ghandi springs, only kept within bounds 
by an occasional flaying and roasting, have never been able 
or even tried to protect their own hoards. Not for them, 
nor for the classes whence come the political lawyer, was the 
troopship that led the martial men of India westwards, to 
fight in the war of freedom. 


The clever trading classes of India have never borne the 
sword by their side, the tradesmen, the artificers, the gold- 
smiths, all that come under the ancient grouping of the 
Vaisya, twice-born though they be, have none of the instincts 
that answer blow with blow. It is one thing to suffer a blow 
and turn the other cheek, in humility and self restraint. It 
is quite another thing to do so from fear. 

The martial races shall stride across the stage ... as 
they swung through Marseilles with half the girls of France 
on their arms . . . that Marseilles that went beside itself 
to see the smoke stacks and masts of the mighty Armada 
that brought the Army of India. The Jat Sikhs mighty and 
curled of beard, kin perhaps to the men of Kent, the Jutes 
from Jutland, with them Moslem and Hindu Rajput, the 
fierce hillmen from the frontiers, the Tartar from Nepal that 
we know as Gurkha, recking little else than that the Badshah 
or Padishah, the great White King, had summoned them 
and that his white officers would lead them and his white 
troops fight by their side. We will try to see them in their 
daily peasant life and working occasions as well as in their 
romantic warring past and in the disciplined lives that they 
lead within the ranks and cantons of the Army in India. In 
so seeing them let us remember that the great Arthur 
Wellesley himself led them, and brought the slighting term 
of 'Sepoy General* to everlasting fame, that Alexander of 
Macedon himself knew them well as ally and as foe, and that 
many marched with Xerxes to the slaughter at the pass of 


The races of India as we know, are many, divergent in 
origin, and extremely divergent in customs and languages, 


as indeed are the races of Europe. Unlike the races of 
Europe there is no universal religion, there is no religious 
rule of life. Europe is guided in general ethics and its laws 
are founded on the Decalogue, a rule of Righteousness 
received of God. The usual conduct of this divergent 
continent of India is not. Even were it all a Muhammadan 
or all a Hindu country, it would still, like Europe, have its 
different races, its intensely divergent climates, its high 
mountains, and its sweltering watered valleys and its hot 
and healthy upland, some rainy, some dry. Its agriculture 
and its fruits vary with its climates, and grow the kindly 
fruits of the earth, both those of the tropics and those of the 
far north. But across the ethnic and climatic differences 
in a bend sinister, lie those of religions. The white races 
that forced their way through the mountains of Solomon 
from Central Asian steppes, evolved a faith which we call 
Hinduism but which they do not. They impinged on a far 
older faith, and met a far older colonization mixed with 
earlier folk still. To the working or quarrelling melange of 
white and darker races, came in due course that portent of 
the Eastern world, the warring, proselytising faith of Islam, 
the Submission to the One God, conceived of an earlier 
tradition, and explained in desert metaphor, and to meet 
this conquering faith that set the East a-roar, there existed 
south of the Indus a civilization and a religious system 
entirely different. The new-comer came in his millions and 
with him came power and might and dominion, and many 
colonizing men of hardy race. To this day the followers of 
Islam and those of the early complicated faith that never dies, 
glare at each other, across the table, in the council chamber, 
and in the streets of the crowded cities. There is only one 
set of people among whom live and let live is a principle, 
and only one place where cameraderie is a practice. The 


martial races of India live side by side in friendliness so long 
as there is a strong hand of Government to prevent their 
stouter hearts joining more seriously in the quarrel, and this 
place where cameraderie exists is curiously enough in those 
homes of content and enthusiasm, the regiments of the Army 
of India. 

To understand then the martial races a bowing acquaint- 
ance is necessary, and will be set forth in brief sequence, 
with the history of the races and the rise of the religions. 
In this light the puzzling fact of the martial and non-martial 
races and the almost impassable line between them will, to 
some extent, be intelligible. 


It is almost a commonplace of knowledge to speak, as has 
just been done, of the move of the Aryan races from their 
cradle somewhere on the steppes of Asia, but it is the key- 
stone of the Indian population problem. Nowhere else on 
the world's surface does the story of thousands of years ago 
still have every day repercussions and echoes in the every 
day social life of the people. 

Until quite recently it was held that the Aryan races, 
simple, pastoral, but of an intellectual brain structure, 
entered an India populated by an earlier emigrant race of no 
great culture, and by negroid and Mongoloid aboriginals, 
and that the white race of their own power had evolved a 
mighty culture, a complicated religion and an intricate 
philosophy. Now, after many centuries, the spade and the 
pick, on the lower Indus and in the Punjab, are showing us 
the remains of a civilization as old as and sib to that of the 
Babylon of Hammurabi and of Ur of the Chaldees. It may 


well be found therefore that the Aryan impinged on some- 
thing far more developed, and as Goth and Vandal took on 
the polish of Rome, so they found some of their culture 
ready made. (v. p. 19). 

That, however, is not very germane to the subject of 
this book, and the point here is that some four thousand 
years ago a white race akin to our British selves, which 
became the mother of the Hindu race of to-day, trekked up 
the Oxus with their ox and their ass and swirled up and 
round the mountains that we now call Afghanistan. Thence 
they welled through the passes to the Indus and the rivers 
of the Punjab, and thence over the district known as Sirhind 
the * Head of India ', down to the valleys of the Jumna and 
mighty Ganges. 

Now as these people developed and settled, and conquered 
the earlier inhabitants, the hammer and spear head, the 
fighting man, became at some time or other, known as Rajputs, 
the 'sons of princes' or the 'clansmen of princes', and in 
the development that followed crystallized off into a separate 
race or people. It is as if the Scottish Highlanders and their 
chiefs, their clansmen and their dune-vassals remained 
cognate, aloof and separate from the rest, colonizing far and 
wide but remaining apart with great pride of place, from the 
rest of the world. Incidentally perhaps it may be said, if 
you had seen a Highland gathering in the Rocky Mountains 
or the Scottish regiments of Canada in their kilts and feather 
bonnets, you might feel that the Scottish clansmen have to 
some extent, remained wherever they spread as have the 
Rajput clans in India, but minus the inexorable religious 
spacing. The point of it is that, as we come to analyse the 
various races of India to-day, in various guises which merit the 
term and distinction of ' martial ', we shall see that in some way 
or other they are the descendants of the warriors who carried 


forward the Aryan exodus and influx, and that mingled with 
them are another race somewhat cognate who came last 
whom we know as J&t or Jat. Such others as there be are 
of an entirely different biological origin and psychology, 
variant of the Tartars, who should be called Tatars, and 
pronounced like a postman's knock . . . the people of the 
Mongol fold, which we call the almond-eye, flat-nosed, 
high-cheeked folk, so different from the Aryan beauty and 
physiognomy of the Greek, to which the high-grade Aryan 
profile of India bears considerable resemblance. 


The conflicting religions are primarily those of Brahminism 
and Islam, because between these two, which the bulk of 
the people profess, so long as religious differences stir men 
minds, no real concordat is possible. A short description 
is needed if we are to see the repercussions that influence the 
martial races. Brahminism is the teaching evolved through 
the ages by the priestly classes of the Aryan incoming. It is 
a most subtle intellectual conception of the world, the 
universe, and the powers that control it, thrice distilled and 
complicated by the probing to the nth of the problems that 
puzzle mankind. Some 80 millions of the followers of Islam, 
the Moslems or Muhammadans, face 270 millions of people 
of whom the greater portion may perhaps be classed as 
Hindus, those people of Hind or Ind who follow the teachings 
in some sense of the Brahmin priests and leaders. 

But this large body includes a thousand Hindu cults and 
castes, many of which are anathema to each other. 

Islam has more than one sect, notably the division between 
the orthodox and those who follow Ali and the Prophet's 


family as the successors in the guidance. But besides these 
two main cults and the infinite variants of Hinduism, there 
are the Jains who follow the teaching of a contemporary of 
the Buddha, one Mahavira, the Jinna or 'Conqueror', 
several missions of Christians of varying denominations, 
the Parsees, a few indigenous Jews, and in addition many 
millions of aboriginal animists. But the greater variants in 
many ways are those that occur within the Hindu umbrella. 
The 60 million untouchables come nominally within Hindu- 
ism, despised and debased though they are, while even 
orthodox Hinduism recognizes such ranges as those from 
the salvation cult down to the realistic worshipper of female 
force. How each and all came to arise is outside the scope 
of this book, but it may be said, that the high-caste Hindu, 
with his theory of re-incarnation, and karma the effect of his 
doings on his next incarnation, is in his own opinion the only 
one who has the keys of the next world in his hands. His 
spiritual regard for others does not exist, thus his tolerant 
contempt for other religions is supreme. His worship, 
especially in its lesser variants, contains many deities, in 
themselves perhaps but aspects of the one, and to the Moslem, 
the fierce uncompromising Unitarian, this is sheer idolatry 
worthy only of his unutterable contempt. Strange bed and 
board fellow then must they be, whose tolerance one with 
another rests on feeble props and stays. 


The martial races, as explained, are largely the product of 
the original white races. The white invaders in the days 
of their early supremacy started the caste system, as a pro- 
tection, it is believed, against the devastating effect on morals 


and ethics of miscegenation with Dravidian and aboriginal 
peoples. The men of war were given to women it would 
seem, and the priest and leaders saw that that tendency must 
be kept within legitimate lines. The white people therefore, 
became stereotyped in three great pure divisions, first the 
race or clan that succeeded in arrogating to itself the 
priestly functions, but was far more numerous than priestly 
functions demanded. These were the Brahmins, and to this 
day many hundreds of thousands are non-priests. Those 
who are cultivators and have led a manly life are no mean 
soldiers. Then the tribes and clans that followed the chiefs 
and did most of the warring, became recognized as forming 
the great Kshattriya or warrior caste, a people of many clans 
who established themselves in many parts of India desirable 
and otherwise. Below them by reason of their peaceful 
callings, were the Vaisyas, traders, merchants, clerkly, 
servitors, artificers in clean material and the like. These 
three represent the ancient divisions of the 'Twice-born* 
a term which means little more than baptized, in the same 
sense as the Chrisuan is 're-born* of water and the Spirit. 
Below them came the great army of the Sudras, those beyond 
the pale, descended of Aryan sires and out-caste dams, 
innumerable as the years rolled on, and within it innumerable 
sub-castes of its own, of no import to the white world, of 
immense import to themselves. As among the Sudras so 
among the ' twice-born ' Vaisyas whose innumerable occupa- 
tions tended to mix trade-union principles with religious 
conceptions of man's value on earth, many castes arose, and 
all the while war, rule, power, might, and dominion was with 
the Kshattriyas, now the Rajputs, who had many clans but one 
main caste, that of the warrior, the man who dealt with 
realities, and as warrior held the land in military and feudal 
tenure. Behind them, the power behind the throne, the 


hand that rocked the cradle, were the Brahmin's brains, 
priestly and lay, scheming, subtle, patriot. 

From this faint impression of the story we begin to get 
some glimmer of the crucible whence the martial classes 
arose and how they came to be supreme, A complication 
and a change whose ramifications will never be known, came 
with the strange downfall of Brahminism, which commenced 
when that complicated and intense religious and social 
system was at its zenith, and was then driven to the wilder- 
ness for a thousand years. In the sixth century B.C., was 
born Gautama Siddatha of the Kshattriya family of a 
ruling prince in what is now Nepal. From him emanated 
the wonderful philosophy that men called Buddhism. 
Gautama eventually became known as * Buddha' 'the 
enlightened', and the noble humane philosophy 'Enlighten- 
ment' that he taught eventually drove Brahminism into 
pockets and pot-holes. How Buddhism took five hundred 
years to rise and five hundred years to wane, and became 
a * religion ' will be outlined hereafter. 1 

It was not till about the sixth century A.D. that Brahminism 
was paramount once again, and India was ruled by Hindu 
princes obedient to the priestly control. 

The religion-gripped divisions of the people when free 
from Brahminism during the prevalence of Buddhism, must 
have retained some portion of their social status, so that 
they took on the old form fairly easily. But it would appear 
that the Brahmins had the power of classification and could 
enact higher or lower status within certain limits as they 
thought fit. It is to be presumed that those who early 
re-embraced the old faith were assured of status thereby, 
and that many were classed as Rajput for political rather than 
hereditary reasons. The caste grouping of India to-day 

1 See p. 41. 


therefore, dates from about the times of the comings of the 
Saxons to England. 


The Rajputs, the 'sons of princes', the modern remnants 
of the Kshattriyas, were and are grouped in three great 
divisions, those of the Sun, the Moon, and the Fire, and 
there is no doubt that they dwelt far up in the mountains of 
Afghanistan, as well as in India. The people as far north as 
Kabul were Hindu up till the eleventh century and Rajput 
or Jit at that. This brings us to the jSt race who to this day 
are so mixed up with the Rajputs in the martial story of 

The story of this people is not a very clear one, but it is 
certain that they, a somewhat cognate white race, followed 
the Aryans into India perhaps a thousand years behind 
them, and coming by the southern roads ousted or pushed 
further south the Aryans on the lower Indus and in the 
southern Punjab, reaching eventually below Delhi. At some 
time in their history they entered the Hindu hierarchy as 
high-caste men, but were never acknowledged to be of 
Rajput origin. They must also have settled in some of the 
valleys of what is now Afghanistan, and there is little doubt 
that the majority of the Pathan tribes of the frontier hills 
are of jSt or Rajput origin. 

When Alexander of Macedon entered India he came to 
enforce his control over the Persian province of Northern 
India which Darius had captured five hundred years before 
Christ, but which after Eastern custom, had more or less 
broken away from his freak successors. From the vicinity 
of what is now Kabul he summoned the chiefs of Northern 


India to come and pay him fealty as the ruler of the Empire 
of Persia. Some did and some did not. 1 Among those 
who did was Rajah Taxiles of Taxila, that ancient city 
of Hindu Greek and Buddhist culture, which has of late 
been unearthed not far from the great modern military 
station known as Rawalpindi, the pind a village on the 
Rawal stream. 

It would even appear from the Greek historians that the 
very same tribes who occupy the hills to-day were there in 
Alexander's time, the inhabitants of the Khaiber region, 
being referred to as Aparoetae, which is the way the folk we 
call Afridi pronounced their own name. 

When Islam came to India a large number of the Rajput 
and Jat tribes adopted that faith, the Muhammadan Rajputs 
to-day form the bulk of the fighting men of the Punjab, and 
it is probable that the tribes of the frontier hills are as stated 
above for the most part the same, viz., jSt and Rajput 
Muhammadan tribes who had done likewise. 

The Jat race are known as Jats south of the Punjab, most 
of the Sikh fraternity are Jats to whom the teaching of that 
religion especially appealed, but the race is to be found in 
the Punjab as Hindu Sikh and Moslem. The Maharajah 
Runjhit Singh, the Sikh baron, who turned the Afghan 
province of the Punjab into a kingdom for the space of his 
life only, left miserable sons behind him. They all met 
their deaths at the hands of his unruly soldiery and nobles, 
with the exception of the boy Dhulip Singh, the putative, 
but not accredited son of his old age. Runjhit Singh was a 
jSt. When, after his death, his army insisted a year or so 
later on rushing onto the bayonets of Lord Gough and the 
Indo-British Army, and were destroyed for their pains, the 
British Government endeavoured to restore and maintain 

1 See p. 22. 


the Sikh kingdom. It will be remembered how the Sikh 
chiefs and the old Sikh Army that survived insisted on 
trying their fate once more, only to be destroyed in 'the 
crowning mercy* of Goojerat. Then was the Punjab annexed 
and the boy, Dhulip Singh, eventually sent to be brought up 
in England with ample revenues. To him his friend, Colonel 
Sleeman, the famous Indian political officer, wrote, "I see 
you are going to live in Kent. You will be among your own 
people there, for you are a J&t and the men of Kent are Jats 
from Jutland/' and no doubt he was speaking ethnological 

How the Jats have kept up their war-like proclivities 
through the ages, how the Jat who is a Sikh has been so 
prominent and faithful a soldier of the Crown, or how the 
Hindu Jat came to such great fame in the World War, for 
one of their battalions to receive the title of ' Royal ', will be 
told in the course of this book. 


Reference has been made to the Muhammadan conquests 
and invasions of India, from the hills in the North-west, 
which began when Sultan Mahmud Ghuznavi was king of 
Ghuzni the hill-girt city which lies in the uplands between 
Kabul and Kandahar. 

Mahmud of Ghuzni, to give him his usual historical name, 
was a Turk, but when he rode to India there rode with him 
every lad who could raise a horse from Turkestan and from what 
we now call Afghanistan. Afghanistan means the 'country 
of the Afghans *, and is in itself a modern word, the actual 
country so designated being long part of the Empire of 
Delhi or the kingdoms of the Punjab. It takes its name 


from a race who gave the country an emperor. Ahmed 
Shah the Afghan, of the Abdali tribe, a leader of horse in 
the pay of Nadir Shah the Persian Turk, it will be remem- 
bered, seized after his master's murder in 1747 his treasure 
and the provinces of Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and also 
those bordering on the left bank of the Indus, carving there- 
from the Durani Empire. This was a name of his own 
invention, for he dubbed himself Dur-i-Duran, the Pearl 
of Pearls and his people Duranis 'the people of the Pearl*. 
His own people, the Afghans proper, are an Arab or Semitic 
folk who came into the Mountains of Ghor and the vicinity 
of Kandahar somewhere about the time of the Prophet and 
his teaching (seventh century). They call themselves, to 
this day, the Children of Israel, the ' Ben-i-I$rael\ and 
claim descent from one Afghana, a grandson of Saul of 
Israel and a commander-in-chief of Hebrew Armies. They 
evidently took the new faith fiercely, as did all its converts, 
and must have taken a considerable part in conquering and 
converting the people whom we call Pathans, the remainder 
of the non-Turkish people of the hills and valleys on the 
right bank of the Indus. So much so, that all the people 
who have already been referred to as being in all probability 
the original Rajput and JSt colonists of those hills, now 
claim relationship with the Afghans; Afghan genealogists 
have framed a largely fictitious, yet ample table, showing 
that all the tribes who speak Pashto or Pakhto, which is what 
the word 'Pathan* means are descended from one Kish or 
Kais who was eighteenth in descent from Saul. 

Together they claim to be the Afghan race, although the 
Durani is usually of Semitic type while the non-Durani 
Pathan is often of Aryan and even Greek profile. 

However, these people, who all became Moslem, followed 
Mahmud of Ghuzni and his successors to India and settled 


all over the land, carving estates for themselves and helping 
to establish the Muhammadan dominion that reached as far 
as the Bay of Bengal on the one side and down to the Dekhan 
in the South, and even to Mysore. 

Lest the term Moslem be not clear, let it be explained 
that the Prophet Muhammad preached the doctrine of Islam 
which means 'The Submission', the submission to Allah, 
the ancient God of the patriarchs whose recognition had 
been obscured by the worship of countless idols and sub-gods 
by the Arab of the desert. Moslem by the derivative system 
of the Arabic language "means 'he whoj>ractises Islam*. By 
another derivative the Moslem is also often referred to as a 
Mussalman, which contains the same root as Islam. Moslems 
and Mussalmans are but Muhammadans, the followers of the 
faith taught by the Prophet Muhammad, which is also spelt 
by older writers as Mahomet. 

Now the Afghan and Pathan settlers of India were long 
the material from whom many of the princes found their 
soldiery, princes of iheir own race and faith. Indeed in a 
vast sense the Muhammadan conquest followed the ways of 
the Norman conquest save that it was religious as well as 
racial. The Moslems of India are divided into four main 
classes, Sheikh, Sayad, Mogul, Pathan. Sheikh meaning lord 
is a euphemistical name for the Hindus who became Moslems, 
not always from fear of the sword but from admiration of 
the teaching. Sayad is the descendant of the original Arab 
evangelists of the sword. Pathans are the speakers of Pashto, 
Afghan or otherwise. Mogul is the name for the many and 
various Turks, Tartars or Mongols, who flocked into India 
from the days of Mahmud of Ghuzni onwards, and were 
indeed drawn from many of the differing Turki peoples from 
Central Asia and Mongolia, who show the almond eye that 
is called the Mongol Fold. 


So Sheikh, Sayad, Mogul, Pathan are the Moslems of 
India and under Sheikh come those Rajput clans who accept 
Islam and who form the backbone of the Indian Army to-day. 


The Turks in India have been many, but they have ceased 
to be as distinct from the ordinary Moslem population as 
perhaps the Afghans. Since Genghis Khan the great 
Tartar conqueror was of Mongol stock, and many of his 
followers of that branch of the Turkish race known as 
Mongols, therefore Baber and his successors of the great 
Mogul Empire took that name, because it was a name of 
fear. Baber himself, was a Chagatai Turk descendant of 
Timur, although on his mother's side he traced descent from 
Ghengis Khan. In India this dynasty is known as Chagatai. 
For this reason all Turks in India whether Turk, Tartar, 
Usbeg, Mongol or Uirghur (the word of dread from which 
we derive ogre) came to be called or called themselves Mogul. 

The almond eye has largely died out in India itself, 
though we find it in the hills on the confines of Tibet where 
Aryan and Dravidian blood has met Mongolian blood of old 

The word Turk is, of course, used in many non-descript 
and differing senses as is that Tartar. Turk or Tartar is 
really the term for all the many clans, tribes and races that 
have the almond fold, except so far as miscegenation has 
carried that fold into many aboriginal and other peoples. 
Thus Mongols, Uirghars, Usbegs, Kirghiz, are all Turks. 
The country that they belong to is Turkestan whether 
Russian Afghan or Chinese, and their story one of strange 
romance. Time and again have they swept Europe; far into 


Russia, up the Danube and along the coast of the arctic seas 
have they penetrated as Turks and Huns, and even the 
Prussian has the cruel Hun blood in his veins. 

In India many of the nobles and barons are of Turkish 
origin. The Nizam of Hyderabad is a Turk, for instance, 
the descendant of the only one of the revolted Mogul Viceroys 
who made his peace with the British and remains. In Mogul 
days the quarrels and factions of the Turkish Lords, the 
' Lords of Turan ' and the Aryan chiefs the * Lords of Iran ' 
were a constant theme and anxiety. The Turki language 
stretches from the Pacific to the Bosphorus and four Turkish 
dynasties quartered Asia, the Manchus at Pekin, the Moguls 
at Delhi, the Khajjars at Teheran, and the Ottoman at 
Constantinople, of all of whom it may now be said ' none 
so poor as do them reverence*. 

But the Turkish military strain has almost died from 
those who claim martial status in India, the Moguls of the 
Salt Range in the Punjab being the principal modern pre- 
sentatives. Yet round Delhi there are settlements of Mogul 
graziers who drove the conquerors' flocks and who still call 
to their sheep in the Indian plains with the peculiar cry 
of the Steppes and not the cry of India. 

The Turkish stock in the Indian Army is represented 
by these Mogul, and by foreigners from the highlands beyond 
Ghuzni, the Tartar folk known as the Hazaras. The only 
other exponents of the Tartar blood are the Gurkhas, the 
Mongoloid tribes of Gurkha or Nepal, from the Rajput 
state which is outside India, of whom more anon. 

With such a glance from the air on the racial past, we 
may now more easily turn to the story, the romance and 
the drama of the martial races through the later centuries 
and to-day. 





THE doings of the war-like Aryan clans in their earlier 
days of colonization are wrapped in legend and mystery 
in which the persons of deities, spirits and incarnations 
change piquets continually. The great epics of the Ramayana 
and the Mahabharata mix legend and what must be history 
inextricably, but only the patience of German students 
working for generations could possibly sift any of the grains 
of truth from the accretions of the fantastic. But we know 
from such glimpses that come through that they found 
castles to storm and we know too that as the centuries rolled 
on, farther did they penetrate into the mountains and jungles 
of Central India through the ranges of the Arravallis and 
Vindhyas, to the country of the demons and the black people. 

The discoveries of the last few years, in the ancient city 
sites at Mohenjo-Daro in Sind and Harappa in the Punjab, 
show us cities revealing a culture akin to that of Ur of the 
Chaldees three thousand years before Christ, or that of 
Babylon in the days of Hammurabi and Sargon I. These 
discoveries have entirely upset the comfortable conception 
that Indian thought and Aryan civilization sprang from the 


< J2 

2 ^4- 

X O 

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[Face page 20 


compiled their narratives from contemporary accounts, and 
just as modern excavations and researches have proved the 
truth of many of the accounts of the Hebrew writers, and 
of the inscribed claims of Babylonian Kings, so have the 
Greek writers gained by cross and counter reference. It 
is to be remembered with interest, since logical pretexts 
for adventurous conquests are as modern as they are old, 
that Alexander came to India in his capacity as the holder 
of the Persian throne. In the battle of Arbela by the Greater 
Zab, now known of men as Erbil, the defeat of the Issus 
had been turned to crushing disaster. The magnificent 
road and staging system of Persia, already honeycombed 
with Greek clerks and traders, was at the disposal of the 
conqueror and up the great route to Khorassan and what 
are now Kandahar and Kabul, Alexander led his Macedonians 
supplemented with levies of Aryan Persians. 

Five hundred years B.C., what is now known as Afghanistan 
and the Indus valley was conquered by the Persian general 
Skylax and became a Persian province. In the generations 
that followed no doubt the Aryan chieftains faltered in 
their allegiance whenever the Persian power waxed feeble. 
It was close on two hundred years later that mighty Alexander 
of the Two Crowns, in the year 327 before Christ to be 
precise, marched up the road from Kandahar and what 
was later Ghuzni to the vicinity of the present Kabul, to 
re-assert the Persian dominion over ^Northern India. This 
march was not so wonderful as is often supposed. The 
roads for the most of the way were superb, the routes well 
known, and Greeks had probably often traversed them, 
while the pack systems of the period and of the countries 
traversed were equal to the occasion. 

From his camp near Kabul the Macedonian summoned 
those chiefs whom Skylax had conquered in the old time afore, 


to come and renew their homage to their ancient Persian 
overlord in the person of himself. Several obeyed his 
summons, others did not, and it has been surmised that 
those who did were later arrivals, of Jt or Scythian origin, 
outside the normal Aryan fold as later comers to India, 
their hands often against their older neighbours, among 
whose landed possessions they had probably played cuckoo. 

However that may be, Alexander then marched for the 
Indus, avoided the Khaiber route, whose inhabitants, the 
Aparoetae were as kittle cattle to deal with then as the 
Apriti or Afridi are to-day. Crossing the Kabul river near 
Jalalabad, and moving up the Kunar river, he entered the 
Peshawur valley by the Swat and probably over what is 
now the Malakand pass. 

The Indian people of Swat contested his advance with 
ill success, Alexander then made to cross the Indus, and 
join at Taxila his ally Prince Taxiles, apparently one of 
those who had accepted his summons and recognized him 
as his ruler. But beiore he did so, he realized that the tribes 
with whom he had been fighting had withdrawn to a mountain 
fastness, where they with all their families and flocks could 
live and sally forth on the communications of the invaders. 
The Great King was too good a soldier to accept this situa- 
tion and while the bulk of his army were making preparation 
to cross the Indus at Amb above the modern Attock, he 
himself with his lightly equipped and other selected storm 
troops set about to attack this fastness in the mountains. 


Chief among the Alexandrine historians, perhaps is 
Flavius Arrianus who we speak of as Arrian. But Arrian 


was born in A.D. 96 and Alexander invaded India in 327 B.C. 
The astounding story of the storming of the Rock of Aornos, 
was compiled apparently from accounts by that Ptolemy 
who founded the Greek dynasty of Egypt, and that by 
Aristoboulos, both of whom took part in the deed. 

Ever since the British came to this part of India in 1849, 
historians and archaeologists have searched for the Rock 
of Aornos. Many have been the mountain sites along the 
Indus suggested but none of them filled the bill of the 
historians' detailed account. Then for some years the for- 
bidden mountain top of Mahabun in the inaccessible inde- 
pendent hills was looked on as the spot, that hill, which can 
be seen from the Attock railway bridge, snow-topped in 
winter and always blue and provocative. But some years 
ago Sir Aurel Stein of the Indian Archaeological Department 
visited the mountain under tribal escort, arranged by the 
Chief Commissioner on the Frontier. Alas! he came back 
to report that by no stretch of imagination could he fit 
the place to the account. Such few ruins as there were must 
be of far later date. 

However, the years rolled by, and peaceful influences 
increased, so that a few years later Sir Aurel was able to go 
much further into these tumbled mountains known as the 
Trans-Indus Kohistan, or 'Hill Country', searching more 
especially for Buddhists sites referred to by the famous 
'Chinese Pilgrims', into the water-parting between the 
Indus and the Swat, to Ghorband and Chakesa. 

When his venture to Mahabun proved a failure, Sir 
Aurel Stein was at last inclined to think that Aornos and 
its storming must really be a travellers' tale, but Colonel 
Wahab ,of the Royal Engineers, a well known frontier road- 
maker and geographer, had always thought that the site 
might be still further up the Indus gorges, and though hanging 


with grim cliffs over that mighty river might be accessible 
from behind. 

This conjecture proved to be right and Sir Aurel from 
the reverses slopes, after much climbing found the great 
plateau of refuge with a peak called Una 1 and even the little 
col connecting it with the outer world. He found too the actual 
bluff on which Alexander's engineers had built up the 
erection from which their marksmen kept down the fire of 
the defenders while the gorge between was sufficiently filled 
up with tree trunks cut and carried from the forests below. 
In every way it filled Arrian's description, and is still the 
place to which the graziers move their flocks in summer. 
Here is Arrian's account which it fulfils: " The rock is said 
to have a circuit of about 200 stadia (23 miles), and its lowest 
elevation a height of 11 stadia (6,700 ft.). It was ascended 
by a single path cut by the hand of man, and yet difficult. 
On the summit of the rock there was, it is also said, plenty 
of pure water, which gushed out from a copious spring. 
There was timber besides, and as much good arable land as 
required for its cultivation a thousand men." 

How the desperate storming was done by the Greek 
veterans and their Bactrian levies, and how desperate was the 
struggle for the col, Arrian tells us, and we who have seen 
Highlanders and Sikhs vie with one another to scale the 
goat-foot path that led to Dargai know that the tale can 
be true, and that as it is described so it occurred, twice a 
thousand thrice a hundred years and more ago. 


Having safely crossed the Indus, with no enemy left in 
being behind him, Alexander halted awhile at Taxila, and 

1 Which may be "Aornos." 


held an assault-at-arms. In other words his army wanted 
rest, and some re-equipping after the arduous passage 
through the hills. The tribesmen with whom he contended 
were, we may be sure, very much the same folk as the British 
Indian Army of to-day knows so well, and their methods 
would be, at any rate, not dissimilar to the mountain tactics 
of the frontier tribes, say fifty years ago, before a plethora of 
breech-loading weapons made them shun the impact of 
steel. We may be confident that the Aparoetae referred to 
were but the Apriti of to-day, that being the Afridi's own 
pronunciation of his modern name 1 , while the P&ctiae were 
no doubt, the folk who spoke as to-day that language of the 
frontier of the same stock as the Indian tongue which we 
know as Pactu or Pashtu. 2 

Coming through the passes the slingers on the hill-tops 
no doubt took tally of the convoys whenever the heights were 
not piquetted by the light troops, the hypaspae, and bunches 
of swordsmen hung about the ravines waiting lest a convoy 
escort snoozed and gave an opening. The ways of mountain 
warriors all the world over remained the same for countless 
years, until villainous saltpetre taught them even better 
ways of battle, murder and sudden death. 

So at Taxila the Macedonians and their Aryan levies led 
by eager young Aryans of the West exactly as the Aryan 
Rajput soldiery are led to this day by their enthusiastic 
Western Aryans of Britain, halted a while and recovered from 
the strain of the mountain passage and the storming of 
Aornos. No doubt, as we ourselves know so well, cattle 
needed rest and more had to be hired. 

The next task before the invaders was to tackle the 
Kshattriya overlord of the country, to whom the chieftains 
had transferred their allegiance when Persian rule waxed 
1 > P- 22. Which comes from the Zend. 


feeble, but who was probably always outside the original 
Persian acquisition. 

In these matters of Eastern conquest it is to be remembered 
that from ancient to quite modern times, conquest and over- 
lordship meant merely the paying of revenue and the supply- 
ing of military contingents on demand to the overlord, who if 
not interfered with did not himself interfere with local 
governments and people. We may here compare the system 
of Napoleon when Europe lay at his feet. It was not indeed, 
until the fanaticism of the earlier Islamic conquerors brought 
religion as well as dominion into the scales, and slaughtered 
the people they conquered rather than made them revenue 
payers, that this situation altered. The lesser barons in the 
days of Alexander sided with the strong man armed, especi- 
ally if, as seems to have been the policy of Alexander, reason- 
able political treatment was meted out to those who sub- 

The good King Porus who ruled the Northern Punjab 
was not, however, to submit without a trial of strength, and 
so Alexander accompanied by Taxiles with 5,000 of his 
own men started off to the most nor- westerly of the five rivers, 
the River Hydaspes which is now the Jhelum, on the eastern 
side of which, dominating the crossing, King Poros had 
massed his forces, estimated as the Alexandrine historians 
record at 4,000 horse, 30,000 foot, 300 chariots and 200 
elephants. The latter two may indeed be considered as 
the whippet and heavy tanks of the period. 

The passage across the Punjab will have followed to a 
great extent the line of the Grand Trunk Road which our 
troops know so well, filing through the gorges of Jani Ka 
Sang, and thence down to the plains of Rawalpindi, where, 
no doubt, the pinus longifolia which is still seen in patches 
covered a wider area. The River Jhelum after emerging 


from the mighty Pir Panjal range and cutting across some open 
country then finds itself tearing its way through the gorges 
of the Salt Range, those hills that have bred and nurtured 
men among men, warriors and yeomen from earliest days. 
Here were the Aryan Kshattriya tribes and their henchmen 
established, and from far and near were in the Rajput, to 
use the more recent word, ranks of the Punjab King. Under 
the gorges of the Salt Range, hidden perhaps by the alley 
ways that they afford, the Macedonians reached what is now 
Jallalpur, amid raw red rocks, broken ravines, patches of 
arable silt and certain habitable flats and islands. As it was 
now summer and the Hydaspes was heavy with molten snow- 
water, Alexander, to lull the Indians to security, gave out 
that he did not intend to attempt the passage until later in 
the year when the floods would have subsided. 

The Indian host in the meantime faced him on the 
hither-bank opposite Jallalpur, while Alexander constantly 
moved forces up and down the right bank so as to keep the 
Indians in doubt as to his intentions. Seventeen miles to the 
north of Jallalpur, where the main army of Porus faced the 
Macedonian camps, the Jhelum takes a sweep, and on the 
right bank stood a great mass of rock, and opposite in mid- 
stream a wooded island. 

Here Alexander decided to make a crossing, leaving 
Craterus in charge of his main camp at the Jallalpur fords. 
He started for the rock aforesaid, reaching it apparently un- 
seen by the Indian host. Under cover of night he regained 
the island to find at dawn that a rushing branch of the river 
still lay between him and the left bank. A deep ford however, 
was shown him, which his horsemen managed to negotiate, 
his infantry crossing as best they could by boat, and some 
neck-high in the river. 

With Craterus Alexander had left orders to cross to his 


front, if the Indians had sent away all their elephants to meet 
his own turning movements, saying that if any elephants 
remained Craterus would not be able to get his horses to 
ford the river. 

Across the river, Alexander formed a line facing down the 
stream with his right thereon, which as his infantry 
struggled over, gave him some 4,000 horse and 6,000 foot. 
By now Porus knew of the crossing of at least a Macedonian 
detachment and sent his son with 2,000 horse and 120 
chariots to oppose it. This inadequate force, as might have 
been expected, received very rough handling from the 
invaders' cavalry, losing its leader, 400 men and all the 
chariots which had stuck in the river sand. 

Porus now hastily moved the bulk of his army some five 
miles up river, and formed into line of battle about the 
present mud village of Moong. 

Moong, it is interesting to note, is practically the scene of 
the desperate soldiers 1 battle of Chillianwallah, fought in 
January, 1849, between a Punjabi army, many of them the 
Rajput descendants of the very men who fought against or 
for Alexander at this battle of the Hydaspes, and Lord 
Gough with his mixed force of British and Hindustani 
soldiers. The historical parallel was well known to the 
British Army for, by the camp fires, the following was 
lustily roared: 

Sabres drawn and bayonets fixed 
Fight where fought Alexander 
O* Paddy Cough's a cross betwixt 
Bull-dog and Salamander. 

The Rajput army of King Porus thus hastily threw itself 
in array and faced up the Hydaspes as the Macedonians 
moved down. It must have been much such an army as 


is to this day to be seen in some of the Indian states, and 
certainly resembled, let us say, that of the Mahrattas at the 
last battle of Panipat in 1761. It must also have resembled 
that portion of the Punjabi armies eighty years ago as had 
not had a European military training. Masses of spearmen 
and archers, gaudy colours, plenty of banners as each chief- 
tain led forward his henchmen the great elephant tanks in 
the intervals, the whippets of the chariots waiting to gallop 
forward en masse plenty of colour, steel helmets, bright 
scarves and baldricks, axe and lance and mace. How far 
there was discipline and power of manoeuvre is not known, 
but other details we do know from the pages of Arrian. 

Alexander, writes the historian, pressing forward with 
cavalry, his infantry following steadily behind, halted in 
view of the Indian army till they came up and deployed. 
Then engaging the enemy's left he sent a force of cavalry 
under Coenus to envelop the Indian outer flank and rear. 
Holding back his frontal attack till his cavalry, as highly 
trained and equipped as those of modern armies, had plunged 
into the rear of the Indian masses, he joined battle on the 
whole front. It was the old story, the disciplined West, those 
solid, imperturbable phalanxes were too much for all the 
wild valour of the East. The elephants were disconcerting 
to the Macedonian and broke up the lighter formations, but 
the masses of the phalanx could withstand them, and galled 
beast and howdah tower with their arrows. In vain the 
Indian cavalry returned to the charge. The disciplined 
ranks of horse and foot were too much for them, the ele- 
phants penned up among the infantry lost their tempers and 
damaged friend as much as foe, trampling hundreds under 
foot, their own mahouts slain by the arrows of the Mace- 
donians. The Indian horse bunched helplessly, lost their 
pace, and were surrounded by the Greek cavalry, into the 


midst of whom now advanced a mass of infantry covered by 
their shields. 

Craterus had now crossed the river and come up to take 
part. Long was the afternoon of slaughter in the heat haze 
of an Indian summer's day. Twenty thousand Indians were 
said to have been killed, and all their chariots and elephants 
captured. It was another Sobraon. The more accurately 
stated casualties of the victors were said to be less than a 
thousand, and however that may be, the fate of the Punjab 
was for the time settled. Porus accepted a state of vassalage 
and was thus restored to his throne while Alexander passed 
on. We need not follow him across the Punjab to the Chenab, 
the Ravi and the Sutlej and the day when after further vic- 
tories, his army * fed up * with its years of marching, refused 
to march for Hindustan. 

The story has been told thus far because it tells of the 
same martial races of India as we know them battling in 
much the way we also know, and shows the Western Aryans 
leading their Indian 01 Eastern Aryan soldiers just as do the 
British to-day, for there is no new thing under the sun. 
Then the conqueror was persuaded to return West leaving 
garrisons, only to die of malaria in Babylon. The *C. 3* 
men, to use the modern army jargon, whom Alexander left 
in India were soon slain or absorbed and India returned to 
its own Kshattriya allegiance. But the Greeks left kingdoms 
north of the Indus which endured for generations and 
mingled the civilizations, of which traces still remain. Among 
the villages of the tribes in Swat are the ruins of the Graeco- 
Buddhist settlements and the carved temple friezes like to 
those of the Parthenon, and to this day also do aged peasants 
untie the tail of their shirts and offer to sell you the coins 
concealed therein which they have turned up at the tail of 
their plough-shares. 


There were 216 mints in which Greek coins are known to 
have been struck. The writer in the early 'nineties was 
visiting the mint at Jammu in the State of Jammu and 
Kashmir, with the Accountant General. New Kashmiri 
rupees were beings truck then, known as Chilki rupees, and 
bags of old hoarded treasure were being melted down. The 
last bag of an old hoard was being poured forth, and we asked 
to look. They were all Graeco-Bactrians, and were rescued 
and formed a joyous find to the Punjab numismatists. The 
bags that we were too late to save were ever a matter for 


Here is a story which is wafted about in quiet circles in 
the Punjab by officers who know, which some day I hope 
to tell at length. The legend runs that once upon a time 
during his Indian campaigns Alexander was collecting 
elephants, and there came a Brahmin maid to petition that her 
father's elephant might be excused. Dazzled by the girl's 
beauty the King consented on condition that she remained 
with him. Now Brahmin families do not easily preserve 
the legends of such happenings, but the philanderings of so 
powerful a king solace family pride and to this day a certain 
Brahmin family cherishes a bend sinister as redounding to its 
glory. The Great King was a man of moods and violent 
tempers and was in fact, an epileptic, as historical records 
hint at. The modern story runs somewhat as follows. One 
Duni Chand, a Punjab Brahmin, had enlisted into a Punjab 
regiment, a stout, well grown, hearty lad, but the bane of the 
drill sergeant and his adjutant. Drill as they could, set him 
as they would, he had the trick of suddenly going askew with 
one shoulder hunched. The question of his discharge as 


physically unfit as one having an epileptic taint, was held 
over for love of his uncle, an old Indian officer of the corps. 
While he was away as orderly to an officer attached to a 
frontier column, he fell a victim to a Waziri sniper's rifle, 
and that was the end of Sepoy Duni Chand. 

A year or two later two officers of the regiment visiting a 
picture gallery in Florence, stopped before the picture of a 
man, a head and shoulders with a slight upward hunch of 
one shoulder. 

"Why," exclaimed one, "I'm hanged if that is not our 
Duni Chand, the lad shot when with me up the Tochi." 

But the gallery catalogue said, "Alexander the Great 
(Painter unknown.)" 


It is necessary to follow in brief outline the centuries that 
supervened on the Alexandrine invasion, as they have all 
contributed to that Rajput revival in the first millennium of 
the Christian Era, which laid the foundation of the martial 
races and their divisions as we know them to-day. Far down 
the Ganges valley, while Alexander was harnessing King 
Porus to the Persian Empire, there flourished the great Hindu 
Kshattriya kingdom of Magadha, its capital being Pataliputra 
near by the modern Patna. Magadha, then ruled by the 
Nanda dynasty, had been extending its influence and had 
absorbed many of its lesser neighbours. It stretched over 
the greater part of Bengal and up the Ganges to the confines 
of the Punjab, and the river Sutlej. 

At Taxila Alexander had heard of this great state still to 
conquer, and the victory over Porus seemed to put even its 
kingdom within his reach, It is said that a refugee Kshattriya 


there, one Chandra Gupta whom the Greeks refer to as 
Sandracottus, urged the enterprise in him, with a view no 
doubt to holding the satrapy under Alexander, a view as 
old as the world yet as modern as modern can be, in 
Eastern politics. 

The mutiny of his over-marched soldiery however, put 
any further conquests outside the realm of immediate 
possibility, but when the Macedonian authority east of the 
Indus, faded as quickly as it had arisen, some turn of the 
wheel, without Greek assistance, brought Chandra Gupta 
to the throne of Magadha where he established the famous 
Mauryan dynasty. 

In the break up of Alexander's Empire that followed 
his death at Babylon in 325 B.C., one of his commanders, 
Seleucus, assumed control of Bactria, the province which is 
now Afghan Turkestan. Thence he endeavoured to repeat 
his master's feat and re-entered India. Here he was met by 
a confederacy with Chandra Gupta at its head, and was so 
severely handled that he was glad to come to terms with 
Chandra Gupta and even to give the latter his daughter in 
marriage, resigning his call to all lands south of Kabul. 
That was a happy enough proceeding and incidentally it 
gave the opportunity for more recorded history, which would 
never have been extant had not Seleucus sent an envoy 
Megasthenes to reside at the Mauryan court. 

Megasthenes remained five years at the headquarters of 
King Chandra Gupta, and portions of his account remain. 
He gives many details of what came under his own observa- 
tion, of the system of law and taxation and administration, 
and of the vast standing army which presumably alone as in 
Mogul days secured the adhesion of the component parts 
of the Empire. According to Megasthenes the army was 
over 600,000 strong with an immense number of chariots 


and several hundred elephants, and those conversant with 
any of the larger 'Princes' States' to-day, will note how little 
such matters have changed with the ages. 


Chandra Gupta was succeeded by his son who reigned 
twenty-eight years, and in 267 his famous grandson Asoka 
came to the throne which Chandra Gupta's heir had still 
further extended. Under Asoka the empire of Magadha 
became the greatest Hindu Empire which India has ever seen, 
before or since. Not only was his reign notable for further 
conquests, which took it down to the Bay of Bengal and the 
Krishna river and up to the confines of Bactria itself, but in 
light and law giving and wisdom it also transcended. 

Like so many Indian princes, in succeeding to the throne 
of Chandra Gupta he had to do so over the body of his elder 
brother, with whom he had a fierce quarrel. The Buddhist 
writers of the day say that he murdered his brother to clear 
his own way to the throne, but other legends represent the 
elder, who was Governor of Taxila, as being killed in battle 
with the forces of his brother. These fierce struggles between 
brothers are a pitiful feature in all the stories of the succession 
of dynasties, whether Hindu Buddhist or Moslem, and are 
without doubt due to polygamy. The quarrelling brothers 
are almost always half brothers, while own brothers are 
usually friends and allies. The ambitions of the various 
mothers, added to the custom governing succession whereby 
the legal heir was often the son nominated by the ruler, are 
responsible for the struggles which were as disastrous to the 
state concerned as they were to the unsuccessful claimant. 
In fact it was for hundreds of years, nay still is, an axiom in 


the East that no wise king allows his brothers to live, or if he 
does so deprives them of their eyesight by one of the accepted 
methods, the red hot iron or the needle. In Turkey it will 
be remembered under the eyes of civilization, the brothers 
of the rulers lived in * the cage ', from whence at times they 
were withdrawn to fill a vacancy on the throne after years 
of enforced withdrawal from the affairs of the world. In 
Kabul, the blinding-iron and the knife provided a simpler 

During his reign Asoka first became a Buddhist layman 
and then later a Buddhist monk, so that under him Buddhism 
became practically the state religion and began to spread 
over the whole of India. His edicts, carved on conspicuous 
sheets of rock throughout Aryan India, remain to this day, 
proclaiming the rules of Buddhist life and well-doing. 
Under him Buddhist missionaries were welcomed all over 
the civilized world. He died in 232 B.C. after a monumental 
reign of 41 years, and after him there ruled six more Mauryan 
kings in 48 years, under whose inferior rule the great empire 
decayed sadly, so much so indeed that an invasion by a 
Greek prince Menander of one of the small states west of 
the Indus into which Bactria had subsided, penetrated to 
the very gate of Pataliputra itself. With the death of Asoka 
military power had passed away for a while from Aryan 
India. Sungas succeeded to Mauryas, and Kanvas to 
Sungas, and went down in their turn to a great and rising 
power in Central India and the Dekhan known as the 


Very little is really known of the Andras except that 
under that dynasty sea trade from the coast both East and 


West developed greatly. Along the Indus there were many 
happenings of which we have but confused information 
in the centuries immediately before and after the Birth of 
Christ. The Greek kinglets in Bactria had been engaged 
with the Parthians who now controlled the Persian Empire, 
and also with a new set of invaders, the nomadic Sakas whom 
European writers refer to as Scythians. A Parthian ruler 
of Persia, one Gondophares, had gained control down to 
the Indus and made the local chiefs satraps, while the Greek 
kinglets and their westerners were driven down to the 
Indus also. To the Indus also came the 'Sakas 1 about 
this time. There is some confusion concerning the latter, 
who are often spoken of as if they are a Tartar people. With 
them are always bracketed the Jats or Jats. This is probably 
correct, but that the mass of the Sakas Scythians or J&ts 
were Tartars, is probably wrong. They were apparently 
of stock much akin to the earlier Aryan invaders and Ibbetson 
says that the jSts are indistinguishable from Aryans, a 
statement with which, all who know them will agree. There 
is no possible trace of the Tartar in the tall Jat Sikh or Jat 
of Delhi. 

It is quite possible, however, that this term Scythian 
was used for all nomads, and that some Tartar nomads 
were tacked on in their wake. Indeed this Jat infiltration 
via what is now Kandahar and the passes to the southern 
Punjab seems to have been steadily in progress since before 
the days of Alexander. 

We shall probably never attain to any more precise knowl- 
edge on the subject, but we do know that the Sakas towards 
the end of the first century did form a rule in Guzerat that 
waxed to some importance, spreading south to combat with 
the Andras, and that at the commencement of the first 
century A.D. they were living under the overlordship of the 


Gondophares referred to, who had made them into a 
Kshattrapa or Satrapy. 

The real Tartar invasion comes a little later, when a race 
known as the Yuechi drove fiercely both Graeco-Bactrians 
and Sakas before them, and when a portion of them known 
as the Kushans took possession of what is now Afghanistan 
and Bokhara under one Kadphises. His son Kadphises II 
having failed to penetrate into China from Turkestan turned 
his attention to India, overthrew the Parthian authority 
and established a capital at Peshawur, whence by the end 
of the first century he had extended his conquest as far as 
Benares. This meant the end of any real Indian dynasty 
or central control, and the Andras in the south and centre 
were able to increase their territories. About this year 
Kanishka succeeded to what was large enough to be known 
as the Kushan Empire. He and his Tartars became Buddhists 
and Buddhism flourished mightily in Northern India. The 
kaleidoscope in these centuries was never to come to rest, 
for by 150 A.D. the Kushans were falling and the Saka 
kingdom in Guzerat, now Hindu, was coming to power as 
already mentioned, and the Aryan power was recovering 
once more on the Ganges. Quite how is not known, but 
by 250 A.D. another Chandra Gupta starts the Gupta dynasty 
and again his authority is over a tract big enough to merit 
the description 'Empire', ... an empire which lasted 
to the famous days of Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya, the 
' Sun of Victory '. We have a detailed account of the state 
of affairs at that period when the first of the famous Chinese 
pilgrims to record his journeys wrote his itinerary. Buddhism 
he describes as flourishing, but Hindu temples and centres 
were reviving, and the various dynasties indeed, so far 
as the mass of the people and the countryside were con- 
cerned, were of no great account. The folk merely paid 


their cess to a new master, the local barons sent their levies 
to serve a new lord, and marrying and giving in marriage, 
the reaping of the crops and the comfortable life in the 
monasteries continued. Indeed a study of England in the 
Wars of the Roses and even in the Civil War, shows that life 
went on in the countryside similarly unaffected. As long 
as you conformed to the demands and orders of the local 
major-general all was serene. So in Hindustan, in the 
plains of the Jumna and Ganges, it is a pleasant life that 
Fa Hien is able to show us, far away from the fiercer stramash 
on the Indus Valley where Sakas, Bactrians and Tartars 
struggled for mastery. 

We now come to the fierce Tartar in-roads of the Huns 
and Toraman. The first coming of Turkish races in the 
shape of the Yuechi and their driving down to India the 
Greeks, Bactrians and JSts, has been already related, and 
now in the middle of the fifth century to add to the medley, 
come into India the White Huns. These are but some of 
those hordes whom Attila led to Europe, and who, driven 
back from the West, in the middle of the fifth century, 
overflow the plateaux and come through the passes to the 
patient valley of the Indus, and its long suffering inhabitants. 
Fierce and cruel as were the conquests of these Huns under 
Toraman and his son Mihiragula, earning a name of horror 
still remembered in India, a couple of generations saw their 
power for evil destroyed, after a crushing defeat of Mihiragula, 
by the allied forces of several Kshattriya chiefs. Of these 
Yasodharma of Ujjain seems to have been the leader, a king 
who is believed to be identical with that Vikramaditya 
referred to, who figures in many Indian legends. After 
Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya, the north fell asunder into 
many small kingdoms, a period which lasted from about 
528 A.D. till the first decade of the next century. The Huns 


who had remained had absorbed Buddhism, and were to 
some extent already merged with the older peoples and 
thus prepared for the greater merging that was coming, 
and which set the framework of the races that has lasted 
till modern times. 





IN the foregoing outline of the early centuries immediately 
before and after the commencement of the Christian Era, 
reference has been made to the existence and the spread of 
Buddhism. Martial history in India is as much connected 
with movements of religion and the struggles they engender 
as in the rest of the world, perhaps even more so. In India 
these movements have covered the face of so many centuries 
that they must either be swept over with a general glance 
by the student or else be entered on in considerable 

To follow the evolution of the martial races and the 
blending that produced the modern Rajput peoples, an 
outline of the rise and fall of Buddhism in India, is essential, 
but more than a mere outline is beyond the scope and purpose 
of this book. 

The faith of 'Enlightenment' had its birth when Brah- 
minism under the old dispensations was at its zenith, thrice 
complicated in subtlety and refinement. Throughout the 
land many teachers and many preachers were searching for 


The Bikani Camel Corps, famous in Syria (1914-17) 



light, girding at privilege and ritual, and the chains thus 
forged for mankind. They and the Buddha, thought not 
of new religion but only preached reform and simplicity 
within the existing order. 

In the sixth century B.C. two teachers rose to prominence, 
Mahavira the Jinna or ' Conqueror *, and the noble, eternally 
famous * Buddha*. Buddha which means 'The Enlightened* 
was a Kshattriya princelet, a son of a ruler of Kapilavasthu 
in what is now Nepal, named Suddhodana, and is often 
referred by his names Gautama and Siddatha. He was 
of the Munia clan and is also often spoken of as Sakyamuni 
the 'sage of the Muni*. Having taken part in his youth 
in the field-sports and wars that his race so often enjoyed, 
a surge of horror entered his soul that such things should 
be. Turning to the gentle holy thoughts of the world, he 
spent many years searching for the 'way of life* at the 
feet of others and found it not. Then it was that he founded 
his own school and taught the 'Noble Eightfold Path*. 
Buddhism was a levelling philosophy and how and what 
it taught is again beyond the scope of this book of warriors. 
It was but one of the many teachings in this Hinduism and 
not intended to be the separate faith into which it grew. 
Suffice it to say, that it spread but slowly, yet with sure 
gathering force, till at last the great Asoka 1 who, as related, 
had brought under his one rule far more of India than had 
ever been unified before, became first a lay brother and 
eventually a monk. This was in the latter half of the 
third century B.C. Asoka having ascended the throne 
in 267. 

When Asoka, whose famous edicts of morals have been 
referred to, actually adopted Buddhism, that 'Way*, for 
it was not yet a religion in the strict sense of the word, was 
1 Now spelt Asoka by the scientific. 


assured of dominance and started on its inevitable path of 
ecclesiastical agrandisement. 

It spread and spread, till the ancient dominion of Brah- 
minism was practically eradicated and driven under ground, 
remaining dormant among the never dying sacred race 
but confined to the pot-holes and rock temples or the gathering 
of the 'forest-dwellers', by then disappearing. 

Buddhism in India reached its zenith about the time of 
the birth of Christ. Missionaries too, were carrying it 
far into Asia, and it is not too much to believe that India 
was, for a while, infinitely happier and better under the 
benificent teaching. But it was growing very complicated, 
because subtle minds still demanded the why and the where- 
fore, and human minds would not do without a 'religion', 
a belief in a worship of God, and some method of teaching 
regarding a mystical communion and 'way* and a word of 
power. The thinkers gradually produced such within the 
confines of Buddhism. Incarnations and saviours appeared 
in the esoteric ste*y, and with a religion there arose the 
formalism that is inevitable when such things are handled 
by man. Great prelates came to authority, monasteries 
galore, powerful and wealthy, arose throughout the land. 
Then the new faith, now many centuries old was growing 
remarkably like the old one, without all the village fun that 
Hinduism had sanctioned. By a process that we do not 
know, the long wait in the wilderness of Brahminism had 
passed. Centuries of conservation of teaching and the 
strength of the old sacredness was to meet with its reward. 
Presumably there came a period of Buddhist apathy, and 
this enabled the old faith to come anew. 

Because Buddhism was a philosophy, it seems quite possible 
that the old social barriers were never more than partially 
broken down, the princes and rulers became supporters of 


one faith or the other, while the priesthood arose again on 
political, social and private quarrels. For as the Prophet 
Jeremiah says 

" The Prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear 
rule thereby, and my people love to have it so." 

The story now passes to the stage where Hindu and 
Buddhist supporters quarrel one with another, the country 
slowly falls away from the peaceful, kindly, contented ways 
that Buddhism succeeded in engendering and the Indian 
world re-entered the period of strife. 

It is under these conditions that the Rajput system as 
we know it to-day, which has given us in one form or an- 
other most of our martial races, and which was able to 
survive the long Moslem domination without more than 
partial absorption, began to assume concrete shape. 


The Empire of Harsha, whose final capital was the then 
magnificent city of Kanauj, flourished when Buddhism was 
breaking up fast but was still a power in the land. Harsha 
himself, though a Rajput, was still a Buddhist but the wise 
men both Brahmin and Buddhist were encouraged to con- 
duct discussions before him. We are singularly fortunate in 
knowing something of the greatness and also the colour of 
this period, not from Indian sources but from the itineraries 
of the second of the famous Chinese Buddhist pilgrim 
travellers who came to see the land of Boddhi. In A.D. 606 
Harsha had ascended the throne of the Maurya dynasty, 
and it was in 630 that Houen Chang entered the country 
journeying by Kandahar and Kabul. Wherever he went he 


found Buddhism falling into decay, and existing side by side 
with a reviving Hinduism. 

Houen Chang gives many details of what he saw, and is 
especially interesting in saying that Buddhism had fallen 
from its high estate in Afghanistan, and deteriorated into 
idol worship, where magical powers were attributed to images 
of Buddha. Beyond Bamian to this day, giant images of 
Buddha remain, carved in the solid rock of the hillside, 
hundreds of feet high, alongside which men appear as pig- 

Houen Chang speaks of great dislike and distrust between 
Buddhist and Hindu. Nevertheless Harsha's kingdom, 
in which incidentally it appears that law and order 
were not so well maintained as in the days of Fa Hien's 
travels, was a great one, and he was in effect the last who 
could claim to be a ' ruler of India * till the days of the 

The Brahmins had learnt much in their many hundreds 
of waiting years, an.! had mastered two essential facts, the 
first that the world needs a religion, and not a philosophy, the 
second that a religion must be part of the life of the ordinary 
people. Under Buddhism far too many of the people had 
become monks, many of whom to the outer world were what 
in olden days in England were known as * abbey-lubbers ', 
and were living on the community. The drive of the Noble 
Eight- Fold Path was gone, and the Brahmins now encouraged 
a development of the old religion that was deeply wrapt up 
in the everyday life and joys of the people. They were 
ready to assimilate almost any cult and teaching, even 
Buddhism as a mode of thought, and in this guise it did and 
does remain. The Hinduism of the devout has much of the 
teaching of Buddha in its make-up. 



When Harsha and his dynasty passed away, in the seventh 
century, there came a period on which the curtain of oblivion 
has descended and we know remarkably little of what 
happened. But we can fairly well imagine these years in 
outline. The Tartars, Turks, Mongols, whichever name is 
applied to them, who had come into the country had accepted 
Buddhism. As Buddhists, whether conquered by Indian 
Buddhists as they eventually were, or when colonizing 
among Indians during the sway of the Tartar dynasties of 
the north, they had not the difficulties to overcome that 
would have presented themselves had the regime in India 
been Brahmin. When, therefore, the Indian peoples began to 
turn towards Brahminism, no doubt the Tartars were ready 
to come back to its fold with the Aryans and there had prob- 
ably been much miscegenation. 

The Rajputs were undoubtedly the Aryans of the old 
Kshattriya class, but recruited and blended with many 
another stout folk, who were admitted by their fellows and 
acknowledged by the Brahmins to be Rajputs * the sons and 
followers of Princes '. Blended as Buddhists they remained 
as Hindus, and as Hindus of the highest class bar the Brahmins 
themselves. The new Rajputs appear to have been the 
dominating folk from the Indus to the Himalaya, but 
south also to the Aravalli hills and beyond, and even in the 
valleys of what we now call the frontier hills across the 
mighty Indus itself. 

In Central India it would appear that the Rajputs were 
perhaps more generally pure Kshattriya, and in the north 
and west more mingled with the various Tartar races 
and with those Jats who had arrived as many had, before 


the reclassification. Those J&ts who came later remained 

Many of the Kshattriya legends and ancestry were accepted, 
no doubt in many cases accurately enough, by the re- 
grouped clans. Descent from Krishna and Rama was 
accredited to certain clans, and these latter became grouped 
as Rajputs of the Sun Surajbansi, of the Moon Yadubansi 
and as a later grouping and not quite so exalted or of such 
high repute, the Agnicular Rajputs those * descended of the 
Fire/ whatever that might mean. The legends of descent and 
origins were legion and the making of fictitious family trees 
was, no doubt, done to order in many a clandestine herald's 
office, recognition by the Brahmins being the price for 
supporting the warp and weft of the new regime. During this 
period it has been thought that it was from Kanauj, the 
capital of the Rahtores, as will be described later, that the 
whole modern Hindu system was forged and the ' En- 
Rajputment ' planned, based on the old teaching, fortified by 
the experience tha* Brahminism had been through. All the 
chivalry was gradually brought under one umbrella, by the 
bribe of being accepted as Fidei Defensor and thus of a caste 
exalted beyond dispute. To be the ' sons of princes ' appealed 
to all men of ambitious warrior instinct. As already explained, 
with the disappearance of Buddhism there was but one 
religion in India, however varied in its daily methods. Hin- 
duism as distinct from another faith, only appears when Islam 
split the continent, after it was tight in the bonds of an occu- 
pational caste system hallowed by priestly and religious 
sanction, derived declared the Brahmins from an ancient 
code, that of Manu the law giver, which at this time was 
made of great account. 

Thus the Brahmins spreading their grip wherever Rajput 
held dominion, took all the gods and totems of non-Aryan, 


Dravidian India, into their system, as manifestations, or at 
least as part of the saintly calendar. Thus their influence 
became universal. The untouchable is one, who, not of 
Aryan descent, has accepted place in the web thus woven, 
a place granted contemptuously on his humble seeking. 
Outside are the aboriginal, the animist and the Christian, who 
are not even ' untouchable ' since they come not within the 
organized heaven-born framework. They * cut no ice * in this 
cruel complex and artificial frame-work that we call the caste 
system of India, a system, however, for which it is claimed that 
it has kept and did keep this great continent from falling 
irretrievably to pieces in the eight hundred years of strife 
that lay between the coming of the Moslem and British 
rebuilding. That is a claim which cannot be disregarded. 

To follow it, however, except so far as it is incidental to the 
story of the martial races is outside the purpose of this book, 
and we may with this point in our minds now pass to the 
fabric of India in the tenth century. 


Some reference has been made to the coming to India 
of the Jat, and the probability expressed that his inclusion 
in the term Scythian is only permissible if we use that 
word for wandering cuckoo tribes from the Central Asian 
table land, pushed forward by pressure behind, and that 
while the Tartar tribes may be called Scythian, all Scythian 
tribes were not of Turk or Tartar ethnological origin. 

These Jts at the time of this re-building were long in 
position spread fanwise from Sind and what is so graphically 
known in the Punjab as the Triniab and the Panjnad. 
That means those great broad waters, first where three have 


joined and then where five, and in that form join the mighty 
Indus, before that river comes to the layer of rock and con- 
glomerate about Sukkur Bhukkar which has made the 
astounding Lloyd barrage an engineering possibility. From 
the Panjnad and Sind the Jats splay out to the confines of 
and eventually into Rajputana into the southern and Eastern 
Punjab down to Delhi and Bhurtpur, and on the west far 
down perhaps among races that are now of other name. 
The Jats it would appear were more tenaciously Buddhist, 
and even when nominally Hindu, like the Gurkha of to-day 
in an unsophisticated state, bore their Hinduism lightly, and 
made n6 great account of Brahmins and their claims. They 
perhaps pooh-poohed the proposal that they should be 
classed among the Rajputs, considering their own racial and 
temporal position good enough for any man. So they lay 
apart although resembling the Aryan Rajput, gradually 
absorbing a Hindu outlook, universally admitted as the 
years passed to be men of birth and purity, but never evincing, 
at any rate, till t? / late, any desire to be within the magic 
circle. As the centuries rolled on, the position was that they 
were denied Rajput status in the opinion of the world, and 
the social privileges attaching, that only mattered if you cared 
about them. Stout farmers and stouter soldiers they knew 
themselves to be, always taking a forward hand in the affairs 
of their own piece of country side. 

In modern times we hear of the old Brahmin weapon of 
the re-construction being used. "If you will become Fidei 
Defensor and general kicker up of dust, against the British, 
then perhaps it will be possible to admit that the Jats were 
wrongfully and negligently regarded as having no Rajput 
status, and the matter can be put right. " Hitherto it may be 
said that the voice of the charmer has been heard in vain. 
In common with most of the martial races, enthusiastic 


support of the British Government, and devoted and dis- 
tinguished service in the World War has been the reply of 
the modern Jat or Jat, whether Sikh, Hindu or Moslem in 
religion, to such suggestions. 

How this race failed in these various forms of religion 
Muhammadan and Sikh as the years went on will be referred 
to later. How closely, however, the race mingles with the 
Rajputs some of the stories to be told will show. The term 
to-day is used in ordinary parlance of that portion of the 
race who are under the Hindu umbrella, and fairly near 
the handle. 


In the phrase at the head of this section is to be under- 
stood for all practical purposes the making of the martial 
races of India north of the Aravallis and in the Ganges 
plains. In these five Rajput states referred to, Kanauj, 
Delhi, Lahore in the north and east, Mewar in the centre 
and Annul-warra in the west, were practically the whole 
of the men then fit by courage to bear arms, to handle sword 
and bow and pike and ride a war horse, either those who had 
received the Rajput ticket or those like the Jats who remained 
outside but resembled them exceedingly. From the matrix 
thus established come the martial classes of India, other 
than those who came in with later invaders, whether they 
be Hindu, Moslem or Sikh. What probably happened in 
the Mahratta country, the Maharasthra of history, will 
be related later, but it may here be said that some of Aryan- 
Scythian Rajput folk penetrated farther south on the west 
side of India, to weld with an earlier indigenous people 
to form an unusually sturdy race, and that the Mahratta 
is only but an allo-tropic modification of the general Rajput 


principle. This brings us by a sideway to even another 
definition of a tenth century Rajput as one "who is prepared 
to fight under the priestly banner of the Brahmins", and 
now and again we get a glimpse of an idea analogous to that 
of the Holy Roman Empire. Indeed the saying of Voltaire 
regarding the latter days of that Empire might with equal 
sarcasm be applied to Brahminism. 

Each of the five Rajput states had important cities round 
which the great clans grouped themselves to which the 
lesser tribes became affiliated. The three races have been 
referred to, the Surajbanst, the Rajputs of the Sun, the 
Yadu or Chdnddbansi, the Rajputs of the Moon, and the 
third the Rajputs of the Fire, the Agnicular races. Of the 
three the first two are definitely admitted to be Kshattriya 
and the latter derived from unions and absorptions of the 
Scythic races other than those JSts who held all aloof. The 
names themselves are little more than fanciful, and do 
not seem to indicate any special origin, any more than the 
quite unintelligible but hostile divisions of some of the 
frontier tribes into the factions of Gar and Samil. 

Indraprasthra, the first of seven Delhis, was the capital 
of the Chauhans and the centre of the Moon Races, while 
Kanauj and Adjudia on the Ganges and in Oudh were the 
capitals of the Sun Races, Kanauj being the capital of the 
great Rahtore clan. The central and eastern Punjab was 
in the hands of a famous Lunar Race, the Katoch. The 
state of Mewar was perhaps the greatest stronghold of the 
Sun Races, who all trace their origin from Rama the con- 
queror of Ceylon, that famous, almost mythical hero of 
Indian legend. At Mathura was also a centre of another 
branch of the Lunar Race whose origin was encouraged 
by priestly craft to date to the mighty man-god Krishna, 
around whom even more and happier legends and stories 


were and are current than of Rama. The wildest and most 
intricate legends of rapes, elopements, demons, snakes and 
tigers, were interwoven with genuine memories of early 

The Lunar Race had at one period or another many other 
centres and capitals besides Indraprasthra and Mathura, 
one so far west as Dwarka in Kathiawar, and as far east 
as Hardwar where the gorge breaks from the main hills. 
Prag which Islam re-named Allahabad was another, thrice 
sacred to this day by the mystical and emblematical union 
of Jumma and Ganges, where the twain become one, and 
pilgrims still flock by the hundred thousand. 

There it was that from north to south and from east 
to west, from Kashmir to the Narbudda, from the mouth 
of the Indus to the mouths of the Ganges there was the 
great fabric of an India, largely Aryan partly Tartar, but 
with Tartardom swamped by a stronger Aryanism. All 
the land and all the power were in the hands of Rajput Princes 
with barons great and small, with Rajput and J&t farmers, 
tenant and yeoman all following the newly re-affirmed 
and improved Brahminical religion. Below this Rajput 
coverlet were of course, the countless hosts of the conquered 
menial useful depressed classes, of darker skin, whom we 
may for the moment call by the generic name Dom, but 
whose only claim to life and liberty was their usefulness. 
Working among both were too the hereditary Aryan and 
usually non-martial traders, bankers, money-lenders and so 
forth. It was not till the Islamic conquests that the des- 
truction of the Hindu states, of which more anon, resulted 
in a mass migration of some of the leading tribes frojn 
their homes on the Ganges and Jumna, to the wild hills 
and rocky deserts of what is now Rajputana. Their original 
ground, in which the race and religion had developed since 


they came from the north, viz. the fertile plains watered 
by the Jumna, the Ganges and their tributaries, were aban- 
doned to escape from a conqueror and a regime they abhorred. 
The abandonment took them to a land of rock and jungle 
where hard life was to be their portion and independence 
their guerdon. Between the nth and iath centuries then 
the Rajputana or Rajastan as we know it to-day was founded 
and formed, a land bordering on the already Rajput Mewar. 
In the Punjab the Rajput population, far less pure Aryan 
than the population of Hindustan, remained in situ, to bow 
to the storm of invasions, to accept the new faith, and generally 
to blend with new arrivals. 

In the Hindustan that the clans as such deserted, many 
individual Rajputs however remained, the yeoman peasantry 
on the land to which they were wedded. But the clan as 
a whole with its chiefs and its organization, its feudal system 
and its pride went. Therefore the Rajputs of Oudh to-day, 
the Eastern Rajputs of to-day are what we know as broken'. 
They know their clan but are under no clan control, and 
have no clan psychology. Without that, much of the old 
time feudal system and ideas that it engendered have gone. 
Stout and sturdy though they be, they have not the instincts 
of the better men of Rajputana. 


Before leaving the subject of the Rajput network spread 
over Northern India, a glance is desirable at the outer 
conquests or penetrations, which Kshattriya or Rajput has 
made, as they go to still further illustrate the general thesis 
of this book, viz., that almost all the martial races are drawn 
at long last from this Rajputization of all the fighting men 
who would support the founders of the Neo-Brahminism. 


From the plains of Oudh the penetrating Aryans had spread 
up into most of the accessible valleys of the outer Himalaya, 
they had conquered the tribes of Nepal and introduced an 
Aryan system in ancient time, for as we know Gautama 
himself was the son of a Kshattriya prince in Nepal. They 
spread into the hills of Tehri Garhwal, and at the revival 
they and tribes of less certain origin were admitted into 
Rajputcy. All along the hills, as far up as the River Jhelum, 
we shall find the genuine Aryan Rajput, some of ancient 
habitation and some of the Sun and Moon Races who may 
have gone there and perhaps joined earlier and kindred 
settlers, when Islam destroyed the Rajput states already 
referred to. The clump of small states in what are known 
as the Simla Hills are full of Rajputs of sorts, and, as will 
be explained later, give in most cases a few Rajputs to the 

As you get into that bit of the Himalaya between Nepal 
and the Simla Hills Rajputdom is a more important 
matter, for you are in the Garhwal Hills where Kshattriya 
and the ancient race call Khas, of whom so little is 
known, have combined to produce a race to which 
the reformed stamp, 'Rajput' was well and truly given. 
How and what they have been in recent British times shall, 
in due course, be shown, with the crash of the German 
shell as chorus and the swish of the Flanders rain as 

Farther north across the Beas are an equally fine Rajput 
folk who live in the Dugar Desk, the Country of the Two 
Lakes, and who probably migrated there from Rajasthan 
after leaving their homes on the Ganges, before the flaming 
sword of the Sons of the Prophet willy-nilly we may be sure. 
There they found probably some older Kshattriya blood, 
for the Dogra hills are too desirable to have been passed 


by in the great trek back in the mists of time. How the 
Rajputs of the Dogra country have served His Majesty and 
his forbears this many a year, and how they came to dominate 
Kashmir and the Pamir states shall also be told in the warp 
and the woof of Northern India. 





THE next chapter that opens out for India is the saddest 
of all, and shows how completely ineffective the martial 
spirit of the land had become. Whether this was due to 
want of leading, to that streak of inefficiency perhaps of 
the Indian character, which the Westerner with Indian 
experience is so often perplexed by, can only be imagined. 
Perhaps too we may attribute the failure to some great 
defect in Brahminism as a stimulant and world force. Into 
this India just described, the India of the quarrelling king- 
doms of Delhi and Lahore, of Kanauj and Mewar, came 
at the end of the tenth century the first of that series of raids 
that grew to invasions, and invasions that matured into 
conquests, which have so entirely altered the trend of Indian 

We have seen that the reconversion of the peoples of India 
from Buddhism to Hinduism did not change their ways and 
natures, though it crystallised off all fighting men of any 


status of Aryan or part Aryan descent, as Rajputs, the 'Sons 
of Princes'. The sharp segregation of the martial classes, 
no doubt contributed to pride of race and behaviour, but it 
only recrystallised the old Kshattriya clans with such accre- 
tions as appeared worth while. The coming of Islam however 
was a very different matter. This severe monotheistic in- 
tolerant faith claimed to, and to a great extent actually did, 
wipe out all barriers. It admitted all men as equals in the 
sight of God and man, and admitted into the warrior class 
all whose heart could muster up sufficient pluck to wield a 

Islam burst on the world in the seventh century. Unlike 
the gentle and slow spread of Christianity, or the patient rise 
of Buddhism, it roared across the desert and the middle East, 
and westwards along the coasts of Northern Africa and into 
Spain and even France. About 711 it surged across the 
Indian Ocean from Bussorah and the Persian Gulf and 
ascended the Indus. What is now Sind, the ' Land of the 
Indus ', was invaded by the Arabs from Bussorah, which we 
now write Basra, under Muhammad Ibn Qassim. A fortified 
temple which is thought to have been at the present Dwarka, 
was captured after a fierce struggle, and the Hindus pursued 
up the Indus to Multan which was also captured, that Multan 
which has been the scene of so many struggles, and which 
is still the inner strategic key, from its situation on the rivers 
that converge to the Indus. 

For forty years Arab rule prevailed, leaving a strong trace 
on the Indus boatmen who so resemble those of the Tigris 
and Euphrates, and generally contributing to the make-up 
of the races in that corner of India. When they left they 
left behind them Islamic pockets, and some of those Sayads 
who are still to be found all over India, being putative 
descendants of the Prophet, but probably often basing their 


claim on the mere fact that they were among the earlier and 
most privileged of the Islamic missionaries. 

Islam then left India as a driving proselyting force, and 
did not emerge from the mountains between the Oxus and 
the Indus and the uplands of Khorassan. There it swirled 
and lapped and conquered for two and a half centuries. 


Before turning to see the commencement of the period 
which saw the second coming of Islam to India, it will be 
well to glance at the ferment of races in Afghanistan, to use 
a more modern but intelligible term, that is to say the moun- 
tains and tablelands aforesaid between the Oxus, the Indus 
and Khorassan. We have seen the land in the hands of the 
Graeco-Bactrians, established in Bactria by Alexander, the 
land that is now called Afghan Turkestan, and how the 
struggles between Graeco-Bactrians and Sakas let in the 
Yuechi, one of the Tartar races. Parthians and Tartars 
gained some power along the Indus, eventually passing away 
before the growing Aryan strength, and while Tartars 
remained east of the Hindu Rush, the Aryans and possibly 
Jat tribes still occupied the valleys between the Indus, and 
at any rate the Kandahar-Kabul-Ghuzni road. Somewhere 
about the time of the rise of Islam we have seen the race that 
calls itself Afghan and Ben-i-Israel come into the mountains 
and uplands, north of Kandahar. They and the other races 
in the land were steadily absorbed into Islam, and the tide 
swept up to the valleys where Hinduism and Buddhism 
still dwelt, the latter perhaps in isolated pockets. At the 
time of Mahmud of Ghuzni, the Rajput kings of the Punjab 
held sway over a Hindu and perhaps Buddhist folk as far as 


Kabul. But except on the road to Kabul, Islam had gripped 
Afghan, Israelite and Turk. Fermenting quarrelling, and 
perhaps pressed, or at any rate joined by any stray party or 
clan of freebooting horse, the upland peoples proceeded to 
share in the forays and after despoiling for several generations 
the idolaters and their idols west of the Indus, at length came 
down to conquer, to colonize, and to hold fierce relentless 
sway over Aryan, and in time, Dravidian India. 

That India was largely Hindu in the warp and woof we 
know, but what actually had been in progress between the 
days of Harsha and the coming of Sabaktigin we do not know, 
beyond the general consolidation of the Brahmin network, 
Whatever it was it had not produced as in the days of Asoka 
or even Harsha, a supreme Hindu ruler, who could compel a 
common front to a common foe. 

The tribes in the hills between the Indus and Ghuzni, 
whether subject to Sabaktigin or not, had long been active 
in leading raids into Hindu India. Indian opinion was 
greatly enraged, and the first series of actual invasions of 
India, was possibly induced by the Rajput attempt to put a 
stop to the raids. Immediately here are we faced with the 
reflection that the raiding custom of a thousand years ago 
is the custom of to-day, and that our British frontier wars 
but spring from the same habits of the same folk. 


The Moslem conquest of India began with this said 
Sabaktigin, and here for a moment let us turn back to see 
the origin of the Slave Dynasty of Ghuzni. Among the 
welter of khans and their dynasties in Central Asia of which 
history and legend tell us, there arose in 903 that of the 


Samanids, which incidentally lasted one hundred and twenty 
years. The fifth prince of this dynasty, one Abdul Malik, 
possessed a Turki slave, Alptigin. It may here be mentioned 
that the termination tigin or tagin indicates slave origin. 
Here also it may be explained what * slave' actually means 
in this matter of courts, households, and dynasties, as we 
meet it in Egypt, in Delhi and elsewhere. It was the policy 
of many Eastern conquerors to surround themselves with 
bodyguards and huscarles of lads of good race and lineage, 
carried off in infancy in some raid or conquest, and so have 
about them a body of favoured troops who owned no country 
and no allegiance save to their master, protector and rewarder. 
From among them, commanders, governors and even sons- 
in-law might be drawn, and often enough at times some 
'slave* planned and plotted to tip his master from his throne. 
Such were the 'Slaves' of the Ghuzni dynasty, the Slave 
Kings of Delhi, the Mamelukes of Cairo, and the Janissaries 
of Istamboul. 

Abdul Malik, the Samanid, had made Alptigin governor 
of Khorassan. But on his patron's death, fearing the un- 
favourable attitude of the new ruler, Alptigin fled to Ghuzni, 
no doubt with some of his own troops and, maybe, his 
bodyguard of slaves of his own providing. He thus was able 
to establish himself as a chieftain in the Suleimans. About 
976 he was numbered with his fathers, and his son Sabuktigin 
succeeded to his realm. Alptigin, rumour said, was the 
captive child of some royal house, and Sabaktigin did not 
belie his father's origin. Increasing his dominions in all 
directions we hear of him conducting something greater than 
a raid into India. He returned to India without new territory, 
but with slaves and booty. This much stimulated the desire 
for more in all the soldiers of fortune who would march in 
his or any other service to that promised guerdon. They 


had within them all the zeal of the early converts to Islam, 
backed no doubt by intense ignorance of any of its tenets. 
Like the immortal Captain Wattle * who was all for love and 
a little for the bottle 1 , they were 'all for Islam and a little 
for the booty*. 

But before their raiding propensities developed from a 
habit to be almost a gift, the prestige of the defenders of 
India took a severe blow which greatly encouraged the 
initiative of the raiders. 


The first incursion of Sabuktigin, undertaken in more 
serious manner than the constant hill raids, provoked great 
anger in Northern India, and Jaipal, the Rajput ruler of 
Lahore, proceeded to lead an expedition over the Indus, 
with a view to exacting reparations at the gates of Ghuzni. 
With thousands of foot and horse, with his elephants and 
guns he set forth, having almost as much impedimenta as 
hampered Sir John Keane in 1839, 860 years later. Sir 
John went round by Kandahar in the summer season, but 
Jaipal elected to cross the Indus valley and avoid its heats 
in the winter. Crossing somewhere by Dera Ismael Khan, 
or the ferry at Mari-Attak, he made through the Derajat, 
and used the Gomal or perhaps the Tochi route. Here he 
fell, as have British armies after him, on severe winter 
weather, and only saved his army by giving up all his ele- 
phants, promising large sums, and engaging to accept the 
envoys of Ghuzni at his Rajput Court at Lahore. 

Safe from the perils of the snows, however, the Hindu 
went back on his promises and the Moslem forces entered 
India to enforce them again. Now the Northern Rajputs 


saw the need of some union, and Lahore, Delhi, Ajmere, 
Kalinga and Kanauj, all sent their chivalry, only to go down 
before the fierce elan of the sons of the Prophet and their 
pagan Tartar allies. The Ghuznivide was content however 
to take from the Rajputs the now Afghan valley Lugman, 
and the Peshawur valley, that age-old subject for dispute 
between India proper and India trans-Indus. 

It was this victory which marked for the first time a 
division at the Indus of what had both east and west been 
originally India. Sabuktigin would no doubt have pursued 
his successes further had he not also, according to a custom 
that was to become a habit in the years to come, been called 
away from India to attend to trouble on his Turkestan 

In 997 he passed away at Termez on the river Oxus, and 
the throne was seized by his eldest though illegitimate son, 
Mahmud, while a feebler brother who had not the bend 
sinister to ban him from easy succession was driven forth. 


The coming of Mahmud of Ghuzni to his throne, the 
' Sultan Mahmud Ghuznavi ' of many a Moslem song and 
fable, sealed the fate of India. He burned with a holy zeal 
for the faith, he hated with a bitter hatred the idols of Indian 
temples and the many shrines, figures and carvings of Buddhas 
and Buddhisatvas that had to his mind so disfigured Afghan- 
istan. Ghuzni he would make a glorious centre of the 
learning and the civilization of Islam. India the lascivious, 
the idolatrous, the musherik, the * sharer of gods', should 
pay, and he, Mahmud, would make it so. Nor was he 
apparently among his own people savage and tyrannical, but 


cultured and reasonably humane. He collected at his 
mountain capital the learned. Alberuni, the scholar, lived 
at his court and Faruqi wrote his Shah-Namah in his honour. 

Mahmud had heard from his father of the ill-organized 
valour of the Rajputs, and the agreeable stories of the wealth 
of the Hindu princes, and in the year 1001 made his first 
inroad. Jaipal, his father's old enemy, met him with the 
forces of many of the lesser chiefs. The Rajputs were 
defeated near Peshawur, and Jaipal was pursued to the 
Sutlej, where he was captured, but released on ransom and 
promise of tribute. Mahmud with his plunder returned in 
triumph, while Jaipal, who had now endured nothing but 
defeat, resigned his throne to his son Anangapal, putting 
an end to his own life, the story goes, by mounting his own 
funeral pyre and perishing in the flames. During the next 
few years Mahmud made several lesser expeditions to India 
in collection of tribute and to put down rebellion in the 
Multan province, which was subject to Ghuzni. As 
Anangapal had supported this rising, Mahmud in 1009 
made his fifth entry into India to punish him, marching via 

Northern India was now more than stirred. From every 
Rajput centre the chivalry marched, from Delhi and Kanauj, 
the Rajputs of the Sun and Moon, the Chauhans, and the 
Rhatores, from far Ujjain and from Gwalior. The women of 
India threw their gold and their silver ornaments into the 
military chest, and a host of lesser princes and barons rallied 
to the standards of the great Rajput chieftains. It was 
Islam and all that Islam stood for against Hinduism, the one 
and only God against the great Hindu deities and their 
countless emanations and affiliations. All the resources of 
equipment and clothing that could be collected were hurried 
up to the marching columns concentrating at the point of 

In the pre-war dress of the Scinde and Baluch Hofse 


danger at Bhatinda, where the roads from the Gomal and 
Multan that led to Delhi drew together. 

The battle that was to ensue is strangely like that between 
the Afghans and the Mahrattas at the last battle of Panipat, 
seven and a half centuries later. The opposing forces sat 
in their entrenched camps, watching one another for a 
wrestler's grip, for over a month. Then the Hindus, probably 
as before Panipat, were forced by starvation and the enemy's 
raiding horse, to attack. With them, as in all Eastern armies 
of the time, were many elephants, which were indeed as 
already explained the 'tanks' of that period. Where an 
elephant would push, no trench and parapet would stand 
up, and no mass of men resist, while from the castellated 
howdah the crew would work their engines of war. But 
. . . the but of the living tank, was whether or no he got 
frightened. If frightened and unmanageable the elephant is 
dangerous to his own side. The elephants at the battle of 
Bhatinda, it is said, tore back through their own ranks and 
the Moslem horse rode through the gaps. Long was the 
night of slaughter, great the Indian defeat, and loud the wail 
of mourning that swept south through the Rajput homes. 

Mahmud however, stayed his penetration into India, 
merely destroying the famous temple of Nagarkot in Kangra, 
and returned to Ghuzni with more plunder to enrich his 
capital, and more captives to serve his people. 

For five years the tormentor remained quiet, and then 
set forth on a well planned raid on Harsha's wealthy city of 
Thaneswar, which he carried after a brief defence, only to 
return to Ghuzni with his gains once more. In fact this 
sucking of India dry seemed only too easy a feat to these 
reiving mountaineers, whose next nest to plunder was to 
be Kanauj itself. In 1009 the Ghuznivide led forth an even 
larger number of his pirates, crossed the Punjab with ease, 


and appeared before the sacred cities of Bindraban and 
Mathura. These he razed to the ground, destroying the 
innumerable shrines and temples of these places of pilgrim- 
ages, shrines whose ruins and carving lie about even to-day 
just where the ' But-shikan ', the 'Idol-breaker', to use the 
proud intolerant title that Islam conferred on him, left them 
strewn in the dust. 

After destroying also Baran, which is now Bulandshahr, 
Mahmud appeared before the Rhatore capital. But the 
Rajput chivalry had fallen on many a stricken field already. 
There were none to defend the city adequately, and its ruler, 
another Jaipal, surrendered to save it from the fate of Mathura 
which had been sacked without pity. Mahmud satisfied 
with the vast booty that even a cursory sack revealed, returned 
whence he came. Three years later however the son of 
Anangapal led the Lahore forces in rebellion against the 
Ghuzni suzerainty. Determined to have no such recurrence, 
he, for the first time declared Lahore and all its territories 
annexed, and installed a Moslem governor and garrison in 
Lahore itself. 

This act was the foundation of Moslem power and 
dominion in India. The Muhammadan historians dwell 
with glee and pride on the vast slaughter of idolaters that 
accompanied these victories, and especially in the famous 
sack of the temple of Somnath, which occurred in the 
* But-shikan ] V sixteenth and greatest invasion. This time 
his enterprise took him over to the western coast, by a route 
in which the Rajput warriors had not all fallen in vain resist- 
ance. Somnath in the south of the country of Guzerat was 
a temple of Siva. It was also one of the holiest and most 
revered in India, and was also reputed to be the most wealthy. 
Mahmud's route lay through Rajputana and the town of 
Somnath was well garrisoned by the Western Rajputs, so 


that the defence was a stout one. Nothing, however, could 
stop the ruthless invaders. Suffering heavily themselves, 
they inflicted a loss, it is said, of 5,000 on the defenders, 
before the town fell and was given over to sack and slaughter. 
Temples were destroyed, images broken down, and the story 
runs that before the biggest of them all, the priests in charge 
besought the conqueror's mercy. 

'Take their all, take their lives, but spare the great image 
of Holy Mahadeo'. 

Grimly the Idol-Breaker ordered it to be broken, when 
from its head poured out priceless jewels. 

The gates of the temple of Shiva made of sandal-wood, 
were carried off to Ghuzni to grace the entrance to a mosque. 
It will be remembered that the avenging army of Kandahar 
was ordered by Lord Ellenborough, the Governor-General 
in 1841, to bring back to India the Gates of Somnath from 
Ghuzni, where they were still supposed to lie. It pleased 
those who jest on inadequate premises, to deride Lord 
Ellenborough for his bombastic and quite banal gesture as 
one that stirred no feeling in Hindu India. They were 
unaware that five years before, Runjhit Singh, the Maharajah 
of Lahore, in promising help to Shah Shujah to recover his 
Afghan throne, had stipulated himself for the return of the 
Gates of Somnath as one of his conditions. When, therefore, 
the Governor- General and his Foreign Office searching for 
some dramatic feature in the ultimate Anglo-Indian victory 
after the disasters of the year before, bethought themselves 
of this, it was but because the Sikh himself had considered 
it a point of value. Incidentally it may be said that the 
gates duly carried down on elephants proved not to be the 
original ones at all. The defenders of India had this slight 
compensation that on his way home, Mahmud was severely 
handled by the jSts of the Southern Punjab. 


Thus ended in humiliation and disaster the first attempts 
of unorganized chivalry to defend India from the * breakers 
from the north '. 

With the spoils of Somnath, Mahmud was still further to 
adorn the great mosque in Ghuzni, which he called his 
'Celestial Bride', but his course was nearly run. After a 
campaign to punish the Juts for molesting his forces returning 
from Somnath, he passed away in the year 1030 after a career 
of 33 years, leaving two sons to quarrel for the succession. 
As has been said, Moslem historians are loud in his praise 
as a patron of civilization and learning, and despite his hatred 
of religions, of images, and his ruthless havoc wrought in 
India, it does not appear that he practised slaughter for 
slaughter's sake, as did so many of the Tartar and Hun 
world-stormers, who swept through Asia and parts of 

The setting up of a Governor in Lahore as related did not 
really found the great series of Turkish rulers of Delhi, and 
that was not even to come from his own descendants, but 
from the dynasty that absorbed them, that of Muhammad of 


The sixteen invasions of India left, as we have seen, the 
Rajput fabric broken and exhausted, and had laid the better 
part of the warriors low in their vain attempt to repel and 
embank the said breakers from the north. The immediate 
event after the death of Mahmud was the impinging of the 
Seljuk Turks, a new wave and horde of the almond-eyed, 
which burst against the northern frontiers of the realm of 
Ghuzni. The Rajputs of Lahore took this opportunity to 
rise against their Turkish government, but the Lahore 


stronghold was retained. Before long Lahore became the 
actual capital of the Ghuznivide kingdom which included 
Balkh, Kabul, Ghuzni, Kandahar and Sind and the Punjab. 
This corresponded pretty nearly with the old Aryan Kingdom 
of the North at the time when Darius appeared on the scene. 
Early in the twelfth century nevertheless, the realm had 
passed into the hand of Ala-ud-din Sultan of Ghor, who, 
Moslem though he was, burnt the magnificent buildings in 
Ghuzni, and earned the soubriquet of Jahan-suz ' The World 
Burner*. The Punjab alone remained to the Ghuznivide. 
By 1 1 80, Muhammad Ghori, nephew of the ' World Burner* 
came to the throne, and succeeded also in absorbing the 
Punjab, so that the dynasty of Alptigin, after 234 years of 
warring dominion, passed altogether. 

Although the Rajputs had long lost the dominion of the 
Punjab the dying away of the conquering habits of Ghuzni 
and the lapse of years had allowed of a general Hindu re- 
covery. The Rajputs continued their conquests and ex- 
tensions farther south and west, and the work of completing 
the Hindu fabric went on south of the river Sutlej. Nagar- 
kot, the shrine that Mahmud had sacked in Kangra, was 
recovered from the Muhammadan governor of the Punjab. 
Kanauj was reviving and continuing to be the great centre 
still from which the Puranic Hinduism was engineered, while 
all over the country Buddhism was being expelled from those 
out-of-the-way pockets in which it still lingered, and it 
seemed that there was still India enough left in the South 
for an Asoka to control an Indian India. 

In the Punjab it was otherwise. By degrees most of the 
Rajput clans inhabiting the plains of the five rivers had 
become Moslem, but still retaining their proud, if often 
degraded, claim to be the ' sons of princes ', and to this day 
call themselves Rajput before Moslem, the race before the 


religion. Wedged here and there are foreign tribes and clans 
who settled among them, but the mass of the Moslem gentry 
and yeomanry of the Punjab belong to that racial frame-work, 
which has been described. 

Muhammad of Ghor was not content with his Punjab 
province and the conversion of its Rajputs to the * Sub- 
mission/ A Turk himself as had been the Ghuznivides, 
there were thousands of hardy Tartar, Turkish and Mongol 
soldiers released from Central Asia who were prepared to 
ride with him to Delhi. The Pathans and Afghans of the 
mountains, Semites, Jats, or whatever their origin, were 
equally eager. The lure of the successive cities of Delhi and 
their wealth has appealed to all the soldiers of fortune and 
masterless men of Central Asia, since gold and jewels counted 
in the world's prizes. This lure brought more Turks to ride 
with Baber in the days of our Elizabeth, it brought the wild 
frontier tribesmen to join the British levies in 1857, and 
indeed the return of Her Majesty's Corps of Guides from 
Delhi after the storming of the Kashmir Gate is talked of 
with awe and admiration to this day. Rose-curtained carts 
with women who had been eager to join the conquerors, 
pony carts of kincob l and looted junk marched in the train 
of that famous Corps, while the lesser levies were not back- 
ward in their share. Even more so was it in the days when 
the Kings of the Mountain States rode south to Indraprastra 
and her successors. In the train of Muhammad Sultan also 
must have marched many of the converts with the burning 
zeal that ever distinguished their class. 

It is not hard to imagine the enthusiasm that would arise 

when it was known in the camel's-hair tents on the Oxus, or 

in the mud and stone villages of the Afridi Tirah, that Mah- 

mud Ghuznavi, Muhammad of Ghor, Kutb-ud-din Toork, 

1 A gold embroidered cloth, lit. Kam-quab seldom seen. 


One of Colonel Sir Umar Hayat Khan's retainers 

[Face page 68 


or any other of the kidney were raising men for India, to 
sack Somnath, to capture Delhi or what not. If you have seen 
in our own times the enthusiam in Cape Town when it was 
heard that Methuen, or Schermbrucker, or Piet Retief were 
raising a commando to fight Basutos, Matabele, Zulus, or the 
like, and that too without the guerdon of sacked temples, 
you would understand it. "Sultan Mahmud wants men does 
he. Oh Ho! how many lads will ride with me ". And Tartar 
lance and bow and sword would be furbished up and the 
spiked helmets with mail collarettes would be got out and all 
would be bustle. "Hey for horse and hound, lad, and 
round the world away." Delhi for its guerdon! 

Then too the jackal tribes would be waiting, the Chappar- 
bands who made the armies 7 huts, and took their maids 
a-chambering, whose pack donkeys and bullocks were lean 
with waiting, the Sikligars who also marched on the flank 
among the followers, who sharpened the swords and spear 
and mended the mail, and now grind knives and scissors and 
tinker pots and pans in merry England, sure! the call to 
India found them all agog. 

So since Hindu India more suo had fallen a-quarrelling 
in the north, Rajah Prithvi of Delhi and Ajmere, and Jai 
Chand of Kanauj were in jealous rivalry. The lesser chiefs 
clustered round them in two separate groups and seemed to 
have forgotten the forceful enemy at their gates. The Hindu 
forces however had learnt something from their troubles at 
Mahmud's hands and were better organized than in those 
frenzied days when nothing could stop the Moslem. The 
Rajput armies, disunited though they were, were not quite 
as sheep to the slaughter, and as dross before the organized 
valour of the north. 

Marching to the old battlefield at Bhatinda in 1191, 
Muhammad of Ghor carried the town that was Rajah 


Prithvi's. Then Prithvi himself led out a large force of 
mounted Rajputs and met him at Tarain on the banks of the 
holy Saraswati, a hundred miles north of Delhi, that long 
dry river which runs Indus-wards between Jumna and 
Sutlej, to lose even its flood waters in the sandy desert. 

The Rajputs there utterly defeated the invaders, and 
Muhammad himself badly wounded, barely escaped to 
Lahore. For two years he licked his wounds, remustered his 
forces and prepared. One defeat would certainly not turn him 
from his purpose, and two years later he recrossed the 

Not even after his victory was Prithvi able to command the 
support of his factious fellow countrymen in what, perhaps, 
was their last chance as a nation. Once again, but partially 
supported, he led forth his chivalry to stem the Ghoride on 
the banks of the Saraswati, and met him over against 

For some weeks the armies watched each other waiting 
for grip in the Eastern way. And then one morning, un- 
expected by their opponents, the Moslems attacked. Prithvi 
himself was captured, fighting at the head of his forces, and 
at his fall the Hindus made way, leaving many dead behind 
them, including Chawand Rai chief of Delhi itself, while 
Prithvi Rajah captive, found no mercy at the hands of his 
conquerors. With him perished once more the flower of the 
gallant but ineffective Rajput quality. 

The Moslem victory was stained as was that at the Afghan 
victory of Panipat by massacres of prisoners. Muhammad 
himself after his victory returned across the Indus and left 
Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the ' moon-faced/ as ruler in India. 

But the memory of Prithvi Rajah slaughtered to make a 
Turki holiday, was long cherished in Hindustan, and when 
the regiments in the cantonment on the Ridge at Delhi 


mutinied in 1857 they marched off to the slogan of ' Priihvi 
Raj kijai \ ' Victory to the rule of Prithvi', despite the fact 
they were marching to the Mogul palace. 

The victory at Thaneswar did not at once involve the fall 
of Delhi, but only of Prithvi's own capital of Ajmere, but 
within a year of being left in charge of India, Qutb-ud-din 
had made himself master of that stronghold of Chauhan 
Rajputs as well. 

Three years after the battle of Thaneswar, viz., in 1194, 
Muhammad was back in India, and then it was that Jai Chand 
of Kanauj had good cause to regret that he had not sunk his 
own differences to unite with Prithvi in the defence of their 
country. Gathering together all who would rally to the 
Hindu cause, Jai Chand faced the Turks at Etawah, but with 
no better fortune than Chawand Rai, for he too died on the 
field, and Rajput domination in Hindustan perished with 
him. Then it was that the Rajput chiefs and their clansmen, 
too weary to continue a struggle in which the dice were so 
heavily loaded against them, rode off to seek new kingdoms 
in the centre of India, in the hills and inaccessible deserts of 
the Aravallis and their neighbourhood. Thus was founded the 
Rajputana or Rajasthan as we know it to-day, their defeat in 
the plains of Ganges and Jumna being compensated for by 
the enduring nationality that they thus secured. Rajputs, it 
is true, remained behind them on the land as already related, 
but without organization and only those to whom their lands 
were more precious than their independence. 

The death of Muhammad Ghori while suppressing a 
rising of Gukkhar clans on the Jhelum brought to an end the 
Ghori dynasty, and the kingdom broke up into its component 
parts. From this day dates the domination of Northern India 
by the Turkish dynasties of Delhi. 



When Qutb-ud-din ' The Star of the Faith ', nick-named 
the Moon Face, found his master dead and none to take the 
reins, he became the actual ruler of Delhi and the founder 
of what is known as the ' Slave ' Kings, because he and his 
successors were slaves, and Turkish slaves at that, as had 
been the dynasty of Alptigin, with this difference that the 
succession for the most part went afresh to a new slave. 
Under him the Muhammadan conquest of India continued 
apace, and ere long Bengal, Jaunpur, Sindh, Multan, Malwa, 
Guzerat, Khandesh Berar and parts of the Dekhan became 
what are generally called * Afghan ' kingdoms, using that 
word in the sense of those foreigners whether Afghan, Pathan, 
Turk or Tartar, who came to India as Moslems through the 
mountains of Afghanistan. 

The Empire of Delhi, the provinces within hail and easy 
control of the capital, varied in extent with the range of 
the ruler's power, and more often the different outlying 
kingdoms were entirely independent. It was during the rule 
of the Slaves that the Mongols or Moguls in the mediaeval 
sense of the word, still for the most part pagan, first appeared 
on the frontiers, Ghengis Khan himself did not actually 
enter India, though his generals reached the Indus, and kept 
the Delhi ruler hard at work to repel them. Herat fell to 
this particular world-stormer, to endure at the hands of his 
pagan hosts the most ruthless slaughter that history records, 
the deserted townships of those who suffered still standing as 
a memory and an object lesson in Seistan. Qutb-ud-din 
was succeeded by Altamish, who by 1236 had conquered 
India down to the line of the Vindhya mountains, capturing 
the famous fortress Gwalior, storming the Rajput fortress of 


The grim architecture of The Tuglaq Dynasty, Khirki Mosque 
(A.D. 1387) 

[Face page 7 


Ratambhor, and even penetrating to Ujjain, the ancient 
Hindu capital of Malwa. The story of India now is the story 
of the dynasties of Delhi, the Khilji Dynasty still Turk, 
succeeding that of the Slaves in 1290, and lasting to 1320, 
when another Turki slave gained the throne to found the 
Tughlaq dynasty, which lasted for close on a century. Under 
the Khiljis, the Hindu kingdoms of Southern India were 
attacked, and it was not long before no Hindu ruler of any 
size reqnained outside the inaccessible Rajput principalities 
in Rajasthan. 

The reconstruction of India by the Brahmins therefore 
cannot be said to have long contributed to the power 
temporal of their fellow countrymen. 

It is not within the scope of this book to follow the for- 
tunes of these dynasties of Delhi, almost all be it reiterated 
Turkish in one form or another. Sayads, Lodis and Afghans 
succeeding the Tughlaks, till the days of our Queen Eliza- 
beth, when there came out of Ferghana and Kabul the 
greatest Turks of them all, the soldiers who formed the 
dynasty which is always incorrectly described as the Mogul 
Empire (as already explained) (p. 17). 

The conversions to Islam which took place in the Punjab, 
were followed by that of many of the Rajputs remaining 
round Delhi, and were extended to a large number of the 
depressed classes of India, for whom Islam came with as 
great a social uplift to all who are poor and oppressed as 
Christianity had come to the slaves within the Roman 


The new dynasty that was to weld India together into a 
gorgeous Empire, was commenced by Baber, Governor of 


Kabul, and prince of Ferghana, who seeing that India was in a 
turmoil, and beseeched by many who sought a ruler, pro- 
ceeded to demand that the ancient appanage of Timur 
should be his by right of ancestry. Marching to India in 
1527, he defeated the last of the Khiljis and his effete troops; 
and ere long had received the allegiance of the greater part 
of India, conquering and treating with considerable duress 
the Rajputs and Hindus who resisted. On his death in 1530 
an Afghan rising drove out his son Humayun, who thus 
became a wanderer, but by a turn of fortune's wheel, Hum- 
ayun found himself in 1556 once more master of Delhi, 
only to die from a fall from his horse soon after. He was 
succeeded by his son Akbar, then a minor in the hands of 
ministers. It was not long however before Prince Akbar 
who had an old head on his very young shoulders, insisted 
on taking the reins. 

When the turmoil of conquering the Afghan dynasty was 
over, then the young Akbar settled down to make the Mogul 
Empire the greatest India had seen. After his sack of 
Chitoor to be described hereafter, he had brought Rajput 
India actually to acquiescence and even alliance, by his 
wisdom, his broadmindness, and his numerous marriages with 
Rajput princesses. 

As related, it was in 1527 that Baber's final victories brought 
him the throne of Delhi, and it was 1556 when his grandson 
Akbar succeeded in regaining all that his father having once 
lost had begun to recover before his death. The rule of 
the Chagatai, for the term Mogul, is not one used by India, 
Baber being a Chagatai Turk, ere long spread practically to 
the Oxus river, and Rajput princes were among the high 
commanders who led the troops of India, Hindu and Moslem, 
far afield. The succession now goes on steadily, the Mogul 
emperors being known by titles, which seem to sing them- 


selves as they go, Jehangir, Shah Jehan, Al&mgir, the first 
two reigning from 1605-1627, and 1627-1658 respectively. 
From 1658 to 1707 well into the days of our Anne, ruled 
Aurungzebe AlSmgir, usually known, unlike his father and 
grandfather, by his name rather than his title. He it was, 
as related hereafter under the story of the Mahrathas, 
destroyed the Moslem kingdoms of the Dekhan and thus 
brought about a state of affairs that was to result in the 
fall of his own dynasty. Al&mgir was the last of the great 
Moguls to be great, and for a while he ruled nearly as much 
of India as do the British. When he died, an elderly son, 
Muazzim, succeeded, with the title Bahadur Shah, Shah AlSm, 
to rule by his father's prestige. With his death commenced 
the totter that was ere long to end in a crash, during which 
kingmakers and puppets toyed with the Imperial throne, 
and brought it in shame to the ground, the first to fall 
of the Turkish thrones that quartered Asia. During the 
days of the first of the emperors the change amongst Moslems 
of India was not remarkable. More settlers from Turkish 
and Afghan lands served the Mogul and settled on the 
land, and indeed the term Turk began to stand for a mer- 
cenary race of Moslem soldiery who received land in return 
for liability to serve. Most of them owned slaves who 
cared for their land when they went a-soldiering. 


The outline of the coming of Islam to India and the 
influx of Islamic peoples from the north, that has been 
related, shows how the Moslem frame-work of India, and 
the martial races professing this faith came to be woven. 
The constituents of Moslem India at the time of the 


rise of the Mogul power must have been blended on the 
lines now to be explained. 

We must remember that under the dynasties and empires 
referred to, what we now call the 'Frontier Hills', and 
indeed the best part of Afghanistan, was a part of the realm 
of India, and may be considered as much a part of India 
as it was in the ancient days before Darius made it a Persian 
satrapy. Afghanistan itself was an intricate network of 
races, then to some extent united so far as Eastern Afghan- 
istan went by its Moslem unity, only broken by the Shiah 
and Sunni discord. Western Afghanistan on the Oxus side of 
of the Hindu Rush was a part of Turkestan, and that name 
applies now as then. There the races were of Tartar or 
Turki origin. 

The hills towards Kabul and the Daman-i-Koh, and all 
through the Suleiman Mountains that fringe the right bank 
of the Indus, were full of a people of probable Aryan, Jit, 
and Bactrian origin, that is to say semi-Aryan, with such 
Greek leaven as the long dominion of that race in Bactria 
may have imparted. Mingled with them we*fe no doubt 
some of the early Tartar invaders of the Kushan period, 
though the stronger proclivities of Aryan stock seem to 
have eradicated physical traits. These races were all blended 
by some centuries of a non-exclusive Buddhism. It is not 
known how far the Hindu renaissance may have affected 
these semi-Aryans of the Afghan Hills, before the appeal 
of Islam stirred their hardy mountain minds and made 
their hearts desire to establish a Semite origin. Interspersed 
with these races in pockets were tribes of the Ben-i-Israel 
from Ghor and Kandahar, Turkish tribes who had 
come in with Alptigin and his successors at Ghuzni, and 
families, if not small clans, of Arab origin. 

Among the Moslem invaders came all these peoples riding, 


as horse in the train of the conquerors, with them came also 
the hordes of peoples of Oxus and trans-Oxus habitat 
belonging to one of the groups already referred to, described 
both here and in the world generally by the interchangeable 
name of Turk and Tartar. In addition to the actual forces 
of the invaders, the miscegenation wherever there were 
garrisons and the upbringing of the fruits of such miscegen- 
ation as Moslems, we know that all over the land, wherever 
the Moslem power gained dominion, there as in the Norman 
conquest of Saxon England, the barons and leaders, even 
down to the lesser officers received lands, and surrounded 
themselves with men-at-arms of their own religion. 

North, south, east and west had this gone on in the centuries 
between the establishment of Qutb-ud-din Tughlak at 
Delhi at the beginning of the thirteenth century, and the 
coming of the Mogul Empire in the sixteenth, even as 
Cromwell settled his Scottish horse in Ireland. 

All over the country then were there settlements of the 
Moslem barons, Turk, Afghan and Pathan, using these two 
latter terms to express the difference between the Ben-i- 
Israel and the men of the tribes of the Suleimans of more 
indigenous origin. Incidentally it may be said that the 
last term is often used indifferently for both peoples. 
Added to this as explained were the large number of local 
conversions, not only of Rajput clans en masse> but of the 
lesser local breeds who had no great stake in an arrogant 
Hinduism. This conversion was by no means always by 
force, but often by conviction, often for political reasons 
and protection. Where the foreigners settled there long 
remained patches of hardy warriors supporting the existing 
Moslem power, or too often turning to those other Moslem 
claimants, who by their constant rebellions, so helped to 
weaken the Moslem rule. There was often little enough 


love lost between the Moslem factions of Turkish ancestry 
and those of Pathan or Indian descent. The records of the day 
talk of the great rivalries at the Delhi courts between the Lords 
of Iran, and the Lords of Turan, the Moslems of Aryan or 
Persian blood and those of Turkish origin. 

The settlers from the Afghan Hills especially those from 
what we now call the 'Frontier* were known as Rohillas, 
the Men of Roh or Ruh, the ancient name for those hills. 
The Province of Rohilkand, which lies between Delhi and 
the Himalaya is so called because most of the land-owners 
and followers were Rohillas. If you go among the peasantry 
along the borders of the State of the Nizam in the south, 
you will find that the Moslems in that State, especially if 
turbulent, are still known as Rohillas, a term in fact used 
by peaceful folk to denote any Moslem disturber of the 
peace. Throughout the land the Rohilla land-owners and 
their followers had no reputation as farmers and cultivators, 
a work that they left to their Hindu serfs and yeoman tenants. 

For years the Rohilla settler would send, as a man of a 
Highland clan who has done well in Edinburgh London 
or Calcutta would send, for his young wild relatives to join 
him. His bodyguards would thus be reinforced by new 
stock, and if he were wise he would send, so far as his orthodox 
marriages were concerned, for daughters of the hardy 
mountain stock. It would seem that this practice came 
to an end both as to wives and henchmen when the Sikhs 
had closed the Punjab routes to the Rohilla and the Afghan, 
and when the creeping Pax Brittanica had brought the 
Moslem landlords to see reason and to plump for peace. 

The foreign Moslem settlers in the land produced many 
sturdy soldiers, especially horsemen, in the early British 
days, a few of whom still retain their traditions and value, 
but the centuries in an enervating climate, and intermarriage 


within the land has produced, as it has done to the stock 
of Europe, a considerable falling away in energy, courage 
and the martial spirit, to the great regret of the old officers, 
who in times gone by, had seen their value. Those who 
read details of the Indian Mutiny will know many stories 
of how single horsemen among the rebels challenged young 
British officers to single combat in front of the opposing 
squadrons, and how varied was the issue of such encounters, 
while equally forward were loyal horsemen in supporting 
their British officers in similar action. 

For good or for evil most of that spirit has passed before 
the enervating effect of peace on the Eastern martial traits. 
The converted Moslems of the lesser and clerkly breeds 
were rarely men of the sword, except in some passing phase 
of fanatical religious fury. 

It is the converted Rajput clans of the North, who still 
retain their martial traits, who find a large portion of His 
Majesty's faithful Indian Army, and who help in many a 
Government job that needs a man, while from across the 
border the wild reiving clans are still eager to serve. Farther 
south alas, the Moslem is a shadow of his earlier self, save 
perhaps in the Dekhan, where the descendants of the con- 
querors still have heart and thew. 

But of all these, and their modern equation, stock will 
be taken hereafter each in their place and time. 









AMONG the many fascinating and pathetic stories of heroism 
and despair that are associated with the struggles of the 
Rajputs of Rajasthan with the conquerors from the North, 
there are none that surpass the annals of Chitoor, and the 
story of the Saccas. Sacca is the name for the immolation 
of the females of a beleaguered place, an immolation to save 
them from gracing the harems and even the lepanoirs of 
the conquerors, that inevitable fate of women in the warring 

In the second century of our era, legend tells us that the 
first migrant of the solar race, the Surajbansi, came to Mewar 
and there founded an Aryan settlement by driving out some 
earlier race and ruler, who or what, hardly matters here. 
Before long the newcomers obtained possession of the rock 
of Chitoor on which no doubt was a fortress. Chitoor now 
stands on the great grey cliffs, close to the railway line to 
Bombay, a derelict and a warning. For many centuries its 


grey limestone walls and bastions formed the fortress capital 
of the Ranas of Mewar. For eight hundred years it held its 
proud position, but in the latter centuries it endured three 
terrible captures and sacks, and the last at the hands of 
Akbar, the greatest of the great Moguls, since which it has 
lain derelict like some giant ship's hull thrown high on the 
rocks. (See footnote to p. 87). 

Long before Chitoor ever fell to Turkish foe it stood up 
to the early Arab invaders from Sind, and some of the first 
incursions of Mahmud of Ghuzni, a bulwark, and a strong 
place. Unfortunately the Rajputs must quarrel as bitterly 
among themselves as they resisted the invader, and sad' to 
relate, clan jealousy at times made one lot accept aid from 
the common enemy. 

Twice was Chitoor attacked by Alla-ud-din-Khilji, Emperor 
of Delhi, and this was due to two causes, Rajput raids and a 
skirt. Bhimsi, uncle of the then young Rana, had married 
the daughter of the Chief of Ceylon who had the soubriquet 
only given to the most beautiful of women, viz., * Pudmini '. 
Alla-ud-din, investing Chitoor, demanded the rendition of 
Pudmini to his arms, as the terms of raising the siege. The 
refusal and fierce resistance induced him to mitigate his 
demands to a sight of the veiled and extraordinary beauty. 
Finally he was offered the sight reflected through mirrors and 
to this he assented. Trusting, as he knew he could, to the 
faith of a Rajput, he entered the fastness unguarded and duly 
enjoyed the sight of beauty in the mirrors. The Rajput 
Chief then accompanied the Tartar Emperor to the outer 
gates. Here, however, the faithless Tartar had prepared an 
ambush. Bhimsi was carried off, and his return was offered 
in exchange for Pudmini. It was now diamond cut diamond. 
The Rajputs represented that Pudmini should come 
properly escorted to be a Royal spouse. With her would be 


maids of honour, and many another lady would accompany 
her to bid her farewell. Strict were the precautions against 
curiosity violating the cortege of beauty. Seven hundred 
crimson curtained litters left the fort, and proceeded to the 
besiegers' camp. In each was one of the defenders of Chitoor 
with six armed soldiers disguised as litter bearers. The cortege 
was received in an enclosure of tent walls. Half an hour was 
allowed for the farewells between the Hindu Prince and his 
bride. Here again the Tartar had planned more treachery: 
Bhimsi was to be bilked and kept a prisoner. But no Pudmini 
and no maids descended from the litter. In lieu thereof the 
armed men who now sallied forth rescued the captive Bhimsi 
but as Alia was too well guarded for their vengeance, they 
had to content themselves with acting as rearguard to their 
chief who escaped on a swift horse. The devoted guard, 
history relates, were destroyed to a man. Alla-ud-din now 
attempted an assault, but was repulsed with heavy loss, and 
raised the siege awhile. Then he returned, better equipped, 
to recommence the siege anew. This time escape was im- 
possible, sortie after sortie failed, and it only remained to die. 
No mercy was to be expected from the Tartars. Then was 
prepared the terrible rite of Johur, the giant burning, by 
which alone could the queens and all the women escape the 
Tartar lust. Beneath the fortress lay great caverns and in 
these vast fires had been prepared. The funeral pyre was 
lighted in the underground chambers and into this in pro- 
cession walked the queens and all their wives and daughters 
who could by any counting be in danger. The beautiful 
Pudmini brought up the tail of the procession, and the 
doors were closed. The Rana's twelve-year son and a small 
party escaped through the enemy, that the line might endure. 
The Rana and the whole of the surviving chivalry now 
opened the gates and charged forth to sell their lives as 


dearly as they could. When the Tartars entered over their 
bodies, there was little of live flesh and blood for them to exult 
over. Thus fell for the first time in I3O3, 1 the great Rajput 

But Chitoor was not alone in misfortune, for this Emperor of 
Delhi brought disaster on most of the Rajput principalities. 


Before Chitoor was to be subjected to another Sacca the 
Rajputs were to suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of a 
new Tartar conqueror. The Lodi dynasty of Delhi was 
crumbling and all the unsettled elements were in arms, 
Moslem against Moslem and Rajput against all, including, 
alas, too often himself. 

But a new master was on his way and in 1526, Baber, 
descendant of Timur the Lame, the world compeller, had 
made his way by stages to the ever-ready battle-field of India 
at Panipat. Baber, a man of courage, of humour, of en- 
thusiasm and determination, thrice demanded from Ibrahim, 
the last of the Lodis, the throne that was once by conquest 
mighty Timur's. The Moslem forces of Ibrahim now met the 
fierce hard mountaineers and riders from the north on the 
famous field, Ibrahim was slain and his army scattered, and 
Baber marched to Delhi and thence to Agra. To him flocked 
the majority of the Moslem barons and soldiery, who but 
wanted to serve one who could hold India down and preserve 
the Moslem supremacy. But the chivalry of Rajasthan had 
arisen to shake off all vestige of Moslem authority headed 
by the Rana Sanga of Chitoor. With him rode all the Rajput 
princes and their clans, and all Rajputana rang with the thrill 

1 This is Ferishtas date, other authority says 1275. 


of it. This was 1528, and Baber advanced from Agra against 
the patriot hosts. The Rajputs fell on this advanced guard 
marching carelessly, and 1,500 of his Tartars were destroyed 
while Baber himself was surrounded by the mounted hordes 
and pinned within his entrenched camp. After his manner his 
sins then fell heavily on him, and he repented mightily. This 
time he foreswore all liquor, and he was very fond of his cups 
after the custom of his race, whatever the Moslem law. These 
are the verses which he actually composed: 

" Oh my soul 

" How long wilt thou continue to take pleasure in sin, 
" Repentance is not unpalatable. Taste it." 

Thus reinforced he broke up his camp, drove his foes before 
him and appeared before the actual Rajput camp a few miles 
in front of his own laager. A furious assault on the Tartars 
was then made bv the eager Rajputs which was their undoing. 
The Tartars, nothing dismayed, fought with some majesty, 
until one of the great chiefs prompted by some feud of jealousy 
went over to the Moslems. Then was the Rajput cause lost; 
long was the night of slaughter, heavy the tally of slain. Oodi 
Singh of Dongerpur with 200 of his clan, Rutna Singh of 
Saumbra with 300 of his Chunderwat swordsmen, Rai Mul 
Rahtore of Marwar and many another of the leading chiefs, 
with countless lesser barons and duine-vassals, and even a 
son of the last Lodi Dynasty, fighting with the Rajputs 
against the Tartars. Rana Sanga himself was carried off the 
field wounded and the beaten Rajput host made for the 
Mewatti hills, the Rana swearing that he would not return 
to his capital till victorious. 

On the battle-field the triumphant Baber was piling up the 
usual trophy of the heads of his dead enemies and in tribute to 
his prowess for the Faith assumed the title of Ghazi, which his 


successors held until the last pantaloon puppet of the ancient 
kingdom lost in 1857 even the shreds of authority by turning 
on his benefactors at Delhi. 


The defeat of the Rajputs at Kanua was enough for Baber. 

The Rajput menace was over for the present, and he had 
other fish to fry than run his head against the rock of 

But there were other enemies of the Rajputs who would 
continue the struggle. Rajah or Rana Sanga was a forcible 
personality and had lived on war. He had lost an eye in a 
brawl with a brother, and an arm in action with the King of 
Delhi, and had long been a cripple since his leg had been 
broken by a cannon ball. Eighty wound scars from sword 
and lance he also bore on his body. He had not carried his 
life so successfully without making many enemies. Among 
other feats he had captured the Moslem King of Malwa, 
MuzafFer, in his own stronghold; he had also captured the 
famous fortress of Rinthunbur from Ali the Imperial general, 
and Islam was hot on his tracks and those of the Rajputs 
generally. Bikramajit, a son of the Rana, was now on the 
throne, his war-worn father having been gathered with his 
fathers of the Sun, and Bahadur King of Guzerat, took advan- 
tage of the weakening quarrels of the Rajputs then in progress 
to march on Chitoor. Bitter had been the Rajput dissensions. 
In the saying of the countryside Poppa Bhai ki Raj had 
supervened, Poppa being a princess of fable whose rule was 
proverbial for mismanagement. Bikramajit, brave enough 
if incompetent, hastened to meet Bahadur, and was severely 
defeated for his pains. Inside Chitoor was an infant son 


of Sanga, and there, burying the hatchet of dissension, the 
Rajputs hurried to defend the capital that was sacred above 
all things. Sacrificing everything, the most famous Rajput 
chiefs rallied to its defence. 

The Moslems sat down before the fortress with a fine park 
of artillery, and with them it was said some European, prob- 
ably Portuguese, gunners. A vast mine was sprung which 
brought down forty-five cubits of the rampart. Bravely did 
walls of flesh and blood hasten to fill the gap in the stone. 
The Queen-mother of the Rhatores, the noble Jowajir Bhai, 
herself led forth a sortie, clothed in mail, and was slain at 
the head of her clan. Still the besiegers gained ground. 
Then the infant child of Sanga was smuggled out, as was the 
heir in the last siege, to preserve the race, and since Chitoor 
can only be defended by royalty, Baghi, prince of Deoli, 
was crowned a temporary king. The great banner of Mewar 
flew out over his head, but in vain for the fate of Chitoor was 
again sealed as it had been two centuries before. Once more 
was the terrible Johur prepared. There was hardly time to 
get ready the pyre, so fast had the defenders fallen in the 
great breach that saltpetre had effected. But combustibles 
were heaped in the underground caverns and among the 
powder magazines, and the princess Kurnavaiti, mother of 
the prince, headed the martyrs' procession, as thirteen thou- 
sand women in the flower of their youth and beauty marched 
calm, triumphant and even exulting to the doom that was to 
defraud and disappoint the conquerors of their victims. 
Then were the great gates flung wide open as in ancient 
times, and the prince of Deoli charged forth at the head of the 
survivors, blind with fury and despair. 

Not a man survived, and the triumphant Moslem con- 
queror looked on a terrible scene of desolation. Every clan 
had lost its chief, and 32,000 Rajputs are said to have lost 


their lives. This was the second Sacca of Chitoor in the 
year of Our Lord 1535 and of * Sambat* The Hindu Calen- 
dar, 1591. The deeds done and tragedies concerning it 
which the bards sing to this day, were legion. 

And so the years rolled on, the Rajputs still in turmoil, 
and always in fratricidal war with their own kind, or strife 
of extermination with their Moslem neighbours. The story 
of how the infant Oody Singh was rescued to become a 
worthless scion, and bring down Mewar and Chitoor again 
need not be recounted. Suffice it to say that once more 
did Chitoor arise and once more was it to suffer Sacca and 
undergo Johur before it was to become a derelict, tragic 
ruin, at which even a Cook's tourist grows sad for a while. 1 


While the Rajputs continued their struggles and intrigues, 
the throne of Baber passed to his son Humayun, who after 
ten years of mismanagement and ill fortune had lost all 
that his father had gained, and finally, at the hands of the 
Afghan Sher Shah was driven forth a fugitive. More than 
once had he in incipient wisdom tended to help the Rajputs 
and lay the seed of reconciliation that afterwards his son 
Akbar was to ripen. During the period that Sher Shah 
held down the throne of Delhi, after the final defeat of 
Humayun, the Rajputs had been rigorously restrained 
within their own hills and some of their strongholds taken 
with concomitant massacre. In 1555 the tide turned and 
Humayun came back triumphant only to be killed by a 
fall from his horse the next year. His son Akbar succeeded 
to him at the age of fourteen and his armies defeated the 
Afghans on the field of Panipat. At eighteen, as related, 

1 Of late years, however, restored and repaired. 


Akbar took the reins from his minister Bairam and started 
on the great career that was to bring his dynasty to a place 
among the world's greatest kingdoms. In 1566 all the 
Moslems had acknowledged him, and he was anxious to 
arrive at some better relations with the Rajputs. After a 
brief struggle most of the chiefs entered into alliance, Oody 
Singh alone, foolish and proud, defied the mighty Emperor, 
on which the Mogul sat down before Chitoor for the third 
and last seige, from which, however, the chief himself was 

Ferishta, the Moslem historian, records not, but local 
history states, that once was Akbar repulsed and compelled 
to abandon the siege by the determined defence which the 
Rana's concubine queen put up. But whatever the truth of 
that, in the twenty-fifth year of his age, and the seventh of his 
having assumed control, his vast army and siege train appeared 
before the grey cliffs and battlements that had seen it all 
so many times before. The site of the Royal Ordu 1 is shown 
to this day and the attacking trenches also remain. Once 
again the chiefs assembled to combat for their ancient capital 
though the Rana was not with them. Names are they still 
to conjure with in Rajasthan, but first and foremost among 
the heroes were Jai Mall of Bednor and Putta of Kailwa, 
both among the sixteen superior vassals of Mewar. The 
siege followed the usual course. Fierce were the stormings 
of the Tartars and Afghans, fiercer still the thrust and 
sortie of the defenders Within was all that the clan valued, 
all except their sovereign. Queens, princesses, and all the 
lesser women of rank and all the clansmen's families. Many 
a slip of a Rajput lass slung the buckler over the scarf and 
died in the breach. Salumbra fell at the gate of the Sun, 
and the sixteen year old Putta of Kailwa took his place. 



His mother cast over him the saffron robe of the martyr, 
and then, that he should have no regard for the gentler 
side of his life, armed herself and gave his bride a lance, and 
descended the rock towards the foe. All Chitoor saw them 
fall and vowed a vow. The terrible Johur for the third time 
in history was prepared, and the garrison to the number 
of eight thousand donned the saffron robe, the pan of sacrifice 
the bhira was distributed, the women marched to the 
pyre and the gates of sortie and sacrifice were thrown open. 
Of what avail such valour against the countless hosts of the 
Mogul. All the heads of clans and all the allied chiefs fell, 
and seventeen hundred of the immediate kin of the prince. 
With them nine queens, five of their daughters and two 
infant sons perished, and Akbar like Alla-ud-din, or Bahadur, 
his predecessors in this barren victory, gazed from the head 
of the main gate on the slaughter and desolation he had 
brought about. But to him already planning an 'India' 
it was a shock and not a rejoicing. The greatness of the 
victory was gauged according to custom from the collars 
taken from chiefs of distinction; of such four and 
seventy and a half mans were garnered. A man is eight 

Ever since, seventy-four and a half is an abhorred number 
in Rajputana, and is held tilac (accursed). 

Oody Singh, the renegade, founded a new settlement at 
what is now the capital of Oodipur, and died at forty-four 
in great malodour, but leaving behind a vast progeny. 
Chitoor has to this day stood as a ruin, a haunt for the 
wild beast and the bittern, even its shrines and temples 
foresworn, below it unheeding clatter the railway trains 
of the West (but see footnote p. 87). 



i. The Bridal Cortege of Koramdevi 

The life story of Rajasthan, as has been said, lives in the 
memory of its people as do those of other Celtic races, and 
in the songs and stories of the bards. From mouth to mouth 
through the ages, like the Puranas, the Upanishads, and 
all the literature of the ancient world recorded long before 
the written cult, come the stories that have been handed 
down of memory often more accurately than careless or 
glossful copyists may write. Thus Rama and Krishna long 
before they became gods and incarnations were Kshattriya 
adventurers, leaders and heroes, the latter being in modern 
light parlance a 'bit of a lad', with a gift of the comether 
for every strapping dairymaid. Popular heroes in all times 
are recognized, aiid very properly so, as having at least 
some particle of the deity in their cosmos, men into whom 
the Kings of Orion have entered. 

But we need not now go back to the hero-myth, but to 
those stout stories of medieval chivalry in Rajasthan of 
which the folk still love to hear. We shall be told of many 
more Saccas, when Rajput queens and curtain wives went 
to the Johur before less unholy foes than the hosts of 
the Turk. In the eternal civil war between cousin kings, the 
wives were prouder and often fiercer still, and scorned the 
bed of the conqueror, even when of their own blood. 

The tale of the queens, however, is always a tale of 
faithful love and constancy, and is typical of the spirit of 
Hindu women, and their proud and patient outlook on 
life. Here is the story of the bride of Sadoo, son of Raningdeo 
Bhatti, lord of Poogal, a fief of Jeysulmere, as related by 


Tod. Sadoo was a prince of raiders, the terror of the desert, 
harrying even to the Indus. It so happened that returning 
from a foray in typical Rajput style and who said * Scottish 
border*? with captured horses and camels and sumpter 
mules, he passed through the dukedom of Manik Rao, 
the chief of the Rajput clan of the Mohils, whose rule ex- 
tended, it is said, over close on 1,450 villages. 

After the Rajputs* open way, Manik Rao bade the young 
baron tarry a while and sup. While so doing he attracted 
attention of the old chief's daughter, Koramdevi, who, 
masterful hot-blooded lass that she was, although betrothed 
to Irrinkowal the heir of the great Rahtore prince of Mundore, 
announced that she would renounce the prospect of a throne 
and marry the heir of Poogal. 

The Mohil chief could not advise Sadoo to make a mortal 
enemy of the Rahtore bridegroom-elect by marrying his 
forward daughter, but how could Sadoo, a Rajput of spirit 
decline so commanding a favour, and the hand of so beautiful 
and highborn a lady. He promised to accept the Cocoanut, 
the symbol of betrothal, if sent to Poogal in Rajput form. 
In due time it came, the Rah tores were defied, and Sadoo 
espoused his bride with great ceremony at Aureent, the 
bride's home. Handsome was the dower of the Mohil 
princess, gems of high price, vessels of gold and silver, a 
golden bull and thirteen dewadharis, damsels 'of wisdom 
and penetration* to wait on their lady and share such trifle 
of her husband's affection as she could spare. 

The slighted heir of Mundore was not however prepared 
to take the insult, the brazen flouting, placidly. With 4,000 
of his Rahtore warriors Irrinkowal planted himself across 
the return path of the bridal cortege. Sadoo*s father-in-law 
had offered him 4,000 Mohils as escort, but the laughing 
bridegroom, confident in his own 700 stout Bhatti clans- 


men, could not be persuaded to take more than fifty under 
his new brother-in-law, Megraj. 

Sadoo and his bride halted to rest at Chondon, and there 
the Rahtores found him. The Rahtores brave and chivalrous 
however ruthless, scorned to fall on so small force with 
all their numbers, and a series of single combats ensued. 
Single combats passed to the engaging of larger bodies, 
and at length Sadoo mounted his horse, his bride watching 
from her chariot. As the struggle waged half of Sadoo's 
men had fallen, and six hundred of the Rahtores. Sadoo 
then bade his lass a last adieu, and she vowed that she would 
witness his deeds, and if he fell follow him in death. Irrin- 
kowal, ' the Lotus of the Desert ', awaited his successful rival 
in love, and at length they met to shower blow on helmet 
and shield as they circled on their high-bitted steeds. At 
last both fell to the ground, Sadoo dead, his rival in a 

With the fall of the rivals and leaders the battle ceased, 
and the cause of it all, the fair Koramdevi, virgin-wife and 
widow all in one, prepared to follow her bridegroom, a 
grim and ruthless following, as grim as had been the strife. 
As the funeral pyre was ready Koramdevi called for a sword, 
and then, the story runs, struck off one arm " * For my father '. 
Saying 'such was his daughter V' she commanded the other 
to be struck off and given with the marriage jewels to the 
bard of the Mohils. Thus maimed she mounted the pyre, 
embraced her bridegroom with the poor stumps, and bade 
them apply the torch. To this day they show the 'Tank of 
Koramdevi', built in her honour. 

That is the story, and from the accounts of the saccas 
and suttees, there is no reason to doubt it, so fierce and 
proud were these mistaken heroes and their women, with 
a ferocity, courage and pride so tense that could they have 


avoided quarrelling among themselves not all the Turks 
in Asia should have crossed the Indus twice. It is to the 
eternal disgrace of the Brahminical framework with its 
national claim, that it has ever failed to save, but has always 
sufficed to break the country of its pretensions. 

2. The Rajputni and the Bear 

Among the lesser stories of the womenkind, and their 
strength and courage, comes that of the Rajputni and the 
bear, as told by Zalim Singh, characteristic of the Rajpoot 
women. Taking the midday meal to her husband, a yeoman 
farmer at work on his fields, a Rajputni was attacked by a 
bear who advanced erect like Adamzad, * the bear that walked 
like a man'. Uncertain whether the bear sought herself or 
the food the woman got behind the trunk of a tree, and the 
bear still erect, exhausted all his ingenuity to seize her but 
in vain. At last, however, the Rajputni, too weary to evade 
the brute longer, grasped his two paws with a grasp of iron 
from her fine-bred wrists. The short-necked bear roared 
with fear at being so tackled, and tried hard to seize 
her wrists but without success. While in this dilemma a 
foreign soldier, a pardasi y passed, en route to a neighbouring 
garrison. She called to him in a voice of great unconcern 
to come and give a hand for a time so that she might rest. 
He did so readily enough, but she had not gone a dozen yards 
before the soldier, finding he could hardly hold the bear, 
shouted to her to return. She however laughed and re- 
commended perseverance, but soon returned with her 
husband and his matchlock so that the soldier was relieved. 
The story as told reads but as a piece of a normal day's work 
for a strapping woman. 


3. The Rajputs and Aurungzebe 

When conquered by Akbar as related, the Rajputs became 
the loyal servants of the Empire, serving the Mogul the 
length and breadth of India from the Hindu Rush to the 
Assam Hills, and it was not till the days of Aurungzebe that 
their chivalrous loyalty was ended. Bernier, the French 
physician with the emperor tells many stories of their prowess 
and self sacrifice. When this ungrateful son had planned to 
supplant and imprison his father Shah Jehan, the Rajputs 
stood for the Emperor, and a great battle between thirty 
thousand of them and the forces of Murad and Aurungzebe 
took place on the Narbudda. The vastly superior Moslem 
forces were too much for them, but when 10,000 Rajputs 
had fallen, the Rahtore Maharajah Jeswunt Singh drew off 
to his own capital with but 500 of his following surviving, 
and those mostly wounded. But his Queen, a daughter of 
Oodipur, would have none o^ him. She was not going to 
comfort and condole with one who could suffer defeat and 
live. She shut the gates of his castle against him, vowing 
that he was not her husband, and that the son-in-law of the 
great Rana could not have so mean a soul. In vain they told 
how he had scorned death a hundred times and fought till 
the remnant was forced from the field, bearing himself a 
charmed life. She but cried that they deceived her, he must 
be dead, and she bade the pyre be lit on which she too would 
burn. It was not till nine days later that her mother alone 
could persuade her that the Maharajah but lived to raise 
another army and fight Aurungzebe again *a pattern* 
remarks Bernier 'of the courage of the women of the 
country '. 


4. The Answer of Queen Sunjota 

Once upon a time before the Rajputs were driven from 
Delhi, of which they were then the emperors and premier 
kings in Ind, the Chouhan Emperor carried off in triumph, 
the Princess of Kanauj, Sunjota by name. She had rejected 
the assembled princes at her father's court, and thrown the 
garland of marriage round the neck of her hero, and in his 
arms, it is related, abandoned herself to the wildest passion. 
Then she is to be seen taking part in a five days' combat 
between her father's and husband's forces, and after 
witnessing the overthrow of the former and the carnage of 
both armies, in her arms lulls her victorious husband to the 
neglect of all his kingly duties. 

When however the Moslem came down from Ghuzni we 
are shown her driving him to the battle and inspiring him to 
fight till death, promising to join him in the mansions of the 

Sunjota must have been a remarkable and thrice fearless 
woman for the bards record her reply when the king left 
his warriors to consult with her as to the opposing of Mahmud 
of Ghuzni. 

"Who asks woman for advice? The world deems their 
understanding shallow; even when truths issue from their 
lips, none listen thereto. Yet what is the world without 
woman? We have the forms of Sakhti with the fire of Siva; 
we are at once thieves and sanctuaries; we are the vessels 
of virtue and of vice of knowledge and of ignorance. The 
man of wisdom, the astrologer, can from the books calculate 
the motion and course of the planets; but in the book of 
woman he is ignorant; this is not a saying of to-day, it has 
ever been so; our book has not been mastered, therefore to 


hide their ignorance, they say in woman there is no wisdom ! 
Yet woman shares your joys and your sorrows. Even when 
you depart for the mansions of the sun, we part not. Hunger 
and thirst we cheerfully partake with you; we are as the 
lakes of which you are the swans; what are you when absent 
from our bosoms? " 

Which whether spoken as it was close on a thousand years 
ago, whether spoken to-day, or when Babylon was at her 
zenith, is a very remarkable and effective swan-song. Alas ! 
For swan-song it proved to be. Her Emperor was defeated, 
captured and put to death by Mahmud, and she, faithful to 
her vows, mounted the funeral pyre. 







THE story of the Mahrattas is intimately mixed up with 
the fall of the Turkish Empire of Delhi, as it is with the rise 
of the British, and this strange freebooting federation that 
tried to become an empire is not without fascination to all 
who love to watch the * Wheel '. The Mahrattas to-day have 
an important niche in the defensive forces of the Empire, 
and in the World War the Mahratta corps in the Indian 
Army carried to a world-wide reputation the traditions of 
Shivaji Bhonsla. 

The Mahrattas are certain folk of semi-Aryan extraction 
who own and cultivate the land of the coastal plains and hills 
north and south of Bombay, the spurs and valleys of the 
wall of the Western Ghats and the uplands known as the 
Deccan, more properly Dekhan, and the lower lands and 
jungles of the Konkan. Because some Aryan or J&t strain 
had mingled with the earlier Dravidian or cognate race, 
because they were men of thews and hearts and because 


they were prepared to leave Buddhism and come back to the 
Brahmin fold, therefore they were admitted to have some- 
thing, it is not quite clear what, of Rajput status. The term 
Mahratta must not be confused with those so-called 'Mah- 
ratta' Brahmins, the Brahmins of the Dekhan who have 
settled in Maharasthra, as the Mahratta land was known. 
They are Brahmins pure and simple, who perform Brah- 
minical functions in that land, having come there from the 
north in the dark ages before time was counted, when the 
Aryan soldier forced his way through the jungles of Central 
India. As elsewhere, their numbers are far greater than 
the priesthood needs, and therefore they are numerous in 
lay occupations. The climate of the Dekhan, for some 
unknown reason, has intensified their brain power to an 
amazing extent. They furnished ministers and officials to 
the Mahratta states, high and low, judges and officials to 
the British Government, and they dominate in the clerical 
occupations of the Bombay Government. The coming of 
the British has in certain v^ys deprived them of their com- 
manding offices, but in other directions has opened count- 
less advantageous ways of life. 

As intriguers and politicians of great acuteness their 
name is notorious throughout India, and in modern times 
as judges, lawyers, scientists, and financiers they hold a 
prominent position in Western India, but they are not 
racially Mahrattas. 

This Aryan penetration of the South and West, as ex- 
plained, is recorded in the countless Hindu legends and 
sagas and no man can deduce plain history therefrom. 
At the time when the sage Agastya bade the mountains grow 
less high, or in other words incited the Aryans to venture 
beyond the Aravallis, there is no doubt that the subjugation 
of Berar and the country about the River Godaveri was 


very thorough. While the languages farther south, Tamil, 
Telegu and Canarese are not Sanskrit languages, Mahratti 
certainly is. The various Prakrits are the dialects of the 
old Aryan tongue, of which the Sanskrit the 'polished* 
tongue remains standardized, from the moment it was 
memorialised and eventually written as a priestly and literary 
tongue. The homely human prakrits however have gone 
on developing and degenerating perhaps to suit the needs 
and psychology of the peoples of the countryside. The 
Mahratti is a peculiarly charming one with astoundingly 
poetic imagery in its everyday terms for 'nature's sweet 
familiar things'. 

While the term Dekhan or Dakhan is the short of Dakshini, 
the ' right-hand ' country as you face the rising sun, and hence 
the south, Maharasthra, is the land of the great Rathas 
or Rattas, put into Sanskrit form. Earlier records tell of 
this race Rattas, Rastikas, etc., and of missions from the 
north to their kingdoms. This southern and western country 
was a land of great kingdoms of antiquity, and great trade 
with the West. From the coast through the Ghats many 
trade routes cut their way up the scarred ravines that the 
rains have torn to the seas, and to this day on these stand 
great grey stone castles. Some were built by the earlier 
Moslem conquerors, some far older, the 'adulterine* castle 
that was the home of robber barons, others the official 
strongholds of the governors of the day. Eventually, they 
fell to the hands of the Mahratta chiefs, and from them to 
small British columns which tramped the Ghats with 
mountain trains, and pack mortars, till they too acknowl- 
edged the might of the 'Angrez' and the call of the Pax 



When the Moslem conquerors swept through the land it 
was not long before Afghan and Turkish leaders started 
dynasties in the West, subduing most existing powers Aryan, 
semi- Aryan and Dravidian. At the end of the thirteenth and 
commencement of the fourteenth century when the Khilji 
dynasty ruled at Delhi, the first invasion of the Dekhan took 
place, and Deogarh was captured. A generation later 
Muhammad Tughlagh, emperor of Delhi, subdued the greater 
part of the Dekhan and actually moved his entire capital and 
all its folks willy-nilly to Deogarh which he now named 
Doulatabad, * The City of Dominion '. 

The fortress of Doulatabad that was originally Deoghar 
is quite one of the most remarkable and romantic in India, 
not even excepting the great Rock of Gwalior. It stands on 
an isolated circular hill of which the circumference is 5,000 
yards, and which has been scarped for the height of a hundred 
feet or so, so smooth that ; t is said neither a snake nor an ant 
could scale it. 

The hill which towers several hundred feet above the scarp, 
and which has almost needlessly embattled walls and ter- 
races, is entered by a dark spiral road, winding through the 
bowels of the rock, so dark that artificial light is needed, until 
it eventually emerges on to the inner terreplein. Apart from 
any gates the long tunnel thus formed is closed by a furnace 
and grating at the top, from which a charcoal fire emits heavy 
fumes to descend and make the passage deadly and impass- 
able. The furnace and grating are still to be seen. Great 
cannon, with long Persian inscriptions carved thereon, still 
lie about the interior, while below a guard of the Nizam State 
Artillery keep uneventful guard, in the trappings of an earlier 


British period, and boasting of names and clans from the 
frontier, from whose advent centuries earlier they count 
their descent. Below the rock are the ruined walls of 
the once capital city of a dynasty and of an empire. 

It was not long before Afghan soldiers of fortune rebelled 
and set up kingdoms of their own. One Zaffir Khan, the 
menial of a Brahmin at Delhi named Gangu, gathered to- 
gether all who hated the cruelties of which Tughlagh had 
been guilty. He made himself with their help, ruler of 
the Dekhan and assumed the name and title of Alah-ud- 
din, Hasan Gangu Bahmani, the latter word meaning Brah- 
min, and these strange cognomens he adopted because of his 
affection for his old master. The Bahmani Dominion was 
now extended to the Konkan and the sea on the west, and it 
lasted close on two centuries. By 1526, the Delhi Dominion 
under the Lodi dynasty was in its last throes. All over India 
its viceroys were in rebellion, and the independent Bahmani 
Kingdom, fell with it, breaking into five separate Moslem 
states, those of Ahmednagar (Nizam Shahi dynasty), Bijapur 
(Adil Shahi), Golconda (Qutb Shahi), and Bidar and Berar 
in both of which members of the Bahmani family were set 
up. To Delhi had now come Baber the Chagatai Turk to 
found the greatest rule of them all, the Mogul Empire. 

The kingdoms into which the Bahmani had broken up 
had become hopelessly antagonistic one to another, wasting 
their substance in constant wars, and ere long the states of 
Bidar and Berar had been eaten up by Ahmednagar and 
Bijapur. Up till 1594 a powerful Hindu state, Vijianager, 
had succeeded in remaining in being, but it at last fell to 

All the while the simple pastoral and agricultural Mahrattas 
had let the tide of invasion and conquest roll by. The daily 
village life continued, revenue was paid to him who could 


get it, and there were no signs of a Mahratta revival. But 
the countless wars between the Moslem states were the latter's 
undoing. The supply of Turks, Arabs, Moguls was not 
sufficient and the sturdier people of the country-side were 
called to the ranks. Thus there arose some military spirit 
and ideas in Mahrattadom. Even in the contending armies 
the Mahrarfas were serving as mercenaries and they had 
plenty of feuds of their own to prosecute. In 1529 the Shah 
of Bijapur actually appointed a Mahratta Brahmin as his 
peshwa or prime minister. 

It was during the sixteenth century that the Portuguese 
came to India and eventually shared with Bijapur and 
Ahmednagar what is now the Bombay Presidency. Before 
long we find them contributing some Portuguese artillery- 
men to the local quarrels. 


When Akbar came to +!.e Mogul throne he speedily de- 
veloped his policy of a combined India, though he felt 
compelled to take Ahmednagar which was defended for 
long by the great Queen Chand Bai. The Nizam Shahi 
dynasty, however, remained, with capital at Doulatabad and 
in 1620 when Malik Ambar was king of that state the 
modern Mahratta story may be said to have commenced. 
At that time Shahji Bhonsla a Mahratta country gentleman 
in the Muhammadan service, greatly distinguished himself in 
battle against the rebellious son and heir of the Mogul 
Emperor Shah Jehan. In 1629 a ft er Shah Jehan had suc- 
ceeded to the throne, his commander-in-chief in the Dekhan 
rebelled, inducing the Mahrattas to support him; but Shaji 
Bhonsla sided with the Emperor, for which he received a 


patent of nobility and a grant of estates. Other Mahrattas 
followed his example, and Lodi Shah Khan, the rebel corn- 
commander, was killed. 

The Moguls were now at war with the Moslem kingdoms 
of the Dekhan, which were brought to some sort of sub- 
mission, the Nizam Shahi kingdom disappearing. In their 
wars with the Emperor and with themselves each side was 
encouraging the Mahratta nobles, both in their own quarrels 
and in their rebellions against Delhi. 

Then it was that Shivaji, son of Shahji, came first as a 
Hindu champion with the desire to form a Hindu state. 

In the middle of the seventeenth century Aurungzebe, 
the son of Shah Jehan, was made Viceroy of the Dekhan, 
and established his camp at Kirki near Doulatabad, which 
he now named Aurungabad. 

Shahji was now in the service of the king of Bijapur and to 
him was born the famous Shivaji in the fort of Shivner, not 
far from Poona. While Aurungzebe was endeavouring to 
govern the Dekhan, the boy Shivaji was developing into 
the man that was to drive many of the nails into the Mogul 
coffin. Up and down the rugged ghats he wandered, noting 
the great fortresses that guarded the trading routes, or 
harboured the men-at-arms of the raiding barons. He noted 
how strong they were in themselves, how carelessly guarded 
by the Moslem garrisons. The adventurous lad summoned 
to himself, like Prince Hal of England a band of lads of 
spirit. He actually gained possession of the fort of Torna 
forty miles west of Poona high up on the mountains, and 
then offered to rent it from the Bijapur Government. In 
Torna of all places he discovered treasure. 

His grandfather, ran the legend, the first Bhonsla to gather 
any of this world's goods, had received it from the goddess 
Bhavani, who had prophesied that one in the family should 


become a king, re-establish Maharasthra, and remove all 
'who molested Brahmins or violated the temples of the 
gods'. It is to be noticed that it was always those who 
cherished Brahmins for whom great promises were made. 
When Shivaji found the treasure, he attributed the dis- 
covery to the protection of Bhavani, where some might 
have said he did, like merry Hal, but rob a banker or 
a Jew. 

At any rate, he had now achieved his boyish ambition 
to be a polygar, the * governor of a fort '. While this was in 
progress his father Shahji was a vassal of the Moslem Bijapur, 
and he explained his son's actions as but evidence of his 
assiduity for Government property in his hands. In prosecu- 
tion of this duty Shivaji bought arms with his treasure and 
built himself another mountain eyry at Rajgarh, not far from 
Torna. Shivaji was thus embarked on a definite career of 
defiance, which could but have one end as soon as Bijapur 
should learn what was really doing, and he actually seized 
the fort of Chakun out in the plains some eighteen miles 
from Poona. Funds he now accumulated by retaining the 
revenues due to Bijapur for his father's estates. Later he 
gained one of the most powerful and magnificent of strong- 
holds in which large masses of horse could be concealed. 
Bijapur for the moment, however, was strangely tolerant, 
content that Shaji remained at court while his son managed 
his estates. And while the Moslem slumbered the Hindu 
waxed powerful. 

At last, two years later, Shivaji declared himself rebel by 
attacking and looting a convoy of Government treasure that 
was passing through the ghats below his eyry. As reprisals 
were now certain he secured ten of the forts that divided 
Dekhan from Konkan. This brought him into collision with 
the Sidis or Sayads of Janjira, who afterwards became the 


Mogul admirals. Seeing that he might as well be hung for 
a sheep as a lamb, he captured Kalyan and took the Moslem 
Governor pr'aoner. 

The Bijapur Government now threw the father into 
prison, as a hostage in some sort. Shahji appealed to Shah 
Jehan, who then took Shivaji into the Imperial Service, and 
obtained the release of his father from durance, though not 
from attendance at Bijapur. 

While these events were in progress Aurungzebe was 
continuing his operations against the Moslem kingdoms 
of the Dekhan, but in 1658 hurried to Delhi to be at the bed- 
side of his father who was said to be dying. Shah Jehan, 
however, recovered, and his dutiful son who was not the 
heir, seized the throne and held his father eight years in 
subjection. Shivaji had offered to protect Aurungzebe's 
interests during the latter's return to Delhi, and was there- 
fore allowed to put forward preposterous claims on certain 
Mogul estates. Aurungzebe who was now known by his 
Imperial title of Al&mgir, returned to the Dekhan to prosecute 
his plans for reducing Dekhan kingdoms, whose rulers to 
his intense dislike held the Shiah rather than like himself 
professed the Orthodox form of Islam. How they fell before 
him is another story, but it is to be remembered that it was 
the destruction of these kingdoms, Golgonda and Bijapur 
especially, that was the cause of the growth of the Mahratta 
ulcer on the Mogul side. Because of his bigotry against his 
own folk that were not Orthodox he encouraged Shivaji 
to prey on them, little heeding what would eventuate there- 

Alamgir was forty years of age when he seized the 
throne and he was to spend the greater part of his 
long reign in trying to bring the Dekhan into the 
Mogul domain. 


This period while Shivaji was rising to power, first by 
grace of and then in defiance of Delhi, is one of which many 
legends exist and many heroic deeds are sung. What the 
Bruce was to Scotland that is Shivaji to the Mahrattadom. 


Among the many stories that are still sung at the fairs and 
told in the schools is that of the death of Afzul Khan, the 
commander-in-chief of the forces of Bijapur. It is not quite 
one that Western sentiment and sense of the suitable would 
choose to tell of their national hero, but then the story of 
the Jewish nation and the house of which even the Christ 
was born on earth, commences no better. It must be a 
strong race and story that dare commence with the das- 
tardly deceit of its founder to his father Isaac, the blind 
patriarch, and the defrauding of the first born, and so it is 
with Shivaji. 

The Bijapur Government had at last awoken to the fact 
that their legs were, in modern slang, being pulled by the 
Mahratta freebooter, and a well-appointed army under Afzul 
Khan, who vaunted of how he would bring in the Mahratta 
dead or alive, was sent against him. Shivaji had no intention 
of joining battle in the open, and withdrew to the mountain 
fastness of Pertabgarh, in the ghats not far from Poona. 
Mahratta-like, he could be as wily and treacherous as any 
situation might demand, and he sent offers of submission to 
the Afghan who halted at Wai and sent Pantoji Gopinath a 
Brahmin, to carry on the negotiations. Shivaji ordered the 
emissary to be well lodged and received and, visiting him at 
night, explained how he was commissioned by Sri Bhravani 
herself to free all Hindus, to protect kine and prosper all 


Brahmins, and these arguments overcame the Moslems' 
Brahmin emissary. 

Afzul was accordingly informed that it was the Bijapur 
army that Shivaji feared, but that he would accept the 
General's personal assurance and would surrender. The 
Afghan thus encouraged led his army into the mountains. 
Shivaji prepared for the meeting, blessed by his mother and 
'shriven and shorn' by his own Brahmins, with a steel cap 
below his puggaree, and a mail shirt below his cotton coat, 
waited the arrival of Afzul Khan, but with the crooked 
Mahratta dagger up his sleeve and the terrible waghnakh, 
or 'tiger's claw' into which the fingers slipped ... a 
favourite Mahratta weapon ... in his right hand. 

The meeting took place between the two armies, the 
mailed Moslems on one side, the wilder Mahratta clansmen 
on the other, and commenced with the customary embrace 
of ceremony. As the embrace went forward heart to heart, 
and hand over back, the waghnakh disembowelled the Moslem 
who was also stabbed with the dagger. Immediately the 
victim's head was cut off and held up, and instantly the 
Mahrattas, of whom numbers were concealed in the jungle, 
fell on the Moslem force hampered and confined in the narrow 
valley. It was routed and largely destroyed and its camp and 
baggage captured. Great was the fame that accrued to Shivaji 
by this timely act of treachery, and from this date 1659 the 
Mahrattas became a kingdom and something of a nation. 

In vain did Bijapur storm and rave. Shivaji was established 
and was in collision with all and sundry, including inci- 
dentally the British, who had gained in 1661 the Island of 
Bombay by that wonderful dowry which Charles II had 
received with his Portuguese bride. The Mahratta was now 
able to maintain 50,000 foot and 7,000 horse. 



So long as Shivaji was useful in helping to destroy the 
Moslem kingdoms, Aurungzebe was well enough pleased, 
but when the former's newly found arrogance brought him 
into collision with the Imperial authority it was another matter. 

When in collision with the Mogul, one of his exploits 
is as famous among the bards and in the countryside as his 
destruction of Afzul. High above Poona, and a dozen miles 
or so from it, stands on a steep massif the fortress of Singhar 
in which Shivaji had installed himself. Below in the plains 
the Mogul governor lay at Poona with his host around him. 
One night Shivaji descended and surrounding the governor's 
palace, slew his guard and his son, and was away to Singhar 
before he could be molested, signifying by big illuminations 
the deed that he had done. 

The Mogul now sent a Hindu general against him, and 
Shivaji warned it is said bv Bhavani, made submission, and 
co-operated with great valour with the Mogul troops against 
Bijapur. He was then invited to the Imperial court with his son 
Sambhaji, but showing resentment at something said he was 
placed in confinement whence however he escaped, and got back 
to his own land. In 1 672 he defeated an Imperial army and it was 
not till 1682, two years after his death, that Aurungzebe took 
the field against his son with a magnificent if cumbrous army. 

It was in 1674 that Shivaji, having assumed the title of 
Rajah, was openly crowned at Raigarh and declared himself 
independent of all and sundry, carrying on his wars with 
Emperor, Bijapur, and the Sidis and incidentally entering 
into treaty with the English till his death in 1680. 

To Aurungzebe the conquest of the Dekhan had become 
an obsession and at the age of sixty-three he took the field to 


spend the last twenty-seven years of his life and reign in 
marching to and fro therein, and all the while he was so 
occupied, the traders of the West were consolidating their 
trading centres and wondering . . . wondering if the Mogul 
throne from which they received their grant was going to topple 
and wondering too as well they might . . if so what then ? 

In 1683 the Emperor took Ahmednagar surrounded with 
pomp and might ... he that was so austere and frugal 
in his own life . . . inconceivable. In 1686 fell also Bijapur, 
and thus ended the brilliant Adil Shahi dynasty. A year later 
Golconda went the same way, and Alamgir had had his 
way, he had made a desert and called it peace. 

Shivaji's son, Sambhaji, was not wanting in courage, 
but after the way of the East it was clogs to clogs in one 
generation, not three. Not for him the eager active alert 
adventurous life of his father. He was stupid in his diplomacy 
and had given himself up to the debauchery that comes so 
easily in an eastern court. The Mogul forces were spent 
after their long endeavours, but Sambhaji could not take 
advantage of it. In 1689 falling into Mogul hands, he was 
offered life coupled with Islam. Tauntingly refusing the 
apostate's boon, he was put to death with great cruelty. 

While thinking little of their ruler the Mahrattas were 
infuriated at his death. His six years' old son was with his father 
at Delhi and was retained as a ward at court. Then followed 
a regency and fierce war with the Moguls till at last Al&mgir 
himself died at Ahmednagar in 1707. Shahu, Sambhaji's 
son was at length allowed to return, whereon the kingdom 
of Shivaji broke into two jarring parts, that of Kohlapur 
and Satara, for Shivaji like Runjhit Singh in the nineteenth 
century could give no permanency to his building. By the 
middle of the eighteenth century Mahrattadom had developed 
in a curious way. The parent kingdom of Satara had become 


like so many of the Eastern kingdoms a puppet throne in 
the hands of a mayor of the palace who in this case, was the 
Peshwa or Prime Minister of the throne. How typical this 
seemed to Eastern minds is shown in the oriental game of 
chess. What we know as the most powerful piece, the Queen, 
is in Eastern language the 'Vizier', the chief minister, who 
battles for and guards the useless king. 

Four other Mahratta chiefs now rose to power, though 
not necessarily ruling a Mahratta people. They all but 
one remain to this day and retain the simple titles which 
illustrate the homeliness of their origin. They were the 
Gaikwar or cow-keeper of Baroda, Holkar who was originally 
a trooper from the village of Hoi and who dominated Indore, 
the Raja of Berar with capital at Nagpur and usually spoken of 
as the Bhonsla, the family indeed to which Shivaji and all chiefs 
of his descent belonged. The fourth was Sindia the chief of 
Gwalior, known affectionately as the Patel or village headman. 
His territories eventually stretched to the Jumna. These four, 
with the Peshwa who controlled the actual state of Poona and 
Satara, composed the famous Mahratta confederacy, which as 
the years rolled on and the Mogul Empire crumbled, made a bid 
for the Empire of India and the headship of all the Hindus. 

Their eventual compelling is part of the story of the British 
but up to that time may be continued here. 

With the destruction of the Kingdoms of the Dekhan a 
Mogul Viceroy was appointed, an office which eventually 
fell into the hands of the famous Asaf Jah the Turk, whose 
actual name was Chin Khilji Khan, and whose titles were 
Asaf Jah and Nizam-ul-Mulk. He, it was who founded the 
present family of the Nizams of Hyderabad, the only Mogul 
governor who succeeded in remaining . . . remaining 
because his heirs when they had made their treaty with the 
rising British were wise enough to keep it. 


The great movements and soldierings of the Dekhan are 
commemorated in popular verse by the ancient charter of 
the Brinjaras who carried grain for the armies. 

" Rangan ka pant, chappar ka ghas. 
Din ka tin kun muaf 
Aujahan Azafjah ke ghore. 
Wahan Bhangi-Jhangi ke bail. 

" Water and huts for the army, 
Three murders a day pardoned, 
Wherever Azaf Jah's cavalry are 
There shall be the Brinjara's pack cattle." 

As the Peshwa grew in power, he and Azaf Jah were con- 
tinually at loggerheads save when it suited them to combine 
against the Mogul at Delhi. 

Al&mgir was succeeded by an elderly son Muazzim who 
is known by two titles Bahadur Shah and Shah Aldm. It 
is the latter which fits the Imperial series, meaning 'King 
of the World ' as Aldmgir means ' World-grasper '. 

We cannot follow here the decay of Mogul authority and 
quick-change palace murders which followed for a while on 
the death of Shah Al^m in 1712, but suffice it to say that the 
Mahratta confederacy grew more and more powerful and 
lawless, spreading with their hordes of horse and all over 
India and demanding the Chouth, a fourth of the revenue 
for themselves as their personal pickings. So far afield did 
they come, that at Calcutta far to the east and at Madras 
in the south, the merchant settlers protected themselves 
by a 'Mahratta Ditch* to bar entry to the environs of the 
cities. It was Baji Rao I the great Peshwa who built up this 
confederacy, and who gave to Holkar and the Gaikwars 
their fiefs, stolen, of course, from the Mogul. He died in 
1740 and his mighty opponent Azaf Jah in 1748. Before either 
died, quarrelling India had seen another Turk, Nadir Shah 


from Persia capture Delhi. But he, seeing that he had stirred 
the whole of India to join for its protection, made off with 
all the riches and spoil that he could lift from Muhammad 
Shah his 'brother Turk'. 1 

From 1720 onwards the Mahrattas began a career which 
was to have eventually for its aims the actual domination 
of the Empire and finally the proclamation of a Mahratta 
scion as Emperor of India, a Hindu Empire once again. It 
was also to bring them to a terrible Waterloo. 

By 1720 they first put in an appearance at Delhi with a 
rebellious viceroy of the Dekhan, and compelled their 
recognition from the Empire, such as it was. 

Baji Rao was succeeded by his son Balaji Baji Rao, the 
original Nana Sahib, so that the Peshwa-ship had now become 
dynastic. But the Afghan Durani Empire had arisen and 
the Punjab was over-run and made an Afghan province. 
The Mahrattas appeared again at Delhi this time partly in 
their own interests as well as in that of India, and actually 
drove the Afghans, assisted by the Mogul armies, across the 
Indus, and this fulfilled a prophecy of Shivaji that one day 
their horses should water on the banks of that famous 
stream.* It was the last time, though Holkar tried it again as 
a fugitive before Lord Lake. 


By 1760 the Mahrattas with all the flower of their chivalry, 
and many Moslems of the South appeared at Delhi, in a style 
and pomp of camp that rivalled that of the old time Moguls. 

The Afghan was not long in returning again to his pro- 
fitable Indian forays, re-asserting his sway over the Punjab 
and interfering with the affairs of Delhi. Many Indian 
1 See Chapter VII, p. 128. * See Chapter VII, p. 129. 


Moslems indeed sought his assistance against the Mahratta 
domination of the Mogul throne. The Rohillas from their 
colony in Rohilkand especially craved his assistance as 
Moslem to Moslem and as Afghan to Afghan. So Ahmad 
Shah Durani, as he called himself, or Abdali, as he was called 
after his clan, marched once more down the road from Sirhind 
to Delhi town. In and about Delhi an immense Mahratta 
army had assembled, and it moved up the north road to the 
famous plain of Panipat some forty miles out of Delhi itself. 

Shuda-sheo Rao, the Peshwa's cousin, known as * The 
Bhao* commanded the Mahratta armies, now far developed 
and over-civilized compared with the mountain rats of 
Shivaji's commandos. With him were Dattaji and Mahdoji 
Sindia, Mulhar Rao Holkar, and Wiswas Rao the Peshwa's 
son, who might have been Emperor of India. Govind Panth 
had even brought his Bandelas from Bundelkand, and with 
what was for the moment a national army, were Jats from 
Bhurtpur and Rajputs as well as Mahratta chiefs from far 
and near. The Dekhan had sent an organized corps largely 
Moslem, under Ibrahim Khan Gardi, so called from his 
having commanded the French trained bodyguard at Hydera- 
bad, and the fact that his corps was organized on that model. A 
vast park of artillery was drawn up in front of the flagstaff round 
which the Flag of the Confederacy the holy Bhagwan Jhanda 
was wrapped, and the camp and army was one to which the old 
cut and come again ways of Shivaji were quite impossible. Im- 
mobile as a whole it must win or die. It consisted of 30,000 
good troops and 200 guns, with many thousands of the lesser 
stuff and countless followers, all hemmed in by the active 
Afghan horse who had usurped the old Mahratta irregular role. 

It all availed nothing. After a midnight council, the Bhao 
resolved to fight, sending a last appeal to the Indian Moslem 
elements with the Afghan host to fight for India and not 


against it. With horses starving for forage, and the supply of 
food cut off, the Mahrattas sallied from their camp and fought 
the great fight by the Black Mango Tree, on the ancient 
battleground of Panipat, where Baber had defeated the 
Lodi Emperor, and where the fate of India had often been 
settled. Early in the morning the last rations had been 
eaten, and the troops assembled in no spirit to conjure vic- 
tory. Faces smeared with ashes, turbans dishevelled, and 
hearts steeled for death but not for victory, the Pan-Hindu 
host went to its fate as many a Rajput gathering had done 
hundreds of years before, in the face of the implacable Turk 
of Ghuzni and his successors. It was but a Sacca of Chitoor in 
other setting, for there were many women with the camp. And 
so this astounding tragedy took place on the iyth January, 
1761 , what time Farmer George first came to the throne of Eng- 
land. We need not follow it. Gallantry, wild futile gallantry, 
was in ample evidence, but the same rot that has attended every 
attempt at a Pan-Hindu India had fallen on the Mahrattas. 

Shouting Hur Hur Hurt! and Hur Hur Mahadeo! they 
made their futile charges. 

It was a desperate situation, and the Mahratta Chivalry fought 
with the courage and energy of despair, very nearly at one time 
gaining the day. The great yellow Bhagwan Jhanda was the 
rallying point, and round it the fiercest struggles took place. 

But the charges of the fierce clansmen from the Afghan 
hills, Durani and Turk and Yusufzai, the reivers of the North, 
were too much for the Mahrattas who went down in one vast 
holocaust before the Afghan host. 

The Bhao was slain, no one knows how, but his headless 
corpse was found on the field. Wiswas Rao the Peshwa's 
son fell, Jankoji Sindia was captured and slain next day, 
Mahdaji Rao Sindia escaped sore wounded after a long 
pursuit by Afghan troopers. 


Rudyard Kipling tells something of the story in his stirring 
tragic verses, 'With Scindiah 1 to Delhi* and the story of 
the maid that rode at his saddle bow. 

It is estimated that 200,000 fighting men and followers 
were killed. Ten thousand prisoners were put to death in 
cold blood next morning. All the younger women were taken 
off, the older slain . . . the camp had been full of women 
. . . wise Rajputs to do Johur rather than have it thus! 

The story of this cruel battle is famous for the bankers' 
cryptic message, that went faster even than the electric mes- 
sage through India. This is how it ran "Two pearls have 
been dissolved, twenty-seven gold mohrs have been lost, and 
of the silver and copper the total cannot be caste up/* The 
two hundred thousand were the silver and the copper. 


Islam was restored, the rotten Mogul dominion was given 
another chance with the Rohillas, the cruel faithless Rohillas 
in charge, and Mahrattadom, less all its chivalry, sat down to 
lick its wounds for a generation. Such were the anvils hot with 
pain on which the fighting men of Maharasthra were forged. 
Gallant, futile in larger matters, staunch and enduring in lesser. 

The story of the Mahrattas after the battle of Panipat 
becomes, to a great extent, the story of the British and their 
own mad aspiration, and will be recorded therein. Suffice 
it to say that within ten years of their defeat they had recovered 
sufficiently to make headway at Delhi. So difficult were 
conditions there before their return that the Mogul himself, 
Ali Johur, was a fugitive in Bengal, and eventually in 1765 
received from the British the revenues of the districts of 
1 The older spelling in English. 


Kora and Allahabad. When the Mahrattas had regained their 
influence at Delhi they proceeded to persuade the Emperor 
to return to their protection, taking with him Kora and 
Allahabad. It was a sad act for him. The Mahrattas eventu- 
ally became the mayors of the palace, but in the great hurly- 
burly that followed the collapse of the central authority, Ali 
Johur, who had the magnificent title of Shah AISm II, was 
blinded by the Rohillas, and with Sindia as Vizier, dwelt 
in a durance that had neither the show of dignity nor the 
semblance of comfort. From this condition he was rescued 
by Lord Lake in 1803, when there were 'none so poor as 
did him reverence '. 

But with the great seizure of power in Guzerat and Malwa 
the Mahratta territories and forces were largely non-Mahratta 
in constitution, though chiefs and barons often led them. 
Mahrattadom and Mahratta armies were now but the same 
old Eastern armies that had always gone down before the 
ruthless valour of the North and the organization and fighting 
power of the West. The genuine Mahrattas who terrified 
and robbed India were scallywags on enduring ponies, armed 
with sword and matchlock and a long searching lance. They 
'shot at the strong and slashed at the weak' from west to 
east of India and from the south till they struck the sturdier 
northern folk who would stand up for themselves. When 
the mountain rats emerged it was largely to join the pre- 
datory hordes and not the heavier organized forces of Malwa, 
who were foredoomed to a destruction that had overcome 
the more definitely Mahratta hosts at Panipat. 


The Mahratta States, especially that of Poona, were now 
in constant clash with the Nizam of the Dekhan, and at 


times with the British in Bombay and too often at war among 
themselves. Owing to the astounding crash of authority to 
which they had contributed, for they could not construct 
and cared for little but their illegal and illicit Chouth, there 
arose in Central India in the jungles and fastnesses of the 
Narbudda valley an astounding nest of land pirates, known 
as the Pindaris. Purely robber chiefs set up, and attracted to 
themselves all the masterless men and broken soldiery that 
had arisen on the world's disasters. Far worse and more 
inhuman than any Mahratta or Afghan they sallied forth 
each autumn to scour the land for hundreds of miles, loot 
and rape being their sole object. Merciless in their treatment 
of villagers, faithless in their observance of any agreements, 
this immense assemblage under several leaders, of all the 
equivalent cat-burglars, motor-snatchers and grabbers of the 
period, and everything that lawlessness and despair had 
thrown up in a masterless rudderless land, they called to 
high heaven for suppression. Outraged women, murdered 
children, pillaged coffers, were their sign-manual and to the 
eternal shame of the Mahratta chiefs they were not the 
least averse to turning the monsters of the Narbudda to their 
own purposes. The greatest task and relief that Britain 
has ever effected for the saving of humanity in general and 
India in particular was the extermination of these nests 
of all the evil ullage of broken kingdoms. And hardly a 
soul remembers it. 

We are now coming to the hour of the big picture, the rise 
of the British, and how the men of the West were eagerly 
welcomed by the peasantry of the martial races as those who 
could restore peace and prosperity and decency to a sore 
outraged land; before that however, the strange film of the 
Sikh portent must be shown. 




IT is now possible to turn back in history for a brief 
outline of the early story of the Sikhs. Sikhism is a religion, 
not a race, and is theoretically at any rate as open to new- 
comers as is the faith of Islam. The story from the beginning 
is necessary if we are to understand this martial people, 
whose prowess first dispossessed the Afghans of their Indian 
premises, who under one filibustering young baron founded 
for his life, and for his life alone, a kingdom ruling at least 
five times their number of Moslems, who in sheer wantonness 
threw themselves against the British, and who then have 
made themselves for close on three generations one of the 
military pillars of the British raj. It is an astounding story, 
and one not to be parallelled in the history of any other 
dominion or of any other people. 

To this day the whole of the Sikh peoples do not exceed 
three millions of all ages and both sexes, of whom perhaps 
two and a half million only live within the British province 
of the Punjab, the bulk of the remainder in the three Cis- 
Sutlej or 'Phulkian* states, feudatories as in varying degree 



arc the other princes of India, by treaty specially protected 
by the British. 

Sikhism, as just remarked, is a religion, and yet we find 
it politically expressed as a race. Races and religions may 
well go together, as in the case of the Jews, but the anomaly 
in the case of Sikhism is that it is a religion adopted by a 
small portion of one race, a few of various others, and yet 
must be classed as a people. 

To follow it, we must begin with the first up-rising of the 
teacher whose humble following grew to such temporal 
power, and we must go back to the sixteenth century. 


The story of Sikhism begins with the humble, kindly 
teacher Baba Nanak, who was probably a follower of another 
teacher of simple ways and kindly thoughts who is famous 
in Indian history, one Kabir, whose followers the Kabir- 
panthis still survive, though in no great numbers. 

The sixteenth century was a very active period in religious 
thought and searchings in the world, the mediaeval power 
of Rome in the West was breaking, and as just related, 
it was about the time of Martin Luther that Baba Nanak 
began to teach. It will be noticeable from even the short 
outline given here of the rise and wane and resurrection of 
Hinduism, how constant has been the stream of reformers, 
endeavouring to extract some gripping rule of life out of 
the tropical emanations that have sprung from obscure 
Vedic principles, Aryan imaginations and Dravidian fears. 
For the few that are on record, and the still fewer whose 
names have been mentioned here, there have been thousands 
whose names have gone out, or may be obscurely recorded 


in some quiet little mountain or jungle pocket. Why the 
teachings of one more than another * caught on' is hard to 
say. Why Gautama should have led the millions and Mahavira 
only the thousands, is hard to explain, nor the fact of Budd- 
hism having swept the land for centuries and died while the 
sect of Mahavira the Jinna 1 still remains. 

Among then the rising and falling of reformers, it is not 
easy to say why Sikhism should have remained when the 
Kabirpanthis for instance are but a handful. But the reason 
probably lies in the story of the oppression by the Moguls 
that produced the Tenth Guru, and perhaps in the fact that 
the teaching was calculated to flourish in the sturdiness 
of that particular race among whom it incubated, the Jats 
between Delhi and the Ravi River. The cruel execution of 
the ninth Guru set the seal of success to Sikhism, and gives 
one more point to Talleyrand's remark to the young man who 
propounded his new religion, " It is a fine religion but . . . 
to start it you must be crucified." 

Baba Nanak, who lived from 1469 to 1539, was a member 
of the Khatri caste, therefore a high caste Hindu, and was 
born and brought up on the banks of the Ravi near Lahore. 
After being married and having sons, he turned mendicant, 
affecting the society of Sadhus, 2 with whom he travelled far 
and wide, and visited most of the famous places of pilgrimage. 
Tradition says that he even went as far afield as Mecca. He 
was an ordinary orthodox Hindu, but was said to have 
picked up some of the ideas of the Sufis. Eventually he 
evolved his particular teaching, which aimed, like so many 
before it, at combining many faiths in the worship of the 
same God, whom all under different guises revered. He 
taught the Creator-spirit, outside whom all is maya, illusion. 
Salvation could be attained through a Guru, a leader, as a 

1 Jinna The Conqueror. Religious mendicants and holy recluses. 


U 03 





[Fflf C 


mediator between God and man. Through the Guru, reincar- 
nation could be avoided and karma defeated. It is thought 
that Nanak must in his wanderings, although there is no 
record extant, have come into considerable contact with 
Christian teaching, so much does Christian thought figure 
in his 'way'. Besides the Christians in Travancore, there is a 
sect of friars, orfaqirs, claiming conversion by St. Thomas in 
the North, who have the gospel of Matthew as well as the 
writings of Nanak. There is within the Granth 1 the following: 

" As great as Thou thyself art, so great is thy gift. 
Who having created the day, didst also create the night.' 

Many sloks, i.e. couplets in the Granth, have Christian 
affinities. In fact it has been said, from an examination of 
the Granth from certain aspects, that Nanak taught nothing 
but the story of Christ from Birth to Ascension. 


There was nothing at all in Nanak's teaching and pre- 
tensions to incur the enmity of any great rulers or religions, 
and his following should have been able to take the path of 
many other teachers of benevolence and piety. As has been 
mentioned, it is thought also that Nanak was inspired to 
take the role of teacher and reformer by the example and 
general teaching of Kabir. The Fifth Guru, Arjan, was an 
able man, who amassed some wealth and tried to blend the 
disciples into something of a race and a palatinate, and this 
first brought the sect into disfavour with the Moslem govern- 
ment. Arjan was probably put to death by the Moslems 
and his son Har Govindh succeeded him. In his hands the 
sect, hitherto a simple brotherhood began to take on military 
1 The Sikh Scriptures. 


guise, and think about defending themselves. It was in the 
time of the Ninth Guru, Teg Bahadur, 1664-75, that trouble 
really rose with authority, and the Emperor Aurungzebe, 
who had so fiercely revived the almost dead practice of the 
persecution of non-Moslems, decided to exterminate the 
sect which had no doubt given provocation. Teg Bahadur 
was fierce, his visionaries unbending, and we who know 
something of the impossibility of bringing certain Indian 
visionaries to take a practical view of a practical world, may 
perhaps sympathize with the Moguls. 

But the ways of Moguls with rebels are different from 
those of the British of recent years. Aurungzebe treated Teg 
Bahadur as England treated British gentlemen in rebellion, 
fifty years later. Tortured to death he was, drawn and 
quartered, and the pieces of his body exposed in the Chandni 
Chouk at Delhi, famous for ever as the scene of the tragedy, 
yet no one cares even to remember where the gentlemen of 
'45 met a similar death! When the Guru was put to death 
with such great cruelty, it was the rescue of his body by 
scavengers that brought license to the poor and humble 
to become disciples. 

It was Guru Teg Bahadur, says tradition, who before his 
death, standing on the roof of his prison told the Moguls 
" From the West will come my fair-skinned disciples wearing 
helmets, who shall avenge my death and utterly destroy my 
enemies." This story is much quoted by the Sikhs themselves, 
and has by some been taken to account for their instinctive 
enthusiasm in the support of the British. 


Teg Bahadur was succeeded by his son, Govindh, who 
from the age of fifteen years when his father died, brooded 


on that tragedy and the dispersion of the disciples. After 
much training and meditation he announced the appearance 
of a goddess (which we may, as already suggested, better 
interpret as a saint), who had directed a special initiation and 
baptism into an austerer form of the brotherhood. This he 
forthwith inaugurated, the story of how, does not matter 
here, the ceremony being known as * taking the Pahul\ All 
the new disciples were to adopt the Rajput cognomen of 
Singh or ' Lion ', and the Singhs were to be distinguished by 
the wearing of what is usually known as the * Five ' K's or 
Kakkas which are 

(1) The Kes, the uncut hair rolled in a knot on the head. 

(2) The Kachh, a short drawers. 

(3) The Kirpan y a steel dagger. 

(4) The Kara y an iron bangle or quoit, a throwing missile. 

(5) The Kanghy a small iron toothcomb, always worn in 

the hair. 

Up to now the Nanakpanthis were but a Hindu sect, but the 
Tenth Guru had made their dress as distinctive as possible 
from Hindu or Moslem, and had now proclaimed measures to 
separate them finally from any touch with that communion. 
Caste was abolished, and the ranks of the brotherhood were 
thrown open to all comers, though unfortunately the caste 
instinct so deeply ingrained does still linger. The jSts of 
the Punjab, sturdy and quarrelsome, flocked to the new 
brotherhood, and he soon had a force which enabled him 
to try conclusions, though not always successfully, with the 
forces at Delhi. He composed a code of law, the Rahatnama, 
for his Singhs, to be read in conjunction with the Granth. 

Guru Govindh, says tradition, was murdered by a Pathan, 
in revenge, however, for his father's death at the Guru's 


hands. Before dying Govindh is reported to have said that 
no futrher Gurus were needed, and that he made over his 
brotherhood, the 'Khalsa\ or 'pure society* to God, and 
that henceforth the Ad Granth was to be the guide of his 
people. Therein he said would the Guru be found. It was 
thus three centuries after Baba Nanak taught, that Sikhism 
came into combined political and religious stability. 

After this a bitter struggle between Sikh and Mogul 
continued, which contributed greatly to the downfall of the 
house of Timur. 


The Sikh Canon is a small one. It consists of the two 
parts of the Ad Granth, the first, the Japji written by Baba 
Nanak, the second, explanations by subsequent Gurus of 
the extremely obscure, and often contradictory teachings of 
the Japji, and the Daswin Badshahi, or 'Tenth Government*. 
This was composed by Guru Govindh with a view to making 
his followers harder stuff than they would ever learn to be 
from the teachings of the Japji. 

The teachings of the latter, confused though they are to 
follow, crystallize on the following 

The fatherhood of God and all that fatherhood means. 

The brotherhood of man. 

The necessity of obedience to the inward voice divine. 

The unerring work of divine justice. 

The necessity of a divine teacher. 

The existence of a mediator and absolver of sin. 

The folly and evil of idolatry. 

These seven points show what a long way Sikhism had 
travelled from Hinduism with its complicated obsessions, 


and even from Bakhti the Salvation cult. The law of the 
Singhs while embodying and accepting all these, are summed 
up so far as the faith of the warrior peasantry was concerned 
in these simple words. 

Accept one baptism. 

Worship one invisible God. 

Let 'Hail Teacher! 1 be their watchword. 

Of material things reverence steel alone. 

Be ever prepared for war, eager to die in the war. 

Maintain the five ' K's '. 

In the precepts of Guru Govindh summarizing the Japji, 
it is written, "a Sikh should set his heart on God and on 
the name of God, on Charity and Purity/' 

Worship God every day. 

Keep a place in the heart for the poor. 

Give a tithe of all possessions. 

He who professes holiness should act as such. 

Avoid the lustful eye. 

Offend none, for the Lord's sake. 

Look for the advent of a spotless incarnation. 

Indeed may it be said that Guru saw the conclusion of the 
whole matter "Fear God and keep his commandments/* and 
yet there are those who would maintain that Sikhism 
is a Hindu sect! 

The matter of Sikhs in the Army, and the British officer 
has been alluded to in Chapter I. Is it to be wondered that the 
British officer would foster such a faith among his soldiery ? 



Now were the humble band of simple pietists who had 
followed Baba Nanak changed indeed. The Jilt tribes about 
the Sutlej and the Ravi hastened to join the faith so simple 
in its tenets, so stirring in its appeal as the Sikhism of the 
Tenth Guru. No longer would they turn the cheek to the 
Moslem persecutor, and they began to group themselves by 
tribes and confederacies known as misls, and set themselves to 
form groups of villages and small baronies, all of which took 
a greater and a fiercer part in the growing struggle with the 
Mogul authorities. The Mogul Raj was beginning to totter, 
and the great road north from Delhi to Lahore, to Peshawur, 
and to Kabul was now disturbed by the constant attacks of 
the Sikhs on any Moslem parties and convoys that were 
weak enough to offer impunity. 

In one of Govindh's battles with the Moguls his two eldest 
sons were killed, but his wife escaped with her two youngest 
children. Falling into the hands of the Moslems the two 
children were cruelly buried alive. Driven to bay himself 
in the fort of Chamkaur, he saw the last of his sons fall, and 
escaping by the deserts round Bhatinda eventually took 
shelter in a shrine in what is now Patiala, still known as the 
' breathing place of the Guru '. 

In 1707 a change for the better was to come, for in that 
year the powerful but old embittered Aurungzebe, the last 
of the Moguls to wield world power, died, and with him ended 
the extirpating hatred for everything that was not orthodox 
Moslem. Bahadur Shah, the elderly son and successor of 
Aurungzebe, sent for the Guru, who obeyed the call, and 
strangely enough accepted a command at the hands of the 
1 Muazzim, Bahadur Shah, Shah Alam. 


Emperor. The reasons for this action are not on record, but 
we know that the Guru proceeded with troops into the 
Dekhan, and was there murdered at Nadreh on the Godavery, 
by the son of an Afghan horse-dealer, whom he had put to 
death. Where the Guru died has become a strange Sikh 
settlement and colony in the distant south. Thus in the old 
Mogul state of Hyderabad, and in his memory, there exists 
one of the holiest shrines of the Khalsa. 

The military torch that Guru Govindh lit has never gone 
out, and the circumstances of the Mogul decay must be 
accepted as contributory thereto. Had not circumstances 
conspired to weaken all authority there is no likelihood that 
a sect that even now numbers scarcely three millions should 
have become if only for a lifetime, a sovereign people. 

The Tenth Guru was the last teacher and religious leader; 
in his opinion with the teaching that he bequeathed, revelation 
was now complete. With the tenets and rules now established 
Sikhism was to go forward as a great military and religious 
body almost like a vast * Order. 1 

Govindh's successor in political leadership was one Banda 
Bairagi, an ascetic who is said to have been a native of the 
Dekhan, who returned to the Punjab to carry on a guerrilla 
warfare with the Mogul. At length driven to bay at Gurdaspur 
in 1716 he was compelled to surrender, and the persecution 
of the Sikhs that followed was so terrible that almost for a 
whole generation nothing further is heard of the movement, 
which was driven underground. Banda himself was torn to 
pieces with hot pincers, a popular method among all torturers, 
and a hundred Sikhs a day were executed over some period. 
Eagerly the fanatics competed for the daily honour of mar- 
tyrdom, and yet to some extent they were but reaping as 
they had sowed. It was not till they passed from pietism 
to politics that they clashed seriously with authority and 


they had themselves, as ruthless robbers and murderers, 
equally bitter deeds to their tally. But wherever the rights 
and wrongs of it, we shall now see them steadily combining 
with the other forces of disruption to pull down what had 
been one of the most gorgeous empires that the world has 
seen. And to follow the story of the rise of the Sikhs we must 
perforce glance at the fall of the Moguls, as we see it through 
the passing of the years. 


It was in 1738, l that a blow fell on India, which the 
internal weakness of the Empire had invited. Nadir Shah 
Quli, otherwise the ' Slave of Destiny*, the Persian Turk who 
had acquired dominion after the downfall of the short Afghan 
conquest of Persia, proceeded to march to visit his * cousin 
of Delhi ', for the Mogul was equally a Turk. He arrived via 
Kabul, which was a part of India, in 1739, traversing the 
Punjab with little opposition from the Mogul forces, and 
duly camped outside the Delhi of Shah Jehan, the Delhi that 
we know to-day. The Sikhs by now acquiring some assur- 
ance after their earlier punishments, preyed impartially on 
both Mogul and Persian. Nadir Shah was by way of exacting 
from his cousin an enormous yet peaceably rendered tribute, 
had not a quarrel in the city resulted in a massacre of the 
Persians at the hands of Moguls and Indians exasperated 
by the invaders' assurance. A vast holocaust followed in 
revenge, and Delhi was left weeping amid piles of retributory 

Then the Turk marched off, having secured a formal 
rendition of all Afghanistan and the districts bordering on 
1 See also chapter VI, page 113. 


the Indus, taking with him the famous Peacock Throne from 
the Hall of Private Audience, and a vast booty and tribute 
totalling many millions sterling, but of which the accounts 
vary. Behind him the stripped Mogul throne was still less 
equipped to control the forces of disruption than before. By 
1748 Nadir Shah met the inevitable fate of a man of his fierce 
disposition. He was murdered and his Afghan general 
Ahmad Shah, who was protecting with 10,000 horse a con- 
siderable portion of the Persian treasure, made himself 
ruler of the Afghan portion of the Persian Empire, including 
the districts on the Indus, which he proclaimed the Durani 
Empire, himself the Dur-i-Duran ' Pearl of the Age ', and the 
true Afghan among his people Duranis the * People of the 

Ahmad Shah, a conqueror rather than a builder, among 
many activities on all his frontiers invaded India twenty- 
one times. His first inroad took him far south of Lahore, but 
defeated by the Imperial Forces at Sirhind he was forced 
back across the Indus. In 1758 the Mahrattas, who as told 
in another chapter were now trying to dominate the Empire, 
and the Sikh together drove out another Afghan inroad and 
they then as the prophecy ran actually ' watered their horses 
on the Indus '. 

During this retreat and the general confusion resulting, 
one Jassa Singh, a Sikh, threw up a rough fort at Amritsar, 
under the very nose of the Mogul provincial capital of Lahore. 
This union, for a while, of Sikh and Mahratta had stirred 
Moslem opinion, and the Afghan settlers in Rohilkand 
brought down the Afghans to restore the Mogul and avenge 
the appearance of the Mahratta on the Indus. 

Then was fought as described elsewhere that terrible 
battle of Panipat which destroyed for a generation the 
Mahratta influence in the north. The Afghan frontier was 


now established east of the Sutlej in the heart of the Jat 
and growing Sikh country. Hardly had the victorious Afghan 
returned to his own mountains when the Sikhs rose and 
attacked his garrison at Sirhind. This brought the ubiquitous 
Afghans back, and the Sikhs who had greatly increased 
through jSt adherence, now sustained a terrible defeat. 
So severe was the defeat and so terrible the slaughter that 
for generations after it was known as the Ghalu Ghara, the 
'great disaster', and it took place some twenty miles south 
from Ludhiana. The newly built Sikh temples at Amritsar were 
destroyed, the sacred tank polluted with the blood of slaughtered 
cattle, and pyramids of the skulls of the Sikh victims erected. 

South of the Sutlej, the ancient Jat state of Phul had broken 
up into several principalities tributary of course to the Mogul, 
and in these states as on the Sutlej and the Ravi and in the 
Doab of Jullundhur, many had joined the new religion. 
Patiala then as now was among the premier of the Phulkian 
states, and with 20,000 Sikhs, Ala Singh the Patiala chief 
was taken prisoner. 

Ahmad Shah however anxious for some settlement, con- 
ferred the title of Rajah on his prisoner Ala Singh, which 
intensely annoyed the latter's co-religionists, and he was 
compelled to be more than ever zealous as a partisan Sikh. 

With the Afghans gone the Sikhs undaunted by their 
defeat, again in 1763 proceeded to attack Sirhind the 
obnoxious Moslem city where Govindh's children had been 
put to death. The Afghan governor met them outside, to be 
heavily defeated, and the city was taken, sacked and old 
scores repaid with a vengeance. 

The story goes that the Sikhs who were said to number 
40,000 scattered immediately, and galloped over the country- 
side throwing sword, scabbard or garment into the villages 
they passed through in token that they claimed them. The 


passive Indian villages cared little to whom they paid their 
revenue, Sikh or Moslem, provided the recipent did his share 
of the bargain by protecting them. 

With Afghan Sikh and Jt in Mogul territory, the prestige 
of the helpless Mogul machinery waned still further. The 
Sikh confederacies grew stronger and stronger, and were 
able to assemble at short notice hordes of mounted men, 
some indeed sufficiently well mounted to be worthy of the 
term * horseman* and * horse soldier*. 

Year by year now representatives of the Sikh people would 
meet at Amritsar. Owning no common head, and by no means 
implicitly followed by the people of their groups, there was 
still a tacit spirit of solidarity not perhaps unlike that in the 
Mahratta confederacy in the west. A strong religious sense 
did animate these warlike, muscular jSts and those from 
other tribes and races, who had also taken the pahul. The 
Misls or confederacies were now twelve in number, of whom 
some of the more important were: 

The Bhungis, so called from a real or fancied fondness of 

its members for Bhang. 
The Nishanias, who followed the standard bearers, the 

Nishan of the hunted armies. 
The Shaids or Nihangs, the descendants of martyrs and 

The Ramgharia, the people of the Ram Rowni or Fortress 

of God, named after Rama and built by Jassa Singh 

Ramgharia just referred to. 
The Phulktas, from the family of Ala Singh and other chiefs, 

in the Phulkian states, and so forth. 

All the Misls except the Phulkias belonged to the district 
north of the Sutlej still known as the Manjha. Part passu 


with the misls but belonging to none of them grew up a 
peculiarly warlike, bumptious and independent set of militant 
faqirs who called themselves the Akalis, that is to say * Immor- 
tals ' or Nihangs, who led in almost every fight and are still 
a leading turbulent feature in the Punjab always ready to 
answer to the cry, genuine or otherwise, of the Sikh faith 
being in danger. In many a Sikh town and fair, bodies of 
this sect dressed in dark blue, wearing the sacred quoit 
and as many arms as the law will permit, will be seen per- 
ambulating with their exulting cry " Wa Sri Guru" or "Sri 
Khalsa, ki jai ". " Victory to the Holy Khalsa or Holy Guru " ! 
Many old soldiers join their ranks, and they are without 
doubt an anxiety in times of unrest. 

The last half of the eighteenth century so far as Sikhism 
is concerned, is full of quarrels and fights between the 
misls themselves and their ambitious leaders. Even within 
the misls, quarrels were the order of the day as one man 
strove with another for the headship, a struggle and a quar- 
relling made easy by the natural dislike of all Sikhs of any 
form of vassaldom or leudalism, which in Rajput India 
came so naturally to the Aryan mind. As the years however 
rolled on, the stronger men in the larger misls began naturally 
enough to dominate, and it was said that "All that a Sikh 
chief asked from a follower in those days was a horse, a 
sword and a matchlock. All that a follower sought was 
protection and permission to plunder in the name of God 
and the Guru and under the banner of his chief and sirdar." 1 
No highland chieftain or clansman could have asked for 
more in Bonnie Scotland, or in the marches of Wales. 
"Fame and success, that would bring all men at arms of 
prowess to his standard was the aim of every Sikh chieftain. 
Hard was the lot of the villagers among whom Afghan 
1 Cunninghame : History of the Sikhs. 


invader and Sikh get-rich-quicker wandered at will, and 
no man could consider his land, his horse and his wife his 
own, unless he was strong enough to defend them. Every 
village was fortified, every neighbour was an enemy. It 
has also been said that while a Moslem or Imperial convoy 
appealed most to them, the Sikh was a bandit before he 
was a patriot. Yet while the Sikhs were undoubtedly rob- 
bers, and though cattle lifting was a honourable profession 
as it was on the Scottish border a few hundred years ago, 
their enthusiasm for their faith coupled with their hatred 
for Mussalmans, who had so long tramped them underfoot, 
gave them a certain dignity, and to their objects and expe- 
ditions an almost national interest." 1 


Before we come to the rise of the super-man Runjhit 
Singh it will not be out of place to see how dreaded was the 
Afghan name to Mogul Sikh and even British. Twenty- 
one times had Ahmad Shah Durani led his columns across 
the Punjab, and whether he came as foe or whether as was 
often the case as friend, the results were equally disastrous 
to the Moslem folk of the countryside. From the Sikh 
country to the Indus the people were chiefly Indian or 
settlers established on the land for many centuries. The 
long undisciplined columns of tribal Afghan and Pathans, 
Turks, Tatars, Mongols, Persians and what not, lived on 
the land equally ruthlessly whether friend or foe. For 
generations had mothers in the villages in the lands between 
the five rivers quieted unruly children by threats of the 
Afghan. Ahmad Shah had been succeeded by his unenter- 

1 Cunninghame : History of the Sikhs. 


prising son Timur, entirely unworthy so far as personal 
character went of his enterprising namesake. He ruled by 
his father's prestige, and lost his lands on the confines in 
the process. To him succeeded his son Zaman Shah or 
Shah Zaman, 'King of the Ages/ and Zaman Shah aimed 
at invading India and recovering the Durani Empire in 
practice, which still in name reached to the Sutlej. All 
Northern India quailed at the rumour ... the Mogul 
in the Mahratta hands once more; the Sikhs in their misls 
and the British in the Doab, who went so far as to establish 
a cantonment of observation at Anupshar not far from 
Meerut, in the 'nineties of the eighteenth century. 

Sikh chiefs by now held the capital that was either Mogul 
by prescriptive right, or Afghan by conquest and treaty. 
In 1797 Zaman Shah first entered India again, but was 
recalled by troubles in the direction of Kandahar. Coming 
again next year, he had no difficulty in re-occupying Lahore, 
where there were plenty who preferred Afghan to Sikh rule, 
and once again the Afghan frontier was on the Sutlej. I 
have written elsewhere at some length 1 on what this Afghan 
threat meant, and how great it bulked. Tippu Sultan in 
the far south, again in trouble with the British, himself of 
Afghan origin, had called on Zaman Shah to come to his aid. 
The Rohillas, the Afghan colonists of Rohilkand, wanted 
neither Sikh nor Mahratta to prevail at the seat of the Mogul, 
and they too both sent to Zaman Shah and were prepared 
to join him. Napoleon already using every means to get at 
Britain was corresponding with Tippu and was discussing 
invasions of India through Afghanistan, and the British 
were preparing counter-moves in India, in Persia, and a little 
later in Afghanistan. It was no wonder therefore that the 
movements of Zaman Shah were watched with interest and 
1 In Afghanistan from Darius to Amanulla." (Bell & Sons). 

Colour party of the i5th Sikhs (pre-war uniform) 


apprehension in the Governor-General's camp. It is at 
this point that the young Runjhit Singh comes on the stage 
to place very unexpectedly a barrier on the Indus. 


Among the Sikh chiefs who had come to some power and 
affluence in the last part of the eighteenth century was one 
Mula Singh of the Sukerchuckia Misl, to whom in 1780 
was born a male child to be called Runjhit Singh. Bred in 
camp and brought up on a horse, the lad Runjhit became a 
daring leader before his twenties, and when Zaman Shah 
was in Lahore for the last time, the young man was pre- 
sented to him. Anxious to make friends with the Sikhs the 
Afghan received him well, and because the Afghan guns 
could not be got across the Jhelum on the Emperor's return 
to the north-west, young Runjhit undertook to get the more 
accessible ones over (retaining the remainder!). In return 
for this service, Zaman Shah appointed him Governor of 
the Punjab in the Afghan interest. 

Had the Afghan rule remained powerful and efficient, no 
doubt the young Sikh Governor would have continued 
faithful to his trust, but Zaman Shah was no world-com- 
peller, events on his own borders were too much for him, 
and so far as India was concerned Afghan dominion was 
over. Great Britain was now to become the great healer of 
sores and restorer of order. The Mahrattas as already related 
were once more at Delhi, in pursuance of their old ambition 
to dominate the Mogul inheritance, but had foolishly chosen 
also to challenge the British as already related, and in 1803 
was fought the Battle of Delhi. The British were now mas- 
ters in the Jumna-Ganges Doab, the blinded Mogul Emperor 


a pensioner in their hands to be treated with dignity and con- 
sideration. Several thousand Sikhs had been in alliance with 
the Mahrattas in their opposition to the British, but had 
speedily retired to their own country. 

But the struggle with the Mahrattas was not over, and 
Holkar now attacked the British. Finally pursued to the 
Sutlej by Lord Lake, he too, failing to get support from the 
Sikhs, was compelled to submit. 

Runjhit Singh uninterrupted by his nominal master at 
Kabul had been consolidating his power and influence, 
and had actually gained Lahore itself from the Bhungi 
chiefs. When the British came north in pursuit of Holkar 
he is said to have visited their camp in disguise. Then 
apparently he formed the wise opinion that there was one 
thing he must never do and that was fall foul of this new and 
astounding power, and that there was more than a man's 
work before him in leading the Sikhs and dominating the 
Moslem Punjab, which moreover only longed for peace 
and freedom from Afghans at the hands of any strong man. 

Gradually Runjhit Singn achieved the position he aimed 
at, by strategy and persuasion and force. Already the 
Punjab as far as the old Afghan fortress of Rohtas was in 
his hands, and except that the Phulkian Sikh chiefs succeeded 
in obtaining a guarantee of their status from the British who 
ordered hands off, the Sikhs of the other misls and confed- 
eracies acknowledged his chiefship. The Rajput chiefs of 
the hills were driven back whenever they invaded the plains. 
The Gurkhas endeavouring to conquer all the hills between 
Tibet and India were stayed by him on the Sutlej, before 
they were defeated and driven back to their own land by 
the British. In 1818 Multan was captured from the Afghans, 
and a little later Kashmir, long an Afghan province, Attock 
and eventually Peshawur itself followed. As early as 1813 


Shah Shujah the refugee king of Kabul and younger brother 
of the now blinded Shah Zaman, was at Lahore, and Runjhit 
cozened from him the Koh-i-Nur diamond and also the 
famous Timur Ruby, 1 into his own jackdaw hands. The 
Sikh power crossed the Indus in the Derajat and carried 
the frontiers from which it demanded revenue, to where 
the British administrative border now lies, while Peshawar 
remained the scene of fierce struggles for its possession. 
By slaughter and gallows the Sikhs held the Peshawar 
Valley and their Khatri General Hari Singh, later killed 
at the battle of Jamrud, carried fire and sword and slaughter 
regardless of age and sex far up the Swat Valley amid the 
Graeco-Bactrian ruins. 

The whole of the Punjab and the frontier provinces were 
thus in the masterful hands of Runjhit Singh by 1 830. Because 
the Afghans and Sikhs could not come to a modus vivendi, 
because the whole world of modern trade was jeopardized 
by their quarrels, because the British wanted steamers and 
trade on the Indus, the British Government and Runjhit 
Singh engaged to restore the exiled Shah Shujah to 
his throne at Kabul. The story of the Afghan Wars that 
followed need not be enlarged on here, but we were now 
enabled to see something of the military power of the Sikhs 
at this time. The Governor- General, Lord Auckland, with 
the Army of the Indus, met Runjhit Singh with a large 
Sikh force at Ferozepore. Joint reviews, compliments and 
comparisons followed. For many years now Runjhit Singh 
had been modelling his reluctant Punjabis on the European 
model. French and Italian officers with an American 
or two, some English ex-officers from the Company's 
army, some European deserters from their Artillery and 
some Hindustani drill instructors who had served in the 
1 Now also in the British Crown. 


Bengal Army, together produced a mighty line and a power- 
ful artillery. A great kingdom it was, of its despotic kind, 
and to the Company it seemed a most efficient barrier 
against invasion from the north-west. It possessed however 
one great inherent defect, it was a one-man rule and Runjhit 
Singh had no effective heir to succeed him. 





IT is not yet possible to escape from sheer history before 
getting down to the races themselves as we know them in 
our own days, as they have served beside us in many cam- 
paigns and as we have seen representatives attending His 
Majesty here in Britain. We must trace in outline the rise 
of British dominion in India on the crumbling ruins of 
the greatest of the Moslem Empires, and the failure of 
the North to again swamp India, now defended by a greater 
than even Asoka, as a necessary sequel to the story of Sikh 
and Mahratta. 

It is but common-place to state that the British for over 
a century were but traders and merchant adventurers, who 
carried on their business as tenants, and by permission, 
by Imperial firman, granted in due and ancient form by the 
Great Mogul. The point moreover worth remembering 
is this, that had that Turkish Empire endured, the British 
settlements at Calcutta and Bombay would have been but 


as the great far-Eastern Settlement in that other Tartar 
Empire, the International Settlement of Shanghai. . . . 
superb buildings, great quays and warehouses, great wealth, 
but sojourners by treaty and firman in another Empire's 
land. It was the crash of this Empire at Delhi, the dying 
out of the Tartar power to dominate and keep in order the 
vast structure which it had built up, that induced, nay 
compelled, a trading corporation to become an Empire, 
and act as the Crown of its own people, 'in commission/ 
The coming of the West to the East in modern times was 
first possible when in May 1498 the famous Portuguese 
sailor, Vasco Da Gama, rounding the Cape of Good Hope 
arrived at Calicut. The enterprising Portuguese were not 
long in taking advantage of the discovery, for in the year 
1500 their first trading fleet arrived at Calicut. It was not, 
however, till 1503 that they were able to overcome the 
jealousy of the Moslem traders, and establish a fortified 
trading station at Cochin, with a garrison of 150 Portuguese 
soldiers. It is not quite clear whether this was by the 
permission of local authority or in defiance thereof. In 
1509 came Albuquerque as Governor and in 1510 he seized 
the harbour of Goa, and established what at one time 
promised to be a great empire. How and why it failed is 
outside this story. The adventurous British traders soon 
followed the Portuguese example, but it was not till a century 
later in the year 1600 that a British company of merchants 
for trading with the East was specially formed. In 1612, 
a British fleet defeated a much larger Portuguese one that 
had attacked them and sailed into Swally harbour, close 
to Surat. The prestige of their victory and the dislike that 
the ways of the Portuguese had induced, enabled the British 
to obtain permission from the Emperor Jehangir to establish 
trading stations, or factories, to use the old term, at Ahmed- 


abad, Cambay and Surat. The next year a considerable 
naval and military expedition sent to exterminate them by 
the Viceroy of Goa was defeated. The British remained. 
In this same year King James the First had sent his ambassa- 
dor, Sir Thomas Roe, to the Court of Jehangir whom he 
found at Agra after travelling via Surat and Burhampur. 
Magnificently entreated he accompanied the Great Mogul 
in a journey to the Dekhan, and concluded a friendly and 
valuable treaty. 

In 1686 Job Charnock of Surat, under the firman of the 
Moslem Viceroy of Bengal, founded the first settlement 
at Calcutta, and two years later the Directors of the Company 
trading with the East Indies took that decision which sowed 
the first seeds of the British Empire in India. Previous to 
that the Directors had turned a deaf ear to any proposals 
from their agents to fortify or protect their settlements. 
They were traders trading under license and under protection 
of a great Eastern power what need had they of forts 
and guards? night watchman with cudgels was all that 
their affairs needed! 

Well and good, but it was not well and good for long. 
The policy of Aurungzebe in subduing the Moslem kingdoms 
of the Dekhan had disturbed the whole country-side. The 
rule of the Mogul was ineffective and did not protect the 
traders. They were compelled to do it themselves, and 
then in 1688 came to a decision to erect fortifications round 
their premises and to organize what they hoped would be 
sufficient defenders. How these grew and grew as the 
condition of law and order deteriorated and the Delhi 
Government collapsed will be outlined. 

While the British were making good their trade and 
coming to the fore-going decision, other European rivals 
than the Portuguese were entering the field. In 1664 after 


four previous unsuccessful attempts, of which the first 
was sixty years earlier, the first French trading establishment 
was started by M. Colbert and ten years later the Moslem 
State of Bijapur granted the French land on the Carnatic 
coast where was built Pondicherry 'The New City*. In 
the year that the British Directors had decided to fortify 
and become a power, the Mogul Viceroy of Bengal sanctioned 
the establishment of another French Settlement in India 
at Chandernagore on the Hooghly above Calcutta. In 1707 
Aurungzebe, the last of the Moguls to be great, died, and 
on his death commenced the decay of the Empire of the 
Chagatai Turks, which soon became a rapid collapse. 


With the decay of the Mogul authority there arose that 
new people, whose chief Shivaji, had already battled bitterly 
and by no means unsuccessfully with the Great Mogul. 
The rise of the Mahratta nation, 1 was another of the pheno- 
mena which forced the British on to their destiny as the 
masters and rulers of India. While the Mogul was failing 
and the Mahratta rising, the English and French settlements 
were waxing great, and the scene was being set for the 
struggle for the mastery in Southern India. In 1742 there 
arrived in India, as Governor of Pondicherry, Joseph Francois 
Dupleix, a patriot and a man with a vision. The aim of 
his life was to found a French Empire in India, and he was 
shrewd enough to see that to do that it would be necessary 
to get rid of the British. In 1740 war had broken out between 
France and Britain. The British were anxious to confine 
the war to Europe, but the arrival of a French fleet in 1746 

1 Chapter VI. 


gave the opportunity that he was looking for. Forthwith 
Dupleix attacked and captured Madras, at a time when 
the great fortress of Fort St. George had not yet been con- 
structed. The Nawab of Arcot, still the titular authority, 
who dreaded the possible rise of a French power, ordered 
its immediate restitution and attacked when his orders 
were not promptly complied with. The small French forces 
however, repulsed the vast, ill-organized array of the Nawab. 
This fight known to history as the Battle of S. Thome 
close to the famous St. Thomas's Mount, showed the 
Europeans the vast bluff that lay behind Eastern military 
pretensions, at any rate in the south. Driven from Madras 
the English defended themselves successfully at the smaller 
settlement of Fort St. David, Robert Clive being among 
the defenders. In 1748 peace between England and France 
was declared on the basis of restitution of all gains in India, 
and Madras once more flew the British flag. Now followed 
clever intrigues to assert French dominance, and the French 
with a claimant to the Nizam's throne at Hyderabad attacked 
the Nawab of Arcot and killed him, at the battle of Ambur. 
The Nizam summoned the English and Mahrattas to his 
assistance as soon as he was threatened by the French 
combine. A large Mogul and Mahratta army of these two 
allies with a few hundred English now fell on the French 
alliance, defeated it heavily, and placed a young nephew 
on the throne of the Nawab of Arcot. Intrigues and counter- 
wars which are too complicated to detail, resulted ere long 
in the young Nawab of Arcot being defeated, and a French 
force being installed at Hyderabad nominally to protect 
it. By 1751 French influence was supreme, the British 
holding little but their two factories at Madras and Fort 
St. David. 
The Nawab of Arcot fled to Trichinopoly and it was 


Clive who, having now come to the fore as soldier, devised 
the plan that was to save the Company's ally and bring the 
sepoy on to the field as a British soldier. He suggested 
to the Governor of Madras the daring plan of seizing Arcot 
while the usurping Chanda Sahib was besieging the young 
Nawab in Trichinopoly. With 200 Europeans and 300 
sepoys, he surprised and seized the town and fort. Chanda 
Sahib sent 10,000 men to recover his capital, thus relieving 
greatly the pressure on Trichinopoly, but inducing the 
famous siege and defence of Arcot, with its well-known 
story of the sepoys who gave up their rations to the Europeans. 
After seven weeks a Mahratta chief Morari Rao, lost in 
admiration at the defence, arrived to the rescue of Clive 
with a force of 6,000 men, to which Madras itself was able 
to add a small contribution. Thus relieved Clive marched 
to the relief of Trichinopoly, was joined by Lawrence with 
another force and together they surrounded the besiegers, 
drove them to a small island and there forced the surrender 
of both Chanda Sahib's men and the French, the Indian 
chief having been murdered two days before. 

British prestige now stood high and that of the French 
the reverse and from Arcot and Trichinopoly dates the rise 
of the British star. 

Dupleix the man with a vision deserved better support 
than he got and in 1754 was recalled. After his recall the 
English and the French made peace in the East. It was 
not till 1758 that Count Lally arrived as successor to Dupleix, 
while Clive was absent in Bengal. France and England 
were at war again, and Lally was at this juncture besieging 
Madras, having taken Fort St. David, but when an English 
fleet arrived he gave up the siege. By next year the whole 
outlook had changed, England having made up her mind 
to support her merchants on more definite lines and sent 


Sir Eyre Coote with Royal troops from England. In 1760 
a decisive battle at Wandewash was fought between Eyre 
Coote and the French, in which the latter were severely 
defeated and their leader Bussy captured. In 1761 Coote 
even took Pondicherry and with it Count Lally. Though 
Pondicherry was eventually restored, that was in short the 
end of the French power in India, a power which better 
handled and supported would have changed the whole 
face of history. 


The Eastern kaleidoscope must now be revolved in the 
direction of Bengal where, four years before the defeat of 
the Mahrattas by the Afghans in '61 and the French at 
Wandewash in 1760, great things had been happening. 
Three-quarters of a century earlier as related, Job Charnock 
had established by the Imperial firman the trading settlement 
at Calcutta. With the decision of the Directors to become 
a garrisoning and administering territorial authority British 
enterprise had done a great deal. Calcutta was now a 
wealthy station with a crowded ocean port, some miles up 
the river Hooghly. The Imperial Nawab, Imperial in name 
but independent in practice, Ali Verdi Khan, who had 
for years been concerned in preventing the Mahrattas from 
overrunning his territory, died in 1756, and he had nominated 
as his heir Suraj-ud-Doulat, 1 'The Sun of Dominion', a 
young man of the worst parts. Ali Verdi Khan had dealt 
well, and generally reasonably with the British though he 
had made them pay heavily enough for protecting their 
settlements from the Mahrattas, or to use the spelling of 
the time the ' Morattoes '. The new Viceroy the Nawab of 
1 The Surajahdoulah of schoolroom histories. 


Bengal who had great ideas of the wealth of the British settle- 
ment, and great hopes of filling his pockets therefrom, 
occupied and plundered their factory at Kassimbazaar and 
marched on Calcutta itself. The fort at Calcutta was a 
very different affair from the later Fort William, and in the 
palmy days of Ali Verdi Khan had been left to decay. The 
garrison consisted of but sixty European soldiers of no 
great efficiency. The Governor evacuated the place as 
far as possible, making the inhabitants retire to the shipping 
and himself moving to Fulta. On June i8th the Nawab 
bombarded the fort in which was Mr. Holwell a Member 
of the Council and 146 persons of both sexes, all the women 
not having been got off. Next morning they surrendered 
and there occurred the tragedy of the ' Black Hole V or 
guardroom, from which Holwell and his twenty-three 
alone emerged, in which they had been crammed. The 
story is an outrageous one, but probably illustrates but 
the callousness of Eastern subordinates ... as evidenced 
in our day by the traj':dy of the Moplah prisoners and 
the satisfaction of the local folk thereat ... as well as 
the inefficiency of Eastern routine, rather than fell design. 
Clive, Governor of Fort St. David, after his exploits in 
Madras, was hurried up to retrieve the situation, with 900 
Europeans and 1,500 Madras sepoys and with him sailed 
a squadron of the Royal Navy. Budge-Budge was retaken 
from the Nawab's forces at once, no less a person than 
Warren Hastings serving as a volunteer. Calcutta was easily 
recovered from the Nawab's troops who had never been 
handled by a trained enemy before, so that the Nawab sued 
for peace and agreed to make ample restitution for the damage 
he had inflicted. In fact it was obvious that had the Court 
of Directors with all their experience of disasters due to 
1 Black-hole the old Army name for a dark cell. 


military inefficiency before in Madras, not failed to arrange 
any security in Calcutta, the tragedy need not have happened. 


With war between France and Europe, Clive and Watson 
turned the tables on the French by attacking Chandernagore 
above Calcutta. The Nawab, already plotting with the French 
against the English was greatly enraged, but Clive was in 
collusion with the large party in Bengal that hated the Nawab, 
who, to cut a long story short, advanced against the English 
with 35,000 Infantry of sorts, 15,000 Rajwara horse and a 
few French gunners. He massed his troops at Plassey close to 
Murshidabad while Clive with his 900 British and 2,500 
Sepoys and 10 light guns was advancing against him. The 
former's knowledge of the worth of rajwara troops gained 
in Madras made him in no whit dismayed. The Nawab's 
troops were largely composed of the floating military popu- 
lation from many provinces who flocked round the various 
Viceroys, including many Moslems of Afghan and Turkish 
descent, barons with their retainers giving federal service, 
and a good many of the peasantry of Behar. The story of the 
battle of Plassey which was the foundation and charter of 
British dominion on the Bengal side of India, has too often 
been told to need retelling. The interesting item is the 
Nawab's guns served by French gunners in the European 
uniform of the period, mounted high above the crops on a 
moving platform erected over lashed bullock wagons. It 
was the rainy season and movement was a difficulty, but 
India was won by a British loss of 22 killed and 50 wounded, 
European and native. Clive made Mir Jafar who had with 
hesitation declared on his side, Nawab, and his son caught 


Suraj-ud-doulat and put him to death. As a reward and as 
an act of sane policy Clive was appointed Governor of Bengal, 
while Mir Jafar gave the Company actual zemindari 1 rights 
over 880 square miles around Calcutta. Further, dive's 
influence over Mir Jafar gave him virtual control but the 
latter ere long was involved in hostilities with the British 
for reasons beyond our present scope, and Mir Qasim his 
son-in-law took his place. Mir Qasim a stronger man than 
his predecessor, quarrelled with the British also and arrested 
the Resident at Patna with all British in the country. The 
British advanced on Patna and took Monghyr, where upon a 
file of the Mir's guard said to have been commanded by the 
renegade German Reinhart known as Sombre and Somru, 2 
shot all the prisoners to the number of 148, including Mr. 
Ellis, the Resident. This massacre deliberate and not due 
to mere callousness as was the Black Hole, sealed the future 
of Bengal. Mir Qasim, now thoroughly frightened, fled to 
Lucknow, where was also the Emperor Shah Alam II a 
refugee from the Mahra^as. The Emperor anxious to recover 
Bengal, together with Mir Qasim and the Nawab Vizier of 
Oudh advanced towards Patna weakened, and halted at 
Buxar. This gave the British time to overcome a mutiny, 
and meet what might be in truth called the Mogul Army at 
Buxar in October 1764. Then ensued another of those re- 
markable victories which with Wandewash and Plassey settled 
the future of India. The 50,000 Mogul troops were utterly 
defeated by Major Munro with the loss of 160 cannon. 
The British force numbered some 7,000 men odd with 20 
guns, the largest force they had yet in the field in India, of 
which 867 were European and 918 cavalry. Shah Alam now 
came in to the British to beg for terms, while the Nawab 

1 i .e . Landowning. Zemin land, 

* Whose widow the Begum Somru was so well known in later days. 


Vizier who had hoped to be the arbiter was in full retreat. 
Allahabad was taken from him, and he was overtaken and 
defeated at Kalpi on the Jumna. Clive, now ennobled, came 
back to a second period of Governorship in time to settle 
the terms which were to follow the victory of Buxar. The 
Nawab Vizier was sent back to his kingdom paying a tribute 
and becoming an ally. The Emperor was given a tract made 
up of the districts of Kora and Allahabad as already related, 
in return for granting the Company the diwany or right to 
collect the revenue in Bengal, Behar and Orissa, while leaving 
the new Nawab, a son of Mir Jafar, on the throne in control 
of law and police. This was what is so often referred to as 
'The Dual System*. The Emperor was given tribute of 
twenty-five lakhs in recognition of his suzerainty, but it was a 
system that could not last for long. With the Mogul and Oudh 
armies settled for the while, Lord Clive was now free to enter 
into his great work reforming the administration and thus 
to lay the foundation for the most humane and benevo- 
lent civil service that the world has ever seen. Through it 
for a century and a half Great Britain, to her own serious loss, 
has sent the pick of her schools and colleges, to help piece 
together the fragments of what once had been the Empire 
of Asoka and in modern times the ruthless domain of the 
Afghan and the Turk. 


We must soon turn south again to watch the struggle 
against a new enemy and also to see the Mahrattas striving 
to their own undoing. But before doing so we should see 
the great Warren Hastings on his uneasy throne and how 
it became necessary to curb the cruel Rohilla barons, dive's 


second governorship ended in 1767 and for a while Bengal 
was able to go ahead without any great trials. In 1772, 
however, there came to power a second great statesman, in 
the person of Mr. Warren Hastings one of the Company's 
administrators, after a highly successful career. The Dual 
Government in Bengal had failed, and without dive's strong 
hand the old abuses and irregularities of the Company's 
servants returned. The Nawab's Government failed hope- 
lessly in his matter of order and justice, and in 1770 famine 
and disease had brought the land to great straits. The 
administration was now actually taken over by the Company 
and the service placed on the high-grade footing that Clive 
had aimed at, but it was no easy task. As related, Shah 
Al&m tempted by the Mahrattas by promises of a revived 
Empire returned to Delhi and attempted to add the districts 
entrusted to him to his own nominal dominion. But it was 
impossible to allow the Mahrattas to have these territories 
which adjoined Oudh, and Hastings therefore occupied the 
fortress of Allahabad him or lf, and stated that the Company 
would control the territory in question. As the Mogul had 
left British protection of his own accord, the allowance 
of twenty-five lakhs was discontinued. The occupation of 
the Allahabad and Kora districts protected Oudh from the 
west, and it was necessary to protect her also from the 
threats and intrigues of the Mahrattas and the incursions 
of the entirely unscrupulous Afghan-descended Rohillas. 
This resulted in the war between Oudh and Rohilkand in 
which a brigade of Bengal troops participated and in which 
the Rohillas were defeated. It is difficult to say what status 
the Rohillas had, except as subjects of Delhi who defied 
Delhi's authority. The attack on Mr. Hastings for this 
policy was entirely unjustified, for by no means was it 
possible to consider the Rohilla chiefs and their compara- 


tively few fellow colonists as anything but unscrupulous 
opportunists who oppressed as much as was economic their 
Hindu tenants and peasantry. Rohilkand was then added 
to Oudh, and British troops were lent to maintain the Vizier 
against his neighbours, the beginning of what was later to 
be called the Subsidiary System*. 


By 1773 the Company's finances were in such a state 
owing to the many disturbances and the magnitude of their 
undertaking, that they had to apply to the British Govern- 
ment for assistance. This was only accorded on terms. 
Those terms included the appointment of a Governor- 
General, aided by a Council to be appointed from Home. 
The story of the cantankerous and futile personalities selected 
for that purpose is one of the great blurs on the early British 
administration of India. They first distinguished themselves 
by entirely upsetting the arrangements with the son of the 
Nawab Vizier on the latter's death, and their mischievous 
actions were legion. 

We cannot here enter further into all that happened, 
the story of Nunkomar, the duel with the wretched Mr. 
Francis nor the events which led up to the outbreak at 
Benares, when Hastings escaped with a small following from 
the attack on his escort, and from which the popular rhyme 
descriptive of the hurried flight of the Governor- Generals 
party was derived. 

Chore par howdah, hathi par zeen 
Jaldi chagya Warren Hasteen 

" Howdah on horse and saddle on elephant. 
Hurriedly fled the great Warren Hastings." 

1 Also sung of Colonel * Monseen's ' retreat before Holka in 1804. 


In spite of this constant frustration Hastings' reign was 
fraught with the most important results in the matter of 
good government and wise statesmanship, and it was not 
till 1783 after eleven years in the saddle as Governor of 
Bengal, for ten of which he was also Governor- General, 
that Warren Hastings laid down his appointment. 


While Clive was making history in Bengal, the Madras 
Government did little to live up to the victory gained for 
it at Wandewash, and a period of gross incompetence in 
administration and policy followed. The year following that 
battle, a new power had arisen in the person of Haider Ali, 
a mercenary of Afghan descent in the service of the Rajah 
of Mysore who seized his master's throne and under the 
title of Sultan of Mysore gathered to his aid every Afghan, 
Turkish and Arab soldier of fortune in southern India. 
Enriching himself by the plunder of his neighbours he raised 
a powerful army to the dismay of all. 

We must, however, skip over the various treaties with 
and intrigues between the British, Haiderabad and the Mah- 
rattas, to whom the new Sultan was by no means welcome. 
In 1766 commenced the First Mysore War between Haider 
and the British which lasted three years. Haider had per- 
suaded the Nizam to break his treaties and join him. The 
British commander gained brilliant victories which the folly 
of the Madras Government made of no avail and a peace 
was accepted on Haider's terms which included an alliance. 
He then attacked the Mahrattas and was soundly beaten, 
the British refusing assistance to their new ally's arrogance 
as they had not been consulted as to the war making. 


In 1775 broke out the First Mahratta War, when the 
British in Bombay supported Raghoba the deposed regent 
at Poona. While Hastings' ill-advised Council condemned 
the action of the Bombay Government, Hastings saw that 
they must be supported, and a force was sent under Colonel 
Goddard right across India. The war had several vicissitudes 
including the astounding pusillanimity which led a Bombay 
Column to the disgraceful convention of Wargaum, the 
leaders being beaten and the troops not. Goddard, after his 
march across India of 300 miles in twenty days in the month 
of February 1779, retrieved this disaster by successes in 
Guzerat, and an amazing incident occurred when another 
small force under Captain Popham, took the Rock of Gwalior 
and the famous fortress thereon. Thus generally the British 
prestige and hope of peace in India were enhanced by the 
war. The fierce restless Haider, however, could not let 
things alone and the Second Mysore War (1780-1784) com- 
menced with his pouring into the Carnatic carrying fire 
and sword to the outskirts of Madras itself. Sir Hector 
Munro, no longer the alert hero of Buxar, was defeated, one 
of his columns being severely handled and its commander 
Colonel Baillie captured, and it needed the despatch of 
troops by Hastings under Sir Eyre Coote from Bengal to 
restore the situation. Haider now sustained three smashing 
defeats, of which Porto Novo and Sholingarh are the more 
famous. Coote returned owing to disagreement with the 
Governor, the war dragged on, the French now tried to 
resuscitate their influence, a French squadron under Admiral 
Suffren succeeding in landing 3,000 French soldiers. Haider 
died, Tippu, his son, succeeded, and actually captured a 
British force in Mangalore under General Matthews. Hastings 
again sent Coote, now an old man, with full powers, but he 
died two days after landing, and ere long the Madras Govern- 


ment made a humiliating peace with Tippu, producing a 
situation that could not long endure. Thus in 1784 ended 
the Second War. 

In 1786 came Lord Cornwallis, the famous soldier, as 
successor, and under him Tippu was to receive the first 
real blow that was to restrain his outrageous attempt to 
become Emperor of Southern India. 


Although reference has been made to the sepoys with 
whom Clive and Coote and Munro first carried the Pax 
Britannica, the story of their evolution has not yet been 
told, nor how the early armed watchmen grew into an army 
of soldiers. It was not till 1746 on the Madras side that the 
nondescript armed retainers first were formed into companies 
of sepoys, and European soldiers were raised from sailors 
and adventurers of all races, some even being specially 
enlisted in Switzerland. It was in Madras indeed, whose 
fate was to become first involved in the necessity for defence, 
that the idea of the Indian sepoy was first evolved. Between 
1746 and 1758 only eleven companies of sepoys were raised 
and most of these accompanied Clive to Bengal after the 
Black Hole. The Madrassi as then known was of no military 
account and these early soldiers were Kaffirs from overseas, 
Arabs, Rajputs from Hindustan, and even slaves bought 
in Madagascar. It was not till 1758 that a battalion even 
was formed, and cavalry had not then been thought of. It 
was not till the same year that certain European gun-crews 
were entertained and the famous Madras Artillery thus 
inaugurated, but the second siege of Madras in that year 
also resulted in the pushing of military organization a sub- 


stantial step further. Five battalions were now formed 
which by 1767 had increased to sixteen, and the great Line 
of the Coast Army was further on its way. In 1754 had come 
the first Royal unit to India, the 39th Foot, who bear the 
motto 'Primus in Indis\ and with them Stringer Lawrence, 
Forde, Eyre Coote and Hector Munro, all to be famous in 
the annals of the Company's Wars. 

It was not till 1772 after the Second Mysore War had 
commenced that the sepoys were clothed, first clothed in 
scarlet it is said, because there was a lot of that coloured 
cloth in the Company's godowns. Later the moral effect 
was realized and it remained as a policy. As the prophet 
Nahum has it *Lo! the valiant men are in scarlet* and it 
was now that the Line in scarlet jackets, shako-like puggarees 
and white cross belts, began to attain its moral force. The 
actual periods of the growth of the Coast Army divide into 
five epochs each responsible for greater evolution; they 
have been put as follows: 

1746 to the First Mysore War in 1769. 

1769 to the Second Mysore War ending in 1784. 

1785 to the Third Mysore War ending in 1792. 

1792 to the Fourth Mysore War, the Capture of 

Seringapatam and death of Tippu in 1799. 
1800 to 1820, the period of the Second and Third and 

Fourth Mahratta Wars. 

The officer cadre during the second period was much 
improved, and it now began to model itself in dress and 
custom on the British Army also. The scallywag and 
adventurer class from which the Company took its earliest 
officers had long disappeared. The cadet system in England, 
which ended in Addiscombe and Baraset, was beginning. 


After the Second Mysore War four cavalry regiments were 
raised which by the end of the Third War had increased to 
eight, and the battalions now stood at no fewer than thirty- 
four, with three battalions of Madras Europeans and a highly 
organized artillery, and by 1807 the battalions were increased 
to fifty. It was indeed in the period of the Third Mysore 
War when Lord Cornwallis, whose army was known as the 
Grand Army and with which were several Royal corps, intro- 
duced the precision and disciplined ways of Europe, that 
the real Madras Army came into being. 

The rank and file were still largely of the mercenary type, 
that 13 to say the Afghan- and Turk-descended invaders, and 
or else the outcaste Hindus and Christians, and a useful 
hardbitten force they had become. As the force grew, the 
chetty, that is to say the cultivator, began to be enlisted, but 
it was not till the * Brahminization ' of the Army, to be 
described later, began, that the Hindu cultivator became the 
principal constituent. 


The Third Mysore War was of the greatest importance 
to India and deserves more detailed attention. Tippu was 
even more implacable than his father, and aimed only at 
combinations which should drive the British into the sea, 
and unite Islam against them. He was stimulated in this 
by the numerous French officers still serving the various 
courts, some from the original French cadres, others 
refugees from the French revolution seeking a livelihood. 
The Hindu kingdoms were equally victims of Tippu's 
intolerance, and he was by nature endowed with a peculiarly 
cruel and bloodthirsty disposition. Kanara and Coorg were 


overrun and converted at the sword's point. It was said 
that 2,000 Brahmins died by their own hand, to escape him 
and the Qoran. Just as the Moplals destroyed or forcibly 
circumcised the Brahmins and Hindus around them during 
the recent Moplah risings, so did Tippu and his merry men 
treat the very races whom he should have aspired to cherish. 
This had the advantage to the British of cementing a friend- 
ship with the Mahrattas, who were furious at the ill-treatment 
of the Hindus by Tippu. The assumption of the title of 
Badshah, only the right of the Delhi Emperors, also enraged 
the Nizam, so that he and the Mahrattas declared war on 
Tippu. Tippu however, was too much for them, and he 
now boasted the destruction of 8,000 Hindu temples. Indeed 
had the times of the early Pathan and Turk invasions of the 
North now come to pass in the South. 

It was not long then before the British were compelled 
by his action to join Nizam and Mahratta in humbling Tippu, 
but the Madras Government as usual, started badly. Then 
it was Lord Cornwallis, as already related, came and with 
him some Bengal troops, but difficulties of transport and 
supplies resulted in opening reverses. It was not till January 
1792 that the Grand Army, the finest yet seen in India, 
appeared before the immensely strong fortress of Sering- 
apatam, accompanied by a small Mahratta force and some 
worthless Nizami troops. As the outworks were carried 
Tippu craved for terms, which were granted, but Lord 
Cornwallis was to stand no more trifling. Tippu was to 
restore Coorg to its own rajah, give up certain districts to 
the British and pay thirty crores of rupees as indemnity, 
while giving up his two sons as hostages. This final scene as 
well as those of the siege is well portrayed by Martens in a 
well known series of pictures. In 1793 Lord Cornwallis left 
India after seven years of hard work, in which he had com- 


pleted dive's and Hastings' work of modelling the Civil 
Service. An amiable but not very effective successor who 
endeavoured to avoid all interference with quarrelling 
neighbours succeeded in the person of Sir John Shore who 
was in 1798 replaced by one of the most brilliant servants 
that the Empire has ever had, or who has ever served India. 
Lord Mornington, afterwards the Marquis Wellesley, was 
the brother of the Duke of Wellington and was endued with 
as much character and foresight as his younger brother. 

As soon as he had mastered the situation he realized that 
the strange Mahratta confederacy, fully recovered by now 
from its disaster at Panipat, was quite determined to try 
conclusions with the British for the mastery of India. Sindia 
was holding the Mogul seat of power with the blind puppet 
Emperor Shah Alam II in his hands. Peace and humanity, 
prosperity and trade demanded that wars should cease, that 
there should be a paramount power in India, to whom the 
public good was a matter of concern. Neither Mahratta 
with their fixed idea of spoil, nor Tippu the fiery proseletyser 
with the knife of circumcision, nor the Sikhs in the North 
or the Nawab Vizier of Oudh in the East could possibly fill 
that role. He saw clearly that the Mahratta federation must 
go, and that each Mahratta state and every other state must 
be confined within its own boundaries in tributary alliance 
with a paramount power. The autumnal mulk-geri, the 
sallying forth to remove your neighbours land-mark, must 
cease. And he set about to make it so, the peoples of India 
through their sons that they sent to the British Army and 
the British service generally, who saw that it was good, 
eagerly assisting. Indeed at all times even in the dire days 
of the Indian Mutiny it was the eager help of the mass of 
the people that have put and keep the British as the only 
possible paramount power. 


The outlook was by no means re-assuring, the French 
deprived of their territorial role were working by other 
means. During the more foolish days of Sir John Shore's 
Government, French influence had become paramount once 
more at the courts of the Nizam, of Tippu and of 
Sindia the Mahratta, who had been steadily pursuing a policy 
of aggrandisement, and whose agent Perron threatened the 
British frontier on the Ganges. Napoleon Bonaparte was 
corresponding with Tippu and a French general with officers 
and a few volunteers had actually joined him. Tippu himself 
had called on Zaman Shah the Afghan ruler in Kabul to 
come to his assistance and that of Islam, and the Afghan 
had entered the Punjab. The times called for action and 
Tippu Bahshah, who had not learnt his lesson nor was 
keeping his treaties, was obviously the first to bring to reason. 
The Governor-General who had landed in April was not 
long in gripping what threatened to be a crisis, and in getting 
his blows in first. At Hyderabad a French contingent of 
sepoys was a dangerous and unnecessary item. It was 
transformed by a coup d'etat into an English one. Tippu 
was called on to stay his hand, keep his engagements and send 
away his French. On his declining, the Governor- General 
went to Madras to assist in implementing the large Army of 
King's and Company's troops, which was being assembled 
under General Harris, the local Commander-in-Chief. Troops 
came from Bombay by sea, and a Mahratta and Nizam's 
force also were directed on Mysore. Tippu first struck far 
afield and fought two containing battles with ill success, and 
then the armies closed on Seringapatam, terribly hampered 
though they were by poor transport and want of roads 
through the ghats, and at times in straits for food. 

How Seringapatam was stormed is a story too well known 
to need further detail. The romantic incident was that of 


General Baird who once spent four bitter years in a Mysore 
dungeon, leading the storming. As the Mysoreans murdered 
at the last moment any British prisoners in their hands, the 
enraged troops gave no quarter; Tippu by now a madman, 
was slain with vast hosts of his men in a great cul-de-sac in 
the fortress. 

The Madras sepoy had much distinguished himself, and 
Arthur Wellesley was now sent off with a body drawn from 
them to chase the ruthless Mahratta freebooter Doondiah 
Wah, with the result that Mysore and all its neighbourhood 
saw peace and ruth. The old Hindu state of Mysore which 
Haider had engulfed was restored and the Nizam and the 
Mahrattas were assigned tracts that more properly belonged 
to them. Distinguished as the Madras soldiery had been, 
the personnel was largely still from the half-Turk and Afghan 
Moslems, and the Pariahs, and no great attempt yet had 
been made to enlist the chetty referred to. 


The Mahratta chiefs who made up the confederacy had 
little power of adhesion, and as when the Rajput quarrels 
admitted Turk and Afghan, were often engaged not only in 
intrigues against each other but in hostilities, Sindia and 
Holkar about this time having fought a pitched battle outside 
Poona with European adventurers commanding corps on 
both sides. By now all the princes of India had seen the 
efficacy of Western military ways and had endeavoured to 
copy them. Sindia especially had a large French trained 
army, which the Count de Boigne had raised, with a regular 
cadet service and all the trappings of the Company. M. 
Perron had lately succeeded to its command, and had been 


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assigned the revenue of the Doab between Ganges and 
Jumna for its support with the old Mogul fortress and 
capital of Agra as its headquarters. Sindia with all these 
resources at his disposal was anxious to try conclusions with 
the Company once and for all. 

Now begins the final story of the Mahrattas, that we left 
off after the second coming to Delhi and the enticing of 
Shah Al&m II to the Mahratta trap there. We need not 
trace the combinations which induced the British to take 
the part of their ally Baji Rao at Poona when threatened by 

Suffice it here to say that two armies moved against Sindia. 
Lord Mornington had the great advantage of a young and 
leading soldier as the Commander-in-Chief in Bengal, 
General Gerald Lake, the Lik Sahib of his triumphant 
soldiery. General Lake led the Grand Army from the 
vicinity of Allahabad, while Major-General Arthur Wellesley 
led that of the Dekhan, and with the latter marched also the 
troops of the Peshwa, and of the Nizam. A great series of 
victories ensued, notably those of Assaye on the west and 
Laswari on the north-east. Agra was captured, Delhi taken 
and the French trained troops with their officers defeated. 
At Argaum Arthur Wellesley beat the troops of both Sindia 
and the Bhonsla, i.e. the Mahratta rajah of Berar. The two 
were magnificent campaigns. The Sepoy Army of Bengal 
had followed the example of Madras, and consisted of a 
splendid Line enlisted from much the same types as in the 
Coast Army, but including a good deal of the peasantry and 
messenger classes of Behar and Bengal. Indeed the glamour 
of the swaggering Oudh Rajput had already taken hold of 
the Bengal officers, for an Army Order of 1797 points out 
that these are the men who deserted so frequently and that 
more use is to be made of the men from ' our own provinces '. 


At Delhi the blind Shah Al&m II was rescued from filth 
and durance and restored to comfort and dignity by General 
Lake, on whom the highest title of the ancient Mogul Empire 
was conferred by the old puppet, a puppet whose imperial 
name however was still one of prestige and reverence. 

Sindia and the Bhonsla were now beaten to terms and 
entered into due treaty with the paramount power. Sindia 
having abided by this treaty like the Nizam, remains to 
this day, a premier chief in India. At the end of 1803 the 
British armies went into cantonments as best they could, 
but all was not yet peace. Jeswunt Rao Holkar, the enemy 
of Sindia and prince of Indore a fierce ambitious uncertain 
character, held aloof from Sindia and the Bhonsla, and not 
till the war was over did he appear on the scene in arms and 
inaugurate that Third Mahratta War, which is often in men's 
minds tacked on to the Second but which was quite distinct. 
Colonel Monson set forth from Agra in the hot season of 
1804 to meet the inroading Holkar, and through sheer bad 
soldiering and want of foresight suffered a disastrous defeat 
which rang triumphantly through all that part of India that 
longed for the destruction of the British. Holkar swung 
north and tried to capture Delhi, which put up, under Burns 
and Ochterlony, a celebrated defence. Lord Lake took the 
field, again, and with a large force of cavalry, Light Dragoons 
and Indians chased Holkar up and down the land, finally 
overtaking him on the Sutlej where he had gone to try to 
raise the Sikhs. Holkar's infantry were destroyed at the 
battle of Deig and the war so far as that prince went was over. 
Unfortunately Lake endeavoured with scanty artillery to 
storm the J&t fortress of Bhurtpur, the Rajah having broken 
his engagements and joined Holkar. Four times hurled back 
with very heavy loss, he was obliged to make terms, though 
Bhurtpur gave up Holkar. A Bombay force had joined the 


Grand Army before Bhurtpur, and here we have this delight- 
ful story of the "Untoo Goorgas" afore-said. The strange 
prakrit of the Mahratta troops amused the Bengal Army 
who dubbed them this name imitative of the uncouth 
tongue, but so much was it resented that an Army Order 
forbade its use. 

The repulses before Bhurtpur plus the defeat of Monson 
sadly battered the gilt off our prestige, which was not really 
restored till Bhurtpur fell to Lord Combermere in 1826. 

That, however, is another story. The Mahratta chiefs, 
handsomely beaten, had each and all to go into their legitimate 
territorial box, with such alleviations to the chiefs of Raj- 
putana whose territories they had seized, as seemed just to 
the Governor-General, now the Marquis Wellesley. Poona 
was already an ally, Sindia, the Bhonsla, Holkar and the 
Gaikwar now became so, and, except the Peshwa at Poona, as 
they became so have they remained. The Delhi Territories 
became British, the Cis-Sutlej or Phulkian Sikh Chiefs also 
became allies, protected as they desired from absorption by 
Runjhit Singh. The larger tributary or allied states accepted 
a ' Subsidiary ' British force to protect them if their neighbours 
attacked again, and agreed to maintain also a Contingent* 
that would help maintain the peace of the Indian Empire, 
a just and statesmanlike arrangement in view of the strange 
shifting catch-as-catch-can conditions which the Mogul 
crash had left behind. 

Since these arrangements India has changed little except that 
the impossible state of Oudh, evil beyond belief, compelled the 
paramount power the power that reigned in place of the 
Mogul and with Mogul prestige and heirship to annexe it, 
after trying for fifty years to avoid doing so. In the north a 
curious chain of circumstances compelled us also, much against 
our will to assume in due course the burden of the Punjab. 



It might have been thought that Assaye, Laswaree, Deig 
and Argaum would have been enough for the Confederacy, 
especially since the knowledge of British might on the 
continent of Europe and the crowning victory of Waterloo 
must have been well known. But the Company, upset at the 
strain of the long war, and the British Government fatally 
shortsighted as usual, proceeded to try and be rid of much 
that Wellesley had won for them. Aged Cornwallis came 
out again to cancel and to economize, but died almost immedi- 
ately. Sir George Barlow, an Indian official of inferior type, 
ruled for two years, and then came Lord Minto who from 
the years from 1807 to 1813 struggled to get back what 
Barlow had let go. The pacification of thrice lawless Bundel- 
kand was his great work and the sending of important missions 
to Kabul to Sind and to Teheran. In 1814 came another 
distinguished soldier Rvncis Rawdon, Lord Moira, and later 
the Marquis Hastings. The Nepal War 1 which was not all 
to our credit was the first anxiety, and then came the terrible 
question of the Pindaris, whose conduct already described 
called to high Heaven for vengeance. Hastings summoned 
the Mahratta allies to assist in their repression. But already 
the Peshwa and the Bhonsla were planning mischief and 
were themselves deeply involved with the Pindaris. Sindia, 
by the wise handling of his political agents, was fortunately 
for himself, kept clear. The Peshwa was handsomely 
defeated at Kirkee and Poona, and the Bhonsla at Sitabaldi 
and Nagpur, both after treacherous attacks on the Residents 
at their court and the British Subsidiary Force which pro- 
tected them. 

1 See Chapter X. 


The scene before the battle of Kirkee was described by 
an eye-witness when the immense forces of the Peshwa 
horse, foot and artillery, elephants and standards, poured 
out of Poona is like the 'bore coming up the Severn* and 
swirled round the little British force on the plains of Kirkee, 
while the beautiful British Residency went up in flames. 
In the afternoon sun the slanting rays fell on the golden 
temple tops of the hill temple of Parbatti which still domin- 
ates the landscape and used to be known to the British soldier 
as 'the Brass Castle', and where the pusillanimous Peshwa 
offered up prayers for the force he was too timorous to lead. 
Among those who fell leading a cavalry charge on a British 
square was the Mahratta Gokla who commanded the Peshwa' s 
horse, but who in the previous war, when the Peshwa was 
our ally, had been the admired friend of Wellesley and those 
British officers who knew him, and who regretted that he 
should have so lost his life. 

A week or so later occurred another incident famous still 
and much treasured by the loand Bombay Grenadiers, to 
use the name they held till the World War. A small force 
of Indian soldiers marching from Sirur to Poona to join the 
Subsidiary Force, was fallen on by the whole Mahratta army 
at the little mud village of Koregaon, and only after a pro- 
longed defence of the utmost gallantry was rescued. It was 
one of those fights which so illustrate the affection and 
admiration with which those people of India who knew the 
British regarded the officers who led them, their service and 
their power. 

On the hill of Sitabaldi close to Nagpur, similar dramatic 
scenes were being enacted, and a small force of Bengal 
sepoys and cavalry were defending themselves against huge 
surging hosts of Mahrattas and Arabs. A detachment of 
the 6th Light Cavalry led by young Hearsey, afterwards the 


famous Indian General, made a series of most daring charges 
at which all the world of the day marvelled. 

With the Peshwa and the Bhonsla finally dealt with, it 
was the turn of Holkar, who was putting all his westernised 
troops into the field in support of his friends the Pindari 
horrors . . . and it was his turn to be handsomely drubbed 
at the battle of Mehidpore in Malwa. After this a great 
network of columns crowded in to destroy and chase up and 
down the country till exterminated, the whole of the Pindari 
pests. The war began in 1817, and it was well into 1819 
before all was over. When finished it was the finest piece 
of work for humanity and ruth that the world had yet seen. 
The Peshwa, faithless and irreconcilable, was deposed and 
his territories annexed, the line of Shivaji at Satara was 
restored to some small temporal power, and the Bhonsla 
and Holkar duly cribbed, set back on their thrones. That 
ended once and for all Mahratta attempts to dispute the 
crown of India with the British, yet all the five chiefs except 
the Peshwa remained. As the years rolled on the want of an 
heir led to the annexation of Nagpur, but Sindiah, Holkar 
and the Gaikwar remain to this day among the premier 
ruling princes of India. 

As this is the finale of the Mahratta story, it may be said 
that except among the directing personnel, and that often 
Dekhani Brahmin, the Mahrattas as a race were not con- 
spicuous as members of the modern Mahratta armies and 
it has remained for the British to find them out as staunch 
and gallant rank and file, to forget them for a while, and then 
to find them in the World War better and stauncher than 

Two more conflicts with Mahratta forces in some soft 
were to take place. One was the destruction in 1843 by Lord 
Gough of the remnant of the French-trained Mahratta 


standing army, in a curious outbreak against its 'own Govern- 
ment to be described in the next chapter. The Mahratta 
himself, however, was in no great evidence in the ranks of 
the batteries and battalions destroyed at Maharajpore and 
Punniar, The other in 1844, was a dragging, badly managed 
campaign against rebellious elements in the Southern 
Mahratta country. Far the most serious in its possibilities 
was the attempt of Tantia Topi, the confederate of the Nana 
of the Mutiny days, when the rebellion had been crushed 
in Oudh and the mutineers defeated, to raise the Bhagwan 
Jhanda in Central India and stir the whole Mahratta race 
and interests to national rebellion. Happily prompt military 
action by all concerned stamped out a conflagration which 
was never really lit, or which did but smoulder, but which 
'put the wind up' authority in India to an extent that has 
now been forgotten. 





IT is not necessary to trace further how the Company's 
forces first developed; that has been done in outline in the 
chapter on the rise of the British power, but the modern 
story of the martial races is their absorption into the army, 
or their struggles against that army. It may here be remarked 
that the martial races that put up a stout fight, or whose 
rulers endeavoured to drive out the British, such as the 
Mahrattas, the Gurkhas and the Sikhs, and who got most 
handsomely beaten for their pains, are just those which 
serve the Crown most loyally and affectively. As the night- 
watchmen in the godowns were first armed and then grouped 
into companies, the companies grew to battalions, class, 
caste or race were no great moment. The first men to hand 
who had the 'guts' to bear arms were those first employed. 
In all parts of India there was a miscellaneous class of men 
who carried important messages, or hired themselves out 
as guards to protect the caravans of the merchants, as the 
country grew more lawless, and these, naturally, were suit- 
able in their time. In Madras the native Christians who 


had no prejudices and Pariahs or sturdy outcaste tribes 
soon proved, with a tot of rum in their stomachs and a 
Brown Bess on their shoulders, to be no mean opponent 
to the Rajwara 1 troops, and dacoits who might be opposed 
to them. In Calcutta the enmity of the Nawab of Bengal, 
and in Madras the rise of the French made it necessary to 
evolve something better than companies of guards. By the 
middle of the second half of the eighteenth century, a great 
army was beginning in Bengal and Bombay similar to that 
in Madras, and a growing artillery was coming into being. 
Generals and staffs and more royal troops had followed the 
39th Foot, and the Royal Army was the pattern to be fol- 
lowed by that of the Company. The eighteenth century 
had seen the British Army constantly employed on the 
Continent, and always with success. From Marlborough's 
days, for forty years, the British soldier had come to renown, 
and was looked upon as the best model to follow, and there- 
fore it was not surprising that the complete model of the 
British line came to be adopted. The actual clothing of the 
men in scarlet has been described and how thus clothed 
they were often mistaken for Europeans and dreaded, which 
made the custom universal. Thus the Line of the three 
Presidential Armies became modelled on the British line, 
and from having puggarees tied on, came to copy first the 
three cornered cocked hat, and then the shako, at last even 
came to wearing a leather one. It is to be remembered that 
each Presidency was separated for at least two hundred 
years from the others, by hundreds of miles of trackless 
jungles or of independent states, and for many years had 
even no common Governor-General, and therefore no 
co-ordinated policy. They were entirely separate countries, 
dealing with widely different peoples. Their armies there- 
belonging to a Raj or Indian State. 


fore were in many ways different, though from time to time 
the Company issued regulations governing the main orga- 
nization with a view to making them similar in their broad 
lines. Yet different they remained for many generations, 
and it was not indeed till Lord Kitchener's day that the 
last trace of the separate armies disappeared and the num- 
bering was combined. 

The summoning of Europeans by the independent princes 
to model their armies on Western lines, and the struggles 
with the French, compelled the Company to still further 
regularize and develop its forces, and as related, it was found 
that a line of scarlet and shako clad troops, of which perhaps 
a fifth might be European, undoubtedly presented a com- 
manding appearance. An enemy could not see where the 
line was European and where native, and was perplexed 

The success of the British armies in the Napoleonic 
period still further emphasized the importance of the British 
model, and we now sec the armies of the three Presidencies 
copying the dress and equipment of the British line in 
every particular. The native battalions even had their 
Grenadier companies in bearskins, and their rifle companies 
in green like the British Line, and officers, both horse and 
foot, followed slavishly the dress regulations of the later 
Georgian periods, regardless of climatic suitability. 


After the Third Mahratta War when the Madras Army 
had achieved great distinction under Arthur Wellesley, not 
even transcended by the Bengal troops under Lord Lake 
himself, there began a period bitterly referred to by some 


of the older officers as 'the Brahminization ' of the Army. 
In the account of the early Madras armies just given, the 
presence of the old mercenary type, the descendants of the 
foreigner, the Villayatis y (the word being our old friend 
'Blighty'), viz., Pathans, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Moslem 
negroes, and Mekranis, is referred to. All these races had 
for many generations flocked to the great Moslem Kingdoms 
of the Dekhan, as they even to-day are still attracted to the 
Nizam's capital of Hyderabad which Tippu's and Haider's 
courts must in some sort have resembled. The other 
class was as just said the Pariah with rum in his belly, and 
Brown Bess on his shoulder. Splendid soldiers as these 
made against the ill-disciplined hosts of the Indian princes, 
hardy and cheerful under difficulties, lead and disciplined 
by the British officer, still they undoubtedly did not redound 
to the eventual credit of the British Government. They 
were not a national army or militia. If the British were to 
govern India for the Indians and with the good will of 
the Indians, as became the determination of the Company 
as soon as it realized that it must become a temporal and 
sovereign power its army should have better roots among 
the people. Then the fiat went forth that the real folk of the 
country-side, the yeoman peasantry and the landowners, 
were to be encouraged to soldier in the Company's ranks, 
wherever man of heart and thew could be found. In the 
Carnatic this meant recruiting the Tamil and the Telegu 
chetty 1 , from whom in time a body of estimable young men 
filled the ranks for three-quarters of a century, but filled 
them at a time when the army had got over its great trials. 
The Mysore and Mahratta Wars were over. There remained 
after the re-constitution had begun, only the Fourth Mahratta 
War, which was also the Pindari War. During it the officers 

1 Cultivator. 


of the Armies of the Dekhan are loud in their dismay. What 
had come to the Madras Army? Where were the cheery 
hardy soldiers that Arthur Wellesley had marched so hard 
and done so much with? The Madras Army as a whole 
did not cover itself with glory in this last Mahratta War, 
and it was Bombay and Bengal, and, above all, Thomas 
Atkins who took the palm. But that was in the transition. 
A few years later the Madras Army would certainly have 
done well against Mahrattas, Mewatis and Pindaris. It was 
only the fierce Arab that seemed to form the 'pi&ce de rtsist- 
ance* both of Mahratta and Pindari forces, that few Indian 
soldiers could face. Whether the so called Arab was entirely 
Arab or whether he was Pathan and Mekrani as well, is 
hard to ascertain. The same gentlemen survived in Malwa 
sojlate as 1857, and generally were tough customers. Indeed 
the toughest customers at Delhi and Lucknow in 1857 were 
not as usually supposed the mutineer sepoy but the Ghilzais 
and other Afghans who visit India in the cold weather, and 
who hearing of coming trouble stayed behind to see the 
fun. The term Brahminization in this connection but means 
'high caste* as distinct from low and outcaste people. 

In the Bengal Army, the * grenadiering * of the Line was 
popular enough and ere long the Bengal Army was almost 
entirely composed of the tall Hindustani sepoys from Oudh 
and Behar, Rajputs and actual Brahmins, the Oudh Brahmin 
making a fine soldier, or Moslems of the same provinces, 
either Turks and men of Afghan origin or ' Sheikhs ', men 
of good clans who had been converted. This Army stood 
with a strength of 74 battalions and 12 regiments of regular 
cavalry, the infantry in shakos, coatees and cross belts like 
the Victorian line, the tall sepoys with their moustachios 
and curled whiskers being most martial to look upon. The 
cavalry were in French grey with the equipment of Light 


Dragoons, and in addition there were many irregular corps 
of horse and foot. 

But with all this regularity and solidarity, the army was 
losing its grip of fighting and soldiering. A rot was setting 
in, discipline was not what it had been. There was enough 
active employment to keep it in order, but something was 
wrong in Bengal. Too much admiration, too many 'kiss- 
mammy' ideas at headquarters, something of the lesser 
spirit of Victorian sentiment, had spoilt this machine towards 
the end of the first half of last century. 

The capture of Bhurtpur in 1826, the capture which 
wiped out the slur of Lord Lake's failure in 1805, was the 
last occasion when this great army was at its best. On the 
other hand the Army of Madras which numbered 52 batta- 
lions and 8 cavalry corps was now in a better state; it had 
tapped the right class of young peasant of good caste. 
Bombay with its 30 odd battalions did not trouble its head 
about grenadiers and kept to its humbler and very alert 
soldiery, and its principle of selection. In Bengal promotion 
of Indian ranks went solely by seniority. The Subahdars 
were often men of seventy. 


How eagerly the sepoy flocked to the Company's service, 
both the mercenaries' descendants, the low caste men, and 
now the high caste yeomen, is one of the glories of the 
British memories. The officers who led from the front, the 
officers who saw that food and pay were regular, the Company 
that liberally rewarded its soldiers, all made a happy and 
romantic story. In the villages the red-coated soldier on 
leave was highly regarded, and his stories eagerly listened to. 
There is a book From Sepoy to Subahdar, being the life of 


Subahdar Sitaram, which is the most fascinating of stories. 
It first appeared in the 'sixties, and is redolent of all that the 
officer and sepoy were to each other, and of the complete 
trust and comradeship. Sitaram tells of his uncle, a sergeant, 
coming to his village and promising when he was old enough 
to take him and ask the colonel to enlist him, and how the 
perohit, the family priest, came in to be consulted and had 
approved. There is one typical and charming trait that runs 
through it. One of the sahibs had captured Sitaram's admira- 
tion and heart. Barampeel Sahib, ' My Barampeel Sahib ' 
(believed to be a Dalrymple) is always being quoted, almost 
as a chela would quote his Guru, and it is still so as many of 
us know. Then there was the quaint human complaint as 
old as the hills, that I have still so often heard. Sitaram 
laments as he grows older that * the sahibs to-day are not as 
the old sahibs ', and as Punch has truly said, they never were. 
It is all part of that glorious camaraderie which takes the 
British officer to serve with the Indian army, in dull, sun-baked 
frontier stations, where the amenities of life are nil, and only 
the joy of service remains, or where jungle and heat make 
life a purgatory, where the ordinary regimental routine and 
the long days on the rifle ranges have nothing to relieve them. 
Now and again a scarlet and gold ceremony gives a little 
psychological glamour to what is else a hard enough life. 
Even where the large concentrations of troops makes life 
an exciting whirl, the long, long months of summer drag out 
the heart and health. It is endurable because of the life with 
the men, a camaraderie that Indian politicians and even our 
own ignorant hot-air merchants would give their eyes to 
destroy, forgetting how the roof comes down on their own 
head with the pillars. 

The wisdom of some of Lord Kitchener's entourage 
succeeded in getting Sitaram's story, originally written in 


Hindi, translated into the various languages that the military 
officer needs to know, and had it made the text book for 
vernacular reading. As it contained the first and the last word 
of what the sepoy really thinks, the value of this step was 
immense. Since the World War some foolish educationalist 
has managed to get it abolished. Those who read sucked in 
with the language a knowledge of India which was of im- 
mense value, and a good deal of history. It was also published 
in English as part of the same series, and is fascinating 
reading for those who would mark and learn. 

And so the great armies of the three Presidencies were 
wound into the administration and the heart of the country 
and into the service of Britain, and before the greatest of 
them all blew up in quite unnecessary tragedy, a considerable 
portion of the armies was to go through a period of great 
strain and gain much distinction, which must now be out- 


The first decade of the reign of Queen Victoria was to 
see a remarkable series of wars in India, so much so that the 
Bengal Army, and to a lesser extent that of Bombay, had no 
rest. It may be said that all these series of wars were for the 
purpose of recovering for India proper the territories and 
dominion that were hers during the Mogul Empire. These 
wars were 

The First Afghan War, which was in reality two wars 

The Conquest of Sind, in other words the bringing back 

of Sind into the fold (1843). 


The Gwalior Campaign, being the outbreak of the old 
French-trained Army of Sindiah against authority 

The First Sikh War known as ' The Sutlej Campaign ' 

The Second Sikh War known as * The Punjab Campaign ' 

Down in southern Indian there was the lesser campaign 
in 1844, referred to in the present chapter, in which the 
Madras and Bombay Armies were involved, known as the 
Southern Mahratta War, in which the great hill fortress 
Panalla was besieged. Now these wars took the Bengal Army 
away from its own country for a long time, always a hardship 
to soldiers who own land, and who want to supervise or per- 
haps assist in its cultivation during their leave. 

The first half of the Afghan War, undertaken as the result 
of the famous Tripartite Treaty between the British, the 
Sikhs and the ex-King of Afghanistan, though full of hardship 
was a brilliant success. It was not in reality a war, it was 
undertaken in what were believed to be the interests of 
Afghanistan and India, and in accordance with the wishes of 
many Afghans. The Shah was escorted by his own contingent, 
raised as he had raised it before in Northern India, but now 
commanded by British officers of the Company's service 
rather than as before by Eurasians and nondescripts. The 
Army of the Indus marched from Ferozepore, where it 
assembled, down to Sind where, by treaty the Baluchi Amirs 
handed over the crossing and the town of Bakkur for the 
time being. There it was joined by a Bombay column 
and a huge unwieldy force entirely unorganized for service 
in such a terrain, lumbered up to Kandahar. Thence it 
passed on to the ancient city and citadel of Ghuzni, which 


was brilliantly stormed, and this was the only action save 
for scraps with tribal marauders. In 1839 the Army under 
Sir John Keane entered Kabul, and Shah Shujah sat on the 
throne of his fathers. All the while the British lived as 
allies in an ally's country and indeed fraternized with the 
hard-riding sporting Afghan quality very readily, as something 
quite different from the somewhat sombre personnel of India. 

The story of the two years in which the new king failed 
to make good, the military vacillation and the unauthorized 
withdrawal with the disasters that followed, are well known 
and need not be dwelt on at length. Eventually General 
Pollock took a grip of the twittering ill-disciplined sepoy 
troops at Peshawar, and finally reinforced, forced them 
through the Khaiber and brought aid to the defenders of 
Jellalabad, who had actually relieved themselves by a victory 
under the walls. Four thousand Bengal sepoys had been 
destroyed by frost and snow rather than by the enemy, with 
followers innumerable. During the advance of the avenging 
army, as during the previous two years, the Bengal sepoy 
and equally he of Bombay, who remained near Kandahar, 
had been infinitely better men than the Afghan. Despite 
their coatees and their white cross-belts, they could chase 
him over any mountain and stand up to any rush of swords- 
men. It was not till the senior British officers of the Kabul 
force lost their grip and their nerve and pulled the army 
down with them, that the Bengal sepoy went down in the cruel 
frost and snow to which he should not have been exposed. 
Tails that curl over the back can as easily uncurl when 
circumstances are bad. It was not to be wondered at that 
Pollock found the sepoy feet at Peshawar after the destruction 
of Elphinstone's force in the Khurd Kabul Pass, icy cold. 

The disasters were amply retrieved when Pollock forced 
the passes from Peshawar, and Nott came up from Kandahar 


and the two met and snarled at each other in Kabul, and the 
British and Indian soldiers were paramount once again. 
The British drums and fifes sounded reveille and retreat 
once again in the Kabul valley, the European prisoners and 
English ladies were recovered and the troops marched out. 
Unhappily the staff work of the Army was atrocious and the 
two generals ignorant beyond modern belief of such matters, 
so that on the way home the Khaiberees took 'entirely 
unnecessary tea ' with the columns. But Atkins and Jack 
Sepoy were supreme, crowning the heights and piquetting 
with elan and confidence. One pathetic thoughtless scandal 
did occur. The bazaars of Kabul were full of footless 
beggars who had once been Bengal sepoys and their followers, 
and the arrangements to get them home were nil. It is not 
to be wondered at that the prestige of the British, and the 
spirit of the Bengal Army were badly shaken by the whole 
futile, unnecessarily feeble, carrying out of a policy that had 
much to recommend it. All this while the Punjab, be it 
remembered, was not British, and Runjhit Singh, our ally, 
had died in the early days of the venture. Two points are 
worth remembering for all time. The 44th Foot of those 
days was notorious for its supercilious attitude towards the 
Indian Army, both the Company's officers and the sepoy. 
There was none of the camaraderie important in peace, 
essential in war, and the bones of the 44th with three batta- 
lions of Bengal sepoys still whiten the hill side in the Khurd 
Kabul Pass! The i3th Foot on the contrary was equally 
famous for the opposite attitude, and together they and the 
3&th Bengal Native Infantry, held the crumbling walls of 
Jellalabad even after an earthquake had brought them down 
to heaps of rubble. To this day they are spoken of where 
deeds of valour are remembered as the * illustrious garrison ', 
the happy phrase of the Governor- General. Farther, when 


the two regiments marched back across the bridge of boats 
on the Sutlej and through the triumphal arches into British 
India, before they went their ways, the high caste 36th 
Native Infantry entertained the whole of the I3th to a meal. 
It was spread on an earthwork dug by themselves, their 
guest's feet in trenches on either side, the demblaie forming 
a table. May such camaraderie ever flourish! 


The horror of Afghanistan and the disasters of 1841 had 
penetrated far down into India, and the curling tail of the 
Army now became draggled, despite the victories and the 
real triumphs of the avengers. The fact was that the 
officer cadre was horrorstruck that it should be possible 
for the unpractical mentalities of certain politicians to tear 
a great people from its base and rock of self reliance, just 
as we are paralysed in modern times to see soft false senti- 
ments combining to destroy us, and no one able to call halt ! 

Then there came to India an old, war-battered, perverse, 
but understanding, old soldier of the Napoleonic wars in 
the person of Major-General Sir Charles Napier, appointed 
to a comparatively small command, that of the Poona 
Division. His staunch heart that beat at one with Arthur 
Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, fiercely grieved that a 
British Army should have its tail down and that Indian 
hearts inside the scarlet tunic that had withstood the French 
so stoutly should be dumb-cowered in that dress. He would 
have none of it. Officers who talked unguardedly and dis- 
paragingly of the Army were badly bitten by this fierce 
long-haired, hawk-eyed, bearded old man. He tackled the 
heresy that was being quoted to account for the Afghan 


disasters, and which was calculated to still further lower 
vitality, viz., the superiority of the Afghan musket, the 
long-barrelled jezail, over the Brown Bess, the love and 
the mistress of the British Army. His knowledge of the 
theory and science of musketry, then a sealed book to the 
majority of regimental officers, saw at once the fallacy, saw that 
it was not a matter of superiority but of trajectory, that a 
jezail high up on the mountain side would naturally have 
a long range whereas a musket fired from below and pointing 
up could not have the same range . . . further that a jezail 
below, would be just as badly off as a musket in competition 
with a jezail a few hundred feet above. He organized 
demonstrations on the rifle ranges which showed the 
musket every bit as good, nay, a better weapon than the 
jezail. The Indian soldier looked on eagerly and took 
heart of grace. Here was a man to conjure with them. 
Then after the disasters and ineptitudes of Brigadier England 
in the Bolan Pass, Sir Charles Napier was sent to take 
command in Sind, and conduct the final withdrawal of 
Nott's details and England's force from Southern Afghani- 
stan, when the former had marched North to India via 
Kabul and Peshawur. It was a ticklish job, and was done 
thanks to Outram, the political officer, and Napier's general 
control. But it was not done well, because the staff did not 
know their job. Then Sir Charles was ordered to take 
full control in Sind, with Major Outram as the political 
officer under his orders, and not as in Afghanistan as repre- 
senting the supreme government directing the soldiery. 
The whole of India vibrated with the stories of the false 
positions that this latter conception of a political officer's status 
had brought soldiers to. Sir Charles would have none 
of it. He found the Amirs of Sind were not abiding by 
their engagements. Especially were they collecting from 


the hills large numbers of fierce Baluchi tribesmen instead 
of discussing with him and Major Outram the question of 
the treaty. The demands made on the Amirs were not 
excessive, and were practically those necessary to a reasonably 
civilized existence. The Amirs were either vassals of 
Kabul or of Delhi, and the pretence that they could set up 
as an independent power without attending to the ordinary 
requirements of their neighbours was untenable in the 
opinion of the Governor-General. Outram had with some 
success kept them from turning on us while the disasters 
in Afghanistan were taking place, and the picturesque side 
of these fierce old hidalgos appealed to him. He would not 
admit that tens of thousands of armed hillmen were being 
collected, or that the chiefs had hostile intentions. The 
officers of the British force, and the natives of India believed 
that the Amirs did intend to * Kabul ' Sir Charles's small 
force, and he was fully determined not to be trapped by the 
folly and optimism of political officers. Public opinion 
and the experiences of Afghanistan supported him. Whether 
or no the Amirs did contemplate an attack on the British 
must remain a matter of opinion, but Sir Charles was right 
and Outram wrong so far as the suspicious fact that unknown 
to the political officers, tens of thousands of hill Baluchis 
and Pathans had been collected and these prepared to 
surround Sir Charles as his force, little more than two 
brigades, moved down to Hyderabad. Then occurred two 
of the fiercest ^battles that the British army has ever been 
called on to fight, those of Meeanee and Hyderabad, or Dubba. 
The 22nd Foot and the sepoys of Bombay and Bengal 
involved, fought five times their number of swordsmen at 
the bayonet's point on the banks of high mud cliffs of a 
watercourse, and triumphed. The prestige of the victories 
was enormous, and the Governor-General, Lord Ellen- 


borough, annexed that district of dust and mud watered by a 
few flood-time canals, in which an industrious Hindu and 
Moslem peasantry had been shockingly ruled by Baluchi 
conquerors from the hills, arrivals as a matter of fact of 
but two or three generations earlier. To all that British 
rule has done, comes now the astounding coping stone of 
the Lloyd Barrage which will put the whole of the snow 
waters of the Indus over millions of acres of arid or partially 
irrigated land. Napier ruled the country in a few brilliant 
years of shirt-sleeve government, that paved the way of an 
unhappy land to a more normal system. The Baluchis 
cribbed within their own hills, are now among the most 
orderly of the martial races, and Sind is one of the jewels 
in the Indian crown. 

Under Napier's strong personal stimulant the Bengal 
sepoys regained their good qualities, and when the Sikh Wars 
came he was able to lead a strong force up the Sutlej to the 
support of Sir Hugh Gough at Lahore. 

Soon after the Bombay and Bengal regiments were fighting 
desperately in the severe heat of Sind, two divisions of 
the Bengal Army found themselves unexpectedly called on 
to take the field in the following cold season. These troops 
however enjoyed the comfort of manoeuvre scales and a 
delightful season of the year. The story runs thus. 

In 18423 there was trouble in the state of Gwalior where 
had ruled Sindia, the Mahratta chief, who since 1803 had 
abided by the terms of his treaty with Lord Wellesley. But 
Junkoje Rao was dead, and the state was in turmoil as to who 
should hold the reins of regency for the young Rajah. The 
old Gwalior Army trained by the French was far too big for 
its present needs. With no wars to fight, it had become 
a power in the state, and was taking sides in politics. 
Lord Ellenborough looking for a peaceful solution of serious 


internal trouble, collected two considerable British forces 
on the frontiers ostensibly for military manoeuvres. As the 
Mahratta army now claimed to settle the domestic contro- 
versy these two forces under the supreme command of Sir 
Hugh Gough, moved on Gwalior, and the Governor-General 
himself marched with the latter's column. The Gwalior 
Army disposed itself across the two roads to the capital. 
The British Army ordered to sweep them aside when the 
situation proved that force was necessary, attacked and had 
to its considerable surprise to fight two fierce pitched battles 
at Maharajpore and Punniar. The brunt of the fighting 
was borne by the European troops, but the Bengal sepoy 
took his share and casualties were severe, the Mahratta 
artillery being heavy and resolutely served. It was the last 
of the battles of internal India apart from the struggles of 
the Mutiny. They had not been wanted and were only 
necessitated by the pretensions of the masterless Gwalior 
army. The latter now thoroughly broken was re-organized 
on much smaller lines, and the existing Contingent was 
enlarged and made to maintain order within the state. It 
is probable that the unruly mutinous state of the Sikh army 
at this time, to be described in the next chapter, was a con- 
siderable factor in the behaviour of the Gwalior troops. It was 
known also that those disaffected towards the British both 
in the Punjab and in the Mahratta states were working to 
combine both peoples in a final struggle against the inevitable 
march north of the red line on the map. 

The next two unwanted wars of this period were the two 
Sikh wars, the 'Sutlej' and the 'Punjab' campaigns. How 
unwanted they were the ensuing pages will show and how 
they brought to the Indian Army that mass and mixture 
of glorious races which have so conduced to the fame of 
Northern India, as a breeding place for men. 






THE Gurkha soldier is so famous and popular a con- 
stituent of His Majesty's Indian Forces, that the story of 
his race and the more recent history thereof is as worthy 
of a chapter to itself a^ that of Maharasthra. The people 
whom we talk of as Gurkhas are the people of the ancient 
kingdom of Gurkha, who are of many races, tribes and clans. 
They are here placed last in the marshalling, because they 
alone of the soldiers of the King-Emperor are technically 
foreigners . . . folk outside India, and the rule of John 
Company or the British Crown, close and staunch allies 
though they be. Indians in the major sense however they 
are. The country of Gurkha or Nepal runs for over 500 
miles on the hitherside of the great Himalaya, from the 
plains of the British border to the unmarked, uninhabited 
borderline of Tibet, right in the very centre of the Northern 
Frontier of British India. All along the border from the 
Pamirs downward, there are many such states, and all 
but this one acknowledge to a greater or less extent their 


[Face pae 184 


oneness with the British Indian Empire, as they did that 
of the India of the Moguls. 

This Nepal is famous in history because it was at Kapila- 
vastu therein that Gautama Sidattha was born as related, 
son of a petty Rajput prince. Through the isolated passes, 
somewhere and somehow, Tibetan Mongoloid races in the 
distant past occupied the hill country, enslaving perhaps 
some aboriginal tribes. Up from the plains of India, also 
at some distant date, before Alexander of Macedon had 
come out of Khorassan, and before the Buddha had taught, 
Aryan tribes swarming down the Ganges valley and ever 
pushing up rivers and passes that led to a land worth having, 
had impinged on, subdued and mingled with the Mongoloid 
folk from Tibet. Aryan kingdoms and baronies had been 
carved at the sword's point. Brahmins and Kshattriyas 
had bred freely both from their own stock and that of the 
tribes. When the great rebuilding of Hindu India began, 
and the reforming of the castes already described, the 
half-bred races of Nepal in return for accepting the Brahmin 
and Rajput denomination, were themselves admitted into 
the Rajput clan tables. Independent as hill men are, freely 
saturated with Buddhism, they have little of a reverence 
for caste prejudices and distinctions, and here Buddhism 
and Hinduism meet as easily as already described in this 
period on the revival of caste. The ancient Khas race, 
who were the dominant semi-Aryans, once again assumed 
the sacred thread as Rajput or cognate races, and no doubt 
allied themselves to the Rahtore rule at Kanauj. 

In the sixteenth century there was established at the 

town and in the principality of Gorakha or Goorkha, 1 a 

virile dynasty which gradually increased its influence over 

its neighbours by fierce hostilities, but it was not till 1749 

1 Which we now ipell Gurkha. 


that there came to the throne thereof at the age of twelve 
a dynamic personality of the reigning house, one Prithwi 
Narayan, who established the famous house of Gurkha. 

At the age of seventeen, Prithwi Narayan invaded the 
Nepalese territory of King Jayaprakasa. Both sides had 
foreign mercenaries from India as well as their own troops; 
after a battle of great slaughter, Prithwi barely escaped 
with his life to his own country. That resilient personality 
soon recovered from his first failure, steadily increased his 
dominion over his neighbours and subsidiaries, and nineteen 
years later took Katmandu, the capital of his old opponent, 
Jayaprakasa. Installed at Katmandu, 55 miles from 
Gorakha, Prithwi defeated a large force sent by the Moslem 
Nawab of Murshidabad to help his friend Jayaprakasa, 
and 5,000 Nagas bent on a similar errand. By now his 
dominion was widespread in most of the Nepal basins. 
Prithwi Narayan died in 1775, but his dynasty continued 
to extend its influence, though seriously defeated in 1792 
by a Chinese army which penetrated to within 25 miles of 
Katmandu. Definite relations with the British were now 
imminent for this year Lord Cornwallis, the Governor- 
General of India, entered into a commercial treaty with 
the Gurkhas, as the ruling race was now called. 

The principal peoples acknowledging the sovereignty of 
this Rajput rule were the Mongolian tribes of Magar and 
Gurung, and the more Aryan tribes and races of the Khas 
and the Thakur. 


The dynasty that Rajah Prithwi Narayan left behind was 
now master of the greater part of the habitable basins of 


Nepal, and made ample use of the warlike tribes that admitted 
the control of the various semi-Rajput chieftains. To such 
regimes, new fields to conquer are as the salt of life, and 
the Rajah of Gurkha cast his eyes on the tracts that belonged 
to the lapsing territories of the Great Mogul, without realizing 
that a greater star than ever stood over at Delhi was rising 
in the East. 

Regardless of the shadows of coming events the Gurkhas 
over-ran the hill territories to the north of Nepal, and 
gradually passed up to the Sutlej where they were at war 
with the Rajput princes in Kangra, and were even prepared 
to try issue with the growing power of the Sikhs. The hill 
districts of Kumaon and Garhwal groaned under their iron 
heels, as did the less virile chiefs in the Simla Hills. The 
chieftains who were at all likely to dispute their rule were 
ruthlessly exterminated, and to this day in Kumaon or 
Garhwal, any arbitrary action, any attempt to obtain unjust 
dues illicits the retort of memory "Hoi Ho! Gurkha Raj 
phir agya", "Oh-ho! the Gurkha regime is back again", 
and yet though it is the best part of a century and a quarter, 
still the bitter taste remains, a taste that might well remain 
in other quarters of India of similar oppressions that the 
British have lifted. 

As political hints and remonstrances failed to produce 
restraint, and the Gurkha inroads into actual British India 
grew more provocative, culminating in an attack on and 
destruction of a British police force, the patience of Lord 
Moira, the Governor-General, who was later the Marquis 
of Hastings, gave out. He formally, after due warning, 
declared war on the Gurkha king, and started on what was 
to prove a long and arduous campaign arduous because 
of the nature of the foe, long because of the inefficiency of 
the elderly commanders selected, and the inferiority of 


some of the Company's troops employed. The 'War with 
Nepal* began in 1814 and lasted till 1816, and was as serious 
as the wars with Tippu Sultan, and had it not been the 
years of the close of the Peninsular Campaign, of the War 
with America, of the thrills of the Hundred Days, and the 
victory of Waterloo, it would have attracted far more attention 
in Europe. The first thing to realize is that the Gurkha 
invasion of India proper was on a front of several hundred 
miles, and Gurkha forces were established with strong 
points from the Simla Hills (to use an entirely modern name), 
far down to Dehra Dun, Almora, and the road to Katmandu. 


The British campaign was very definitely an offensive one, 
that aimed at clearing out the invaders from all the hill 
tracts recently over-run, and consisted in the first stage of 
four definite forces, each turned a division, though varying 
considerably in strength, and being really forces of all 
arms, without any divisional organization as the term is 
usually understood. 

The ist Division, under Major- General Marley, was to 
assemble at Dinapore and seize the pass at Makwanpur as 
a preliminary to an advance on Katmandu (6,000 men). 

The 2nd Division under Major-General Wood was to 
assemble at Benares and move on the Bhutwal pass, and 
thence advance also on Katmandu (3,500 men). 

The 3rd Division under the famous Major-General 
Gillespie, of Vellore and Java fame, was to march from 
Meerut on Dehra Dun and clear Garhwal (3,500 men). 

The 4th Division, under Major-General Ochterlony, was 
to leave the frontier station of Loodhiana on the Sutlej, 


where it kept watch and ward on Sikhs and Afghans, and 
move up the river, and operate against the Gurkhas in 
Belaspur and east of the Sutlej. 

The supreme command was exercised from Calcutta. 
It is not necessary to go into the details of the fighting that 
occurred. The ist and 2nd Divisions advanced to the frontier, 
met with some minor reverses, and footled for a year, their 
commanders giving the most miserable exhibition of the 
efficacy of aged nonentities. 

The opening of the campaign was singularly inauspicious, 
save in the north. The ist and and Divisions both advanced 
due north over a hundred miles, in the early autumn of 
1814. General Wood met with a slight reverse, led his 
force back to Bettiah and disappeared. His successor did 
little better, and, when the unhealthy season commenced, 
withdrew to cantonments. 

The 2nd Division advanced over a hundred miles, and 
left Gorakhpur on the I3th December, reaching the foot 
of the Bhutwal pass on the 3 ist. After making reasonable 
plans to attack the pass in front and by turning movement, 
General Marley marched into an ambush and was severely 
handled. He now halted and proceeded to demand more 
guns. When a battering train arrived half-hearted attempts 
to advance were made, but by May '15 the division was 
back at Gorakhpur. Contemporary opinion was loud in 
condemning the feebleness of the ineffective seniority- 
promoted commanders, and the bad staff work. 

The 3rd Division from Meerut started for the Dun 
heartily enough, and occupied Dehra. On October 3 ist 
a force of 2,700 men attacked the little Gurkha fort of 
Kalunga. 1 The small Gurkha garrison fought desperately, 
and the British were repulsed with heavy loss, General 
1 Kalunga is the Gurkha term for fort. 


Gillespie himself being killed in leading an assault that 
threatened to stick. General Martindell now assumed 
command, a second assault was also repulsed with heavy 
loss, and then the remnant of the Gurkha defenders cut their 
way out to the number of 90, leaving their works piled high 
with dead and dying, including some of their women. 

It is related how during the cannonade of the fort a 
Gurkha soldier walked out waving a handkerchief, was 
allowed to approach, and proved to be a man with a shattered 
jaw craving attention. When cured in a British hospital 
he returned to his own force. Indeed many are the stories of 
chivalrous conduct in which the Gurkhas vied with the British. 

Eventually this division pressed on to the siege of the 
stronghold of Jaitak, overlooking the town of Nahan. It 
has been said that the British attack hereon, which culminated 
in a severe reverse, was but typical of scenes which many of 
us have known in modern mountain warfare. An approach 
by an arduous night march two days after Xmas '14, and an 
initial success, was followed by an impasse and a turning 
movement. A decision to withdraw late in the day had the 
result so often seen to-day on the frontier when the retreating 
troops were hotly pursued by the hillmen, who inflicted 
severe losses, totalling close on 400 men. A two months' 
wait which ensued, saw the arrival of a siege train, but to 
the surprise of the troops the bombardment was not followed 
by assault, although a formal siege was pressed to close 
quarters. Two months were devoted to bombardment 
only, when the garrison of 1,500 were allowed to march out 
with the honours of war, a thousand women and children 
with them. 

In the north the 4th Division under Major-General 
Ochterlony alone told a different tale, meeting with complete 
success. This astute commander was concerned with the 


effect that any reverse might have on the Sikhs across his 
frontier and proceeded to advance with considerable caution. 
No rash advance and reverses occurred, fort after fort was 
carried, and by April the stronghold of Malaun was stormed, 
and what are now the Simla Hills occupied. 

While these successes were in progress in the two northern 
columns, the Governor-General anxious to compensate for 
the follies and failures of the two southern columns, decided 
to strike at Kumaon which he was most anxious to rid of 
Gurkha domination, and from which it was known that most 
of the regular Gurkha troops had been withdrawn. He 
decided to experiment in a new direction, and authorised 
the celebrated Indian soldier of fortune Colonel Gardiner, 
with Captain Hyder Jung Hearsey to organise an irregular 
force from the Rohilla yeomanry and chiefs in Rohilkand, 
which lay between the scene of operations of two southern 
divisions and the operations in the north. Colonel Gardiner 
with 2,500 Rohillas was to advance from Kashipur up the 
Kosi river, and Hearsey with 1,500 from Pilibhit up the 
Kali, eventually to capture Almora. By March Gardiner's 
force augmented by more levies had driven the Gurkhas 
from the hill that is now known as Ranikhet, but Hearsey 
who had entered eastern Kumaon, after occupying Champa- 
wat close to the genuine Nepal border was attacked by the 
best of the Gurkha generals, by name Hadtidal, defeated 
and himself taken prisoner. 

Lord Hastings however recognized the importance of 
Gardiner's success and had assembled a force under Lt.-Col. 
Jasper Nicholls of the i4th Foot, * consisting of two and a half 
battalions of Bengal Infantry and some European Artillery, 
to go to his support. By April Nicholls had joined Gardiner 
and taking command of the whole force of 5,000 men, 

1 Afterward General Sir Jasper Nicholls, Commander in Chief in India. 


proceeded to invest Almora after several skirmishes. Sur- 
rounded, bombarded, and attacked whenever they gave a 
chance, by the end of April the Gurkhas surrendered at 
discretion, agreeing to the entire abandonment of Kumaon, 
and were allowed to march out with their arms. On all 
these occasions both here and in the north numbers of 
the Gurkha troops came over to the British, and from them 
were formed the Corps long famous by their local names, 
and now part of the Line of the Indian Army, whose stories 
will be told hereafter. 


With the successes of Ochterlony, Nicholls and Gardiner, 
and the operations of Martindell, the first campaign came 
to an end, and the Gurkha Government proposed peace. 
As however it was not prepared to accept the British terms, 
the successful and judgmatic Ochterlony was brought down 
to the south, there to prepare an advance with 20,000 men 
into the fastnesses of Nepal and threaten Katmandu. 

On the 1 6th of February Ochterlony reached the border 
to find himself confronted by a stockaded position of great 
strength. There was little to gain by running his head 
against so obvious a barrier, and selecting another route 
he succeeded in reaching the Makwanpur pass within twenty 
miles of the Gurkha capital. 

This was enough to convince the Gurkha Raj that their 
day was come and that they must make friends with the 
enemy at their gates. Eventually was signed the Treaty of 
Segowlie, by which Briton and Gurkha have become abiding 
friends and allies to their mutual advantage and military 


Many were the fruits thereof graitfying to Britain. In 
1848 the Gurkhas offered help for the Second Sikh War. 
In 1857 the Prime Minister, Jang Bahadur, led a fine force to 
support Sir Colin Campbell in the capture of Lucknow, and 
the suppression of the rebellion that followed the Mutiny of 
the Bengal Army. Since 1857 they have freely allowed 
an increasing number of their subjects to enlist in the British 
Indian Army. In the Great War of 1914 not only did the 
Gurkha regiments in the British Service carry the Union 
Jack to Flanders, to Jerusalem and to Mosul, but actual 
Nepalese troops entered India as allies to supplement the 
attenuated garrisons of the North-west Frontier, depleted 
by withdrawals of the other theatres of war. 


The formation of the mountains of Nepal, and the ranges 
that spring from the massif of the Himalaya, divide the 
country into four upland divisions in addition to the low- 
lying malarious Terai that takes the drainage of the hills 
between Nepal and British India. The divisions are Western, 
Central and Eastern Nepal, and cut through the centre the 
separate hill-girt Nepal valley that leads to Katmandu. 

A brief mention has been made of the Aryanization, of or 
better, the Aryan infusion among, the ancient Tartar and 
aboriginal folk of the mountains and of how a veneer of 
Hinduism has set sufficiently lightly on the tribes in the 
Rajputment of India described, to admit many into the warrior 
castes of India. The highest military caste is the Thakur to 
which the ruling family belong, who are an Aryan Rajput folk, 
and though not numerous so far as enlistment goes, make 
admirable soldiers. The races of Nepal are many, of which the 


Thakur, the large semi-Aryan Khas race, the Magar and the 
Gurung are the true Gurkhas, to whom the term Gurkhali can 
be really applied, but the more aboriginal Newar, and Sunwar, 
and the races of Eastern Nepal, generally known by their 
main group names as Limbus and Rais, may nowadays be 
well included in the general description Gurkha. In fact 
it is almost impossible, for the European at any rate, to 
distinguish any difference in the equally Tartar appearance 
of Magar, Gurung, Limbo, Rai or Sunwar. 

The slightly Hinduized Tartars, the Magar and Gurung 
tribes, have long been the most popular in the Army, chiefly 
perhaps because our officers were better acquainted with 
them, but as the demand for more Nepalese troops in India 
increased, the net was thrown wide, and Limbus and Rais 
and the Khas are held in almost equal esteem. The Limbo 
and Rai groups together form the Kiranti group of clans, and 
their country of Eastern Nepal is known as the Kiranti 
country. The original habitat of Magar and Gurung though 
now more widely spread, was the country west of the Nepal 
valley. They are it is said but Hindu by custom, and they 
certainly exhibit that close touch with Buddhism which must 
have been so much the case in India itself in the centuries 
already described when the land was returning to Hinduism. 
Indeed a Lama or a Brahmin is summoned indifferently 
to officiate at family feasts in Eastern Nepal. The Magar 
and Gurung women have had so much commerce with the 
Hindu Khas, that there are many variations of Khas breeds 
and mixtures. 

The Magar country is nearer India than the Gurung 
tracts both of which are in Central Nepal, the Magars being 
nearer Gorakhpur, and running up into Western Nepal 
just above the lower country. In the centre of Western 
Nepal north of the Magars is an isolated Gurung colony. 


The Tartar races of Nepal are short, thickset men, and 
in accordance with the * rifle* spirit of the British Service 
smallness if combined with strength is no bar. The Nepal 
Army itself likes bigger men, and some of the Nepalese 
regiments get an average of 5ft. gin. which is far above the 
height of the sturdy little tykes whom we associate with the 
name Gurkha. The Khas Gurkha however is a taller man, 
with his greater admixture of Aryan blood. Speaking 
generally it may be said that the bulk of the Gurkha tribes 
are in no great sympathy with the races of India, and in the 
Army would far rather associate with the European soldier 
than with other Indian troops. This especially dates from 
intimate association of the 6oth Rifles and the Sirmoor 
Battalion, now the 2nd Gurkhas, during the siege of Delhi 
in 1857, a connection which has been very close ever since. 
But it was equally in evidence at the siege of Bhurtpur in 
1826, when the 59th Foot and they were close friends. 


The increase and development of the separate Gurkha 
line within the Indian Army is an interesting subject. It has 
already been stated that, as has so often been done by the 
British elsewhere, the prisoners of war in the campaign of 
1814-16 eagerly enlisted into four rifle battalions specially 
organized to employ them. The rifle kit of the British 
Army was adopted for officers and to some extent for the 
men. These four Corps were the Malaun Battalion (now 
the ist Gurkhas), the Sirmoor Battalion (now the 2nd), 
the Nusseree Battalion (now the 3rd) and the Kumaon 
Battalion (now the 4th). These battalions were all given 
permanent locations along the lower hills of the Himalaya, 


and to enable the men to settle, to bring their women and 
to form Gurkha colonies, these stations were peculiar and 
separate for each corps. The Kumaon and the Malaun 
Battalions were located in the Punjab Hills, the Nusseree 
Battalion in the Simla Hills and the Sirmoor Battalion at 
Dehra Dun. 

The story of the Nusseree Battalion is of interest. In 
1850 there was a considerable amount of sedition and in- 
discipline among the Bengal troops over the matter of how 
long the active service batta should be continued to the 
corps serving in the now annexed and cantoned Punjab. 
The Governor-General was away recruiting his health in 
the far south of India, and inaccessible. Sir Charles Napier, 
the Commander-in-Chief, proceeded to Wazirbad, then a 
cantonment in the Punjab and the centre of the trouble. 
He forthwith disbanded the whole of the 66th Bengal Native 
Infantry at fort Govindgarh which had been specially ill- 
behaved, and took into the Line the Nusseree Battalion, 
lock, stock and barrel. There was a terrible "hooha" at this 
very wise proceeding. The Government of India in the 
Military department were afraid of the Bengal sepoy, the 
Finance pointed out that Gurkhas drew starvation pay, and 
could not possibly have the rates of the Linesman. Sir 
Charles stood to his guns, but his action had been unneces- 
arily irregular, and Lord Dalhousie, instead of thanking him 
for a prompt action in a crisis when he himself was inacces- 
sible, felt compelled to censure. The 66th remained Gurkha 
and part of the Line, survived of course the Mutiny, and were 
re-numbered the 9th Bengal Infantry. From this position 
they eventually were transferred to the Gurkha line in 
modern times as the 9th Gurkha Rifles. A new Nusseree 
battalion was raised known as the "extra" Nusseree Bat- 
talion, and was stationed at Jutogh in the Simla Hills. Just 


as the Mutiny broke out, it, in the throes of an eccentric 
pay grievance, also went through a mild form of mutiny 
frightening the residents of Simla into fits. It returned to 
its duty in a few days and did good work in keeping open 
the Punjab road, ultimately becoming the ist/3rd Gurkha 
Rifles. The story is a rather intriguing one for those 
who can see the romance in the inner history of 

One other of the Gurkha corps has a special interest of the 
past, viz., the 5th Gurkhas, which while being in the Gurkha 
line, has a second affinity in that it was a part of that Irregular 
force that was raised from the Sikh armies. For long there 
had been Gurkhas with the forces of Runjhit Singh, so that 
they came to be perpetuated where one would not expect 
to have found them. 

The continued strain on the Indian Army as its frontier 
liabilities and external responsibilities increased, gradually 
demanded an increase in the Gurkha regiments, and the 
6th and jth of two battalions each were raised. The 42nd, 
43rd and 44th, originally the Assam and Sylhet Light In- 
fantry localized in Assam, which has a host of wild tribes on 
its Himalayan frontiers, always had Gurkhas and such like 
men in its ranks. They too were eventually brought into the 
Gurkha line as the 8th and loth Gurkha Rifles. A battalion of 
the loth had already been raised as the ist Burma Rifles for 
service in the Shan states and this came to India to join the 
family. The result has been that twenty battalions of the 
little men in rifle green and Kilmarnock caps are cantoned 
often by themselves in the Himalayas, with the exception 
of the yth who made arid Baluchistan their own,. They live 
always in the same place, save when doing some tour of 
frontier service and garrison. Purposely the Indian Govern- 
ment have allowed them to become a cult, a service apart. 


They have attracted some of the very best types of British 
officers, who have exercised the Anglo-Saxon parish principles 
to the full. With rifle, bugle and highland pipe they live in 
their little Himalayan stations, it had almost been said "the 
world forgetting and by the world forgot." That however 
is not quite fair, for they are extremely efficient and entirely 
corps cT elite. A brigade of the little men in their rifle green 
or in their modern khaki is a pleasant sight to see. To dine 
in the officers' mess when the pipes come in and the Tartar 
pipe-major takes his tot of whiskey and wishes u Slanthe" 
to all, is to feel that Britain really does inspire. The rest of 
the Army looks on them with happy amusement and is always 
ready to pull the legs of the officers when they "gurk'\ to 
use the Army slang, too freely, and many amusing stories 
are cherished. 

It is the pretty conceit of the British officers of Gurkha 
Corps to resent the term sepoy being applied to their men. 
They must always be "riflemen" and the Army smilingly 
acquiesces. Among the many stories of the kind is one of a 
British Gurkha officer bursting into the circle at a camp 
fire after a hard day's soldiering, exclaiming loudly at the 
inefficiency of the staff. " Look at this, did you ever see such 
a shame! After all the work we've done. Here's an order 
authorizing an issue of rum, but look at it, it says rum for 
British ranks, rum for Indian iranks and none for * our little 
fellows'." The war services ever since those days of forma- 
tion at Malaun and Almora, nearly a century and a quarter 
ago, have been more than distinguished and the stories of 
sacrifice and devotion are legion. 

The twenty battalions are not the only home for Gurkha 
soldiers in India. The famous Guides take a company for 
their proficiency in the jungle, and some five thousand are 
taken by the military police for service on the Assam and 


Burmese frontiers while the Jammu and Kashmir Army, by 
an old custom, as old as that of Gurkhas in the Sikh service, 
has one or two battalions with Gurkha companies, and at one 
time wholly composed of the little men. 

Their soldierly qualities and simple ways endear them 
to those who soldier with them, and they can live up to the 
acme of the British cachet for smartness and turn out, while 
they will play happily at drilling each other for hours at a 
time. Their lack of interest in Brahminical holiness and 
in anti-British intrigue and hatred, is the despair of those 
subtle brains who fish in troubled waters, and who would sow 
discord at any price. Yet the old principle of saepe cadendo 
is always at work, and has to be watched. 

The distinguished service of the Gurkhas in the World 
War will be referred to later. 

One interesting feature of the Gurkha Corps is the problem 
of the Mine boy/ the boy born and bred in the lines and in 
the colonies. If born of a Ghurka mother he has for one 
generation at least most of the warlike traits of his father. 
Sucking in the regiment tradition he makes an extremely 
smart soldier. Opinion rather goes in cycles as to the 
wisdom of encouraging him, or of going back fresh to the 
Tartar matrix. The Governmental policy of encouraging 
Gurkha colonies near the regimental stations does to a certain 
extent postulate their employment. With the cuteness of 
the line life may also come undesirable petty villainy. They 
are certainly most valuable as signallers, and technicians as 
well as in the quarter-master's branch. Sir Charles Reid 
who commanded the 2nd at Delhi always said that out of 
the twenty-five Orders of Merit gained by the regiment 
twelve were gained by line boys, i.e. men brought up in the 
regiment, and at Aliwal and Sobraon in the Sutlej campaign 
five out of seven were gained by such. 


In days gone by line boys were a pretty feature, in Madras 
and Bombay regiments. So many boys born in the lines, 
were enlisted as ' boys ' and in the full dress of the corps were 
drilled and used as messengers, and eventually transferred 
to the ranks. But here again the question of their courage 
and hardness arose as compared with the wilder recruit from 
the land, and it is always to be remembered that the first duty 
of a soldier is to fight. 





IT is now time to return to the story of the Punjab and 
the Sikhs and how they rushed on their fate, a fate from 
which the British tried hard to save them. 

When the famous Tripartite Treaty was signed that 
brought the Afghan policy on to the stage, Runjhit Singh 
was failing. In his later years he had given way to extreme 
debauchery and the Sikh court was an astounding scene 
of relaxation and immorality. Despite his wives and many 
concubines the number of his children was small, and he 
had none to whom his great state could be consigned. Long 
before the collapse of the Afghan policy, a collapse that 
he was said ardently to desire, he died at Lahore at the 
comparatively early age of 59, shortly after the British 
occupation of Kandahar, and before the capture of Ghuzni 
and the forcing of the Khaiber by his own troops, put the 
seal of apparent success on the Kabul venture. 

Cunningham thus sums up his career: " Runjhit Singh 
found the Punjab a prey to the factions of its chiefs, pressed 
by the Afghans and Mahrattas, and ready to submit to 


British supremacy. He consolidated the numerous petty 
states into kingdom, he wrested from Kabul the fairest of 
its provinces, and he gave the potent English no cause for 
interference. He found the military array of his country 
a mass of horsemen, brave indeed, but ignorant of war 
as an art, and he left it mustering 50,000 disciplined soldiers, 
50,000 well armed yeomanry and militia, and more than 
300 cannon for the field. His rule was founded on the 
feelings of a people, but it involved the joint action of 
the necessary principles of military order and territorial 
extension and when a limit had been set to Sikh dominion 
and his own commanding genius was no more, the vital 
spirit of his race began to consume itself in domestic 

When he was Lord Auckland's host at Lahore and Amritsar 
his strength was gone, his utterance was difficult, and he 
had lost his power of speech and grasp of affairs. Before 
his death the three Rajput brothers from Jammu had usurped 
most of the functions of Government. The story of these 
Dogra brothers, Gulab Singh, Dhyan Singh and Suchet 
Singh is a strange one, and it still echoes in the troubles 
that have been going on in Kashmir in 19312. Gulab 
Singh commanded a large army of Rajputs from the Jammu 
hills and the other brothers were great at court. 

It was Dhyan Singh who accompanied a litter said to 
contain the dying Maharajah round a great review of the 
troops, it was Dhyan Singh who was most assiduous in his 
attentions to his failing master and it was Dhyan Singh who 
declared the almost imbecile Kharrak Singh, the eldest son, 
as successor and himself as Wazir. At the cremation of the 
Maharajah's body there was a mighty holocaust of wives 
and concubines on the funeral pyre, an atrocity, which 
the Army insisted on, and of which the story is told with 


bated breath to this day, though by no means every wife, 
unfortunately for the country, went to the tragic pyre. 

Sher Singh another reputed son urged his superior merits 
on the Governor-General, a striking tribute to the position 
now held in India by the paramount power, but the Governor- 
General informed the Resident that Kharrak Singh would 
be acknowledged. The son of Kharrak Singh, Nao Nihal 
Singh a lad of eighteen, showed considerable promise and 
was averse to the influence of the Jammu Brothers. 

On November the 5th, 1840, the Maharajah Kharrak 
Singh died of drink, and that very same day also the young 
Nao Nihal Singh returning from his father's funeral pyre 
was killed by the falling of the gateway as he rode under. 
With him was also killed a son of Gulab Singh of Jammu, 
though the Jammu Brothers generally were held to have 
planned the accident. Had Nao Nihal Singh lived the 
whole history of the Punjab, and also of Afghanistan, might 
have been very different. 


A period of astounding anarchy and drama was now 
to ensue. The good-natured voluptuary and putative son 
of Runjhit Singh, Shere Singh appeared to the British to 
be the only possibly successor to the Sikh throne and he 
duly received their support. The situation was complicated 
by Mai Chand Kaur, the widow of Kharrak Singh, declaring 
that Nao Nihal Singh's widow was pregnant and that she 
would act as regent till the happy event should have taken 
place. Most of the army supported Shere Singh, who 
besieged Lahore. Eventually the Mai though treated with 
dignity and generosity was ousted and Shere Singh prevailed, 


but he could not control his army, which now proceeded 
to expel Runjhit Singh's European officers, one of the best 
an Englishman, being cruelly murdered. The Army thought 
it had many grievances and created astounding disturbances. 
The Sikh Governor of Kashmir was killed, old General 
Avitabile at Peshawur even contemplated flight to Afghanis- 
tan, and the merchants clamoured for British protection. 
All this time parties of British were moving backwards and 
forwards between the Sutlej and Kabul, through Sikh 
territory but avoiding the disturbed capital. Early in 1842 
the Governor- General and a large British force assembled 
at Ferozepore to meet and support the British troops returning 
from Afghanistan, and this being over, Shere Singh had 
the Punjab to himself and a rough ride he found it. In 
June 1842 the Mai had been slippered to death by her own 
women and popular belief attributed responsibility for the 
deed to the Maharajah. This was but a prelude to an orgy 
of murders in which the Army factions and Sikh leaders 
had their parts. 

Sirdar Ajeet Singh of the powerful Sindan- wallah family 
was now the Maharajah's boon companion, and in Sep- 
tember '43, having persuaded Shere Singh to inspect some 
levies shot him while doing so, at the same time Sirdar 
Lehna Singh of the same family shot Shere Singh's son 
Pertab Singh. They then joined the Wazir Dhyan Singh, 
the Jammu chief, and proceeded together to place a new 
king on the throne. But Dhyan Singh's time had now 
come, for Ajeet Singh separating him from his friends shot 
him too. They however neglected to kill Hari Singh the 
Wazir's son, while the Army, which was prepared for the 
death of the Maharajah, was not so for that of Dhyan Singh, 
This meant that the murderers were not to escape justice 
for Hira Singh called on the troops to avenge his father's 


death, whereon they entered the citadel and put to death 
in their turn both Ajeet and Lehna Singh. 

Then it was that the little Dhulip Singh the son of the 
concubine the Rani Jindan, whom as has been said, Runjhit 
Singh's vanity had admitted as his begotten son, was declared 
Maharajah and Hira Singh inducted to that high, and in 
this disturbed and headstrong capital usually fatal, office 
of Wazir. For the moment the young chief was all powerful, 
and the estates of the assassin chiefs were escheated and 
their dwellings destroyed. Two other sirdars said to 
have been concerned in the murders were also put to 

Hira Singh wise in his generation, raised the pay of the 
soldiery by two and a half rupees a month and remained 
on the crest of the wave of army favour. His period of 
office was stormy, for other illegitimate sons of Runjhit 
Singh, Kashmira and Peshawara Singh, raised rebellions. 
Further the third of the Jammu brothers Rajah Suchet 
Singh now marched on Lahore jealous of the power in his 
nephew's hands, and in the belief that he too was an army 
favourite. He had, however miscalculated, for in March 
'44 he was attacked on approaching Lahore and after defending 
himself in a ruined building was also slain. Attar Singh 
the last of the Sindan- wallah family with the young Kashmira 
Singh, was also killed shortly after and Peshawara Singh 
fled across the British border. Hira Singh's time to fall 
from his giddy pinnacle was also approaching. He was 
not a man of very great parts and was largely prompted 
by his confidant the Pundit, Julia, a Kashmiri Brahmin, 
while an intriguer for the Wazirship was at hand in the 
person of one Jowahir Singh, brother to the Rani Jindan, 
and uncle of the little Maharajah. Hira Singh and the 
Pundit seeing that their reign of power was over, on December 


2ist, 1844, fkd towards Jammu, were pursued by the army, 
and put to death. 

The Execution by Army Soviets 

While this orgy of strife and murder was tearing the 
kingdom of Runjhit Singh to pieces, the Sikh Army was 
becoming more and more the master of the situation. There 
had arisen the most complete Soviet system within the 
army whereby each regiment was dominated by its elected 
1 punch ', or council of five. The officers of the corps carried 
on their duties by sufferance of the punches which were 
supreme and controlled everything but the daily military 
routine. The punches or punchayats met in general assembly 
to decide the line of action to be followed by the Army as 
a whole. 

Meanwhile the able governor of the Multan province 
was murdered for some trivial reason, and Peshawara Singh 
having left British territory was in rebellion at Sialkot. 
Captured, however, in the fort there Jowahir Singh, the 
new Wazir, put him to death too. But as Peshawara was 
a child of the old Maharajah, this act annoyed the Army, 
who summoned the Wazir to appear before them. This 
summons Jowahir Singh who had often contemplated 
flight to the English with the Maharajah was obliged to obey. 
The punchayats had decided on his death, and though on 
September 2ist, 1845, the Wazir in his apprehension appeared 
before the troops assembled on the Plain of Mian Mir, 
seated on an elephant with a bodyguard, the infant Maharajah 
and much treasure at his side, it served him in no stead. 
As his elephant slowly approached the centre of the parade, 
the wretched Wazir proceeded to address the Army, making 
lavish promises of gifts to all the leaders. He was sternly 


bade to be silent, and to give up the child, who was removed 
to a tent hard by. A party of soldiers then advanced and 
shot him seated on his howdah. 

He was burned on a funeral pyre that evening, on which 
the exultant ferocious soldiery insisted that his wives and 
concubines should burn in Suttee with him, probably the 
last of those terrible sacrifices to be made in public in India. 
This last scene of horror, the finale of the orgy of murders, 
accompanied through the years by the complete abandon- 
ment of all sense of morals and decency, hurried Sikhdom 
to its doom. 

It is to be remembered that all this occurred in quite 
recent times, during the reign of Queen Victoria, and is 
perhaps typical of the disorder in which an uncontrolled 
Indian state can project itself. 

There was now, naturally enough, some lack of candidates 
for the Wazirship, the Rani Jindan and the Army punchayats 
carrying on alone. By November, however, the Rani caused 
her paramour Rajah Lai Singh to be elected Wazir, and 
Sirdar Tej Singh was confirmed as Commander-in-Chief. 
The first thing needful, however, if their power and position 
were to remain, was obvious enough. The Army must be 
brought to its senses and the only people who could do that 
were the serried ranks of the great neighbouring power 


The Sikh Army therefore, stirred by the leaders of the 
Khalsa to its undoing, was encouraged to spend itself as the 
lesser evil, against the bayonets of the British, and it was not 
averse to the suggestion. For some time the British author- 
ities had been aware that some such inroad might take place. 


Unfortunately, the retrenchments after the Afghan Wars of 
three years earlier, had left tae British Indian Army entirely 
bare of any transport. The force could only be moved and 
fed by means of such unorganized civil transport, officially 
known as 'carriage* as the civil authorities and contractors 
could get together. When in December 1845 the Sikh Troops 
poured across the Sutlej, the army itself under Sir Hugh 
Gough, was expecting the event, but was without the needed 
'carriage*. Nevertheless it hurried up to the north as best 
it could, where, on the banks of that river the British canton- 
ment of Ferozepore with a force of all arms was in some 
danger. The first collision took place between 16,000 
British-Indian troops, and 30,000 Sikhs. It was an encounter 
battle, the British forces being at rest and cooking at Mudki 
after a long approach march. The men sprang to arms in 
their bivouacs, formed a front and attacked the Sikh Army, 
achieving victory but with heavy losses, the Commander-in- 
Chief, Sir Hugh Gough, being in command, accompanied 
by the Governor- General Sir Henry Hardinge. Seventeen 
Sikh guns were left on the field and the British pushed on 
towards Ferozepore, only to find larger Sikh forces entrenched 
athwart their line of advance. Then occurred the hard 
fought two days' battle of Ferozeshah in which the combined 
force of the Commander-in-Chief and Sir John Littler from 
Ferozepore during a night of great anxiety amid terrible 
scenes of carnage, stood their ground. In the morning the 
Sikhs were driven off and their whole camp captured, but 
the British losses were enormous, largely owing to the very 
light metal of the British guns which alone it had been 
possible to bring up. Sir Hugh Gough advanced his army 
to the vicinity of Ferozepore, and then waited for a far 
heavier artillery which had been summoned. Until it 
arrived he did not feel competent to attack the very heavy 


park with the Sikh forces, who served their guns with both 
skill and determination. Their gunners, it was said, always 
fought with a bottle of fiery spirit lashed to their waists, and 
invariably died at their posts by the guns. 

The Sikhs had retired across the Sutlej to refit, but 
appeared again on the south side towards the end of January 
1846, and made for Ludhiana, but were defeated at Aliwal 
by a detachment of the British army under Sir Harry Smith. 
Driven across once more they then made for the fords and 
islands of the Sobraon, or the two Sobras, crossed in force 
close to Ferozepore and entrenched themselves within heavy 
earthworks with much artillery. On February loth, the 
re-united British forces, whose heavy artillery and trains of 
ammunition had arrived, proceeded to attack, and after the 
most desperate bayonet encounter captured the trenches and 
their cannon, and drove the Sikhs into the river, smashing 
with their artillery fire the bridge of boats crowded with 

That was the end of it and a few days later the British 
Army entered the capital of Lahore, there to dictate the 
terms. Part of the Punjab known as the Jullundur Doab was 
annexed, Kashmir and Jammu were detached, but the main 
Punjab kingdom was to remain governed during the minority 
of the little Dhulip Singh by a Council of State of which the 
British Resident at their court, Sir Henry Lawrence, was 
to be the guiding spirit. It was a very generous attempt to 
preserve the Sikh kingdom and it only failed of the direct 
volition of the Sikhs themselves. Sir Henry was able to 
borrow to assist the Sikh Durbar in the matter of recon- 
struction the most remarkable galaxy of young enthusiastic 
officers that probably has ever been got together for one 
purpose. By them the Sikh revenues and administration were 
in process of regeneration, when the silver cord was loosed. 




The Sikh people or rather the Sikh military classes and 
old army Soviets were not content to let well alone. Under 
the beneficent guidance of Sir Henry Lawrence, the best 
friend ever a race had, the Durbar and its officials were being 
taught a system of government that Runjhit Singh had quite 
failed to inaugurate. 

Here and there in the districts, Englishmen were training 
Punjabis in revenue and police work that would endure. 
The Punjab for generations had been shattered by Afghan 
invasions, and the rebuilding was no easy matter. In the 
spring of 1846 the young Prince Dhulip Singh had been 
replaced on his throne, without the fear of the overbearing 
mutinous Army. Sobraon had broken that spirit, but there 
was still a large portion of the Army who had not been 
through that wholesome if terrible chastening. The Army 
spirit was not prepared to go back from the astounding 
position it had arrogated to itself, and it was once more to 
try its fortune. The trouble began in this way. Two years 
after the settlement, one Mool Raj, Diwan or Governor of 
the province of Multan, had been called on by his own 
Government on the advice of Sir George Clerk, 1 early in 
1848, to submit his administration and revenue accounts. 
Mool Raj rather than do this, asked to be relieved of his 
appointment. A new governor was appointed and proceeded 
to Multan accompanied by a Gurkha battalion of the Sikh 
Army. With him were Mr. Vans Agnew as adviser on behalf 
of the Durbar and British Resident, and Lieutenant Anderson 
who accompanied the troops. Mool Raj who had never 
expected to be taken at his word, after making a show of 
1 Then acting for Sir Henry Lawrence who was on sick leave. 


meeting his successor caused the British officers to be 
attacked in the streets, and when wounded surrounded and 
destroyed in the Eedgah garden where they were encamped. 
Mool Raj then joined by any Sikh troops and local sirdars, 
resumed charge of his province, occupied the fort of Multan 
and declared himself in rebellion against all and sundry. 
It was a distinct challenge to his own Government but still 
more to the British power behind it. The actual murder of 
the two British officers was an entirely unnecessary act which 
put him out of court. 1 

At Lahore was a British brigade under Brigadier Wish. 
But the hot season had set in, Multan was several hundred 
miles distant, and the British authorities hesitated to take 
prompt action. It was for the Durbar with its own troops 
to set about the tackling of their own rebel. We need not 
follow the many recriminations which accompany the 
criticism of the British action. What that Government 
wished to avoid was another Sikh War. The Sikhs should, 
if possible, bring their own folk into line. However that 
might have been, one of the most distinguished of the young 
soldier-civilians with Sir Henry's staff, one Herbert Edwardes, 
was on that part of the frontier known as the Derajat across 
the Indus from Multan. He immediately moved on Multan 
with a number of tribal levies who had summoned from the 
Daman-i-koh y the skirts of the frontier mountains, under 
certain famous chiefs men of the frontier marches Babers, 
Gandapurs, Khatti Kels and the Sadozai and Alisherzai 
settlers from Afghanistan and with them some Sikh troops 
under Colonel Cortland, an officer in the Sikh Service. 

Inspired by the energy and commanding character of the 
young Edwardes, these hastily gathered and ill-trained 

1 How far he planned these murders, or how far his followers got out of hand, 
is a moot point, 


troops with a few cranky ol? cannon fought two pitched 
battles with the rebel Sikhs, wfto endeavoured to bar his 
advance on Multan, and who were joined by more Sikh 
troops for the second. The engagements, and they were 
almost battles, of Kineyree and Sadosam, were fought in the 
extreme heat of the early Multan summer, and were complete 
victories. Thus inspired, Edwardes announced that given 
the engineer officer Major Napier he would take Multan. 
As a matter of fact a Lieutenant Lake was leading the troops 
of the Bahawalpur State to his support, from further down 
the rivers and with these Edwardes actually advanced to 
Multan, the strongest fortress in Northern India. Seeing 
that Edwardes had taken so brilliant a part, the British 
Government had decided late in August, despite the hot 
season, to send the brigade from Lahore under Brigadier 
Wish and ordered General Shere Singh commanding a large 
force of Sikhs also to move on the rebel city, which was now 
surrounded. In the meantime the delay in moving British 
troops had had its inevitable result. Chatter Singh, the 
father of Shere Singh, had brought out against the British, 
all the Sikh troops on the Afghan frontier in Hazara and at 
Pindi, and Shere Singh marched off from the siege of Multan 
to join him. The British were now faced with another Sikh 
War to fight. Wish was ordered to withdraw from the 
active siege till he could be reinforced from Sind, while Sir 
Hugh Gough took the field and began to collect an army 
at Lahore, the Sikh armies assembling on the far bank 
of the Chinab. 

We need not follow the campaign closely its famous 
soldier's battle of Chillianwallah and the * crowning mercy 
of Goojerat* are still household words. Indeed at the time 
of writing 1 there has just died in the west of England troop- 

1 March, 1932. 


sergeant-major John Stratford, aged 104, who was with his 
regiment at both those battles including the rather disastrous 
affair of Ramnagar on the banks of the Chinab. Chillian- 
wallah was fought late in a winter's afternoon of January 
1849, an encounter battle, when the British settling down for 
the night at the village of Chillianwallah were fired on by 
Sikh guns in the heavy scrub hard by. The Chief, whose 
cavalry had evidently done little to probe the fog of war, 
ordered an attack, lest his camp be bombarded all night. A 
desperate hand-to-hand battle ensued. The Sikhs were 
drawn up in line in a country thick with thorn bush. They 
were beaten by the European troops for the most part, the 
bulk of the Bengal troops showing no great zest. But the 
guns captured could not be secured, the Chief would not 
bivouac on the field, and many of the British wounded were 
left out to be slaughtered and cruelly mutilated. One little 
British drummer-boy was taken and slain, and the wounded 
often stripped, and while alive drawn backwards and forwards 
through a thorn bush. 

Next morning the battle-field was cleared up, but the Sikhs 
had re-possessed themselves in the night of several of the 
guns they had lost. The armies now sat down to watch each 
other, and Lord Gough to wait for the Bengal and Bombay 
troops who had just taken Multan. 

The battle had been fought close to where Alexander had 
beaten King Porus as already related. Ere long the Sikhs 
suddenly broke away from the front of Lord Gough and 
made for the Chinab in the hope probably of getting more 
into touch with the actual Sikh country which lay to the 
south-east. Gough followed and there was fought the 
comparatively easily won and well fought battle of Goojerat, 
in full view of the magnificent wall of snow that separates 
Jammu from Kashmir. Lord Gough had now, as at Sobraon, 


got his heavy guns up and harf something more suitable to 
meet the heavy Sikh guns than his ubiquitous horse artillery 
and his light field batteries. 

Two incidents here are worth mentioning. One, the sur- 
render of the whole Sikh army a few days later, throwing 
down their arms in heaps before the British line, and then 
receiving a rupee and a blanket to go home with, a treatment 
that produced the enthusiastic content with their conquerors 
which still lasts. When the war had begun Lord Dalhousie, 
the recently arrived Governor-General, had said in Calcutta 
as he left for Lahore: 

"Unwarned by precedent, uninfluenced by example, the 
Sikh nation has called for war, and on my word, Sir, they 
shall have it with a vengeance. " 

And have it they did, to this last spectacular scene of 
surrender, when the undaunted Sikh and Moslems of the 
Sikh Army threw down their weapons, before the long 
scarlet line that presented arms to them, salaamed to the 
Commander-in-Chief, and stalked off the field sadder and 
wiser, beaten but not disgraced. 1 

As for the Bengal sepoy he did not cover himself with 
renown. In fact he ha J not the * guts ' sufficient to fight the 
Sikh. Some of the battalions did well under brilliant leading, 
the bulk were not so fortunate. It has been said with some 
force that perhaps the downing of the last Indian kingdom 
and one with some trace of Hinduism was not to their liking. 
That may be. Lord Hardinge who went through the First 
Sikh War with the army said that the sepoy seemed to him 
to be like the Portuguese whom the British had re-organized 
in the Peninsular War, and to have their good and their bad 
days. Some days they would fight, others they would not. 
One has heard the same said of Jean Baptiste in the Great 
1 This scene is depicted on the reverse of the medal for the Punjab campaign. 


War. But whatever it was they did undoubtedly form the 
bulk of the line that beat the Sikhs, 1 and so it was. 

The other incident was the pursuit of the Afghans to the 
frontier, when hard-riding Sir Walter Gilbert led the mounted 
troops and the horse artillery hell-for-leather up the Punjab, 
after a contingent of 5,000 Afghans under Sirdar Akram 
Khan, a who had come of all things to help the Sikhs, and who 
were present at Goojerat. Sir Walter just missed them at 
Attock, where they fired the bridge of boats as he came up 
but he crossed and hustled them Mike dogs' as the Sikhs 
said, through the Khaiber. It is an incident long forgotten 
and yet troop-sergeant-major Stratford aforesaid had taken 
part in it, in 1849, and had lived to remember it and let us 
hope rejoice, till the year of Our Lord 1932, ere there came 
to him from Sergeant Death the order, as the old song has 
it, 'Pile your arms! Pile your arms! Pile your arms!' It 
is a matter of history that the British public were as frightened 
at the garbled accounts of Chillianwallah as they were with 
the foolish statements about Jutland. The Indian Empire 
had however, been shaken, and the Duke of Wellington 
appealed to 'old Fagin' otherwise Sir Charles Napier to go 
out. "If you don't, I must," he said. In the meantime Sir 
Hugh had won Goojerat in fine style and the war was over 
when Napier arrived. 3 

1 Curiously enough I came across an interesting side-light recently. 
I had mentioned to Sir Michael O'Dwyer that the Indian Regiments of 
the company's Army had nominally twenty-four British officers, and though 
many of the seniors would be away there was always a host of young officers 
doing training who would go into the field. " Ah " said he, " that explains 
what has always puzzled me. I once asked an old Sikh who had been in the 
Sikh War, how it was the Hindustani troops beat the trained Sikhs. * Sahib ' 
he said, * It was the chota sahibs, the young officers.' I never quite followed 
that, now I see." There were lots of daring boys with the Bengal regiments 
who led and insisted. There is something romantic about these * Chota 
sahibs/ the boys just from school and college, and in those days they went 
out at 1 6. 

* Son of the Amir Dost Muhammad. 

* Then a curious incident happened, long forgotten, which I give because 
it will interest those who know Simla intensely. The hot season was in full 


Lord Dalhousie now annexe^ the Punjab, for there was no 
alternative, so the red line moved up to the Afghan foothills 
practically to where it now lies. 

Hardly had the Sikhs and Muhammadan soldiery left the 
Sikh ranks when they hurried to enlist in the British Army. 
Cavalry, infantry, and artillery were to be raised at once 
for the defence of the frontier, the Bengal Army was to take 
a percentage in every unit and military police were required 
on all sides. The Sikh and the Chota Sahib were now to 
become fast friends the men who had lashed themselves 
to their guns and who fought with spirit bottles tied to their 
wrists the men who had stood up fair to the bayonets of 
the British battalions the thousand marching as one, and who 
let the round shot from the British guns crash through their 
ranks. Now with the hilts of their swords presented to their 
conquerors, they were going to serve them better than ever 
they had served themselves or the Mogul. 

How they flocked from every village eight years later, 
Sikhs and Moslem and how they filled the ranks of countless 
new corps when the Bengal Army mutined eight years later, 
is a story now to be shortly told. 


We have now passed through the scenes of history, and 
spun the reel of the cinema rapidly to get a glimpse at the 
past that alone controls the present, and must always remain 
with us, as inseparable a man's shadow. And we have come 
into that decade which saw the greatest of all tragedies, the 

blast when Sir Charles arrived, and took over command at Simla. It was 
too hot to let old Lord Gough and Lady Gough wander down through the 
heat by dak gharry to Calcutta, so they stayed on at Simla as guests of the 
Viceroy for several months, a rather embarrassing situation. 

INfclAfc MUTItft 217 

Mutiny of the mass, almost the whole, of the units of that 
great Bengal Army which had served the Crown and the 
Company so faithfully, and which enjoyed the affection and 
confidence of the British officers and their families as much 
as and in some respects even more than is the case to-day. 

For reasons many, and none of them effective, the some- 
what pampered Bengal Army in which caste had been 
allowed to become a tyrant, mutinied and often massacred 
its officers and Europeans generally, with every sort of painful 
atrocity. In this work they were more than seconded by 
the disreputable portion of the population, but rarely by the 
reputable. Where there were no troops, there was seldom 
rebellion. The mass of the country side hastened to give 
'the masters' their support, as soon as it was realized that 
they were masters of themselves and worthy of support. 
The same phenomenon is before us now when the Viceroy 
and the National Government have called the Congress bluff 
and pricked the Ghandi bubble. The mass of the country 
side and all that spells commonsense and good feeling at 
once rallied. 

In 1857 most remarkable was the response of the Punjab 
which was largely garrisoned by the Bengal Line, as super- 
cilious and arrogant towards the Sikhs as it was in itself 
inefficient as a fighting machine. The Sikh and Punjabis 
generally owed many a grudge to the mercenaries of Hindu- 
stan who had monopolized the glorious military service of 
the Crown (for the Crown and the Company were in reality 
identical at bottom). The actual Sikh soldiers recently 
enlisted into the Bengal Line were segregated from the rest 
in the disarmed regiments, and if they had been carried 
away in those corps that had mutinied were encouraged to 
return. As more and more irregular corps were required, more 
and more did the men of the Punjab flock to the British 


colours. On the frontier itseH#th& prestige of our disarming 
the Bengal regiments and blowing mutineers from the guns, 
brought the men of the border, eager to serve men who could 
be men, and incidentally offered a rebel Delhi to capture and 
perhaps loot. Regiment after regiment both the permanent 
corps of the Frontier Irregular Force and the new corps, 
poured down to the storming of Delhi and to the capture of 
Lucknow. In fact the Mutiny of the Hindustani troops was 
largely suppressed by the Punjabi soldiery, and when the 
reconstruction came, no longer was the old soldier class of 
Hindustan to predominate. The monopoly was broken and 
the job was to* go largely to the Punjabi and the Gurkha. 

And so it has remained to this day, and as the years have 
passed a large portion of the corps of the old Coast Army 
have also given their colours with the honours gained under 
Clive and Coote, to the custody of the Punjabi. To what 
actual extent, and to which of the races of the Punjab, will be 
explained later. 

Despite the horrors done by the mutineers, there were a 
considerable number of faithful and self sacrificing men of 
the old Army. Almost every corps went, the plotters had 
seen to that, but there v .as a modicum that did not go. The 
great instance is of course, the number of the men of the 
regiments of the Lucknow garrison who stayed with the 
British and took part in the defence of the Residency, later 
gathered into a new corps known as The Regiment of Luck- 
now. It is not too much to say that had there been more 
Henry Lawrence's and more defensible centres there would 
have been far more rallying of the loyal who were carried 
away by the storm. 

However, that may be, suffice it now to say that the Sikh, 
the Dogra, the Punjabi Moslem and the Pathan hurried to 
bury their swords in the carcases of the 'Dogs of Hind*. 

F ' r0 ?M2Zdti*- ,-\*''* u (' hiana 'Simla 



[Face page 218 


Further to these reasons we may add the fact that the Punjab 
being full of picked young administrators selected by merit 
alone, of whom many were soldiers, there was energy and 
determination everywhere. The young men in the dis- 
armed regiments, especially those of character were selected 
to organize the new levies, and a brilliant job most of them 
made of it. 

Not only was a considerable cadre of artillerymen found 
from the old cannoniers of the Khalsa, sent south also but 
the great discovery of the Muzbi was made, those sweeper 
castes allowed into Sikhism, who were made into impromptu 
pioneers for the siege of Delhi. They have continued to 
serve in three regular pioneer corps ever since, 1 so much 
so that the World War saw the title * Royal' bestowed on 
one of them. Thus did the tragedy of 1857 open up a 
much fuller knowledge of the worth of the martial classes 
of the Punjab. 

1 Alas, since writing, selected for disbandment in view of changed 


THE INDIAN ARMY, 1860-1914 



BEFORE turning to the picture of the martial races as 
we know them now, it will help us to interpret the conditions 
of to-day, if we glance at me forcing house where the cul- 
tivations are specially studied viz. the Indian Army in its 
modern evolution, from the end of the Mutiny to the strain 
of the World War. It is in the Army that the better traditions 
of the virile villages are maintained, and that the foundations 
of good citizenship are laid. 

The Mutiny ended the old system of a regular Indian 
Army, Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery, dressed and clothed 
like the pre-Crimean Army of Great Britain and modelled 
generally on the Queen's Service so far as exteriors went, 
but a brotherhood in itself worshipping the ways of caste 
and somewhat dead to the ways of war and the habits of 
efficiency. Further the old hereditary infantry class, who 
had so long, like the cat, served the house rather than the 
master, had destroyed its own career. No longer were 


the Rajputs of Oudh and the Brahmin farmers to have a 
comparative monopoly in the ranks of the Bengal Army. 

The Bombay and the Coast Army had remained faithful 
to them and the races who had come down from the north to 
destroy their old enemies the Hindustani, were to succeed 
to the mantle and to pride of place. Many grieved that 
it should be so, or rather grieved that a people who had 
so long served the Crown, even if the Crown was in com- 
mission, should have so torn the old bonds of comradeship 
and fidelity and even affection. 

However, military opinion was quite made up. The 
Regular System was to go. The irregular system had 
stood the shock better than the 'Regular', the old Indian 
sirdars had brilliantly led their men against the mutineers, 
therefore in future there should be few British officers in a 
corps, above all the Punjabi the frontiersman and the staunch 
Gurkha should have a much larger place in the ranks. 

That was all very well, but as time rolled on two things 
happened in the last half of the nineteenth century. First 
the problem of war altered. The tribesmen of the frontier 
as met in the great uprising about Ambeyla in 1863, proved 
that the Indian soldier must be of the very pick of the races 
if he was to face the new foes. The Second Afghan War 
still further emphasized this fact. Further the appearance 
of Russia on what was virtually the frontiers of India, again 
impressed on all the lessons of Ambeyla and Kabul. The 
best of the races were needed in the ranks and more British 
officers to get the men to face their foes. 

From this resulted a far more careful study of the races 
of the North and those of South and West who could supply 
any lads of grit and courage. In the early days on the 
frontier a few clans and groups in the Punjab easily furnished 
the quotas required, the views of Commanding Officers 


were conservative ; why search far afield when your regimental 
connection found you enough good stuff for your purpose ? 
The march of the generations soon showed also that the 
Pax Britannica had undermined the old martial spirit in 
the southern races. 

What passed for natural courage had been little more 
than a spirit of self-defence born of fierce necessity. With 
two generations of kindly British cotton-wool, it was going 
or had gone, and as the enemies at the gates grew more 
formidable, so the men grew less effective for their purpose, 
drill they never so neatly. 

From this knowledge a great study of the subject came 
to be made, of how to preserve and extend the Indian Army 
so that it should serve its purpose for protecting India, and 
how to group the well known martial races so as to get the 
best effect from them. It was generally found that grouping 
the races by companies, produced magnificent rivalry, 
while the skirmishing and mountaineering qualities of the 
frontierman stimulated and were also balanced by the 
solid fighting power of the less imaginative Sikh, and so 

A good many methods had to be tried before finality 
of grouping was arrived at, and then the casualties of the 
Great War, and the problem of maintaining regiments at 
establishment in the face of constant losses, still further 
affected the manner of grouping, so as to make drafts more 
easily absorbable in war-shattered "cadres. 


This outline of the reconstruction that followed on the 
tragedy of '57, brings us now to the hard practical facts of 


to-day, and the composition of the force that maintains 
India from her troubles both within and without, backed 
be it always remembered by some 65,000 British troops, 
and backed be it also said in mutual confidence and camara- 
derie. In studying the changing conditions of India's 
military problem, it should be noticed that the coming of the 
change at a period marked by the Mutiny was but incidental. 
The change and advance of all methods of transportation 
and engineering that was opening up in the last century 
happened to be taking place about this time. 

In the account which has been given of the forging of 
the Indian races as we know them to-day, the making of 
Rajputdom has been dwelt on at some length, and it has 
been shown that under various guises and names the martial 
races almost without exception, come from some branch 
or derivative of the great peoples of Northern India who 
we know as Rajputs and Jats. 

With the reconstruction which gave to the Punjabi, the 
military birthright hitherto accorded to the Hindustani, 
the classes from whom the new Bengal Army was to be 
drawn were: 

(1) Tribesmen from the N.W. Frontier both within and 

without the border. 

(2) The cultivating classes from the Punjab Plain, viz., 



Hindu Rajputs from the Punjab Hills known 
as Dogras. 

(3) Certain of the classes of Hindustan as listened in 

the old army but to a far lesser extent. 

(4) Men of Nepal and the adjoining hills, viz., 

Gurkhas, Garhwalis, Kumaonis. 


(5) The Madras and Bombay Armies as before, the former 
with its Tamil and Telegu peasantry, its Pariah 
classes and Christians, and the Moslem descendants 
of Afghan, Turk and Arab settlers. The latter 
with its Mahrattas, and Dekhani Moslems of descent 
similar to those in Madras. 

Very soon after the Army had been re-grouped, the 
series of wars just referred to began, which showed how 
sadly the older races had lost their fighting power and 
how much more formidable were the new foes and the 
modern armaments. This experience resulted in regiments 
being steadily re-constituted with men of Northern races. 
The campaigns in Burma resulted in many Madras regiments 
being converted to Punjabi, and this process once begun 
has continued ever since till now the Madras element has 
practically gone. 


The Loom of the Bear that had been growing more 
oppressive since Napoleon and the Tsar Alexander had 
first planned their joint partition of Asia and India, had 
greatly increased in the thirty years that followed the Mutiny. 
It compelled the British to go to Kabul once again to 
stabilize the Afghan kingdom, and it produced the serious 
war-scared mobilization that followed the incident between 
Russians and Afghans at Panideh in 1885. It compelled 
the Indian and Imperial Governments to undertake a serious 
strategical study of the North-west Frontier under modern 
conditions, and confirmed them in the resolution to control 
the trade routes and approaches between Afghanistan and 


incidentally Central Asia and India, a control long demanded 
by traders. It also induced them to make a large fortified 
camp and position on the uplands of Baluchistan in a climate 
in which British Indian troops could fight at all times of 
the year, and it eventually entailed far greater expenditure 
on frontier roads and railways. It still further emphasized 
the need for only Indian soldiers of the most reliable races 
being enlisted in the army, in fact that the Indian tax-payer 
should have the best result possible for his money. 

This meant a prolonged and continued elimination of 
the softer races of the southern and eastern provinces. 


The decision to get a belated control of all the great trade 
routes that led to India, in the country admittedly within 
our sphere, could but lead to trouble. With it very properly, 
went the policy of closing the passes from the Pamirs that 
were being used by filibustering or exploring parties of Cos- 
sacks, and of preventing the Amir of Kabul from over- running 
small states between Chitral and India or Chitral and Gilgit, 
which owned the suzerainty of Kashmir. These policies 
involved the Indian Government in a series of frontier 
expeditions into the Black Mountain, into the Kurram 
and Samana, in the Hunza campaign, in the Mahsud-Waziri 
expedition and the like. The preservation of law and order, 
and the protection of caravans that were formerly liable 
to raid and blackmail, exasperated most of the tribes, and 
when in 1897 the success of Turk over Greek had been 
magnified and blazoned by the mullahs, and the drum 
ecclesiastic had rolled and boomed along the frontier hills, 
that finished it! A great uprising along several hundreds 


of miles of frontier took place which kept some 70,ooc 
troops busy for eight or nine months of '97-98, and producec 
many scenes of hard fighting, in which, however, gallantrj 
and devotion were more marked on the part of the troops thar 
of the tribesmen. The attack, however, of the Yusufza 
tribes on the British garrison and relieving columns on 
the Malakand and in Swat in the summer of '97 was char- 
acterized by a reckless valour on the part of the swordsmen 
the shahids or * witnesses ' to the faith, that evoked the admira- 
tion of those who beat them back with volley, and lance 
and bayonet. The most remarkable acts of reckless self- 
sacrifice were those that occurred when the clansmen triec 
to storm the small British garrison of Chakdara in the Swai 
Valley and nearly succeeded in doing so. But their valoui 
was largely due to the belief in their mullah's assurances 
that 'they were immune, that no bullet of the unbelievei 
could touch those who believed, and when they saw mer 
fall by their side it could only be, because he was a doubter! 
So with the loud cries H Arabic, God is Great! Glory fa 
all and Heaven for those who bleed! the mad * witnesses 
hurled themselves against the loopholed, sandbagged walls 
and withered beneath the steady Martini volleys from th< 
staunch Punjabi troops inside, in efforts that just wen 
not successful. 

There was another astounding attack of courageous fanatic! 
on the frontier in 1888, a story which itself had origin ii 
specially weird and romantic facts. Long before the BritisI 
came to the frontier, one of the Pindari leaders driven fron 
Central India succeeded in establishing himself in th< 
Frontier hills overlooking the Indus, at a place known ai 
Sitana, and there collecting to himself a group of fiera 
Moslem fanatics from India, men who would be a thon 
in the side of any Government. Bitter was their feud witl 


the Sikhs when the latter held the Peshawur valley, bitter 
were their struggles with the British when opportunities 
offered. Wahabi fanatics who had made Patna too warm 
for them, slipped away to join this nest. After the Mutiny, 
Moslem irreconcilables and wolfs'-heads took refuge among 
them. In 1863 they had joined the tribes of Yusufzai in 
their great rising, and indeed it was partly to exterminate 
the venomous nest that the British had crossed the border 
that year at all. 

In 1888 on the hither side of the Indus, certain Pathan 
tribes who in comparatively recent years have colonised 
the Black Mountain or Kala Taka in Hazara, and who had 
constantly been in trouble through raiding into British 
territory, were again 'for it*. It pleased the 'Hindustani 
Fanatics' as the nest at Sitana was called, to cross the Indus 
and assist the men of the Black Mountain. This assistance 
took the form of a fierce attack of swordsmen on a column 
consisting of the i8th Royal Irish and the 2Qth Punjabis. 
The bulk of the attack fell on the i8th who, steady as a 
rock, stood up in line to the rush which had come out of 
a hidden ravine. It was as with the Dervishes at Omdurman, 
the rush of the fierce, grim, fanatical faces with skull cap on 
top, and long blades in the hands. But discipline was too 
much for wild hate even when calling on Allah! and it 
saved a world of trouble. 

The fanatics to the number of several hundred were 
annihilated, and nothing could have been more fortunate 
for the peace of the border. " Yah Allah! Yah Allah! " 
yelled the skull caps, rub-a-dub, rub-a-dub on the tribal drum, 
rip-p-p, rip-p-py from the i8th, and "God Bless ould 
Ireland" when it was over. The Wahabis lay blowing 
froth bubbles from lungs that were perforated, hacking 
fiercely at any one who would tend them. The end of 


such can only be the bayonet, but pity may go out for human 
folks so possessed. It is the strange power that Islam 
works over untutored minds, the minds that have the ignor- 
ance and impertinence to call Christian folk 'Kafirs 9 . 

The Wahabi spirit, which is ultra austere and orthodox 
flourishes, as we have seen during the last few years, as 
fiercely in the potholes of Southern Arabia as ever it did, 
and by its fierce iconoclast enthusiasms is always a danger 
to a go-easy world. This fanatical settlement across the 
frontier which almost exterminated itself on the bayonets 
of the Royal Irish in 1888, is always being recruited from 
the bitter souls that the more introspective form of Islam 
throws up. The super-simple life with day-long contem- 
plation of the Almighty is their creed and intolerance their 
practice cleft of lip and knit of brow is the Wahabi fanatic 
and the infidel and the luxury lover are his abhorrence. 
Lyall, as usual, sums up to the life the type which we can 
admire, despite the application of Shakespeare's saying 
that 'stone dead hath no fellow'. The earnest Wahabi 
addresses his fellow Moslems: 

" Your brains are dull with eating and 

your hearts are choked with lust 
And your seat is loose in saddle, and your 
scimitars are rust. 

When ye shun the Hindu festivals, the 

tinkling of the bell 
The dancing, the idolatries, the harlotry 

of hell, 
When ye kneel to God in penitence and 

cringe no more to men 
Ye shall smite the stiff-necked infidel 

and rule, but not till then. 

So ye are stirred by my words, ye pardon 
my scorn and upraiding ? 


Eagerly circle me round and ask will I 

lead an attack? 
Nay! though your spirits be willing, your 

flesh is but weak for crusading, 
When I face Englishmen's cannon I want 

better hearts at my back." 

It is the old spirit of the frontier mullah, and it did not 
die in '88 or in '97, and it is at times quite impossible to 
cope with save by magazine fire. 

It was through these long wars of fanaticism which 
accompanied the attempt to civilize the trade routes, that 
the need for only the best of the races in the ranks was 
apparent. More and more were Europeans necessary to 
lead, and more and more must the lesser breeds be eliminated. 


By the beginning of the twentieth century two new epochs 
of war had taken place, the Boer War with its insistent 
example of the power of the modern rifle, and the Russo- 
Japanese War with the fierce carnage of Port Arthur. Many 
were the lessons deduced therefrom, both true and false. 
Further as regards India, the Russian railways were more 
and more setting at naught the miles and the steppes of 
Central Asia. 

The Indian Army needed bringing up-to-date in equip- 
ments, organization, in training and in self-production and 
Lord Kitchener was sent East for that purpose in 1902. 
It is not necessary for the purpose of this book to enumerate 
his measures. They were measures vitiated to some extent 
by the fact that no General Staff had yet been formed and 
no principles of war or of war organization specifically 
adopted as a starting point, and we are here concerned with 


the steps taken to re-group the races and make full use of 
all the new study of the various races and their martial 
capacities. The Indian Army itself clung often rather piti- 
fully to the old and loyal but no longer truly martial classes 
of the South and West. Tradition, however, had to be thrown 
aside. Lord Kitchener with no inside prejudices was the 
man to do the work. Thus there commenced a careful 
elimination and re-grouping and a study of all untouched 
material from the North and East, and from this was the 
Indian Army of the World War born, with the cream of the 
selected martial races, with Rajputs of the Sun and Moon 
whether in their ancient faith or embraced in that of Islam 
Tartar and Afghan, Mahratta and Mongolian, choice 
young men and goodly like Saul of Tarsus, to be described 
in their several occasions hereafter. 


As Lord Kitchener left it, so flocked the Indian Army 
to Flanders, to Sinai, to the Tigris and wherever His Majesty 
called and British officers would lead them. The experience 
and the expansion that followed gave still further know- 
ledge of the few that could and would fight and the many 
that could not, and while the sour Brahmins in Bengal 
bit their thumbs and intrigued with Turk and Kaiser 
and Bolshevik, the masses of the humbler folk who had 
never shouldered a pike flocked to labour in the great cause 
... for great it was however much we deplore it. Under 
Lord Kitchener, for his Lordship but provided the cover 
and the occasion, there were scores of young soldiers with 
a remarkable and sympathetic knowledge of the people, 
who were only too eager to be allowed to make the best 


of such an army. Before the World War the severest foe 
that the Indian soldier was expected to face was the Russian 
'the grey-coat guard* on the Oxus, yet the Indian army, 
thus re-organized and grouped, was unexpectedly flung into 
the most desperate fighting in Europe, under the worst 
climatic conditions Sikhs, Gurkhas, Pathans, Punjabi, 
Moslems, Mahrattas, Jats, Garhwalis . . . the cream of 
India. The strain was indeed more than they should have 
fairly been asked to face, yet face it they did, always with 
devotion, often with success, and when they were moved to a 
terrain and climate more suited to their natures, their ser- 
vices were brilliant. 


In the last chapter of this book the problem of what is 
called * Indianization ' will be dealt with in its modern aspect, 
but the state of the question prior to modern conditions 
needs some mention here. The term Indianization', so 
far as the Army is concerned, refers to that of giving higher 
command to Indians, and enabling them to share the positions 
of the higher ranks hitherto held by British officers. In the 
early days of the East India Company, Indian leaders were 
placed in high positions, especially in the * irregular* service, 
attaining high positions and even commanding units. But 
when the foe to be met changed from the purely Eastern 
type of soldiery to the large armies of the Mahratta and 
Sikh states, trained by French and other officers, many 
from the old Royalist regime, the military needs of the 
times changed. The down-country troops could not face 
their enemies without plenty of European leading, and the 


regular troops, in accordance with the military needs and 
ideas of the day, became more and more highly drilled. 
Only in the irregulars was there any scope for Indians, and 
as military art advanced, the men of heart and thew had 
not the brains and education to train and command. During 
the suppression of the Indian Mutiny in which the new 
Punjab troops were raised on * irregular* lines, and the 
Punjab Irregular force from the Frontier sent most of its 
units down to the seat of trouble, there were few British 
officers, and the old hidalgos of the Sikh armies and their 
sons rendered brilliant service. The new army which took 
the place of the old pattern that had mutinied, was also to 
have few British officers and was to develop the responsi- 
bility of the Indians. 

The suppression of the Indian Mutiny and the hunting 
down of the rebels that remained after a great army from 
England had dealt with the main rebel forces in Oudh, was 
a business for which the Indian officer of irregular corps 
was well suited. But armies were again becoming more 
modern and scientific, and the enemies now to be faced not 
the foes of internal India. The stern sacrifice of British 
officers necessary to stem the tribal attacks on the frontier 
campaign of 1863, showed that British leading was the 
principal factor against a determined foe. As the old Sikh 
had said, it was the ' Chota Sahib n who did the trick. The 
Afghan War of 1878-80, as already mentioned, showed the 
same even more clearly. And when the Russian menace 
became really serious and the problem of military education 
became acute, there seemed no way other than to further 
increase the British officers with units. The question of 
direct commissions of a general status equivalent to that 
of a British officer seemed ruled out of court by the defective 
*Page 215 footnote. 


power of assimilating education, evinced by the martial 
classes. The clever young men of the universities were 
quite unfitted for military work even if they had desired 
it, hearts were not in the right place. As an Irish Commander- 
in-Chief, Sir O'Moore Creagh, once remarked when talking 
of military learning "Ye can tache a poodle tricks, but ye 
can't tache him to draa a badger' '. And this is the commanding 
sentiment when the selection of military material is con- 

There seemed no need to spend considerable sums in 
endeavouring to bring on the superior officer class when 
there was no immediate demand for such and all argument 
pointed the other way, while many of the older British 
officers were painfully conscious of the miserable weeds of 
clerkly sons who their magnificent old * Bayley Guard ' sirdars, 
(v. p. 342) brought to see them. The men who had 'been to 
the Bayley Guard', the great suppression campaign against 
the rebels of '57, magnificent specimens of militant and feudal 
humanity, in their desire to see their sons prosperous had 
designed them for civil life, and the process was apparently 
turning the sons of men into the children of mice. No, the 
staunch old Indian yeoman who came into the Indian com- 
missioned ranks via the rank and file, or the young Indian 
land owner of lesser class, made the Indian officer as we 
know him. They were and are men who have lived and 
died in the most charming camaraderie with their British 
officers, the latter very jealous on their behalf of prestige 
and prospects, and they were all that the times needed. 
The complications which still endure of the racial and 
religious difficulties, the inherent tendency to intrigue that 
lies in the Indian nature, two points which as we now know, 
bid far to wreck the 'Reforms', all added to the difficulty 
of any change, even if the need for it were admitted. Again 


there was no character-building machine of schools and 
scholarship, nor was there as yet anything in the way of 
schools corresponding to those in which our fighting leaders 
are brought up. 

Then at the back of all development, was the terrible 
bend sinister of the Mutiny and the accompanying rebel- 
lions, not rebellions made as a sign of disease but a sense- 
less rebellion due almost to chance, accompanied by such 
astounding atrocities as made the people of the day deter- 
mined that another occasion should not arise. 

That, in brief, is the story of the position of Indians as 
higher soldiers when the War began. Some half-hearted 
measure of change had been made at the time of the King's 
Coronation visit when unattached commissions were given 
to Indian gentlemen, in the * Indian Land Forces ' but it led 
nowhere and did not give any opportunity of testing the 
problems in the supreme trial of The World War. 


Very little reference has yet been made to the armies of 
the Indian states, since they were hammered in the earlier 
days in the struggle of the re-welding of India. We have 
seen the armies of Sindia, of Holkar, of the Khalsa smashed 
in the old wars, and where annexation has followed victory 
we have seen them welded into the British service. But 
in those states which after defeat, or without even seeking it, 
have entered into treaties and abided by them, their armies 
remained and still remain. The reasons which made them 
necessary however have passed away, save the essential 
eastern duty of ceremonial, but a new one has arisen, that 
of bearing their share in the defence of India. 


Early in the 'nineties a step was taken to organize a portion 
of the state armies for 'Imperial Service* and in almost 
every war in which India has been concerned the state 
forces have taken some part. Now all state troops are so 
organized and the name Imperial Service no longer desig- 
nates a portion only. In the organizing of an Imperial 
Army with the troops of a dominionized India behind it, 
the Simon Commission clearly saw the share that such 
troops might take hereafter. 

So far as the races in the State forces go, they are but those 
found in the rest of India. One modern condition has the 
Government of India wisely insisted on, that with certain 
specified exceptions, the troops of a state shall consist of 
the martial races who are subjects of that state. The practice 
of seeking for grenadiers and such like elsewhere is pro- 
hibited. If a state, as is sometimes the case, has no subjects 
from whom soldiers can be made, the ruler is encouraged 
to produce some of the non-combatant administrative units 
such as transport corps. 

The armies of the states have traditions behind them 
sometimes as stirring and romantic as have corps of the 
Indian Army. 





WITH the detailed history that has now been given of all 
the races that can be calleJ martial, we can perhaps visualise 
them as they stand to-day, and realise too how profoundly 
different is the basis of enlistment in the Army in India 
from that to which we of modern times have been accustomed 
in Great Britain. From among the people described, the 
races that retain their martial proclivities and ways of enter- 
prise and courage are briefly as follows: 

From the Frontier. 

Pathans of many clans (both from the cis-and trans- 
frontier hills) (Moslems). 

Baluchis and Brahuis (Moslems). 

From the Punjab. 

Sikhs (principally of the JSt race). 
Hindus (a few Jts and Brahmins). 


Dogras, chiefly Hindu and mainly Rajput (from the 
hills between the Punjab plains and the Himalaya massif, 
of the Pir Panjal Range). 

Moslems of many tribes (principally of Rajput origin). 

From Delhi and Hindustan. 

Garhwalis (Hindus from the hills between the United 
Province and the Himalaya). 

Kumaonis (Hindus from the hills between the United 
Province and the Himalaya). 

Jats, Gujars, Ahirs (Hindu). 

Rajputs (Hindu for the most part). 

Brahmins (cultivators). 

Moslems (descendants of Turk and Afghan settlers and 
converted Rajputs). 

From Rajput ana and Central India. 
Rajputs (Hindu). 
Jats (Hindu). 

Mers (Hindu and Moslem). 
Kaimkanis (Moslem Rajputs). 

From Western India. 
Mahrattas (Hindu). 

Moslems who are chiefly descendants of Afghan, Pathan, 
Turk and Arab. 

From Southern India. 

Indian Christians /Chiefly for 

Pariahs and other depressed classes J special technical 


Tamils (cultivators). 

Moslems descendants of foreigners as in Western 
India (a very few). 


Of the foregoing, it is to be observed that the men of the 
Punjab, furnish a very large proportion of the men of stamina 
and daring . . . men who in civil life are by no means law 
abiding . . . who come to the Army. To these must be 
added the Pathans from both within and without the ad- 
ministrative border, and those races of Baluchistan who 
soldier or who are war-like. They furnish the bulk of the 
Army between them. And because it is so, Sir John Simon's 
Commission pointed out that without the disciplinary and 
psychological control of British officers and without that 
confidence-giving body of good-humoured, highly disciplined 
British bayonets, the races of the north would over-run 
India as they had so often done before. We will now try 
and look at them to-day in the flesh after a brief survey of 
the groupings. 


The Frontier tribes resolve themselves into certain con- 
venient geographical gro^s for the purpose of classification, 
and we must realise that the North- West Frontier runs for 
close on 1,100 miles. 

The divisions are those of the people about 

(1) The routes from Kabul. 

(2) The routes from Ghuzni. 

(3) The routes from Kandahar. 

To these may be added two more viz., 

(4) The tribes north of the Khaiber. 

(5) The tribes who live within the Administrative 

Those of the last category who live within the Border 
divide into three main groups, viz., The Yusafzais, the 


4 Sons of Joseph/ who inhabit the plains and foot hills of 
Peshawur, and the Swat valley and are of many clans, the 
Khattaks to the south of them, and on both sides of the river, 
and the tribes cis-Indus in Hazara. 

The principal tribes about the routes to Kabul, by Khaiber 
and by Kurram, are the Afridi, the Orakzai, the Bangash, 
the Mullagori, the Zaimukt, the Chamkani, and then at the 
head of the Kurram the Shiah tribe of the Turis who are 
possibly of Turk or Tartar origin. 

Those about the Ghuzni routes, viz., those that come from 
Ghuzni either via the Tochi or Gomal River valleys, are chiefly 
Waziris and are in two great divisions, the Mahsuds and the 
Darwesh Khel. 

The routes from Kandahar come through what we now 
call British Baluchistan. The tribes therein are largely 
Pathan, some of actual Afghan origin, viz., Kakars, Duranis, 
Sheranis, Khetrans, etc., but south and east again are Baluch, 
a people of entirely different and probably Arab origin, and 
also consisting of many clans, and south of them again some 
Brahuis intermingle, whose language is akin to the Dravidian 
of the south, and who are a most interesting survival. 


The Pathan varies in disposition and in military value 
considerably, and his behaviour in his own hills may be very 
different from that which he displays when serving. But 
though each tribe and clan has different ways there are 
certain general characteristics common to them all, and 
first let us give their good qualities. These wild highlanders 
as a rule, appeal immensely to most British officers though 
not to all. They are sporting, high-spirited, adventurous, 


and jaunty with a jauntiness supremely different from the 
comparatively unassuming bearing of even the hardiest 
Indian proper. 

Among the many clans some have a far greater reputation 
than others. For instance, it is not every tribe that has 
the desire to come to close quarters. The powerful and 
important group of the Afridi tribes were thought very 
small beer in the days when sword met sword or clanged 
on the locking ring of the bayonet. When the fire-arm 
became a long range arm of precision the Afridi became a 
first class marksman and took tea at comfortable ranges, 
with all and sundry. 

Tall good looking when young, well-knit, agile, Kipling's 
line on the young chief portrays the young Pathan well. 

" He trod the ling like a buck in spring, 
and stood like a lance at rest." 

The Mahsud Waziris and Yusafzai, on the contrary, stood 
high among their neighbours for fearless swordsmanship, 
who would do something better than * shout hullaloo in the 
rear*, or * shoot at the strong and slash at the weak* and so 
forth, up and down the border. 

But to live and work among a Pathan regiment at 
manceuvres or on the border patrol, is an education of itself, 
a brothership with the most active, strenuous men you 
could imagine. And since he who drives fat oxen must 
himself be fat, so the British officer who can control, lead 
and inspire the trans-border men, must be something more 
than a man among men. When I see them ending their 
lives on a Devon golf course with an old brown pipe, and 
know what they have been and done in their prime, I am 
astonished. It is like the picture of Landseer's with the 
lamb resting alongside the dismounted cannon, ' think what 


{Face page 240 


he's seen, think where he's been', and the old sea-captain 
strikes the same note in one's imagination. 

Untutored, and at home on their hillside, it is a wild 
life the clansmen lead, now carrying out a blood feud that 
has been in progress for generations, 'an eye for an eye 
and a tooth for a tooth ', now sitting all day perhaps, in the 
fortified, loopholed, solid-butted tower of their homestead, 
because a neighbour has drawn a bead on you . . . fed 
and watered by your women-kind, only venturing out at 
night ... or else doing the same by someone else. Many 
a man on leave from the quiet orderly life of a British can- 
tonment must needs enter his home stealthily by night, 
lest retribution overtake him for the crime of his father. 
Once the author, during the great campaign of 1897-8 in 
the Afridi and Orakzai Tirah, spoke on top of the Sampagha 
pass, with a pensioned Afridi subahdar, a retired Indian 
officer, living on his own homestead. The tribesmen were 
then wondering if the British would actually take hold of 
the country and administer it. 

"Sahib," said my friend, "Does the Sirkar, 'The British 
Government', realise the takleef, 'the trouble', the years of 
guerrilla struggling and unrest, that must follow before the 
country settles down? I doubt it. But . . . when once 
it is over" . . . and here he burst into sheer Hibernian, 
"I can appreciate the heaven it would be to be able to go 
to sleep one night, and to wake up in the morning without 
finding one's throat cut!" 

Pathans have a passion for arms, and are ready learners 
on the rifle range. Unfortunately what they learn, in the 
case of trans-border men, comes back to roost when they 
are the enemy on the hillside. There is more than one 
good story of the ex-sepoy signalling back instructions in 
the most approved style as to how to correct the artillery 


ranging against him. In the great frontier risings of 1897 
and after the Afridi revolt when the British were dictating 
terms in the Afridi centre, the jirgas, the tribal councils 
who were discussing submission and punishments, were 
largely composed of ex-soldiers wearing their British war- 
medals with pride and zest, and no doubt that twinkle of 
humour which is the Pathan saving grace. As smart as 
paint in shorts and well pressed jacket, with arms and 
accoutrements well polished, the alert young rifleman is a 
very different thing from the 'catch 'em alive oh' searching 
for pediculus vestimenti on his native heath. All over the 
world the modern Pathan roams and the stokeholds of 
ocean steamers are one of his popular habitats. In fact, 
there is no subject on which the modern tribesman has 
not plenty of enlightenment. The lads who come to enlist 
often brought by a relative are, if free of pock-marks, very 
good to look on, often of almost Greek profile, with the down 
of an incipient whisker on an olive and rose-coloured face, 
and a love-lock down the cheek, for all the world like a 
lass of Paris. A Jowaki Afridi is very like the British Yeoman 
of Signals lent to Admiral Guepratte for the attack on the 
Dardanelles a huge moustache and close trimmed beard 
with rubicund cheeks. 

Hospitality is a virtue that is rigorously and whole-heartedly 
practised, though it does not mean that the guest may not 
be shot and robbed once he is clear of your definite territory 
in which hospitality must be rendered. 

Before the World War, many of the Punjab regiments 
enlisted Pathans to a varying extent, sometimes a whole 
company sometimes even more, sometimes all from one 
clan such as Khattak or Afridi; others have them by platoons. 

Their language of the border is Pushtu or Pkhtu, accord- 
ing as it is the hard and soft variety, spoken in the south 


about Quetta, and the north about Peshawur, and is a deriva- 
tive from the Zend the early form of Persian which is akin 
to the Sanskrit, but it has like most other language incor- 
porated many alien words to meet the need of the genera- 
tion. It is a musical language and in its literary form is as 
the Persian phrase has it bisyar shirin 'very sweet to the ear*. 
We are not concerned with it here however, except so far 
as the come and go of life is concerned. Greetings and 
salutations are of the overflowing kind, and you yourself 
or a Pathan meeting another will be received as follows 
and it is the rule to go through with the series. 

The usual salute will commence with, 

" Staramashe! " " Don't be tired 1" and then whether 
friends be embracing you breast to breast and knee to knee, 
or whether you meet in more distant fashion, there come 
in rapid succession the volley of a kindly routine, after 
"Kwah mashe". "Done be down on your luck". 

"Jor-ye?" "Are you well?" 

"Khajorye?" " Are you sure you are well?" a sort of 
"My, that's fine!" 

"Khushal-ye?" "Are you happy?" 

" Takra-ye ? " " Are you strong ? " 

" Taza-ye ? " " Are you cheerful ? " 

"Kor Khair dai?" "Are your family well?" 

" Zaman di jor di?" "Are your sons well?" 

While this boisterous storm greets you, you may be able 
to interpose "Ho! Jor-yum!" or "Ho! Kushal-yum!" 
"Yes, I am well" or "I am happy." 

There are other greetings. " Har kala rasha" "Come 
at all times," the acme of hospitality, "Loe shah," "be great," 
and so forth, all worthy of highland hearts, but blurred by 
the scenes of treachery and bloodshed, that so often 
mar the life across the border. Here is a yarn that my 


gunner orderly used to tell me with gusto, and he was a 
Ranizai from Swat, across the British border. His village 
was separated by a small stream, often dry, from another 
with which they were at feud, and once when an urchin, 
he and a dozen others caught a similar lad from the offending 
village who had strayed across the stream after perhaps 
a straying goat, but possibly to thieve one of theirs. With- 
out more ado they stretched his little weazand and slit it 
with a pocket knife, for the Glory of God and his Prophet. 
Toba 1 but there you have the trans-border, where there is 
no authority save tribal custom and the council of elders, 
and a code that is known as the Pakhtan wait. 

Within the border all is usually quiet and the King's 
peace over all. Otherwise the villages are the same, and 
the loopholed towers often in repair for fear of raiders, 
but nevertheless, it is reasonably safe and you may watch 
the great Bactrian camels come down from Ghuzni with 
the Ghilzai traders, migrating perhaps for the winter to 
lock up their arms in a frontier police post, and babble 
instead of Habeas corpus. And the families come too, atop 
the camels, * knees up Mrs. Brown!' and the sonsy girls 
making roguey eyes when the malik isn't looking, and the 
asafoetida smells in the bundles and the Persian pussycats 
spit on the balls. That is the frontier as the Frontier Force 
and the Mountain Artillery know it year in year out, and 
the wind comes off the snows and the foot hills show blue 
in the brouillard. The levy-man jogs jauntily by, conscious 
to-day that with his coat turned outside-in he is an irregular 
trooper of King George, but that with it turned inside-out, 
why he is, as Charles Kingsley would have said, just as good 
a raider as those he is out to stop, nay better. Indeed there 
are two fat-tailed sheep in that homestead by the qabristan 
'the burial place', that he intends to have for himself, even 


if he swears that it was Chikai's men from Tor-garh or 
whatever other tarry-tiddle the frontier officer may be pleased 
to swallow or wink at. 

Then you will see the hard-featured frontier women, 
who seem not to have romance, so concerned are they 
perhaps in fetching water a-donkey-back from far a-field 
that joy does not seem to enter into their lives. But that can 
hardly be true, for your young soldier must be some satis- 
faction to some of those olive-cheeked, pig-tailed lasses 
who are just growing up and can yet defy the sharp lines 
that frontier sun and winter wind will make in any woman's 

But alas, on the frontier, men often think of other things 
than women, and practices which in the West are the last 
signs of degeneration and worthlessness are in the East 
often the trait of the most daring outlaw and wolfs head, 
for East is East. Alas, too, this state of affairs, the common 
shame of even the great nobles of Kabul, is also too preva- 
lent even in our bonnie Punjab, and jealousy on this count 
is one of the causes of unaccountable murders. Again 
Toba! Toba! Shame! Shame! 

The Pathan soldier however, though a handy light-infantry 
man, for light-infantry individual work on the hill side is 
naturally his forte, did not come into great repute in the 
World War, while some of the other Indian races did. He 
deserted, especially the trans-frontier man, far too freely, 
the Afridi more than any other, both in France and in 
Mesopotamia. 1 Therefore was the Army angered against 
him, and his enlistment for a while was rigorously curtailed 

1 It may be said on their behalf that neither constitutional faithlessness 
nor ' cold feet ' was the main cause. The inter-tribal balance of power was an 
important factor. If a company of Malik Din Afridis were wiped out, 
and the Kukis and Khambars did not suffer equally, the Malik Din 
could neither hold their grazing grounds, nor maintain their water rights. 


and only now is being sparely considered and to a smaller 
degree re-opened to him. This is a very serious matter 
in certain of the frontier tracts. In the Afridi Tirah for 
instance, not only is the number of pensioners dying out, 
and therefore the country side growing poorer and less in 
touch with the British Government, but the young men 
are out of a job. So the good Beelzebub is able to fill his 
special role and mischief along the border line augments 


Let us now turn from the jaunty inconsistency of the 
border to the districts of the Punjab in which we find the 
Punjabi Muhammadan, the ' P.M.' of Army diction. We 
shall find him on the hither side of the Indus, on the plains, 
and in the raw red but fascinating hills known as the Salt 
Range between the Indus and the Jhelum, hard working 
yeomanry and peasantry, at their fields from early morn 
till dewy eve, generally clad in a coarse cotton straight 
smock, slightly coloured with the blue-bag, white pyjamas, 
and a smallish puggaree tall, broad-shouldered, often like 
royal Solomon a choice young man and a goodly, with a 
clean, high-grade profile and a rather heavy jowl, especially 
the Awan. The men of the Salt Range, often spoken of as 
'Salt-rangers', are ideal soldiers, the better to-do going 
to the cavalry, but often to be found in the mountain artillery 
and the infantry, and in many ways forming the back-bone 
and the back-ground of the modern army. 

Not far on the hither side of the Indus will be the Awans, 
a non-Rajput folk, who claim Arab origin, cultivators to 
a man, who live in villages, squat mud villages with golden 
corn-cobs drying on the flat roofs, because no man would 


be safe in a homestead. They are not too far from the sphere 
of action of trans-frontier raiders who can easily cross the 
border, rob, and rob thoroughly, and laying up in broken 
hills, get away the next night. There are plenty of ways 
of crossing the Indus, and the country lying about the 
strategic railway, which runs down the hither bank of the 
Indus, traverses a country so broken that only a Gustav 
Dor could do justice to it. It is truly a 'devil' country. 
Therefore it is that here and all along the uplands of the 
Punjab Plain, villagers do not live in homesteads, and often 
have to walk miles to their holding. Despite the Pax 
Britannica and the able police, the whole country side has 
such a penchant for robbery under arms, yclept dacoity, 
that homesteading is unpopular. 

In the Salt Range and on all the plains between Indus 
and Jhelum, as well as on the left bank of the latter, the 
land is covered with the sturdy Moslem folks of the con- 
verted Rajput clans, Bhatti, Janjua, Tiwana, and a dozen, 
more, among them too are some genuine Mogul settlements. 
Genuine, means distinct from those of the depressed classes 
who accepting the relief of Islam, have assumed a worldly claim 
to position as great as that which their new religious position 
has conferred on them, and often call themselves by the 
old dread name. 

Where the River Jhelum comes down from Kashmir to 
the sea there in the lesser hills are also Moslem clans, some 
owning the jurisdiction of the little Hindu Rajput state 
of Poonch, and some of the Maharajah of Jammu and 
Kashmir, the very people recently concerned in riots and 
disturbances against their Hindu Rajput chief. In this 
connection it is well to consider how the high mountain- 
locked Kashmir comes into the story, with its modern 
complication of * Mr. A 's * European amours. 



We need not go further than Mogul days, in the history 
of Kashmir, the home of early learning and Sanskrit de- 
rivations. Converted by early Moslem rulers, all the 
inhabitants save the Brahmin clans have been Moslems for 
many centuries, hardy, muscular, powerful, enduring and 
yet pusillanimous beyond belief. Conquered by the Moguls 
who turned its glades and river banks into a paradise with 
the dreams of gardens, waterfalls, rills and trickles which still 
remain to enchant us, Kashmir fell to Nadir Shah and 
eventually to the Durani Empire. It was not till 1820 that 
Runjhit Singh of Lahore drove out the Afghan Governor 
and made it a Sikh province. The few Afghan settlers 
remained there as in the Punjab, Sikh subjects, and furnish 
occasionally some soldier to the Jammu as well as the Im- 
perial forces, but the soft ease of Kashmir does not harden 

The fortified city of Jammu, the home of the small Rajput 
state, and of the three Jammu brothers had, as already 
described, much to say in the last days of Sikh rule. Gulab 
Singh the eldest and head of the state who had reduced his 
Rajput neighbours to feudatories, had as related a powerful 
army on the Western model nominally in the Sikh service. 
When he held his troops aloof from the unrevoked invasion of 
British India, Great Britain rewarded him as part of a 
very definite policy. That policy aimed at leaving a re- 
constructed Punjab, but with some drag on it, by detaching 
the hill Rajputs and Kashmir therefrom. The Sikh Durbar 
could not pay its war indemnity after the First Sikh War, 
and Gulab Singh was prepared to do so on terms! His 
terms suited the British plans, and he was duly made Mahara- 


jah of Jammu and Kashmir, though there was no sort of 
connection between the two principalities save contiguity. A 
great-grandson of wicked astute rulersome old Gulab Singh 
of Jammu is the Maharajah Sir Hari Singh of Kashmir, who 
has lately been reaping the reward of his predecessor's too 
rigid treatment of the Muhammadan half of his kingdom. 
The state of Jammu is the home of some of the best Rajput 
clans, of the Dugar Des, the 'Land of the Two Lakes/ 
Siransir and Manesar, far up in the frontiers of China and 

In the hills between Jammu and Rajaori and the plains, 
the Hindu and Moslem tribes are considerably mingled, 
have the same tribal names and actually count kin, especially 
in such a group as the Chibs, and in fact racially the whole 
of these Hindus from the hills belong to the same racial stock 
as the rest of the Punjab that is not Jat. 

In the old feudal palace of Jammu the ancient whiskered 
clansmen wear a sword in a velvet scabbard stuck in their 
waistband, elephants weave in the corner of the palace-yard 
till wanted, and running footmen with muskets carried in 
red baize bags stand by, to attend on majesty. Dressed in 
black sheepskin caps, a few Afghan mercenaries still serve 
the Maharajah, some his own Kashmiri Afghans, some from 
his Khagan border, some from Afghanistan itself. Such 
is the mountain State of Jammu in which blend Muhammadan 
and Hindu Rajput of the Punjab. 


Let us now move a little inland, from the plains and the 
Moslem foot hills of the Dugar Des, and see the Hindu 
Rajput, the Rajput who has escaped the pressure of the 


Moslem invasions perhaps too missed the call of that simple 
austerity and remained in the ancient faith as part of the 
Brahmin blending. Let us see them step out from the 
fortified hill capital of Jammu, that city of bastions and white 
spires and temple gongs and bells, or from the great fortress 
city of Akhnoor on the River of China, and come down to 
serve His Majesty or His Highness the Maharajah. Or 
move a little farther south to the Dogra hills that are within 
British India, those Rajput countries about Kangra, or see 
those tall grenadier-like Rajputs who live in the plains, yet 
in spirit and race are the same as the Dogras. 

All comers from the interior valleys are good looking, 
the better bred the better looking, and the higher in the hills 
the shorter and sturdier the figure, riflemen and light infantry- 
men rather than grenadiers. The Mians and Katoch are 
highest of the Rajputs, blue-blooded and often enough as 
penniless as the laird of Cockpen, who make the most delight- 
ful of faithful and enthusiastic soldiery. The highest in caste 
will be received and saluted by others with the salutations 
Jai Deo, 'hail deity/ 01 'hail great spirit/ 

Those who serve with them, the British officers of the 
Dogra Regiments and the Dogra companies and squadrons 
of ordinary Punjabi Regiments, have the feeling that they 
are with men whose doings and feelings are always moved 
by a code of honour, not always the same as theirs, but one 
demanding a certain class of action demeanour and integrity, 
which will not fail. 

The Dogra villages, built as a rule of mud and stone 
nestle against the low hills, but homesteads can exist in safety 
and by no means all live in villages. The mud houses of the 
Punjab are much the same, but in the hills even more than 
in the plains are they the drying and stacking ground of 
produce, the golden corn-cobs, the bundles of dried maize 


stalks for the winter forage, with amaranth and' * love-lies- 
bleeding* in the yards so that a view of the terrace houses 
and fields from the hill top above is a charming sight. The 
Mian Dogra is too blue in blood to touch the plough handle; 
to do so would mean falling to the grade of Manhas. His 
tenants do the work while he stands by as does the Katoch in 
Kangra, and both are poorer therefor. 


The term Sikh is a name to conjure with in the minds 
of the ordinary British citizen. It brings memories of 
many wars in which the Sikh soldier has covered himself 
with glory, and the public picture, rightly enough, a tall, 
often hook-nosed and heavily bearded man. The British 
memory will be right. The Sikh soldier is nearly always 
tall and often of aquiline appearance. From this grouping 
of peoples in a religion that is gradually making its votaries 
a separate race although but three million all told, are drawn 
several wholly Sikh regiments and hosts of Sikh squadrons 
and companies in what are known as class-company regiments, 
i.e. those whose companies are composed of differing 

The great mass of the Sikh people are as has been explained 
the cultivating J&t race of the more easterly Punjab, with 
them are the lesser cultivators market gardeners, such as 
Sainis and Kumbohs whose origin it is not necessary to seek. 
Then come the trading caravan folk known as the Labanas^ 
and a certain number of the trading and clerical class of 
Sikh known as Khatri who claim to be of Kshattriya origin, 
and who from their education and ability, have often made 
good officers, and who are invaluable in the quartermastering 


ranks of regimental life. They possess the physical courage 
which is unusual in their class, and are a very valuable military 
as well as citizen stratum. 1 

But it is from the J&t, the great muscular, hardworking, 
rather stupid yeoman farmer, the man who is 'born with a 
plough in his hands ' and whose only toy of his childhood is 
a model plough, that the Sikh grenadier comes, the man 
to whom perhaps alone in India can the words of Napier 
be applied in battle, as fighting with 'the majesty with 
which the British soldier fights'. 

By reason of the rules of the brotherhood no hair is cut 
and no beard is shaved. The Sikh's hair is wisped up 
and confined with a comb like a woman's, and his beard 
in its civilian state is long and flowing, and with the old 
men truly patriarchical. The beard that is wound round 
a piece of string, and is curled and rolled inwards as known 
to those who see the Sikh soldier in life and in picture, 
but follows the Rajput habit, born of the need for preserving 
clothes and especially government uniforms clean. The 
Sikhs picked up the tilck from the Hindustani soldiery 
after the annexation of the Punjab. The Sikh army when 
the British met it, had long flowing beards. Such being 
a nuisance in private life the military habit has more or 
less spread to private life. 

The three districts from which the bulk of the Sikh 
soldiery come, and where most of the Sikhs reside, are 
known as the Manjha the country in the Bari Doab, secondly 
the Doaba, that is to say the country between the Beas and 
the Sutlej, and thirdly the Malwa the country east of the 

While there is little if anything, to choose between the 

1 Some are even settled as traders in the trans-frontier lands, and as * Afridi * 
Sikhs are sometimes enlisted for their valuable local knowledge. 


men of these three districts they do to some extent, possess 
special characteristics. It is from the Malwa that come 
the great grenadiers of the original Sikh regiments, and 
the men of the Manjha, who are shorter and perhaps more 
active, find the best men in the old rifle regiments of the 
Frontier Force. The J at is a better foot-soldier than he is 
trooper, though there are plenty of good soldiers and fair 
riders in the cavalry ranks. 

It is interesting here to turn aside for a minute and look 
at the peculiar geographical terms. Do-ab means two streams 
as Panj-ab or Punj- means five, and while this term is most 
used for the great Doab between the Ganges and the Jumna, 
the various doabs of the Punjab rivers are known by names 
made up of the initial letters of the name of each river. 
Thus the Bari Doab is the district between the Beas and 
the Ravi, the Rech Doab of the land between the Ravi and 
the Chenab, while Jack or Chaj is that between Chinab 
and Jhelum. The Chenab or better Chinab is the 'River 
of China' where it rises, and down the confluences of the 
Indus and the five rivers we have the Triniab or combined 
' Three- waters ' and the Panjnad or great stem of * Five- 
Rivers' aforesaid where the five as one join the Indus. 

The J^t Sikhs are composed of many gots and clans, of 
whom several while living within the general JSt banner 
claim Rajput descent from Rajput clans who have in later 
history returned to the Punjab from Rajputana. The 
names of the gots are too numerous to mention, some 
furnishing more, some less soldiers, but the largest ones enlist 
freely, gots such as the Sindus sending a great many 
soldiers to the army the police, and to the Straits Settlements. 
The Sikh goes where the pay is highest, and many make 
for the Far East where police, night-watchmen and the 
like are well paid. Gils and Dillons are also numerous but 


the gots are widely split and some of almost every one will 
be found in each of the districts and also in the cis-Sutlej 


The Sikh Regiments are many, but there is a curious 
muddle in nomenclature allowed to creep in whether through 
ignorance or to placate Frontier Force opinions, during the 
re-organization of Lord Kitchener's time. It has been the 
time-honoured custom of the British to raise corps from 
a people they have defeated, often from the actual prisoners 
of war. The first four Gurkha regiments were thus raised. 
After the first Sikh War in 1845-6 two local Sikh regiments 
were raised, the Regiments of Ferozepore and of Loodianah, 
names that they bear to this day. They have always been 
' class * regiments that is to say, all Sikh, and almost entirely 
J&t. Some nine years later a Sikh Military Police Battalion 
was raised for service in the Sonthal country on the lower 
Ganges, after the Sonthal rebellion. This Corps known 
as 'Rattray's Sikhs' with the Ferozepore and Loodianah 
Regiments were taken into the Bengal Line after the Mutiny, 
as the I4th, i5th, and 45th Bengal Native Infantry, and 
were known as the I4th Sikhs, etc. The Ferozepore and 
Rattray's Corps did well in the Mutiny though the Loodianah 
regiment in garrison at Benares mutinied, possibly through 
mishandling at the somewhat badly managed disarming of 
the garrison, at which difficult feat Colonel Neil 
was trying a 'prentice hand. 

The principle of enlisting your conquered people was 
followed still further in 1846, by raising a Punjab Irregular 
Force to occupy and police the newly annexed Doaba, (i.e. 
between Beas and Ravi), and face the turbulent Rajput tribes 


of the hills. The Infantry of this Force was known as the ist, 
2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sikh Infantry, the 2nd having the incorrect 
secondary cognomen of 'Hill* Sikhs, in other wards the 
Rajputs of the Dogra hills, who predominated in the ranks. 
After the Second Sikh War this force was incorporated 
with a larger one, the new Punjab Irregular Force, which 
was to garrison and police the Afghan and tribal border. 
The term Sikh Infantry meant troops raised from the old 
Sikh Army of Rajputs, Sikhs and Muhammadans. They were 
colloquially known as ist Sikhs, etc. and those who care 
for such things will also remember how the Infantry for 
the Irregular Force later named the 'Frontier* Force, had 
the ist to the 4th Sikh Infantry, and the ist to the 6th 
Punjab Infantry, a truly illogical numbering. But the 
first four were practically at the outset regiments of the 
Khalsa Army taken into the British Service, while the latter 
six were raised in the Punjab largely from old Sikh service 
soldiers, but from debris and not by corps. In Lord Kitch- 
ener's time these battalions, which never had more than 
one or two companies of Sikhs, were misnamed the 5 ist, 
52nd, 53rd, and 54th 'Sikhs* as if they had been like the 
I4th, 1 5th and others, entirely made up of Sikhs. It is 
a small but very interesting point. 

Another interesting point is that after the Annexation 
of the Punjab every Bengal Infantry Regiment was ordered 
to recruit at least a hundred Sikhs. The normal com- 
manding officer of the period had no use for the hairy 
uncouth-looking scoundrels as they appeared to him, com- 
pared with his neatly dressed, shako-topped Hindustanis. 
By 1857 however most corps had some, and even when 
these were more or less swept away in mutiny, they soon 
broke back to the British side. Wise Sir Henry Lawrence 
separated them from the Hindustanis when unrest first 


showed at Lucknow, and they formed a valuable addition 
to the defenders of the Residency. In the Punjab his brother 
also withdrew them to form new corps when the Bengal 
Regiments were disarmed. 

After the post-Mutiny reconstruction, when all corps above 
1 8, and a few below, were constituted from the Punjabi races, 
Sikhs furnished companies in these 'class company* corps. 

After the Second Afghan War and later more Sikh regi- 
ments were formed, notably the 35th and 36th, and the 
47th, all from the same classes. During the siege of Delhi 
the experiment was made of enlisting those Sikhs of the 
sweeper class who had been given, as already described, 
the title of Mazbhi or faithful who have now become a 
class and almost a caste by themselves. They did so well 
that eventually three regular battalions of Pioneer Infantry 
were raised from them, numbered the 23rd, 32nd, and 34th 
Bengal Pioneers. As the years rolled on and the old Madras 
regiments were growing unfit, more and more of them were 
converted to Punjabi re<rtments and this meant more and 
more demand for Sikhs so that as already referred to, the 
net of recruitment was widened, and Sikh classes never 
before tried were now enlisted. They have been successful 
as soldiers, and prove once more the uplift in heart and 
character that Sikhism has brought to those classes that 
have embraced it. So stimulating are its tenets and practices 
that it is not to be wondered that the British officers have 
insisted on its maintenance among their recruits. The result 
has been referred to, and is gratefully acknowledged by the 
Sikhs themselves, that at a time thirty or forty years ago 
when a great decadence was falling on this faith of Guru 
Govindh, the officers rescued it from slipping away to a 
very degenerated Hinduism and held it till the Khalsa 
started their own renaissance. 


With the re-grouping after the World- War, the five Sikh 
regiments other than Pioneer were formed as battalions of 
the nth Sikh Regiment, a necessary but tragic reform, in 
that the numbers that had become more than ever famous 
in the World-War, have been lost to general recognition. 


There are many gallant deeds that the Sikhs have done, 
both in our time and in the old time before, and in this 
World War, in France, in Palestine, in Mesopotamia, but 
there is no single incident that remains more vivid in men's 
minds than the Tragedy of Saragarhi. It is often lauded 
for the astounding bravery and devotion that it portrays; 
but that is really a clap-trap note. The party of Sikhs 
involved, nineteen rifles with two non-combatant cooks, were 
the most pitiful rats in a trap as the story will show, for whom 
a surrender meant a cruel death in cold blood. A fight to a 
finish on the contrary meant going to their God in state 
with the blood boiling, and many of their enemy to * open 
them heaven's gate* in the old Norse style. No, the story 
really rests on the tragedy and pity of their position, the 
impossibility of helping them and the majesty with which 
they, the rats in a trap, fought, not for the glory of the White 
Queen, who still reigned over us, not for the fame of their 
regiment, nor for the pride of the Khalsa, but because there 
was no way of saving their lives from a cruel pitiless foe. 

This is the story for those who do not know it, and it 
shows how the Crown in defending the realms under its 
authority must now and again call for terrible sacrifices. 

In 1897, the great Samana knife-edge on the North- West 
Frontier, some 6,000 feet above the salt sea, had been occupied 


by the British Government for five years as the only way of 
protecting the long corridor of cultivated plains, and the 
crowded trade route of the caravans to Kabul by the Kurram 
valley, and the Pass of the Camel's Neck. Northward it 
faces the great snow massif of the Safed Koh or 'White 
Mountain * that separates that part of the frontier hills from 
Afghanistan proper. Between the Samana and the Safed 
Koh lie the tumbled series of successive ranges and high 
uplands which form the Afridi and Orakzai Tirah. As an 
ordinary act of modern sovereignty the occupation of the 
Samana was a humane and necessary act. But it incensed 
the raiding tribes and its lofty position overlooks their 
haunts . . . lifted the 'purdah ' or veil, in their picturesque 

The normal garrison consisted of one Indian battalion 
distributed at two stations, Fort Lockhart and Fort Cavignari 
or Gulistan, and supporting a number of small forts held by 
tribal military police. In the summer of 1897, the battalion 
was the 36th Sikhs, a magnificent corps of J&t Sikhs, raised 
after the Russian war scare of 1885, by Major Cooke and 
Captain Holmes. The latter went among the villagers 
offering to wrestle with all and sundry, only stipulating that 
the competitor should enlist. Since 'All in* wrestling is 
par excellence a Sikh sport, he filled his regiment twice over, 
and commanded it by his fierce prestige. It was now ten 
years old but had yet to fight its maiden fight. 

But this summer of 1897 the growing distaste for the 
British policy of protecting trade routes through the border 
from raiders and blackmail, had bred a fiery dislike for the 
'Sirkar'. Highland caterans hate restraining, added to 
which Moslem Turkey, the Caliph of Rum, the Amir Ul 
Mominin t the ' leader of the faithful ', had beaten Christian 
Greece before all worlds. The drum ecclesiastic began to 


roll on the frontier, Rub-a-dub, Rub-a-dub, * Glory for all 
and heaven for those who bleed', the fierce mullahs raised the 
green standards, the shahids, the witnesses for the faith, 
waved their swords, and jihad or holy war was proclaimed 
from the minars and shrines on the mountain side. From 
pothold and valley forge, from terraced hillside and fortified 
homestead, the tribes poured forth. Now in Waziristan, 
now north of Peshawur, now in the Khaiber and down again 
on the Samana the Fiery Crescent spread. All along 
the border men flung themselves against the posts and 
garrisons that stood for law and order, for mercy and good 

The two military posts on the Samana were over four 
miles apart, the nearest reinforcement was the frontier brigade 
of all arms at Kohat forty miles away. Gulistan however, 
was out of sight of Fort Lockhart, by reason of the rocky 
bluff of Saragarhi, which blocked the view. Since com- 
munication is essential, and wireless was not known, a small 
fortified post consisting of walled enclosure and loopholed 
tower at one corner was built of masonry. From the tower, 
visual signalling could be carried out, in fact Saragarhi was 
visible from both forts. On the 2jth of August the Orakzai 
lashkars, some 6,000 strong, overflowed into the valley, 
attacked many military police posts on the ridge and in the 
plains, and invested Gulistan. By now reinforcements were 
arriving from India despite the intense heat below. Gulistan 
was being fiercely attacked, but by September loth it was 
relieved and the Orakzais were driven back into the Khanki 
valley; the relievers however, had to withdraw below for 
water. By now the Afridi lashkars baffled by the concentra- 
tion in the Khaiber had flowed over to the south, 10,000 
strong. This brought back a combined Orakzai and Afridi 
force and once more were the Samana posts attacked. Gulis- 


not to be found in the villages and jhoks. 1 Free of limb, 
straight of figure, strapping and comely, stand these brown 
daughters of Eve, good wives to good husbands, but not by 
any manner of means to wear the willow if neglected. I 
doubt if there are handsomer, comelier women to be seen 
the world over, where good looks and health are more to be 
prized than finer beauty, than there are in the land of the Five 
Rivers. Whether they be clad in the striped gay skirts of 
Sikh or Moslem, or in the red or white pyjamas that all 
affect on occasion, but more characteristically those of Islam, 
the breasts in a brassiere, the head covered or not by the 
loosened sari, the nose and ears handsomely ringed, anklets 
and bangles of the family savings, they may be seen at all 
times about their business in the village. They will be 
plastering the floor for cleanliness, saying the necessary 
prayers to the family shrine, pounding rice and grounding 
the wheat-meal that builds the bone and sinew, which the 
millet cannot give, milking the cows and goats, winnowing 
the threshed grain that the bullocks have trodden on the 
threshing floor, and generally being pretty fair mistresses of 
their own fate and their men folk; such are the women of 
the Punjab. Sadly and hardly the war hit them. Tens of 
thousands of their men folk went away never to come back. 
Deprived of the husband that means so much to open-air 
hearty folk, their war story has been one of resignation and 
actual enthusiasm, and yet somewhat helpless beneath the 
roguery and chicanery of relative and village officials. So 
much was this so that the Government of India appointed 
an English lady, 1 the widow of a colonel of a Punjab regiment, 
dead in the war, whose knowledge of the women folk was 
remarkable and unusual, to visit them and report if separation 

1 jhok homestead . 
Mrs. G.H. Bell. 


allowances and widow pensions were being duly paid and 
not sticking to the rapacious hands of post office and village 
underlings, that curse of India which Liberal thoughts and 
constitution planners affect to disregard ... the land of 
tyranny, oppression and petty robbery par excellence for 
those who are helpless ! Much were the visits of this English 
lady appreciated, and great was the courtesy and kindness 
extended to her, and deep did she find the loyalty and devotion 
to the Crown in these simple, anxious souls. And tragedy 
of tragedies were the grown-up girls whose marriages had 
not been completed, with the shame that such brings to 
Indian minds, and whose men folk were away for years and 
for ever. Sad the world round was the lot of the world's 
maids in this matter, saddest of all perhaps in the Punjab 
that trusted but hardly understood. Marriage in India is 
the most essential matter in a girl's life, for her place in 
Heaven is determined thereby. 


Here by way of lighter vein is an experience of the writer's 
when commanding a battery, that has its humorous side, 
but shows both the independence and perhaps the femininity 
of the lasses of the Punjab. One day outside my bungalow 
when I returned from the lines, was an old Muhammadan 
of the Punjab, obviously a yeoman farmer. Under another 
tree were a young man and a woman. And I asked the old 
man what his business might be. "Sahib" said he after a 
low obeisance, " I am in great trouble and shame. My son 
is a driver in your battery. We are Awans from the Salt 
Range. He is not married but has picked up some worthless 
woman who is living with him in your married quarters, 


and passing as his wife. I pray thee compel him to send her 
away. That is the young man over there." 

From the other tree now advanced a lad whom I had often 
noticed for his good seat on a horse and his smart appoint- 
ments. He was in white cotton clothes, the white that is 
tinged with the blue bag, and a regimental puggarree. The 
skirt also followed in his wake, and a skirt and a half I found 
her, tall and graceful and sonsy, as I saw a little later. The 
lad, a good-looking young Awan with almost Grecian features 
and a well set-up figure, saluted. 

"Well," I said, "what is the story and what have you 
done that your father should have to come to me?" The 
woman drew her sari closer over her face. 

"Sahib, when I last went home on my way back in the 
train I met this woman at Lala Musa, and I got into con- 
versation with her. She told me that her husband, who is a 
water-bailiff beyond Shapur, beat her and that she could 
stand it no longer. She was on her way to Lahore to try 
her luck in the chakla, the light o' loves quarter, as the more 
bearable life. I said to her, * That seems a pity, what's wrong 
with coming with me? You shall have a quarter in my 
commanding officer's lines. I will pay the sergeant and say 
that you are my new wife.' She said, * I don't mind if I do.' 
Now I am very fond of her, and she cooks well too. I cannot 
give her up, and if that water-bailiff man will divorce her I 
will marry her." The old man wrung his hands. " Sahib , 
this is a great sharm, a great disgrace." 

So I thought a while and the woman drew near and touched 
my feet and her sari fell from her head. I saw that she was 
a very proper woman. Tall and bonnie and hearty and 
modest-looking too withal. She wore heavy bangles on 
her ankles. "Are these your husband's?" I said, a serious 
matter. The lad broke in. 


"Sahib, I have given them to her. I had saved my pay." 

The woman gave me a beseeching look, a very haunting 
look from very attractive eyes. 

" If you take her away I shall die," said the young man. 
It was ever thus. Then I saw the Indian sergeant was 
waiting too, and I called him. 

"You know this woman?" 

" She is the young man's wife I believe. She is very well 
behaved and quiet and keeps herself to herself." 

I turned to the father. 

" It does not seem that I can do much. You know what 
young men are. You had better arrange a divorce if you 
can. She seems of your own class." 

The woman had now touched the feet of the old man. 

" I never saw her before, Sahib. She seems right. I will 
take this matter further if you say so." 

And they left and the young man's dog went with them 
as the Book of Tobit has it. It was reported to me however 
that the father had acquiesced in the situation. But that is 
not the end of the story. A month or two later, I found a 
party outside my orderly room. There was a constable with 
a warrant and a terrible looking individual, pock-marked, 
with a scrubby close-clipped grey beard, dyed red, a regular 
ogre. In the offing was my friend the young Awan and the 
lady, who now came up the verandah step. Here she com- 
plicated the situation by throwing her arms round my ankles. 
Happily the sergeant-major here intervened, for a lady 
embracing your ankles and looking up at you pleadingly is 
an embarrassment to a workaday soldier. 

The heavens had in fact fallen on the idyll. The pock- 
marked gentleman was the water-bailiff husband, and the 
constable had a warrant for the summons of the young man 
and order for his arrest on a charge of abduction, which the 


constable said would be abandoned if the lady would return 
to her husband. 

The young soldier declared that he could not part with her; 
that he had spent much money on her, and that she was his 
all-in-all. Sympathy seemed to run with him, my captain 
even suggested that it was infernal impertinence the police- 
man coming into our lines with a warrant, and suggested I 
should kick him out. The appearance of the water-bailiff, 
the ogre owner and the beauty were too great a contrast. 
So I said, "What does the woman want. This choice young 
man or her red bearded husband ? " 

Then she drew herself up. What had happened I 
know not. Had there been jars? I could not tell. 

"Do you think" she said sweetly, "that I will stay 
with that creature," and she pointed to the soldier, 
"when my own good kind husband has come all 
this way to fetch me? " and she stepped across to his side. 
Who was I to interfere between man and wife? Whether 
the lady had seen the game was up and was surrendering 
handsomely I know r^t. It was a very crumpled young 
soldier that left my presence as the lass, the delightful good- 
looking lass, that was meant to be the mother of generations 
of good soldiers went off on her rightful arm, the constable 
and the warrant following. Perhaps Mulvaney would have 
said "I learnt about women from *er." But anyway I had seen 
a typical Punjabi woman of the soldier class at close quarters 
and I liked the look of her. 

That was the end of it so far as I ever heard, but I took the 
lad away shooting with me to give him something else to 
think about. 







So much for the fashionable Punjab whose fighting men 
furnish the greater part of the Army, fashionable because of 
their flocking to suppress the Mutiny and the rebellion that 
accompanied it, fashionable because they gave the British 
so tough a job in the Sikh Wars, fashionable because they 
poured forth so many hundred thousand enthusiastic self- 
sacrificing soldiers in the World War, and because their ways 
are the ways of men, and for numerous cognate reasons. 

But there are other parts of the Indian sea where the 
fishing is good though not so prolific, where the young men 
have always served, and whence also many flocked in the 
World War, and if they could not fight at any rate came to 
labour. But nevertheless, the rest of India has nothing like 
the same percentage of men that are men as the Punjab, while 
as for the intelligentsia, it may be said that eighty per cent of 


those screaming for Swaraj did not only not move a finger to 
serve in the war time, but many were actively concerned 
with hindering it. Had there not been a Labour Government 
in power when such questions would have been invidious, 
it would have been no bad jest to have summarized and made 
public the war services of those who came to the Round 

The races that are not of the Punjab and which serve 
India and the Crown with credit, must now be enumerated, 
and it will be seen that some of them have a special romance 
of their own, often deeply connected with some of the more 
glorious of both British and Indian traditions. 


Anglo-Indian is the name now applied officially to people 
in India born of British and Indian parents, or the descendants 
of such. It has taken the place of the term Eurasian, an 
obviously unsuitable one, which may equally apply to 
Franco-Chinese or any other combination. Speaking gen- 
erally it applies to those of the first generation whose fathers 
are British and whose mothers are Indian and their descend- 
ants, but as there is a growing number njf unions between 
Eastern men and Western women the term may in time be 
widened. We have yet to discover how the latter are to be 
brought up. The Anglo-Indian at present is almost invariably 
brought up as a Westerner. This community is just as much 
an Indian one as were the earlier progeny of Aryan and Dravi- 
dian, or of Turk and Indian, and so far as they have martial 
proclivities they are entitled to a place in this chapter, and 
I have placed them between the Northerners and the others. 

There have been in the last 150 years many famous soldiers 


and frontiersmen of mixed parentage. The famous Colonel 
Skinner will be described in this chapter under the story of 
the Hindustani Moslems, and he is one of the most dis- 
tinguished in history, and in his generation have been also 
Robert Skinner his brother, Hyder Hearsey and many others, 
while a generation or so later there were several who came to 
fame, and among them no less a person than Sir Richard 
Warburton of the Khaiber. Many generations of Hearseys 
served the Crown. Sir John Hearsey, the famous cavalry 
soldier, had no Indian blood, but his cousin Hyder had, 
and also had married Zenat-ul-Nissa, one of the Begums of 
Cambay, wards of the Moguls, Sir John marrying Hyder's 
daughter Harriet. There were several of her sons in the 
Army. Hyder himself when sixteen years of age had a 
cadetship in the French trained forces of M. Perron in the 
service of Sindia, and only joined the British service after 
Lord Lake's victories. Then he served the state in many 
campaigns and in many capacities, and was a great character 
well known in his day. Among the many stories that used 
to be current was that he had a Pachesi board tattooed on his 
abdomen and that his wives played Pachesi (Homeward 
Bound) thereon while he slept 1 

This half-bred race is a peculiar one, handicapped in 
many ways, and having varied origin. Some of the women 
married were of the highest families, others of the humblest. 
Some of the mixed race were the children of officers, others 
the miscellaneous progeny of the rank and file. The 
women in the south were probably Dravidian, in the centre 
Aryan and in the north often of Tartar blood. But the well- 
to-do of the mixed race have of modern years retired to 
England and failed to be a support to those left in India. 
It has been said that this community * leaks at both ends', 
the upper end to England and the lower to the native 


Christians in the bazaars who wear European clothes, but 
whose European names have often been taken from the 
tombstones in the British burial ground. In no other race 
do those who come to success tend to disappear from among 
their community. 

In many periods of Indian history the young men of 
mixed blood have rallied to the service. There have been 
many in the ranks of the Company's Europeans, and dur- 
ing the Mutiny many served in the Volunteer cavalry, 
notably the Lahore Horse, and took a part in the Defence 
of Lucknow and Cawnpore. Since the Mutiny their services 
have been made little military use of save in the subordinate 
medical services, and indeed some want of sympathy and 
imagination towards a community that is of Britain's own 
making must be laid at the door of the authorities. The 
Volunteer force of India, however, has seen them by the 
thousand, and in the World War they flocked to serve, 
both in such corps as the Madras Artillery (who shared 
in the Defence of Kut), and in every sort of technical service. 
The community have a grievance that a battalion has not 
been raised from them for the permanent army. That 
is not based on sound reasoning, for the life of the normal 
rank and file does not offer a career. They would not have 
been the better for such an opening, nor do they turn out 
sufficient men of physique to form a battalion, the better 
grown members looking for some higher role in life than 
that of the rank and file, which is but a preliminary to 
unskilled work in civil life. A battery of coast and inland 
artillery should certainly have been raised for them, and 
the Signal Service is one that should have been opened 
to them in earlier days. 

Unfortunately, white people still have the instinct, even 
when repressed, to look down on the offspring of miscegena- 


tion, and those who condemn the Aryan contempt for the 
depressed classes, the descendants of miscegenation, are 
not themselves free from an exactly similar complex. This 
mixed race which gets so complicated as the generations 
roll on, is a serious problem, for the name Anglo-Indian 
covers so many varying elements and stages, but its military 
record is by no means negligible, and the memorials for 
the World War in the schools of India, mostly in the hills 
to which such boys go, contain just as sad, and in proportion, 
just as numerous tablets to young lives lost as do the schools 
in Merry England. Its fostering and its care, especially 
under changing Indian conditions, are a peculiar duty for 
Britain, and it is satisfactory to know that after some delay 
Christian boys of mixed descent are declared as eligible 
as any other Indian-born lad for the position of ' Brindian * 
the slang phrase for an Indian-born lad who is to have 
a British officer's status in the army. 

Let us hope in justice to the memory of James Skinner, 
Hyder Hearsey and Richard Warburton of the Artillery, 
that such boys may come to great fame. 


Those who are not well acquainted with the story of the 
Indian races will be surprised to know that the Brahmin 
has for many generations been renowned as a soldier. The 
ranks of the Bengal Army were largely recruited from the 
agricultural Brahmins of Oudh. The sepoy ranks that 
helped carry the Union Jack to China, to Egypt and to the 
Hindu Rush contained many men of the priestly race, 
stalwart young yeoman peasants from the farms on the 
plain of Hindustan proper. Their defects as soldiers were 


largely their ceremonial and other inhibitions regarding 
food. The obligation to strip to feed made the Afghan 
winter a sad trial, while the question of water and sick 
attendants was most complicated. After the mutiny of 
the Bengal Army their numbers were greatly reduced, 
but in almost every war the Brahmin soldiers of His Majesty 
have gained some special distinction. The intense veneration 
however that they demand and receive has always made 
their position in a disciplined army anomalous, while the 
overpowering penchant for intrigue has always made them 
a troublesome asset in their grouping. Before the World 
War they had all been concentrated in two battalions entirely 
Brahmin in the hope that their pride of race might be enhanced 
and that they might well exhaust their power of intrigue 
on themselves. As two fine corps they went to the War, 
but they unexpectedly refused to abrogate their feeding 
and cooking peculiarities as they had promised in the face 
of the enemy, were starved in consequence and lost any 
reputation they had acquired. Now except a clan known 
as the Gaur Propel, whose habits are simpler, there are 
very few to be found in the Army. 

As members of the Indian race their future must depend 
on the line which they are to take. Hindu reformers of 
non- Brahmin castes have always held their pretensions in 
enmity. The Westernization of many ideas may alter their 
outlook, but a race and a pretension which survived a thousand 
years of Buddhism, and eight hundred years of Islam, is 
not likely to give up lightly the position in the minds of 
men that is theirs by three thousand years of custom. What 
is likely to do them more harm than anything else is a dis- 
play of such hostility against British dominion and leadership 
as will exasperate the British spirit against them. For 
a race of such intellect a joint alliance alone can promise 


well for the fate of India and themselves in the next few 
generations. Beyond that the human vision cannot look, 
but can however draw deductions from the centuries that 
fall away behind it. 


The term Hindustani Moslem is an inclusive one and 
comprises all those who profess the Moslem faith in the 
United Provinces, which include Rohilkand and the Delhi 
districts. They include the converts the Sheiks, the des- 
cendants of settlers of all kinds, Afghan, Pathan and Turk, 
and the people of traditional Arab descent, the Sayads. But 
round Lucknow are descendants of many and varied breeds 
of foreigners, Turks and Persians, so that the Moslems 
who live in 'Hindustan', the name by which the country 
of the earlier Gangetic settlement is known to the Eastern 
world, are of many origins. 

Many as they are, it cannot be said that all are of any 
martial strain or proclivities, and it is not till we get nearer 
to Delhi that we begin to touch the real soldier strain. 

In the districts round about that ancient capital are a 
large number of land-owning and cultivating smallholders, 
yeoman peasantry and the smaller lairds, all of whom at 
one time or another have received land from the kings and 
emperors of Delhi. Ethnologically they may be Turk, 
Afghan, Persian or Pathan. They call themselves by the 
term Turk, or rather 'Toork' for the tongue dwells on the 
' u ', and in the sense that Toork has come to have, already 
referred to, of 'professional hereditary soldier*. They all 
have tied tenants under them to whom they still refer as 
their 'slave*. Other of the hereditary professional soldiers 


are the Rohillas, the descendants of the Afghan and Pathan 
settler of Rohilkand, of whose history so much has already 
been said. It is from these men that the old Irregular or 
Silladar Cavalry drew their best men before the Mutiny. 
It was such men as these who in Afghanistan would fight 
single combats with Afghan horsemen, and it is they who 
when they mutinied were so often killed in single combat 
by the young British leaders of the retributary horse 
and at times killed them. But it is also the fact that many 
of them, especially the 'Toorks', remained staunch. 

It was from this class that 'Old Sekunder' 1 Colonel 
James Skinner, raised his men whom he brought to Lord 
Lake's service from that of the broken army of Sindiah. 
Two regiments of Skinner's Horse served the Company 
and the Crown from the beginning of the nineteenth century 
to the end of the World War when they were amalgamated 
in one only as 'Skinner's Horse'. The ist was the original 
corps of old James', the 'Yellow boys' in the canary-coloured 
kurta that they wear to this day, and the 3rd Skinner's 
Horse was a corps raised by his nephew. Old James him- 
self was the son of an officer in the Company's service and 
a Rajputni and entered the cadet service of De Boigne under 
Sindiah. The stories of him are legion. He wore a British 
dragoon helmet and a yellow light dragoon jacket trimmed 
with silver braid. The church he built at Delhi is well known 
but not perhaps the mosque and the Hindu temple, all erected 
says the story, because of a vow that he made when once 
abandoned wounded on the field of battle to make the 
many mansions that might appease and who shall say 
that he was wrong? 

The Skinner family still abide on the Skinner estates 
near Delhi, and little old ladies in beaded capes and black 

1 Sekunder fortunate the name for Alexander of Macedon. 


crepe bonnets still sit in the Skinner pew, while the head 
of the family still holds an honorary if undistinguished 
commission in the ancestral corps. 

There is an old Irish saying 'the tribe of Flynns know 
their own whiskey skins', and Skinner knew his Moslem 
men. He enlisted only the Toork from Delhi as his silladars 1 
with a few of their slaves as bhargirs, and he left it in his 
will that never should the Rohilla be allowed to dim its 
ranks as he considered them always untrustworthy and 
full of fisad, i.e. treachery and intrigue. To him as to all 
others Indian born the old tag held good "Afghan ! Afghan ! 
Be iman! be iman!" which may be interpreted "Fie! Fie! 
Faithless Afghan!" This is a reflection which the friends 
of the Afghans would fain explain away and which the 
Afghans would like to live down. They do not find it easy, 
and old James' will came straight off the ice ! 

Now Skinner's Horse under Crauford Chamberlain was 
staunch as a bell during the Mutiny and practically held 
the frontier city of Multan, disarming the Poorbiah sepoys, 
connected with which is the terrible shooting at Gurgaon 
of the ressaldar-major of the regiment on leave from Multan 
during the Mutiny by Hodson, the one act that no-one 
has ever been able to explain or exonerate. Another famous 
corps, the two regiments of Sind horse, afterwards the Sind 
Horse and Jacob's Horse, swore by them as the finest soldiers 
in India, and they kept the whole of that fierce Baluch 
border quiet and put the 'Fear of God' into the Baluchis 
for all time. The cavalry regiments of the Frontier Force 
also enlisted them. But the upset of the Mutiny, the pre- 
vailing passion for Punjabis, and no doubt the dying of 

a Silladars, men who bring their own horse and arms and are paid 
accordingly. Bhargirs t men who are brought by a superior who provides 
the needful for them. 


the martial instinct among some, has brought about a fewer 
number in the ranks than formerly. There are magnificent 
young men among them, and certainly the present older 
generation still speak with awe and veneration of Lik Sahib, 
Lord Lake, the general who drove the Mahrattas from 
Moslem Delhi. 

There are still choice young horsemen too among the 
Rohillas, but the record of Rohilkand in '57 has taken a 
lot of living down, and it is not from that province of ill- 
omened name that many come who serve the Crown. 


We have seen the great Jat or Jat race of history contend 
and mix in earlier times with those who had obtained their 
footing in the great fraternity of Rajputs, and how they had 
for reasons not explicable remained outside. We have also 
seen how a portion adopted Sikhism to found the solid basis 
of the men of the -eligion that is becoming a race, and we 
have also seen how some have turned to Islam and have 
noticed the warning that * J2t ' in the Punjab is almost synony- 
mous with cultivator, and cannot be taken entirely as denoting 

Among the Hindu Jats of Rajputana and the territories 
round Delhi to-day it is very different. Here you find the 
Jats as they were when they came into the hierarchy of 
Brahminism, probably at the reconstruction. You have the 
peasantry, the yeoman and the small landowner, the lads that 
flock to the army, also choice young men and goodly, with all 
the good traits of Hinduism of repute and status and few of 
the bad ones. 

The Jat with a long a is exclusively Hindu, and in British 


India is found in all the districts in the vicinity of Delhi, as 
well as Rajputana and in portions of the United Provinces. 
They are grouped into two fairly distinct sections known as 
Hele and Dhe, but in Rajputana the Hele are also called 
Deswali and the Dhe Pachade ; the Hele and Deswali have a 
higher social status than the others, which may date back 
far into history, the Dhe being said to be much later arrivals 
in the country, and also to be perhaps the ancient Dahe who 
were spread from the Caspian to the Persian gulf. 

The Jats were a very definite power in the days of the 
Mogul waning, and the defiance of the British by the state of 
Bhurtpur, then in alliance with Holkar, resulted in the only 
setback that Lord Lake met with, having four times been 
repulsed with heavy loss from its high mud walls, despite the 
greatest gallantry of British and Sepoy stormers, in which the 
famous 76th Foot was specially pre-eminent. It was not 
till 1826 that fresh arrogance on the part of a usurping 
potentate resulted in the final capture by Lord Combermere. 
The defence was then equally stout, but the British brought 
more heavy guns and worked under better conditions. The 
Jats then had entertained a large contingent of mercenary 
Pathans who suffered severely. 

The Jats in Rajputana are for military purposes divided 
into Western and Eastern, the former from the bulk of the 
larger Rajputana states, and the latter from Bhurtpur, Dholpur, 
and the district of Karauli. The largest number of Jats 
are found in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikanir and Bhurtpur. The 
modern Jat like the Jiit Sikh is stolid and unimaginative, but 
never forgets what he has once learnt. He is sturdy and 
independent in character and does not subscribe to those 
Hindu customs which have been the ruin of so many of its 
votaries. Marriage is usually at adult age, and the young 
men, like those of the peasantry in the Punjab, are not victims 


to the early eroticism which so injures the classes of the intel- 
ligentsia. Widow marriage is practised, and the Jat in fact 
stands at the top of the classes who permit it, caring naught 
for ordinary Hindu opinion. The opinions of experienced 
officers and the experience of the World War have placed 
them among the best of the Indian martial classes. Indeed 
one of the Jat battalions like the Mahratta and the Garhwali 
has the high distinction of the title of 'Royal. 1 The women 
of the Jat classes, and indeed of all Rajputana, are sturdy, 
jolly wenches. They dress in a flowered corset, laced at 
the back, which acts as a brassiere, wear a picturesquely 
bright skirt of coarse dyed cotton, and a bright head scarf. 

The number of gots^or clans among the Jats is legion, the 
larger clans noticeable in the Punjab not existing, and for 
this reason a man's got is not so important in his estimation 
as among other classes. 

The regiments that wholly enlisted Jats under the class 
system existing before the World War were the 6th and the 
loth Jats now battalions of the Qth Jat Regiment, the 6th 
having earned the *'>le ' Royal.' There are also Jat squadrons 
in some of the cavalry corps as well as Jat companies in other 
Infantry regiments. 


There are, as has been explained, but two centres where 
the genuine unadulterated clan-bound Hindu Rajput is to 
be found, the arid hills and valleys of Rajasthan, to which the 
Rajputs of the Gangetic plain betook themselves before the 
hosts of Islam, and the Dogra Hills. The men of the former 
both Rajput and other races of martial proclivities inhabiting 

Got has a different significance here from what it has with Rajputs 
who use it of marriage groups, rather than clan. 


Rajasthan enlist into the Rajputana Rifle Regiments, the yth 
Rajput Regiment and some of the companies of the former 
Hyderabad Regiments. More could be obtained if needed, 
but as in Jammu and Kashmir, the state armies themselves 
have first claim on their own men. There are eleven true 
Rajput clans still recognized in Rajputana or Rajasthan, and 
they are the names famous in the Rajput annals that have 
already been briefly described. Among the more notable 
are Rathor, Kachwaha, Chauhan and Jadu. 

The Rathores always have pride of place and by predilection 
are cavalry men only. The only Victoria Cross gained by a 
Rajput in the World War was won by a Rathore, Jemadar 
Govind Singh, 28th Light Cavalry. Their martial spirit 
in modern times has largely been sustained and stimulated 
by that Paladin among modern Indian heroes, the Maharajah 
Sir Pertab Singh of Jodhpur, the first gentleman, it is not too 
much to say, in the Empire. 

The Kachwaha are another very numerous tribe with many 
sub-clans, divided into three main groups of which the 
Shekhawat find more soldiers than any other, and from 
them the Shekhawati regiment of the Bengal Line was 
recruited, now the loth Battalion of the Rajput Regiment. 
The Jadus, the Rajputs of the Moon, have often been 
mentioned. The Bhattis who are found all over the north, 
Hindu and Moslem, are a branch of the Jadus, and in the 
Punjab gave their name to the city of Bhatinda. The Bhattis 
have long been laughed at as simple coves. One of their 
chiefs of Jaisulmer is said to have ordered the jackals in 
his forests to be clothed because some one had said that 
their howling at night was due to their feeling the cold. 

Every tribe is the centre of many legends of origins and 
prowess, and the sagas of chivalry and derring-do are the 
constant subject of popular song and recital. If you march 


and camp with Rajputs you may sit late into every night 
by the camp fires listening to all that is to be told, each yarn 
more stirring, more romantic and more imaginative than 
its predecessor ! The people of this countryside far removed 
from many of the so-called ways of progress that are to be 
met with at any rate in the great cities of India, are much 
as India has been through the ages. Elephants weave at 
the Palace gates and hoot at the Chief's silver motor car, 
gaily caparisoned horses and camels are ridden through the 
great city gates and archways into the crowded, picturesque 
bazaars. Retainers carrying often enough the arms and 
even the mail of the middle ages throng the palaces, and a 
paternal feudalism is everywhere in evidence, though that 
does not mean that modern ways are necessarily absent from 
the framework of the administration. 

The Rajput chief however is still the father of his state, 
his clan, and his people, and the descriptions that Lyall 
wrote hold good in this the twentieth century, save that 
the widows will not burn unless surreptitiously. It is he 
who makes the old Jying hidalgo mourn for the ways of 
war that are gone: 

Eight months my grandsire held the keep 

Against the fierce Mahratta hordes 
It would not stand three winter suns 

Before the shattering English guns. 

and the fierce uncompromising spirit that still remains when 
the old man tells of his unwilling penance for the death of 
a Brahmin : 

But I must offer gifts and pray 
The Brahmins stain be washed away. 
Saint and poisoner, fed with bribes 
Deep-versed in every traitorous plan. 
I told them only to kill the scribes 
But my Afghans hated the holy man. 


The end of such needs Kipling's gift to see him go on 
his funeral pyre, when his prowess and his titles are chanted 
in sonorous Persian Dost-i-Inglishia, Bahadur-i-Bahaduran: 

Friend of the English, Free from Fear, 
King of the desert of Jeysulmere 
Lord of the jungles. Go I 

And the young men leave the simple old paternal lands, 
and follow the Union Jack round the world, deriving pleasure 
and profit thereby, and so the world rolls on. 


There are in Rajputana many Moslem peoples of distinct 
military value more exploited in the days now past of the 
local corps than in the Army of the Line, but still happily 
not entirely overlooked and to be found in the ranks of what 
is now the 6th Rajputana Rifles, and the yth Rajput Regiment. 
The Rajputana Rifles has for its components the regiments 
known before the recent regrouping as the iO4th, izoth, 
1 22nd, 1 23rd and 1251)1 Regiments, three of them being the 
famous Bombay Rifle Corps. 

The races are not sufficiently prominent to merit a long 
description. Perhaps the most important are the Minas, 
regarded as some of the aboriginal inhabitants who live in 
the long mountain range known as the Kalikho Hills, which 
run from Ajmere to the Jumna. Many of the clans, however, 
claim and undoubtedly have, some Rajput admixture. 
There are six main divisions and countless clans, and as 
many stories accounting for the origin of each. Some of 
those who claim Rajput admixture are admittedly of high 
status, and from some of them, such as the Ujlash, Rajputs 
will take food and drink. They make useful soldiers. 


The Mers come from Merwara, which state at one time 
had quartered in it the local Merwara battalion, afterwards 
numbered in Lord Kitchener's day as the 44th. They are it 
is said but the highlanders of Rajputana and of aboriginal 
origin. Mers are both Hindu and Moslem, the latter being 
usually called Merats, yet to make the problem simpler there 
are also Hindu Merats to be found. Military service is 
extremely popular with Mers who flocked to the new corps 
during the War. It is because they have never been known 
outside the local corps that they have not been made more 
use of. Mers and Merats have been known to eat together 
in spite of the latter being Moslem, but on the other hand 
many of them are anxious to be recognized as having Rajput 

Kaimkhanis are Rajput Moslems said to be descended 
from Chouhan stock converted in the fourteenth century 
when Feroz Tulaq was Emperor at Delhi. They are not 
very numerous but living in Rajputana have retained many 
Rajput habits and make fine horse as well as foot soldiers. 
Meos are the inhclltants of Mewat, the term for the hill 
country in the states of Alwar, Bhurtpur and the Delhi 
district, and are probably folk of pre-Aryan origin. They 
are all Moslems in name and are cheery, sturdy soldiers, 
of whom perhaps more might be made. A small high grade 
Moslem people are known as the Khanzadas from whom 
soldiers are taken. 

It is to be understood that the number of battalions required 
from the races of Rajputana is small and that the contingent 
from these races is as nothing compared with the enlistment 
in the Punjab. Nor is it probable that they are, taken all 
round, up to the Punjab standard of physique and general 


\F(ice />A'f 282 



Reference has been made in Chapter III to a people of 
obscure origin widespread in northern India, viz., the 
Gujars, many of whom are Moslem and who are largely 
graziers. They live in considerable numbers in Rajputana 
and round Delhi, where they have always had a reputation 
for turbulence. A few of them are taken into the Army 
among the Rajputana classes, and in the Punjab as Punjabi 
Muhammadans and are a class from whom, if need be, a 
larger number of soldiers might be drawn. Rather inde- 
pendent, and agricultural or rather pastoral, they have many 
of the characteristics of the Jats but live in a lower social 
plane in the eyes of Hindudom generally. Gujars are to be 
found all over the Delhi districts, the Doab and in Rajputana 
as well as the Punjab. Gujars were and probably are the 
acknowledged experts and addicts in cattle thieving, and 
whenever law and order is at all below par, the addiction will 
break out, for at all times as on the Highland border your 
neighbour's cattle are fair game. 

Among the Jat and Gujar races and the Eastern Rajputs 
will be found another useful people, the Ahirs, not taken 
very largely as fighting soldiers save as drivers in the Artillery, 
and recently even as gunners. The Ahir group known 
as Jadubans, however, have always been taken in the corps 
that were in the Hyderabad contingent. They are chiefly 
lesser cultivators and dairymen to whom the producing of 
milk for the ghee market is an important industry. Ahirs 
are perhaps a respectable Hindu class rather than a race, but 
keep themselves to themselves, and are one of the most 
reputable classes in their districts in a minor way. Their 
usefulness in their special line is considerable, and though 


in the past they have no doubt shouldered a pike in the 
military rag tag and bobtail of Eastern armies, they cannot 
well be described as one of the martial races of renown, yet 
their reputation is growing. 

The Eastern Rajput is the modern recruiting name for 
the class that formed the mass of the Bengal Army, the 
Rajputs of Oudh and Behar, and what are now known as 
the United Provinces. Fine athletic young men under 
modern conditions, a certain number are taken in the jth 
Rajput Regiment and a few in other corps. They, as has 
been explained, did furnish the bulk of the old professional 
soldiers of northern India, faithful like the cat to the house 
rather than to the master, and in days gone by have marched 
to the Hindu Kush and beyond with the Mogul armies as 
well as under the Union Jack, and it was they who sang 
the old patient chant of the foot-soldier: 

Khdbhi Sukh aur Kh&bhi DZkk 
Angrez ka naukar 

which may be interpreted 

" Sometimes pleasure, sometimes pain 
The soldier of the English. 1 ' 


The Gurkha both past and present has been dealt with in 
a separate chapter, by reason of his commanding place among 
the martial races. Allusion has been made in that chapter 
and elsewhere to the Aryanization, the penetration by the 
old white colonists into the lower valleys and hills of outer 
Himalaya, and how there were evolved races which in the 
reconstruction were accorded Rajput status. This was 


especially the case in the hill tracts north-west of Nepal 
known as Kumaon and Garhwal, from which, as already 
related, the ruthless invading Gurkhas were driven by the 
British in the war of 1814-16. Kumaon is now a British 
district of which Garhwal is a part, the northern half of 
the latter, however, being the state of Tehri-Garhwal. The 
Garhwali Rajput has come to great fame and status in the 
Indian Army, but especially so in the World War, when not 
one but all regular battalions were among the very few to earn 
the distinction of the title * Royal ', a distinction shared with 
one Gurkha, one Jat, one Mazbhi Sikh corps, and the Deccan 
Horse. The Kumaoni, a little hillman who of late years 
has not been very favoured, supplied battalions during the 
War and one of them has been retained since. 

The history of the Garhwal hills has been little written 
of, and such as it is but records the constant wars between 
chief and clan and baron, and the attempts of the Moguls to 
bring the country into their system. 

We know and the people know that the twelve years of 
Gurkha dominion were exceedingly bitter. All old families 
were destroyed, all persons of rank and importance were 
banished or murdered, villages were burnt and many of the 
people sold as slaves. The British rule which succeeded 
was unalloyed bliss by contrast. 

Nine-tenths of the people of Garhwal belong to the mys- 
terious Khas race, of which Garhwal is now the true Khas 
desk, or Khas country, a race mysterious because we find 
geographical traces of them in many a place-name, Kashgar- 
has, Kashmir and the like, and because no one can quite 
locate them in the Aryan cosmos. Were they a separate 
and advance wave of Aryan, or were they earlier folk, whiter 
than Dravidian, who mingled with Aryans? No man 
knoweth. We see the same folk also in Nepal, and along the 


Himalayan foothills towards Assam as Khasas, amid the 
Khasya Hills. However that may be the Khas have now 
Rajput Aryan status sufficient for the purposes of modern 
Hinduism. The remaining tenth of the people of Garhwal 
are the Tibetan Bhotyas, the Nagas, also the remnant of some 
lost race, and certain immigrants as well as the universal 
black servitors of India, the Doms. 

For modern grouping the terms Upper and Lower Garhwal 
are used, the people of Upper Garhwal being by physique 
and by character, the better soldier. The broad divisions 
are Brahmin, Rajput and Dom. The Rajput includes both 
Khasas and the Rajput immigrants of later coming. The 
various groups and clans in the first two categories are 
innumerable, some being better for military purposes than 
others. A few Brahmins are enlisted, but the major portion 
of soldiers comes from the Rajput class. The Garhwali is 
slighter and lighter than the thickset Tibetan and Tartar 
folk, and unless there has been some Dom admixture they 
are fair of countenance. The wilder and less sophisticated 
man is the better sexier, the man who only wears blankets; 
he who wears cotton is always less desirable. The dark man 
of Dom colour is also to be avoided. In former years many 
Garhwalis were enlisted in Gurkha or other corps, and their 
good qualities were not so supremely developed till they were 
grouped in all-Garhwali corps. They have been clothed 
by the British in rifle green, and dressed like the Gurkhas 
in Kilmarnock cap. There is a faint trace of the Tartar often 
in their faces, as if some miscegenation had been admitted 
in the past, and in appearance they resemble faintly the 
Gurkha, especially the Khas Gurkha, though taller and 
slighter. To the Garhwali however the Gurkha is anathema, 
and they would indignantly disclaim any resemblance. A 
good many of them were serving in the Gurkha Army under 


Gurkha officers in 1914-16 which accounts for their being 
found in days gone by in the ranks of our own Gurkha corps. 
It was a sad jar to their pride that, when a company or 
platoon gave trouble in 1930 in Peshawar and the whole 
corps was disarmed, they should have been sent to the 
custody of the Gurkha brigade at Abbottabad. 

The disaffection was happily only in a small portion of 
the corps, which was shortly after re-armed. The evidence 
of the British officer who commanded the errant company 
at the military court was significant because it so exactly 
tallies with the tragic behaviour of hitherto loyal corps in 
1857. "I did not know the men, they were transformed 
from the men I knew." It was the same in '57, a really loyal 
corps, clamouring one night to be led against mutineers, 
would have turned sour in the night like milk in thunder. 
A virus cherished by some evil cell would have spread from 
some slight indisposition. For some years the military 
authorities had been dinning into the hypnotized ears of the 
Civil Administration that congress seditionists were very 
active in peaceful happy Garhwal, and could bode no good. 
It does not pay in the East to disregard the omens. 

The great record of the Garhwalis as loyal soldiers, how- 
ever, can carry off this strange if ominous incident. They 
went to the World War as the ist and 2nd battalion of the 
39th Garhwal Rifles, and eventually expanded to four 
battalions. After the War in the re-grouping they remained 
as the 1 8th Royal Garhwal Rifles, the title 'Royal* being 
conferred on the whole corps y but because the Army is human 
and suspicious of favourites it was not unamused at the 
Peshawar incident. 

It was in France that the regiment earned such undying 
fame as almost to be classed as ' storm troops \ So far as it 
is an accurate gauge, the list of honours is significant: 


Out of 5 Victoria Crosses won in France by Indians 2 

went to the 2 battalions of Garhwalis. 
Out of 10 Military Crosses 4 do. do. do. do. 
Out of 68 Indian Orders of Merit 7 do. do. do. do. 

grants far above the proportion likely to accrue to them. 
Losses were peculiarly heavy and amounted to 60 per cent, 
15 per cent being killed. 

The State of Tehri Garhwal maintained a Company of 
Sappers for the Imperial Service, which also went to the 
War, and was not undistinguished, and of course furnished 
many recruits. That in brief is the story of martial Garhwal. 

The Kumaonis, who inhabit the district south of and 
adjoining Garhwal, are very similar in type, but in appearance 
show rather more of the leavening Tartar blood. Were 
India at all short of soldiers, several more corps could be 
raised from this Hindu race. 


The Mahrattas of to-day, or of any period, are born and 
bred among very different scenes from the men of the frontier 
and the sun-swept Punjab. Theirs is neither the heat that 
rattles mens* skulls and brains, nor the fierce cold that 
makes men among men. Not the wholemeal of the ' atta \ 
the coarse-grown wheat goes to their composition, nor the 
grapes and apples of the northern fruits. They live a life 
and eat a diet that produces the wiry mountain rats of the 
Shivaji legend. We must try to visualize the great jungle- 
clad wall of the Western Ghats that catches the clouds of 
the south-west monsoon, and all the year round is green 
and even luscious. Nevertheless the terrain is hard, and 


only fit for the agile little men who live among the scarred 
ravines and terraced fields which spread down to the Konkan, 
the lower lands below the Ghats. Their slightness is not the 
squat diminutive pug-dog build of the Gurkhas and Kumaoni, 
but the active litheness of the wildcat. All along the Ghats 
where trade routes pass through, as related in the earlier 
chapters, the old fortresses frown down atop the openings, 
and the stone horses of Siva stand in line at the village 
entrance. The Mahratta is like all the Indian soldiers, a 
cultivating peasant, or the land-owning yeoman who works his 
lands with the help of Kolis and other humbler folk. He is 
the child of the soil and talks the local prakrit that we know 
as Mahratti. 

He is intensely sensitive of the story of Shivaji, and 
is, as already outlined as national in a local sense as the 
Sikh in the north and with a truer reason. 

On the upland atop the Ghats live a burlier type of the 
race known as the 'Dekhani* Mahratta, the inhabitant of 
the plains of the Dekhan. Those are the great plains that 
stretch inland from the mountain wall, where people tell 
you that the hoofs of the horses of the Panchhazari, the 
Five-thousand Corps of Baji Rao the last of the Peshwas, 
are heard o* nights beating their way out before Sindia 
and the British. 

The men still affect the little cap rather than the puggaree, 
and such folk as the police, the night watchmen and the 
peon or footman, the pawn of the chess-board, still wear 
with satisfaction the little Kilmarnock cap that the Crimean 
Army wore, and which the Indian Army at one time adopted. 

It was the Mahratta soldier that played so stout a part 
in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny in Central India, 
a service which made the Bombay Army grow slack with 
a pride and self-righteousness that was to be its undoing in 


the Afghan War of 1878-80, all the more because by that 
time a cult of grenadierdom had eliminated most of the 
mountain rats, the Untoo Goorgas of Lord Lake's day. In 
the revival and the systematic study of race and caste, that 
in its intensity dates from Lord Kitchener's day, the cult 
of the Mahratta, especially the Konkani Mahratta revived. 
Several class corps came into being composed very largely 
of Konkanis, and went to the World War as the I03rd, i05th, 
noth, H4th, n6th and iiyth Mahratta Light Infantry, six 
battalions in all, and in the post war re-grouping became the 
5th Mahratta Regiment, consisting of six battalions. It has 
been explained that no Indian corps had ever been given 
the supreme and envied title 'Royal* till after the World 
War. The iiyth Mahrattas now carry this blazon of pride. 


One of the sorrowful things that the years have brought 
forth, the years of the Pax Britannica that have prevailed 
for over a century in Southern India, is the elimination of 
the men of the Madras Presidency from the fighting forces 
of the Crown. So much has this been the case that there 
now remain but the ist Madras Pioneers, and the Queen's 
Own Corps of Sappers and Miners. That is to say the corps 
primarily concerned with fighting have gone, and those 
remain whose primary duty is construction, a duty which 
may bring many dangers in its train, but secondary to their 
main purpose. Before dwelling on the races that join these 
technical Corps, a glance at the story of this Army in 
continuation of the historical account already given, will 
be of interest. The so called Brahminization of the Army 
has been referred to which a century ago meant the enlistment 


of the agricultural classes rather than the outcasts and the 
children of the foreign soldiers of fortune. The faithful 
attitude of the Madras Army during the disturbances following 
the Mutiny of the Bengal Army left that army like that of 
the Bombay Presidency with considerable prestige. Its 
caste constitution was largely Hindu, viz. Tamil and Telegu 
cultivators, with some companies of the hardy outcaste 
Pariahs and Christians, and with a certain number of Moslems 
largely the descendents of Turk and Afghan settlers, notably 
in the cavalry. 

Now there has never been any question but what the 
Madrassi soldier has been most efficient under arms, and 
capable of a very high degree of training. Smart, well 
drilled, alert, obedient, apt to handle arms, and good shots, 
they have many of the qualifications that make good soldiers. 
German officers from their point of view have more than 
once said that only in the south of India had they seen 
'regular soldiers' on parade. 

But at the bottom of it all a stout heart comes first, and 
the rest of the Army in modern years have asserted that 
the Madras soldier failed in stout-heartedness. Years of the 
Pax Britannica had removed the familiarity with danger 
which is a small portion of the requirements. Another 
and very important factor was the fact that the best officers 
wanted to be near the frontier, and that the garrisons of 
Madras were too far off for their Madras Corps to be brought 
up into the field for anything save a very large war. Every 
regiment must in the course of human nature carry two or 
three officers who are less good by nature than the others. 
The spirit of the regiment carries them along. But there 
was a tendency for more than a normal share of the lesser 
characters to gravitate to the comparative ease of a 'down 
country life*. The result of this must have effect on the 


men. The annexation of Burma brought an unexpected 
call in 1885 to the Madras Army, and it did not fulfil expec- 
tations. Shortly after, a number of its units were reconstituted 
with up-country men, and ever since this process has continued. 

There have always been some shining lights in the Madras 
units, men who would carry any race over the top, and 
under their stimulus certain corps maintained a high repu- 
tation. Enthusiasts themselves they endeavoured to bring 
everyone to belief in the superiority of the Madrassi 
soldier. During the war however, the call for men and 
more men, extended to Madras and the older military castes 
who had mourned both for financial reasons and for those of 
tradition, their lessening opportunities, sent forth their 
youth once again. The writer well remembers in 1920 
inspecting a large depot for Madras units in the field, and 
watching recruits at physical training. The adjutant who 
showed him round was bubbling with enthusiasm, and 
implored him to use his influence that such material should 
not be lost. Eager, willing, muscular boys thronged round, 
ideal soldiers to look at and in every way promising. But 
there is many a promising lad who does not realize that he 
is deficient in animal courage till the hour of trial comes. 
Military public opinion held that it was not right to spend 
the Indian tax-payers' money on one article when a better 
article for the purpose could be had elsewhere, and this 
sternly utilitarian view prevailed. 

But older men with wider knowledge have always put 
forward two arguments in favour of the Madras soldier. 
First is the utter want of sympathy with feelings that may 
sway the north, and secondly that for this reason loyal second- 
class troops may often be better for the British purpose than 
first-class troops who may be disgruntled, A subsidiary 
argument was the great stimulus that military service has 


always brought to the character-building of the countryside, 
and the great loyalty to the Crown that the presence of retired 
Indian officers and N.C.O.'s in the districts produced. 

Nevertheless the modern point of view has prevailed, 
all those choice young men are about their business and the 
Army of the Carnatic with all its accumulated story of glory 
is no more, save what the Sappers and Pioneers perpetuate, 
while some of the new Punjabi battalions carry on their 
colours, the old Coast honours. 

The races of Madras consist chiefly of those classed 
under the main name of Dravidian, a people from the north 
who entered India at some remote period, subduing aboriginal 
tribes of negroid and perhaps Turanian origin. How or 
when they became to some extent Hinduized, or when the 
Brahmins came to settle among them, is but very dimly 
known, but that there were large and powerful kingdoms 
ruled by non- Aryan rulers is well known, and has already been 
referred to. Of the two great divisions Telegu and Tamil, 
the latter only have been taken of late years for the Army. 

Among each division are certain of the depressed classes, 
like the Pariahs or Parayans, and these with the native 
Christians, also as a rule converted from the depressed classes, 
form the bulk of the men in the Sappers and Miners and the 
Pioneer corps. 

The inherent Indian tendency for new castes to arise 
and for some form of social uplift to occur, is amusingly 
illustrated by the fact that outcaste races who serve in the 
Queen's Own Sappers and Miners form in civil life a new and 
inclusive caste known as Quinsap, holding their heads dis- 
tinctly higher than the remainder of their own people, and 
confining their marriages to the daughters of those who have 
served. Long after the British Army is forgotten, the caste 
Quinsap will remain, and even puzzle ethnologists. 


The Christians are largely drawn from the outcaste tribes 
and of late years the call has reached vast numbers, and total 
several millions. The old form of Christianity which is 
spoken of incorrectly as Syrian has flourished men say since 
the legendary visit of St. Thomas. This Church has broken 
into several by an attempt to gain touch with, and enjoy 
the support of the various Christian Churches of the Middle 
East, and for that reason some may be Syrians, others 
Nestorian, Chaldeans or Jacobites, though originally belong- 
ing to one Church. One or two lads of good family among 
the Syrian Christians have received the King's Commission 
(as distinct from the Viceroy's Commission given to ordinary 
Indian officers) and have therefore joined the class already 
referred to as Brindian. 

One of the most gallant soldiers the writer has ever known 
was an ordinary Indian Christian, of the 23rd Wallajabad 
Light Infantry, one Naik Anthony, who was mortally 
wounded in a sortie from the beleagured post of Sadon on 
the Chinese frontier of Upper Burma. It has always been 
a matter of regret that he was too late to read the funeral 
service over him which he found being done by a Christian 
jemadar of the Queen's Sappers and Miners. 


An interesting story is the attempt of the 'nineties of the 
last century following on their experience of Burma to find 
more martial classes within the Madras Presidency. A 
battalion of Coorgs from the highlands abutting on Mysore, 
the 73rd, and two rifle battalions of Moplahs were raised 
(77th and 78th) with that pomp which is permitted in our 
Army to rifle-dom. 

The Coorgs, whose chiefs and retainers had more than 


once assisted British arms in times gone by, could not furnish 
enough men to make the experiment a success. The Moplahs 
or Mapillahs are a race of Dravidians from the Malabar coast 
with some touch of Arab ancestry, who have become 
extremely fanatical Moslems. From time to time agrarian 
distress, possibly the oppression of landlords, added to the 
roll of the drum ecclesiastic, has brought them out in fierce 
opposition to the local police and stern and unyielding 
resistance under arms to detachments of European troops. 

It was thought that such material might have some 
military value, and two battalions were raised. After some 
years, the more advanced of the two was sent to the Frontier 
at the most favourable time of the year, especially well 
clothed and equipped for the winter that would come. The 
battalion, however, was a failure, and though it contained 
two or three hundred lads who might with infinite care 
make in time soldiers, it was realised that there was not 
enough of them to maintain one, let alone, two battalions. 
Moreover there seemed to be no social class from which 
Indian officers could be drawn. Their own language was 
hard to learn and had no military vocabulary, and alto- 
gether it was not considered worth while 'going through so 
much to achieve so little \ 

Those who were on the Frontier when they arrived wearing 
their tarbush, a dress hitherto unknown to the Army, but 
eminently a martial one, and saw them drag their weary 
limbs after a fifteen mile march, past such corps as the 
20th Punjabis and Coke's Rifles to the frontier tune of 
Zakhmi Dil> their regimental quickstep, will sympathise with 
their officers and agree that they were wisely disbanded. Very 
small races are not fit material on which to base a battalion. 

So ended the attempts to find more warlike material 
within the confines of Madras. 




THOSE who have read any Persian will know their Iqd-i-gul, 
their Bunch or Chaplet of Roses, the collection of stories 
which begin " Badshah-i-ra-shanidam" . . . "Once I heard 
of a king*', though what he heard of that king was not always 
quite presentable. The same name has been given to these 
few stories which show something of the personality of the 
Indian soldier in us most lovable side. The story of the 
King's Pawns has been told before, told, too, to His Majesty, 
as it was told the author up the Nile by Mr. James Breasted, 
of the University of Philadelphia, historian, and Mr. Oscar 
Straus, formerly United States Minister at Constantinople 
as told them by an officer of the Turkish General Staff who 
was present. 

I have told the story at length and used the title of 
The King's Pawns in a book of short stories about the World 
War, 1 but cannot resist giving a brief outline of it here 
for the sheer beauty that it contains. Considerable efforts 
were made to trace the men, lost on the desert of Sinai, 
to whose glory the story might remain for ever, but there 
were several small parties lost, some perhaps deserters for 

1 The Kings' Pawns. (Sheldon Press). 


whom the appeal of Jihad had been too much, and identifica- 
tion has not been possible. Like the Unknown Soldier they 
must remain as one of those to whom I always apply that 
beautiful text from Malachi, "for they shall be mine," said 
the Lord of Hosts, "in that day when I make up my jewels." 
The story of the White Lie comes from my personal experi- 
ence in Mesopotamia, and that of the Subahdar's Tita Bhai, 
from the life of a brother officer and a mountain battery with 
which I am 'well acquaint'. The first two happen to be 
stories of the same class, the Moslem of the Punjab who 
constitute the backbone of an ordinary Punjabi regiment. 


For many months of the World War, before the growing 
might of Britain made the invasion of Judaea a military possi- 
bility, the British Army, largely its Indian components kept 
watch and ward on the Spine of the Empire, otherwise the 
Suez Canal. German and Turk desired to seize it, to prevent 
that astounding carriage of men and munitions that the 
East and the Pacific were sending to the struggle in the West. 
To break this spinal cord, to overrun Egypt and dominate 
the Red Sea was the object of the Central Powers. Early 
in '15 they made the first attempt and failed, but after the 
evacuation of Gallipoli they essayed it in strength, actually 
driving a railway line from Beersheba across the Desert of 

So come hot season come cold, the Indian troops, horse 
and foot and camel corps, held the line of the Canal, and sent 
their patrols out into the desert peering across the wind- 
swept sand dunes, watching the lizards and the mere-cats 
scuttle amid the tussocks and the camel-thorn, and the dust 
devils pirouette aimlessly in the track of the setting sun. 


Bleak and barren are the desert and the Canal zone as even the 
first class passengers on the great liners know. You know 
it better still if you have patrolled Sinai in summer and 
seen as did the Children of Israel, the miraged cities and lakes, 
the wonders in the Land of Ham and the Field of Zoan. 

A patrol finds its route by compass, and comes back by 
the great searchlights of the Canal, but in summer months 
when the dust devils dance and the dust storm blows and 
the scene is blotted, our compasses will not work nor do 
arc lights show. So it happened one day that a patrol setting 
forth from an out-post hard by El Qantara, the bridge where 
the ancient Pelusiac channel of the Nile now long dry, was 
crossed by the great trade route of the world, the Way of 
the Philistines, found itself trudging over the dunes in a dust 
storm. Fiercer and fiercer blew the dust, till it frizzled and 
sparkled over all their accoutrements, and on and on the party 
trudged, eyes and ears full of dust, their puggarees tied close 
over their brows and noses, till all sense of direction was gone 
and only a numb sense of duty remained. At last these 
Mussalmans of the Punjab, men of those Rajput Moslem 
clans already described, for such they were, lay down utterly 
lost and weary, with their heads buried against a thorn bush, 
in the hope of mercy. And thus they dosed till the late 
afternoon when the sun was falling and the wind had dropped 
and the fiery desert was assuming its innocent, peaceful 
evening aspect as if even butter would not melt in the rose 
and petal-grey light. 

They were rudely awakened by the lance point of a Turkish 
cavalryman while a patrol with an officer of the German 
General Staff attached stood round. Dazed they got up and 
shook themselves free of the sand. Secured by a head rope 
each man to a Turkish horse-soldier, they were hustled 
parched and hungry into Beersheba. After a drink had been 


flung at them they were pushed into the presence of a Prus- 
sian officer, shaved and bullet-headed, with some trace of 
Tartar cheek bones, an unpleasant type. Interrogations 
were thrown at them through an interpreter which they an- 
swered none too truthfully for their own Sahib had warned 
them to lie heartily if caught and questioned. 

Then the Prussian snapped this at them : 

"You have heard that the Caliph, the Sultan of Rum, 
the head of your faith has proclaimed a Holy War, a Jihad, 
against the infidel, and has summoned all good Moslems 
to fight on his side. How is it that you are still fighting for 
the British you who say you are orthodox Moslems?" 

The havildar y or sergeant of the party, who was acting as 
spokesman, said: 

"We have heard about the War of Religion, Sahib, but 
we don't accept it; we know that this is a political and not 
a religious war and so we serve the British King. 1 ' 

"I don't care a rap about that. Here are five Turkish 
uniforms. I will give you five minutes to put them on and 
join the army of the Caliph or you will be shot, so ! " 

The havildar said, " May I speak to my comrades and see 
what they say ? " 

" March them out," snapped the Prussian. 

In five minutes the five British Indian soldiers were 
marched in again before the General-stabber. 

"Well," he growled. 

The havildar saluted, held up his hand, and with one 
accord the party shouted: 

"Three cheers for King George!" 

That was the end of it, and the officer gave the sign. A 
few minutes later a volley rang out. 

That is the story of five simple Indian peasant soldiers of 
the Punjab, and how they were Nimak hallal, 'true to the 


salt that they eat '. The story is one of which it may well be 
said that it "fills strong men's hearts with glory till they 


Some reference has been made to the implacable hatred 
that flourished between Hindu and Moslem, and of the fierce 
periods of mutual destruction which characterised the rise 
of the Sikhs and their share in the fall of the Mogul power. 
The recrudescence of this bitterness, the horrors of the 
Cawnpore massacres of 1930, and the trouble over the 
relationship between the creeds of Islam and Hinduism that 
lays at the door of Mr. Montague, are to-day a matter of com- 
monplace knowledge. So long as the British governed with 
impartiality and held the scales the hatred lay dormant. 
The heat of politics has revived the ancient enmities never 
very far from the surface. In His Majesty's Indian Army, 
however, the enmity has always been frowned down, and 
Moslem and Hindu and Sikh have been very good comrades, 
especially in those thrice famous corps of the Punjab Irregular 
and later Frontier Force corps in which the companies com- 
prised men of differing faiths and races. 

The following story which happened in the author's 
command in Mesopotamia in 1920 during operations in 
Kurdistan is a stirring proof thereof. 

One of his columns had been in a mess up. Undue con- 
fidence that sometimes seizes the best of troops had resulted 
in the head of a small force in the Kurdish mountains being 
badly and quite needlessly ambushed by a Kurdish Agha. 
This is the scene that followed as the survivors who had 
been captured were brought before the victor. 

The Leader of the Kurds stood on a ledge, a high felt 
Noah's-ark cap on his head and a bright silk scarf round the 


cap. Two rifles, four bandoliers and knives innumerable 
completed his armament. Before him were ranged the 
captives, a few Muhammadans, the remainder black-bearded 
Sikhs. A surviving N.C.O., a smart young Muhammadan 
naik, was addressed by a Kurd who had been an interpreter 
apparently with our own troops. 

"What is your name?" 

"Murad Ali Khan Ghakkar." 1 



" The Agha knows that these men on the right are Moslems, 
but who are those? They look like some uncouth Hindki 

And the naik looked at the Sikhs and remembered that 
Sikh or Moslem was of no matter in the Frontier Force. 
To belong to the regiment was to be one of a brotherhood. 
And he swallowed a mighty swallow, for there was a fingering 
of knife-edges around him. 

"They are as good Moslems as I am," quoth he, "I 
will swear it on El Qoran. They are, it is true, uncouth, 
they come from a savage part of my country. But they are 
Moslems true." 

The Agha had a worked leather haversack over his shoulder, 
and from it he drew a Qoran, bound in painted papier-mach6 
covers ... an illuminated Qoran. 

"Will you swear it?" quoth he. "For I misdoubt their 

" I will swear," re-iterated stoutly Murad Ali Ghakkar, 
" If you don't believe me, strip them, and you will see that 
they are as good Moslems as I." 

"Nay, let him swear," quoth again the Agha, failing to 
call the bluff, and bluff it was with a vengeance as those who 

1 i.e. Punjabi of the tribe of Ghakkar. 


know the Semitic rite which Moslems undergo, will recog- 

And then and there with uplifted hand that steadfast 
naik, to whom the faith of his regiment came first, swore 
that the black-bearded sons of Hind were true and honest 
Moslems of the Sunni or orthodox variety. Then the knives 
went back into their sheaths, and the prisoners were led 
away and fed. 

It was a lie of the whitest, one of those good white lies that 
no recording angel dare enter, but to the Moslem's heart 
it should have spelt damnation, save for an agricultural con- 
science that a frontier regiment had improved on. 1 

That night the prisoners slept in a cave and the eyes of 
the Sikhs followed their sponsor as those of a disciple follows 
his yogi. 


There are many things that the British officer does for his 
Indian soldiers, or, for the matter of that, that Britain 
does for India which are not as it were in the contract. The 
following tale is told here, because it is so typical of the 
inner relationship between British and Indians and this 
simple village story is one of those lesser, unrecorded but 
long remembered benefactions which help to form that 
happy liaison and camaraderie between the British officers 
of the Indian army and their men. It is also a story of one 
of those remarkable little coteries of blood brothers which 
men call an Indian Mountain Battery. There are now nine- 

I am happy to record that I was able to use the authority then vested in 
Commanders-in-Chief to give an immediate reward of a decoration for 
valour to the naik who had so taken his own life in his hand for his com- 
rades, and who with the other prisoners was rescued next night by a sur- 
prise counter-raid of some reinforcing troops. 



[Face j- 


teen such, but there were originally only six; four of the Pun- 
jab Frontier Force, and two of the Jacobabad frontier found 
by the Bombay Army. Late in the 'eighties of last century 
two more were added and now inherit the ancient prestige. 
For many years these batteries were commanded by captains 
of the Royal Artillery, and were undoubtedly the finest cap- 
tains' command in the world. The job bred the men, and it 
would be hard to find officers more enterprising and efficient, 
if at times somewhat masterful, than these captains of artillery 
in permanent high command. They were characters and 
personages, commanding units of fame and reliability, and 
some were great characters, who lived entirely for their bat- 
teries, their men, and their old brown mules, and had little 
other interest in life than that of their command. 

Of this type was James Osborn, captain of Royal Artillery 
and commandant of what we will camouflage under the name 
of the Paniala Mountain Battery P.F.F. The latter letters 
mean that it was part of the Punjab Frontier Force of pious 
memory, the renowned Punjab Hatha in which every Sikh 
and Punjabi Moslem, worthy of the name, desired to serve. 
Now Osborn was the son of the distinguished officer who had 
raised and commanded for fifteen years, from captain to 
lieut.-colonel, the well-known corps Osborn's Rifles, one of 
those loyal corps that marched from the Frontier to Delhi 
when the Bengal Line blew up. From Delhi it had * Bayley 
Guard gya ! which being interpreted means had gone to the 
Bayley Guard, in which the Lucknow garrison and their 
charges were besieged. The men who have 'Bayley Guard 
gya' have now almost all piled their arms, at the order of 
Death to the old musketeer "Pile your arms! Pile your 
arms! Pile your arms!" Yet now and again if you go to 
the fighting villages in the Punjab, there will still be some old 
tyke who will be helped out, to salaam to you, and put his 


hand in your hands, helped out by a grandson in the same 
corps, while the pensioned son looks on. 

The Paniala Mountain Battery held its head very high, 
and still bought its own mules, by favour of the Remount 
Department who would not wrestle a fall with Osborn, and 
magnificently muled it was; bays and browns with a grey 
for the pioneer, not a light grey for tribesmen to shoot at, 
but a douce grey with the blessed donkey mark in deep 
black, for mules take after their mothers. Every mule was 
every man's friend, and would lie down in the lines while 
you sat on their bellies and smoked a cigarette, which is only 
done in the best batteries. If Osborn was not in the mule 
lines watching the mules clipped till their silk undercoats 
showed, he would be in the gun park with the gunners or 
cheering the wrestlers in the sand pit, or watching the tug- 
of-war team, all the while sucking a pipe which bubbled and 
squeaked in a minor key. 

Then one day it happened that he had come out of the 
orderly room after seeing the Sikh recruits sworn in over 
the seven-pounder, firing a blank round as they swore, and 
was going across between the maneges when he heard a 
rattle and the sound of hoofs against a mud wall, and a small 
scurrying figure ran into him screaming. Round the manege 
lane came two of the remount mules just arrived, terrified 
by the new sights and not yet initiated into the holy calm 
that should reign in a battery mule lines. They had broken 
loose from the paddock and had not yet learnt to make for 
the forage barn, and were raising Cain. The little figure that 
ran into him had five plaited pigtails flying out behind, and 
her little gold embroidered cap was in the leading remount's 
teeth. She was dressed in little red pyjamas and a little muslin 
shirt and was sobbing with fright. 

Osborn, uncle Osborn of the Paniala Battery was equal 


to the situation. He waved his whanghai cane at the runaways 
who turned back in the lane to find a driver havildar with 
two nosebags close behind. Then he knelt on one knee and 
drew the child to him. 

"There, my lass. Daro mat, badmash chalagya. Don't 
be afraid, the rogues have gone, see". 

And Tita Bhai looked up. 

"Who are you, piari ? " 

"I am Tita Bhai". 

"Without doubt! But whose Tita Bhai". 

"I am the subahdar's Tita Bhai". 

Ah! That was it, she was Subahdar Jowand Singh's 

"But a subahdar's daughter should not mind run-away 

" Dar gya Sahib, Bahui dargya. I was very much fright- 
ened," whimpered the little maid. 

"There, there, piari, kuchch dar nahin, there is now no fear. 
See rather this," and Osborn struck a light with a patent 
pocket lighter. 

"Ooh-ee. Do it again Sahib! Do it again!" Sunshine 
had returned at the Sahib 9 s wonderful hikmat, 1 and Tita 
Bhai was all smiles. 

"Come along, piari, and we will seek thy house. See the 
wicked mules have been caught by the havildarji ". " Wicked 
mules," piped Tita Bhai, as hand in hand with the Captan 
Sahib she danced across the parade ground, and there, 
already half-way across, putting a crooked puggaree straight 
was stout old Jowand Singh hurrying towards them. 

"Oh! shameless one, where have you been? Thy mother 
will surely whip thee." 

And Tita Bhai clutched her protector's hand more closely 



and whispered "Tell him, Sahib, I don't want mother's 
slipper". And the Captan Sahib explained very gracefully 
and cleverly and all was peace. 

And thus it came about that the little maid of the five 
plaited tails, became a fast and inseparable friend of the 
commanding officer and established herself as deep in his 
heart as he in hers. Did Osborn sit watching the hockey 
or football, Tita Bhai sat between his knees. Did he judge 
the wrestling, Tita Bhai would judge it too, telling Osborn 
by a pat on his leg which champion had her favour, and when 
the sections played inter-section hockey Tita Bhai would say 
by the pat which side she wished to win. If Osborn was 
inspecting the forage or seeing the ghee board sample the 
ghee Tita Bhai must take part and dig her little finger into 
the tempting butter-tin, as the grown men did, sucking the 
finger appreciatively like her betters. Around, the great 
seedpods of the acacia trees would clatter in the wind, the 
click clack which made the Punjabis call the trees chdjna> 
the 'clatter of women's tongues I ' and the grey squirrels would 
scamper up the mulberry trees hard by, and men would say 
that Tita Bhai was worth placating, and giving lollypops 
to. And then perhaps the gun of high twelve would go, 
and bedlam would break out in the mule lines, like hell let 
loose, at the sound which meant the midday feed was due. 

Sometimes she would trot behind Osborn and the Havildar- 
major when they went to look at the guard, where the six 
pug dogs of war stood in line and a big Sikh in very loose 
artillery knicker breeches with a very large crimson puggaree 
on top, and a very curly sword in his hand stood sentry. 
The guard would turn out with curly swords drawing them 
with a flash that made Tita Bhai clap her hands and rattle 
her bangles, more bangles, folk said, than she should have, 
but then her father spoilt her. 


Sometimes they would watch the mules in the paddock 
and see them squabble to graze near the ponies, for mules 
are faithful to the memory of their mothers, and it is very 
swagger to crop your grass alongside a pony. If you are a 
mare mule and can graze by a foal, and nozzle and pet it, 
then your poor frustrated mother instinct is soothed, for 
mules are sterile, save the famous mule of Tirah which is a 
mystery, with a Merkoman pony thrown in. Hashi the red 
roan gun mule in No. 6 gun, could kick so hard that she 
generally was cock of the grazing paddock, and grazed by the 
pony she liked best and none to say her nay, save a piebald 
pioneer mule that had been bought as a brown and was dyed 
with permanganate when you went to war. Tita Bhai specially 
loved the piebald, who was known as Mr. Sinks or Binks 
Sahib by the men, no-one knew why. Tita Bhai would beg 
a little gour from the Baniah and keep it in the pocket of her 
muslin waistcoat, till it was all pocket-jammy, and take it to 
Mr. Binks if she knew the line sentry. But the line sentries 
knew she was a favourite and privileged after the immoral 
instincts of the East, where the highly connected can do no 
wrong. There was a squat little pot of a Labana Sikh driver- 
naik, who was her slave and when he was about they would 
do what they liked and even set Osborn's terrier to hunt for 
rats in the gram-orderly's shed. Once the orderly subaltern 
had come round to find half the grain sacks over-turned for 
Tita Bhai's amusement, and had received a very smart salute 
from a very hot driver naik. Seeing that he was not in dis- 
grace, Bhola Singh became confidential and explained that 
small girls with pig-tails were ' Bahuti piari chiz ' ' very dear 
things ' and how his own had died of malaria last rains. 

And since Tita Bhai was at times all woman, and all men 
fish to her net, why she in the shelter of her privileged position 
had taken the Moslem camp by storm, and made old Nizam- 


ud-din, who really hated all Sikh and other musheriks or 
idolaters, bring her farings every time he went to Rawal 
Pindi Bazaar. 

It was three years more before the two-handed step to 
Osborn came, the promotion which meant that he must leave 
the battery in which he had served so many years. Burma 
Manipur, Waziristan and Tirah, good marching, hard fighting, 
a wonderful vista, with the smell of the mule and the camel, 
of the heaped tobacco in the bazaars, and the wood smoke in 
the lines for a memory. For fifteen years and more had he 
'climbed in his old brown gaiters, along of his old brown 
mule '. 

Tita Bhai was growing with the years and would soon go 
back to her village and be betrothed, and Osborn was due 
to be promoted. And the news came at a final rehearsal of a 
tug of war, and Tita Bhai had just patted her hopes as to the 
victory on Osborn's right or left leg as the case might be when 
the telegram came that announced promotion and a posting 
to Europe. 

The whole battery was aghast, and the day of departure 
was a sad one. All the battery had come to the tonga station 
and had brought half the mules, and many sahibs of regiments 
came too. Tita Bhai had wept for days, and had scorned the 
suggestion that she must be a grown-up girl and soon be 
married. Never, she said, could she be married unless he was 
there to see to it, as she and the subahdar said a last farewell 
to the Captan Sahib who now felt he was an old major. 


Osborn went home to serve in that important part of the 
Royal Artillery then known as the ' Gambadiers '. A Gam- 
badier is a gentleman who wears the article of dress known 


as a ' gambadoe * which is said to be but the Spanish name 
for a gaiter. As the Garrison Artillery alone in that branch 
of the Service wore it, it delighted the more lively young 
gentlemen to know that portion of the Artillery by that name, 
a name of humorous affection. But ere two years were out it 
pleased the authorities to decree that henceforward the 
commandants of Indian Mountain Batteries should be of the 
rank of Major, the same as the British batteries. Before long 
it happened that Osborn was offered the command once again 
of the Paniala Mountain Battery, which he with joy beyond 
compare accepted, and you could not see his heels for the 
dust in his haste to rejoin. He had not taken unto himself a 
wife, though the famous captain commandants in days gone 
by, did not of necessity disdain such aids to efficiency. They 
usually married douce philosophical ladies to whom mules 
and camels and frontier stations were not anathema, and who 
perfectly well grasped their place vis-d-vis the other and senior 
mistresses of their masters* affections. 

To Osborn however it had been ' he travels the fastest who 
travels alone*. He returned to the Paniala Battery with no 
rival interests, and great was the scene at the re-union. The 
Battery had changed its station, but all the old friends were 
there to help carry his kit, and half a dozen of his favourite 
mules were brought down too, and the battery tonga with the 
best of them was waiting to spirit him up the road to the 
cantonments a dozen miles or so away. Second editions are 
never quite the same as the first, and three years makes a 
difference. The old subahdar had gone to ' pension* and of 
course there was no Tita Bhai. Tita Bhai was at home and 
probably married, for she was growing fast when he had left. 
A dozen or so of the old gunners were gone including the old 
specimen who had been extended, and extended, because he 
had been with Bobs to Kandahar, and that was about all. 


He asked for news of the old subahdar, but no one had 
been to his village lately, and no one knew if Tita Bhai was 
married. A week or so later, however, a man rejoined from 
furlough from the village who said there was the devil to pay. 
Tita Bhai had refused absolutely to marry. Instead of being 
smacked and married without more ado, her father had 
listened to her. There were two candidates, said Indra Singh 
the informant. The son of the headman, a very prosperous 
young fellow was one. The other was a havildar, a young 
havildar in the igth Sikhs, not such a swell as the headman's 
son, but still an important personality in the village, which 
was taking sides over the matter, the military families, of 
which there were several, favouring the havildar. 

Ah well, that was interesting, and the talk of the Punjab 
village was all good and natural and like old times when he 
had shot and fished among them. 

And the affairs of the battery engrossed him till one 
day just before Christmas came a letter from the subahdar, 
thrice rejoiced at his return to the East and especially to the 
old battery, and then followed the gist of the matter. 

" There is much trouble in this village, and I know Indra 
Singh has told you i>f it. Tita Bhai should have been married 
long ago, but, Sahib, I have spoilt her and let her do as she 
likes, and now she says she won't marry anyone unless you 
tell her to. The Lambadar is making an enmity with me over 
the matter, and the havildar's family are making botheration 
and all the village is quarrelling. That headman saying it 
is my fault, and that I should compel my daughter to marry 
one or the other, he does not care which, he does not want 
my daughter, but his son does. My petition is that you come 
soon, Sahib, and settle the matter. The village will make a 
Durbar for you. I also thinking that my master will shoot 
the black partridge. Your devoted Subahdar," and to the 


screed of the writer the old man had put his signature in 

Osborn considered the matter. He might very well settle 
the matter for them, for no doubt the woman's wits of Tita 
Bhai would tell him in some fashion what she wanted. The 
battery was in excellent order, and there was no reason why 
he should not have a few days Xmas leave. Black partridge 
there were he knew in the beyla near Jhok Sayanwallah, and 
of all the good birds to shoot let alone eat, the black partridge 
was hard to beat. " Write oh Munshi-ji and say that I will 
be there by the mail train at Pindar Khan station the day after 
the Big Day (Christmas Day), and that if I come his daughter 
must do as I tell her." 

With alacrity his old orderly and bearer got out his shooting 
kit. He would stay at the dak bungalow near by and would 
not want tents, and Boxing Day found a contented and 
amused officer undertaking the dusty journey in the train 
across the Thai, to Pindar Khan. His journey was uneventful, 
save that in changing trains at Shahpur, and getting into a 
second-class carriage he found a scene of distress. Two 
subalterns had flung their kit in, where an educated gentleman 
of the clerkly class was already sitting, had tied their dogs to 
the legs of the seat and had gone off to get a cup of tea. The 
dogs had started fighting, and the clerkly gentleman was 
evidently disturbed. He was hanging out of the window call- 
ing "Oh Station-master 1 Oh Master of the station! Come 
quickly. Come quickly mashterjee ! Fighting dargs are here." 

Osborn came to the rescue, pacified the terriers, and 
reassured the intelligent one. "Cheer up, Babuji, that is 
all right. Keep quiet you devils." 

And then in discussion with the babu, he found that he 
too knew Jhok Sayanwallah, and knew of the trouble. 4I This 
is mischievous case, Sar, and that woman must be she- 


devil. Those men taking sides and fighting soon, and perhaps 
beating that subahdar. These women are beelzebub, Sar." 

On arrival at Sayanwallah, Osborn whose fame had gone 
before him was met by a crowd. All the old soldiers in the 
district were there, horse, foot and artillery. The village head- 
man had been in a cavalry regiment too, and it was not a 
question of the civil versus the military element. Each side 
had soldier supporters and it was a wonder that the peace 
had not been broken. In fact the village constable, who was 
on the platform too, as much as said so, and had already made 
a report on the matter. A pony was waiting for the sahib 
and a two-wheeled tuntum for his servants and luggage, with 
a pony fresh plumed and tasselled in the shafts, and it was 
a regular procession that escorted him to the bungalow. After 
some chat he was asked if six o'clock that night when all 
were home from work would do. Osborn agreed that he 
should not speak to Tita Bhai who was half locked up in 
her father's house. 

Many were the visitors to the bungalow that evening. 
The headman himself came and presented after ancient 
Mogul customs his nuzzar of two gold coins, which were 
nothing less than Russian ten-rouble pieces, to be touched 
and remitted. It was a great honour he said that his village 
should be visited, and more especially that the Sahib should 
have come to settle so momentous a matter. Women, as no- 
one knew better than he, were the devil, and that the Sahib 
should of his own kindness put his head into any sort of 
mesh where they were concerned, was amazing. But such 
were the English, in the call of friendship. He himself had 
no great wish for this marriage, but his son ... ah well, 
the Sahib knew what young men are. 'Give her to me to- 
day or I die ' . . . and his son was so upset . . . and such 
like and so forth. Came also the old Sikh Grunthi from a 


neighbouring temple, who had met him before, with an 
offering of the Sikh communion dough, and a dozen old 
soldiers, Mehtab Singh who had ' Bayley Guard gy a* among 
them. Very old and stiff but still erect was Mehtab Singh, 
great uncle of the subahdar, wearing not only a Mutiny 
medal but one for China, bringing his sword in his hand, 
that Osborn might touch the hilt after the courtly custom 
of fealty. Among them too was an old Moslem sirdar, a 
man of the Guides, also with the Mutiny medal, bent but 
still hawk-eyed on a grandson's arm. He had come to make 
salaam as in duty bound and as was his social right. He 
was not going to be out of anything of interest, and besides 
the Sahib among these Sikhs might want some outside 
support. Ho 1 he'd like to see any daughter of his having airs 
and graces and bringing a Commanding Sahib all this way 
to settle her affairs. Then he fell a-chuckling, and was fain 
to tell a Rabelaisian story of the return of the Guides from 
the taking of Delhi in '57, that fabled event of which men 
still speak in the up-country villages, to every man a veiled 
cart and inmate, and more to the sirdars, with many other 
valuables besides. One forgets but the village does not. 
The story did not lose by Akram Khan's telling, and then 
came the subahdar when the press had gone. He would not 
speak of Tita Bhai save that she was well and said the Sahib 
would deal fairly by her. But his chief remarks were to his 
sense of gratitude for the supreme honour that the Sahib 
had done him, and how his izzat was exalted for ever, which 
could easily be imagined in a country where honour and 
consideration are so prized. 

Ten minutes before six an escort of two stalwart young 
soldiers came to bring the major to the eventful durbar. 
The space in front of the subahdar's house in the middle 
of the village had been cleared and a fire burned in the centre, 


of a ring round which were sitting the notables of the village. 
There was a semi-circle of chairs for half a dozen, the rest 
were squatting, and in the centre was a low armchair for 
the Sahib. By the side was a table arranged with lemonade 
bottles and tea cups, and a lad was blowing hard on a samovar. 
As Osborn approached every one rose, and the headman 
conducted him to his chair within the circle. It was dark 
and in the distance he could see spectators and even women 
who would draw in as they sat down. Osborn took his seat, 
and to his surprise the village schoolmaster, known as 
mashterjee, read an address of welcome, full of allusion to 
the brilliant sun and British friendship and kindness and 
then a reference to "grave matrimonial squabble now dis- 
turbing our beloved village contrary to propriety and 

Osborn had been considering procedure in so delicate a 
matter, and decided to call on the headman to address him 
and the durbar. This that notable did but briefly and said 
that it would be well that the son should state his case, but 
before doing so he dwelt on the advantages to any girl who 
should marry his son. and alluded to the strangeness of the 
times that a girl should not abide by what her betters had 
decided. Here Osborn interrupted. "Had her betters, had 
the betters of the two young people come to any decision ? " 
This, as a matter of fact, was an important point and was of 
the nature of a bombshell. The headman was fain to admit, 
that for some strange and unfair reason the father would not 
give orders and have them obeyed. 

Then suddenly there arose an altercation, a sound of 
protests from the outer darkness, in the direction of the 
subahdar's house and outer court. There was a shuffle 
and a rush and a figure heavily shawled sprung high over 
the fire, and scuttled to where the major was sitting. Squat- 


ting on the ground it nestled between his knees and he felt 
the confiding pat on his knees that he recognised of old. 
The disturber of village life, the prize herself had come into 
court. One or two had risen. 

Osborn called on all to remain seated. 

"It is mete and right that the girl should be here. Let 
her hear through her veil what people think of her conduct," 
and everyone said "Wah. Wahl Let her hear." 

So Tita Bhai remained, and Osborn knew that he would 
have guidance as to which of the two she herself favoured. 
He said "I presume Subahdarji that neither you nor your 
daughter object to both suitors, you are agreeable that she 
should marry one or the other." 

Here the subahdar rose and said "Without doubt." 
"And will your daughter marry whichever of them I say?" 

Here there was a pat on his knee. "Without doubt, 
Sahib" Then the counsel addressed the parties. 

"Do I understand, oh Lambadarji! oh Subahdar Sahib! 
that you and your son and your daughter will abide by my 
decision, do I understand that also from you two young men 
who want the girl, you Havildar Ganesha Singh of the igth 
Sikhs, and you Bikram Singh son of the Lambadar of Jhok 
Sayanwallah, will abide by it too, and that there shall be no 
enmity between you, and that there shall be no enmity 
between the Lambadar and the Subahdar, and between 
Ganesha Singh's friends and the Lambadar or the Subahdar? 
Because unless that is said here before all the village I will 
not put my hand into the matter at all." 

And here the crowd said Wah! Wah! and the women in 
the shadow who had drawn near put their palms to their 
mouths and made a sound of approbation. 

Then up stood the two parents and an uncle of Ganesha 
Singh and made declaration, and then the two young 


men. "Let Bikram Singh, the Lambadar's son speak first, 
what are your claims on Tita Bhai." 

"Sahib," said the young man, who now rose in his place 
and the firelight played on his six foot figure, verily a choice 
young man and a goodly. "My father has half the land in 
this charak, I have only one brother, my mother will gladly 
receive Tita Bhai, but she shall have a house of her own and 
a girl to grind the wheat. She will go to town in an ekka, and 
manage all my affairs. My sheep and goats are my own, and 
men say I shall be lambadar after my father. Tita Bhai is 
the light of my eyes. The Sahib is a jangi nafar, a man of 
arms, and his sympathy may be with the havildarji. But 
Sahib, we too ate jangi nafar. My father was Lance Duffedar 
in the Sam Brown Rissalah, and went to Kabul with Roberts 
Sahib, he did not make a jemadari, as he was to be lambadar. 
We are jangi nafar." And here the court said Wahl Wah! 
But Tita Bhai gave no sign. 

"Now Ganesha Singh," said Osborn, "spout up." 

Up jumped the other young man as well favoured as the 
first, with the aquiline features that showed less of some ill 
blood than the first suitor. The nostrils were finer and better 
set on the face, the which is a better sign of breeding all the 
world over than anything else. 

" Sahib ! That we too are jangi nafar need not be demon- 
strated. My father was an artillery officer in the Kohat 
Battery, so what more suitable than that I marry an artillery 
subahdar's daughter? I have no mother and my house will 
be my own, but my wife shall come for a while with me to 
the lines, and where the regiment is there shall she be. I 
hold my father's land, but my great-uncle looks after it for 
me, till I am quit of soldiering. When she wants to, my 
wife shall live in my house. I have not all the money that 
the Lambadar's son will have, but I have enough, and 









Sahib I have izzat (prestige), I have the Arder of Merat (the 
Order of Merit) that I won in Chitral, and ere long I shall 
be jamadar." 

There was not much more to it, and Osborn was puzzled 
for Tita Bhai gave no sign. No doubt she was enjoying the 
holding of men in the balance. 

"Both young men have spoken well, and both are desirable 
husbands for any Sikh lass. Ganesha Singh is truly a soldier. 
There he stands before you on the right, he will go far in 
the services of the Sirkar and will be some day 'captan*. 
There on the left we have this fine young Lambadar, he will 
be headman, and can keep a wife even better than Ganesha 
Singh, parents might well favour him. So equal and desirable 
are the two, that perhaps it would be well if I cast lots." 
Here at last came a sign. He paused. But . . . and he 
thought some time "Tita Bhai is born of the barracks and 
though Bikram Singh is of a family that does jangi nauhri 
(military service) he will remain 'civil'. He will wax rich 
and fat I make no doubt. The subahdar has been all his life 
a soldier, it is right that his daughter shall marry a soldier. 
This is my decision, Tita Bhai will marry Ganesha Singh 
as soon as the priest can find the propitious date. I have 
spoken. . . ." 

But as a matter of fact when he spoke of spinning a coin 
Tita Bhai had patted his right calf very distinctly and again 
and again, as in the old hockey days. 

But all the while the refrain of the Punjab lyric remained 
in his mind. 

" Oh Wars should be made by men without wives 
Bangles ring softly and sadly." 

And that is the story of the subahdar's Tita Bhai. 




THE Indian Army in 1914, so far as the personnel of its 
units went, was quite the finest that India had ever seen, 
largely due, as has been explained, to the principles on which 
the martial races were enlisted and grouped therein, and the 
enthusiasm of the British officers. The war organization, 
however, was by no means complete for Sir Douglas Haig's 
solemn memorandum 0*1 the subject, written when he was 
Chief of the General Staff in India, was deliberately burked 
as a result of the pernicious appointment of a committee 
under Lord Nicholson to examine Lord Kitchener's work. 
The Indian Army has always failed in its war organization 
largely because it was tainted by the memories and practice 
of the old Mogul system of ' debrouillez-vous ', to use the slang 
expression from the France of 1914. Nothing was ready for 
severe war, and all systems of maintenance were inadequate 
and amateur. As it had been in 1878, and 1897, so in many 
ways was it in 1914. The Indian military authorities and 
the Indian Government were eager enough to assist, but their 
whole outlook was inadequate. Nevertheless the Commander- 



in-Chief in India Sir Beauchamp Duff, who had not long 
succeeded to the command, a man of great vision, realized 
all that India could do in this crisis of the Empire. First and 
foremost, Egypt and the Canal could be held and British 
garrisons in Egypt released. The oil supply in Mesopotamia 
could be guarded and the German possessions in East Africa 
attacked. The idea of sending Indian soldiers to take part in 
a war on the Continent had often been considered by the 
General Staff as a subject of study and mental gymnastics, 
but had never seriously entered into the head of statesmen, 
It was, except in the terrible circumstances which fell on the 
world, an impossible thought to ask these simple Indian 
peasantry to undergo so terrible a trial. 

Sir Beauchamp Duff was prepared, so far as his advice 
to Government and his own responsibility for the defence of 
India went, to go to the furthest length in the Empire's cause, 
and accordingly with astounding promptitude on the part 
of embarkation marine and naval authorities, five different 
expeditions sailed out of the ports of India in the autumn of 
1914. Those for Mesopotamia, Aden, Egypt, and East Africa 
went with the consciousness that they were going on a duty 
well within the competence of the Indian soldiery, but with 
the Army Corps that went to France there may well have 
been grave misgivings in the minds of the more sober. 
The Indian soldier, sacrificing, gallant, staunch, as he was, 
had never been trained to the thought of heavy casualties, and 
it was well known that his fighting strength was comparatively 
feeble without the unlimited initiative and fearless and 
abnormally prominent leadership of his British officers. 
While the younger minds only dwelt enthusiastically on 
joining in the great struggle in Europe, the older heads knew 
that a terrible trial was before the soldier and his leader. 
History will probably say that only the direst need justified 


bringing the Indian soldier of the Crown to the assistance 
of the Crown. Had the whole of Indian opinion been in 
sympathy there would be no guerdon too heavy to give to 
a people who have so generously shouldered the burden of 
Empire. Unhappily certain classes, especially among the 
intelligentsia, worked desperately to produce anarchy and 
revolution in India. Indeed it would be more interesting to 
ascertain how many of those who are at present taking so 
active a part in the more questionable portion of the Indian 
political movement, did anything whatever in the World 
War to earn the gratitude of the British Commonwealth or 
of civilization. Incidentally it may be mentioned that the 
Kaiser sent addresses in embroidered leather cases to all 
the Princes calling on them to rise and join him. How 
indignantly such overtures were scouted by the six hundred 
odd ruling chiefs history can proudly state. 

The five different great Armadas leaving Bombay and 
Karachi were a marvellous demonstration of amphibious 
power and might, but it was the sight of the great forest of 
smoke-stacks and masts, heading up the Gulf of Lyons and 
entering Marseilles harbour that brought the climax of 
glory and drama, and seat the frightened French wild with 
joy and enthusiasm. The scene has already been alluded 
to in the opening chapter, as one that should be retained on 
the Empire's retina. The hosts of Indian soldiers marched 
through the streets of Marseilles with the population, 
especially the female portion, hanging on the arms of bewil- 
dered Sikhs and Pathans. Struggling with the crowd were 
to be seen the somewhat grim faces of the British officers 
now realizing, perhaps, for the first time the great struggle 
into which they and their men had been thrown. How 
the latter could be sustained therein was from first to last 
the anxiety of their officers. After the World War there 


sat in India an Esher Committee, no one quite knew why, 
on army matters. Among its members was an old Bengali 
judge, and what struck him most, he said, in hearing the 
evidence of many Army officers on pay, promotion, etc., 
was the fact that it was always the interests and good of the 
men that seemed to perturb them . . . quite a new aspect 
to him. And so the Indian Army officers were anxious in 
their minds, especially at bringing their men into an approach- 
ing European winter, and under a heavy artillery fire. To 
such they were quite unused both in experience and in 
contemplation, though indeed this must equally have been 
the state of mind of all those citizens who were already 
being hauled from their homes to share in the terrible 
catastrophe that had overtaken the world. 

The officers of corps composed of the more famous martial 
races had fewer fears, or if they had they suppressed them, 
as to their men's power of resistance, but it was felt that 
some of the lesser races, despite their discipline and training 
might not be up to it. 

What did eventually come to pass had often been foretold, 
and it is as well that those who spend their enthusiasms on 
the idea of an Indianized army should realize it, viz., that 
the strain fell on the British officers, who while too many 
for the training and superintendence in peace were too few 
for the leading in modern war. In the terrible strain put 
on all the troops that first autumn and spring in France, 
the British officers of the Indian Army poured out their lives 
like water. Staunch and magnificent as were the Indian 
officers, the drive, the elan and the initiative had largely to 
come from the former and the flower of this eclectic army 
fell. The best of all ranks were lost, but the drain on the 
British cadre was out of all proportion to its numbers. 
Small wonder that for many years after the War the gutting 


of the middles of the regiments was severely felt the loss 
of the senior captains and the majors, and also the ' Chota 
Sahibs 9 of whom mention has been made. The latter, 
however, were not so many as with the old Bengal Army 
in the Sikh Wars. 

The troops, British and Indian, had left India with great 
enthusiasm, and Indian men of wealth subscribed freely for 
comforts and hospitals, while the disloyal and Prussian-fed 
element kept aloof. In the villages whence the soldiery 
came, enthusiasms were always great, the old soldiers offered 
service, and reservists flocked to the colours. A few regiments 
were in the hands of the fierce, bitter seditious elements, 
derived from the Bhabbar movement, and had to be treated 
accordingly, but disciplined enthusiasm was the note of all 
others, enthusiasm for the Raj, for all the good that His 
Majesty stood for in the world they knew of. 

One scene of departure always takes my fancy, that of a 
regiment marching over the Indus to entrain from out a 
frontier station, the subahdar-major's wife usually strictly 
purdah, in the arms of a British officer's wife the farewell 
at the bridge of boats, tears mingling with enthusiasms and 
the common touch the various races shouting their war 
cry ' Wah Sri Khal sa Ji ki jai ' from the Sikhs and so 
forth. Then a touch of scandalous humour when there 
came a hustling bustling tonga pushing folk from the path, 
and in it some ladies of the town, and the house on the wall. 
They too must say a farewell to some of the * Chota Sahibs ' 
of their acquaintance, and in the phraseology of Tobit ' the 
young men's gardener drove them,' for so is laughter and 
tears, good and evil mingle, when the drums begin to roll 
and human nature transcends all barriers. 

The doings of the Indian units in the years of war are out- 
side this story, but the great features that stand out among 


them may perhaps be touched on those special deeds which 
now sparkle for ever on the fore-finger of time. Certain of 
the races now took great pride of place, often those who had 
attracted no great attention before. The Punjabi Muham- 
madan gained great opinions for his unvarying steadfastness 
as also the Moslem of the Dekhan whose antecedents have 
been referred to. The Dogra covered himself with quite 
well-bred glory, and the Hindu Jat came to a fame beyond 
that expected of him, as did the lithe little mountain rat 
the Konkani Mahratta aforesaid, so that some brief account 
of typical doings will not be out of place. 

The first Armada of the Indian Army Corps arrived in 
Marseilles on the a6th of February, 1915, as has been said 
with such pomp of shipping, such forests of masts and 
strength of escort, as the world had never before seen. 
The renowned and sympathetic Sir James Willcocks, from 
the Northern Army of India was in command. The enthu- 
siasms of the French knew no bounds so that both the British 
and the French Press spread themselves in hyperbole and 
inaccuracy. The French even stated that it was the armies 
of Indian Princes who had come to the world's aid, who 
were themselves installed in the finest Marseilles hotels, 
Prince Sykia, Prince Ghorok, and Prince Baluckin, apparently 
the eponyms of Sikhs, Gurkhas, and Baluchis ; but who cared. 
The Eastern troops of the great Ally had arrived and Phoeni- 
cian Marseilles disported accordingly in a manner which 
was at times none too edifying. It has even been surmised 
that some cheerful and imaginative subaltern had been poking 
fun at the Press, a favourite habit since the days of 'trying 
it on Billy Russell' was so popular in '58. 

But the Indian Army was to start under many disabilities. 
It would have been expected that it should concentrate 
in fine autumn weather, straighten itself out in peace and 


quiet, and then as a corps, advance into some portion of 
the battle line in a style to do itself justice with its own 
leaders and staffs in charge. Unfortunately, it was fated to 
fare far otherwise and this adventurous force had to face 
its trials under the least favourable conditions. To begin 
with the leading division had had, for unavoidable reasons, 
to leave a brigade in Egypt for a while. Then, as has been 
mentioned, the Indian Army was singularly ill-equipped 
for modern war, partly from parsimony, partly from the 
different nature of the role for which it was maintained, 
partly because of the terrain in which its premier role was 
to be set, partly alas, from the supreme ignorance of the 
administrative staff as to how war should be organized. 
Still worse was the inefficiency with which some of the 
mobilization improvisations inseparable from an expansion 
to a war footing, were given effect to by those responsible, 
an indelible blot on the military escutcheon of India, not 
fully atoned for till the War had long progressed. 

The Indian Army being prepared for war in mountain 
countries naturally had not the transport system fit for 
the West. It left its camels and its masses of pack animals 
behind, bringing >nly first line transport and the ever useful 
mule cart trains. It was to be fitted out with the complete 
wagon trains and other transport from Great Britain, but 
the expansion there in progress had outrun provision. The 
preparations for transport were not ready. The factories 
had not yet got ahead with the mass production of wagons 
nor could the Army Service Corps depots improvise at the 
rate that improvisation was demanded. The first transport 
therefore, was fairly inefficient. The Indian Corps concen- 
trated forward very properly, but alas, the weather had 
broken, and it arrived at Orleans to find disorganized trans- 
port swimming in a sea of mud, and was thus severely handi- 


capped. The British General Headquarters, only too anxious 
to give the Indians a fair start, were in the grip of circum- 
stances they could not compel. The move to Flanders 
was taking place immediately after the Indian Corps arrived, 
and by the time that corps was assembling in Orleans, the 
new British line was being thinly held, often by cavalry alone. 
Into this hell on earth, for hell it truly was, the new comers 
were precipitated piece-meal, and every single corps was 
broken up by wings and even companies to patch the bulging 
cavalry line. To European troops such a treatment would 
have been trying enough and it may well be conceived what 
a supreme trial this was to Indians. Staunchly and heartily 
did they do their best. It was the zist of October, 1914 
that the Lahore Division of the Indian Army moved up 
into the battle area round Wallon Capel and Lynde, less its 
brigade still in Egypt. The 57th Rifles of the Frontier Force 
was detached and broken up among the 4th and 5th Cavalry 
Brigades, much as sandbags are thrown into a threatened 
embankment. A little later the rest of the Ferozepore Brigade 
to which they belonged, shared the same emergent duty, 
especially the i2gth Baluchis and the Connaught Rangers. 
The British Cavalry Corps of 4,500 sabres was holding 
an immense length of front, and it was the broken up units 
from India that helped them to stand the strain. In the 
years to come, that should be a memory wherever great deeds 
are held in reverence. 

It was the Dogra Company of the 57th that first saw the raw 
red war of the West, and who drove back a German night 
attack. In the first few days the Ferozepore Brigade lost 
heavily, and the 57th and izgth were torn to pieces, their 
British officers pouring out their blood like water, to save to 
stimulate, and to lead, their bewildered yet staunch following, 
thus strangely thrown into the supreme and unexpected trial. 


The brave story has been told in full by Colonel Mere- 
wether in collaboration with "F.E." 1 who was in Press 
liaison with the Corps, and also by no less a pen than that 
of their Commander, Sir James Willcocks, and cannot be 
long dwelt on here. But it was in these days that Garhwali 
and Jat came to take pride of fighting place alongside Sikh 
and Gurkha as primus inter pares y and commenced the trail of 
glory that gained them the title * Royal*, which will stand 
for all time among the regiments of the British Line. Some 
of the bayonet work of the 57th in conjunction with the 
5th Dragoon Guards, was of a very fierce and determined 
nature and fully showed how the famous Indian regiments 
could square up to trouble. Many Indians, chiefly men 
of the Punjab and the Frontier, at this juncture gained 
great personal distinction and reward. The Indian Corps, 
moreover, in due course attained its desire to fight in its 
proper formations and in the slang of the Army had its 
'belly full* thereof, at the First Battle of Ypres as well as 
in the later fights of that first eventful year. 

An event of romantic importance at this time was the 
pushing up of the three Indian battalions of the Jullundhur 
Brigade, the i5th Sit^o, the 34th Pioneers and the 59th Rifles 
F.F., to the assistance of the French cavalry under General 
Conneau, who were filling a gap in the British Line. This cavalry 
had had ten devastating days in the breach and as soon as a lull 
came, the Indians after first supporting them relieved them so 
that they could return to their own part of the line. 

At Neuve Chapelle the Indians had some desperate street 
fighting in which they gained well deserved applause but 
lost heavily. During the winter two remarkable occasions 
behind the line took place, viz., the visit of His Majesty, 
and that of Lord Roberts. In the first case the supreme 

* Lord Birkenhead. 


affection and enthusiasm for the Crown were evinced in a 
remarkable manner, as they had been as a mass movement 
among the country folk at Delhi, two short years before. 
The coming of Lord Roberts in the bitter winter weather 
which caused his immediate death, was equally dramatic 
if different in tone. For years, since in fact the Afghan 
War of 187880, Fred Roberts had been the name which 
had stirred the Indian soldiery from North to South. Leader- 
ship and camaraderie were concentrated in his name. His 
coming after he had left India for many years and had 
become to the younger generation a myth a resounding 
myth of which their fathers ever talked was an occasion 
beyond belief. Of great age in their eyes but full of activity 
and life and kindly enquiry, with a gift for stirring men's 
blood and hearts, the visit was an uplift and a pouring forth, 
a feudal scene amid a feudal people. Extremes of Indian 
military story and legend were meeting. The officer of the 
old East India Company, the Field Marshal who never 
retires, the new age and the old, were to meet on this astound- 
ing occasion of India in Europe which had not happened 
since the days of Darius the Persian. 

The swift death that followed the Field Marshal's effort 
was a tragedy, that all realized, as Kipling wrote: 

" He had touched their sword hilts and greeted each, 
With the old sure word of praise. " 

and again 

" Three hundred miles of cannon spoke 
when the master-gunner 1 died." 

That tragedy to the Indian mind only paled before the even 
greater one of their other renowned Chief falling to a German 
deep sea mine. 

1 Lord Roberts held the post in the Household, of the " Master Gunner 
of St. James". 



It is easy to realize that the British officers of an Indian 
Corps are a highly specialized product. The losses that 
swept their ranks were made up with difficulty, partly by 
transfer from India already squeezed dry, with a frontier 
still to defend, partly by the rejoining of any younger men 
from Britain who had retired but were fit, and who eagerly 
stepped into the vacancies. Another source was the selected 
portion of the Indian Army Reserve of Officers, men of 
knowledge and sympathy, with the usual training as reserve 
officers or in the Indian Volunteer force. The Indian Corps, 
however, was soon to fall into some disrepute at General 
Headquarters, whose watchword had to be efficiency, by 
reason of the sad state of the effectives. Battalions of but 
200 rifles filled the great front in a forward line. The Indian 
regimental officer was now to reap the result of his own 
want of vision. An Army Reserve had long existed, but 
it had never caught the imagination of the regimental officer 
whose eye only looked to intense efficiency on the Indian 
frontier. Instead of encouraging good young soldiers, 
whose holdings often called them back to their villages, to 
go to the Reserve, they had used it as a dumping ground 
for any man they wanted to get rid of. Nor were the arrange- 
ments of Army Headquarters as to the training and prompt 
discharge of ineffectives up to date. When the first parties 
of reservists arrived they were the laughing stock of the 
depots, feeble old men who were of no use and of whom 
large numbers were rejected in Marseilles, and who only 
could have left India by reason of gross neglect of duty on 
the part of both medical and depot officers. The defence 
of the Frontier prohibited yet awhile the drafting of many 


able-bodied serving men from the garrison and the linked 
battalions. It was some time before the recruits could 
be enlisted and trained fit to fill the gaps. Sir James Willcocks 
and his staff were in despair. They felt too, that the severely 
wounded Indians should not be sent back on recovery, 
but return to India and let fresh transfers fill their place. 
But immediate needs were inexorable, the kindly hospitals 
of England returned them as cannon fodder once again. 
This was a condition indeed which our British soldiers also 
had to undergo, however cruel and bitter, but the two cases 
were not quite on all fours, though as the years rolled on 
ideas perforce grew harder on this subject. 

By the beginning of 1915 in addition to the Indian Army 
Corps a cavalry corps of two divisions from India was also 
assembled to reinforce that vast concourse of French and 
British squadrons with which both Joffre and Haig dreamed 
of a break-through a stream of cavalry and horse artillery 
over-riding and mopping up everything behind the German 
line. Alas it was never to be, but the Indian Cavalry Corps 
was a notable addition somewhat handicapped by the fact 
that Indian horses and Walers are born to move on the top 
of the land, while the horses of Europe have often to move 
through it. 

It was the writer's privilege to be present at a review of 
the massed Indian Cavalry Corps, commanded by that 
famous privateersman General Mike Rimington, drawn up 
in the snow on the plains of Hazebrouck. There eighteen 
regiments in line of mass with six batteries of horse artillery 
were reviewed by Sir John French in January 1915, the 
bare woods as a background, the snow light on the ground, 
a Meissonier picture come to life. 

As the first twelve months drew on, the Indian Corps 
brought itself to more glory in the great battles of the period, 


Neuvc Chapelle, Festubert, second Ypres, Givenchy and 
the like, and then it was fought to a standstill, the British 
officers dead, the staunch veteran soldiers killed and broken. 
Many devices to supplement its deficiences had been adopted, 
Territorial battalions came into the brigades and shared 
their troubles. But the Indian Army had already huge 
responsibilities on its shoulders, in Gallipoli, Egypt, Meso- 
potamia and many lesser fields. The New Armies of England 
were now in being, the Territorial forces were at the top 
of their form, the flood had been stemmed, it was now 
possible to remove the temporary dams behind which the 
builders had been working. The Indian Corps was to be 
withdrawn to refit in Egypt and India, and to start perhaps 
in new fields that would try it less. As a matter of fact the 
health of the Indian troops had been a surprise to all. They 
had stood the damp cold of Flanders marvellously. Not 
only had great care and attention been given by their medical 
authorities, but above all things had they re-acted to the 
European conception of a good ration. Meat every day 
to a people who have only had it once or twice a week, worked 
marvels, while ample sugar and tea had warmed their hearts 
and kept the internal fires burning. Nevertheless to get 
them to dryer lighter climes was a fate they well deserved 
and so they were removed, all save the cavalry corps who 
were to stay on for months awaiting the Armageddon which 
they were in fact, to achieve elsewhere. Never was the 
cavalry heart of Lord Haig to see its desire blossom in 

So gradually restored and re-fortified, the Lahore and 
Meerut Divisions, now to be known as the Third and Seventh 
Divisions, started eastwards and were rebuilt in Egypt and 
in India. 

A change indeed was coming over the face of the Indian 


Army and over the whole style and principle of training the 
Indian levies. Not only had the drain on the existing corps 
and their recruiting sources been severe but more was to 
follow. Mass production and mass production methods 
were required. The Imperial Government had asked 
India to raise another quarter million of men. The whole 
field of possible soldier-bearing strata was explored, races 
that had never yet cared to present themselves as soldiers 
were tried. Many of these never took the field. Others 
did and some of them won a place in Indian martial life 
that they had never looked to acquire. The training of 
new soldiers was intensified and greatly improved by the 
use of British drill sergeants, an entirely new departure. 
Men intensively trained were found to do well under tempor- 
ary officers who knew little of them. The discipline and 
needs of war time had produced a psychological submission 
to authority and an emulation in danger which had not been 
looked for. The mass-produced Indian soldier while not 
in the least resembling the majesty of the old regular sepoy 
army had very fair military qualities which sufficed. It 
was only when subjected to the individualist fighting against 
the Mahsud Waziri that the great gulf between it and the 
old line was apparent. For mass fighting it was a very credit- 
able imitation. Then in India had also been established 
two factories for Chota Sahibs, boys who were to have 
commissions in the Indian Army which Sandhurst and 
Woolwich had no time or space for in the war days. Very 
creditable cadet colleges they proved, though the World 
War was over before the cadets could be swept in to the 
receiver of the cannon machine. They would have been 
as self-sacrificing as the Chota Sahibs quoted who saved 
the situation in the old Sikh Wars. The story of the mass 
production is almost forgotten, but it left in the memory 


of the Adjutant-General's branch at Headquarters data 
for the enlargement of the recruitment basis which bears 
good fruit in the Army of to-day. 


In Mesopotamia, as all the world should know, the Indian 
troops had a far worse campaign for the first year and a half, 
than in any other theatre. Not that the casualties were more 
severe, for the actual fighting was less appalling, but the 
climate was most trying, and fighting in a Tigris summer 
defies realization. So long as the force there was a small 
one, things went along reasonably well in shirt-sleeve fashion. 
But the Government of India and the Indian Army as then 
constituted (1916) seemed congenitally unable to realise the 
implications of a river campaign with no road and rail, or 
the organization necessary to cope with such, or with heavy 
casualties and a large ammunition demand. The fatal 
unbalanced decision to move up the Tigris without any 
adequate transport facilities, taken bravely enough to help 
the Allies out of their Gallipoli situation, produced untold 
misery. As the troops pushed on up stream, every mile 
made feeding and maintenance generally less possible. In 
face of this blindness unpardonable, three reinforcing 
divisions were dragged up the Tigris without any possi- 
bility of adequate supply. The big battles for the relief 
of Kut were undertaken without ammunition, hospitals or 
hospital transport, the misery of the troops was very great 
and the humiliations of unnecessary defeat still greater. 
For a while the stoutest of the Indian troops quailed, deprived 
already by war casualties of their best officers and best men. 
Cold feet supervened, religious objections to operations on 


the holy ground of the Tigris and Euphrates arose. At the 
commencement of the campaign the Turkish divisions, 
at this time of inferior troops, were driven out of Basra and 
up the Tigris and Euphrates, and then the tables were 
turned. Turkish reinforcements early in 1915 made a deter- 
mined attempt to drive the British into the sea. Just as Sir 
John Nixon was taking over the command from General 
Barret, was fought, chiefly by Brigadiers Delamain and 
Mellis, what history will pronounce to be one of the most 
decisive battles, not only of the World War but of all time. 
A strong force of Turks was endeavouring to drive the British 
out of Basra. The tribes of Arabistan had been raised 
against us, the pipe line from the oil wells to Abadan had 
been cut, and a strong corps with hordes of Hamidieh cavalry 
was advancing on Shaiba, which is old Busorah of the days 
of Sinbad the Sailor. Only four brigades of British Indian 
troops were available to oppose it and were terribly hampered 
by floods which practically cut the eight miles of dry connec- 
tion with Basra. All Asia was watching, and had the British 
been beaten the Gulf tribes would have been up, Afghanistan 
and the frontier would have joined the Jihad already pro- 
claimed by the Caliph, and the age-old sedition in India which 
has seethed for a thousand years would have broken into 
rebellion. The roll of the drum ecclesiastic would have upset 
the usually loyal Moslems of India. In this fight fought on 
the edge of the arid desert in considerable heat, many corps 
distinguished themselves. 

It was not till General Maude and several new com- 
manders took charge, and above all developed bandobust 
on the line of Communications came into being, that the 
troops with adequate food and fresh vegetables, with hospitals 
and ammunition galore, got back on to their perch. Once 
back nothing could stop them. When Maude at the end 


of 1916 went forward with a swish, neither could the hospitals 
retain the sick nor the dockyard the river steamers. 'A 
Bagdad* was the cry, and the fighting form of all the classes 
rose to its best, and stayed at and even beyond the top of 
their ancient form, till the final victory at Mosul in 1918 
assured the Arab world that the Turk should not dominate 
the ancient land of the Caliphs. 

By 1916 India had begun to organize" seriously, so far 
as war material was concerned. The War Office poured out 
its resources and the Tigris as an organized waterway five- 
hundred miles in length, with a modern port at Basra, left 
little to be desired. 

The Poona division with which General Townshend ad- 
vanced to Ctesiphon had^ fought splendidly against heavy 
Turkish forces. It included some of the finest of the troops 
in India, and as all the world also knows, was driven back 
into Kut, where the unfortunate decision was made to stay. 
By now the two divisions from France, the war-battered 
Indian corps of Ypres, of Festubert, and of Givenchy, 
patched, repaired and refitted arrived in the Tigris. With 
these, dribbled up bit by bit on the unequipped river, and 
the troops already in Mesopotamia, General Aylmer at- 
tempted to relieve Kut and smash the covering force of 
Turks. To support the Indian divisions from France the 
I3th all-British Division from Gallipoli, already broken 
and twice replenished at Anzac and Helles, was brought 
up the Tigris. It is but fair to the memory of these three 
divisions smashed once more on the wheel of heroic but 
unsuccessful endeavour, and to their commander, to record 
what should be written in letters of fire wherever staffs 
are taught, viz., that General Townshend had reported that 
he could not hold out after the middle of January. There- 
fore, before artillery ammunition or hospitals had arrived 


General Aylmer put his men at the Turks on both sides of 
the Tigris, only to be beaten back again and again. And 
General Townshend held out till April ! He had not surveyed 
his supplies and his available substitutes in the Kut bazaars. 
Had he given a better estimate Aylmer would not have gone 
off half-cock in the belief of the urgency of the case, but would 
have waited till all his guns, his ammunition and his hospitals 
were to hand, and success his to command. 

After the fall of Kut all the torrid summer was spent 
in refitting and preparing. There were to be no mistakes 
this time. When Maude advanced some of the Indian 
units distinguished themselves greatly. The storming 
of the Turkish trenches in the Muhammad Hassan below 
Kut by the 45th Sikhs, the crossing of the Tigris at the 
Shamran bend, the latter one of the most remarkable river 
crossings in the annals of war, are epics in the military 
records of the races involved. 

The remainder of the campaign, now supremely victorious, 
is well known. After the capture of Bagdad which had 
considerable effect on the moral of the whole world, the 
Turkish divisions based on Mosul were steadily driven 
north and destroyed. Before this however, some of the best 
of the troops were transferred to Palestine. 

The resources of the whole East were drawn into this 
campaign several thousands of Chinese artificers worked 
in the works of river and railway Egyptian labour corps 
dug out the dockyards the Indian jails sent their organized 
convicts who earned both freedom and bonus by good 
behaviour, while the Clyde sent its shipbuilders to 
work on this ancient river at the erection of tugs and 



It was Indian troops who held Sinai and the Canal zone 
for a year and a half, beating off the attempt of Kress Von 
Kressestein to get into Egypt in February, 1915, and guarding 
it through the long monotonous days of Gallipoli, when 
ward without excitement was the order of the day. In the 
first days of the advance when the war worn troops from 
the Dardanelles were recouping, and the slow advance to 
the River of Egypt and Gaza was 'commencing, there were 
few Indian troops involved. Indeed in the first two battles 
of Gaza and Allenby's successful break through into Pales- 
tine, India was poorly represented. By the time that the 
advance into Judea had commenced Indian brigades had 
joined the force, and troops with frontier experience were 
extremely useful in piquetting the hills in the valley of Ajalon 
and the passes leading to Jerusalem. A little later came 
the India Cavalry divisions so long retained in France for the 
possible break-through, and now to assist materially in 
the great cavalry move that destroyed the Turkish Army. 

The first guarJJug of the Spine of the British Empire 
referred to, saw the 2nd Rajputs, the 6and Punjabis, with the 
2/ioth Gurkhas engaged in beating back the daring Turkish 
attempt on the very banks of the Suez Canal itself. The 
Bikaneer Camel corps during the long months that followed, 
made the Sinai Desert its own, but it was not till the autumn 
of 1917 that the 75th Division constituted from various 
Indian units with a Territorial battalion in each brigade 
moved into the active area of the force in Palestine. In 
January, 1918, arrived those * battered cowries of many 
markets ', the 3rd and 7th Indian divisions, the Meerut and 
Lahore Divisions of France, back into the West after their 


trying but victorious career in Mesopotamia. These 
divisions took a notable part in Lord Allenby's final campaign, 
and the yth finished far up the coast beyond Beirut forming 
the principal unit whose doings are inscribed on the rocks 
of the Nahr mal Kelb, the Dog-River, below those of Darius 
the Persian, of Alexander, of the Legions of Napoleon the 
Great, and of the French in Syria in the 'sixties. 

At the end of 1917 the Indian Cavalry, after their long 
sojourn in France, were also moved to Palestine, and the 
Yeomanry Division which had sent many of its yeomanry 
units to France as machine gunners re-appeared as the 4th 
and 5th Cavalry Divisions, largely composed of Indian 
Cavalry, under two famous Indian cavalry officers, Generals 
Barrow and McAndrew. They were then to take a leading 
part in the famous ride of the cavalry corps round the Turkish 
flanks over the Musmus pass into Jezreel which destroyed 
the whole Turkish army, whence they moved to Damascus 
and Aleppo, an astounding adventure and military operation. 
In these operations the Indian cavalry as a whole, earned 
an opportunity of brilliant service which had to their great 
chagrin been denied them earlier, save in Mesopotamia 
under the later leading, where notable cavalry occasions had 


In the lesser theatres, at the same time as Indian troops, 
often those from the Indian States, held the Canal, an Indian 
expedition went to German East Africa, to meet at first 
with a severe reverse at Dar-es-Salaam. The whole of South 
Persia was cleared of bitterly hostile German agents, held, 
and organized. The Turks, threatening Aden, were kept 
at bay by an Indian force, and as the war rolled on the 


Indian Army went to the Caspian, from Bagdad, while 
after barring the long Perso-Afghan Frontier against the Pan- 
Turk plans of Enver Bey, Indian troops actually found 
themselves in Merv and Trans-Caspia. An Indian brigade 
and several mountain batteries took part in the Dardanelles 
in the rugged country behind Suvla Bay, with great dis- 
tinction and heavy losses, while several Indian formations 
served in the long and weary campaign that at last cleared 
the Germans out of East Africa, and last but not least, in 
the final destruction of the Turkish Army in Palestine. 

Far East that famous corps the 36th Sikhs helped to 
take Tsingtao, the German port in China, while at Singapore 
the other side of the shield was unexpectedly displayed. 
An Indian Moslem battalion seduced by German intrigue 
joined the merchants of the latter nationality in trying to 
seize the port, and had to be destroyed. 

After the war, Indian troops occupied Batoum, and thence 
went inland into Trans-Caucasia. And all the while that 
this went on, the Indian Frontier simmered and re-acted 
to every yarn, although the staunch friendship with the 
Amir Habib-Ullah Khan prevented the situation from getting 
unmanageable, several expeditions to punish raiders were 
necessary, however, in the long four years of war. 

The record is an amazing one, and had the administrative 
services of the Indian Army been adequate, and the organ- 
ization of its resources equal to the conceptions of its General 
Staff, the fame of the Indian Army would have had few 
dimming happenings. 

A word in respect to the Indian Labour Corps which were 
eventually flung round the world by the tens of thousands 
before concluding. The countless folk of India who till 
the soil but have never been equal to handling a pike and 
shouldering a musket went to the war freely in its later stages 


as organized labour, in addition to the strange feast of jail 
birds in Mesopotamia. From the simple hereditary almost 
slave-cultivators in Hindustan to the wild hillmen of Burma 
and the Himalaya, the recruitment spread. Their services 
were invaluable and it is worth trying to imagine what the 
result has been in their untutored but often astute minds. 
In many ways this recruitment has produced the effect in 
Hindustan that the Black Death produced in England. It 
took the men from the villages in which they lived for 
hundreds of years and broke the hereditary serfdom of ages. 
Whatever good such an happening may seem likely to have 
to the apostles of " divine discontent", it has ruptured an 
economic system without replacing it by a better. The old 
relations which alone made life possible in the economic 
conditions of India were shaken in many districts to a remark- 
able extent, and this is one of the factors in making India 
lie unhappily in the post war world. 

One special feature should be held in affectionate memory 
and that is the Indian Mule Corps, pack and draught. On 
the great chausses in France, the mules leaning intently 
inwards, the drivers heads and faces wrapped in their pug- 
garrees, plodded steadily day in day out, oblivious of bombs 
and long range guns. Under constant fire, in Gallipoli 
pack mules carried on with supreme content on the shell 
swept beaches of the Peninsula. For those who can see the 
fun of it it may be mentioned that every muleteer came away 
wearing three grey-back shirts from the ordnance stores 
abandoned at the evacuation ! 

Once the author met a long train of mule-carts in a dust 
storm marching down through Persia, the drivers' faces as 
usual, wrapped in their puggarrees and he demanded: 

" Kahan se ate ? " " Whence come you ? " and the muffled 
patient reply came from the leading cart, " Karspian se ate, 


Mosool ko jate!" "We come from the Caspian and are 
going to Mosul," just a trek of close on a thousand miles, 
these simple drivers from a Punjabi village. 

That is the end of the war story, which has hardly yet 
been realized. It begins and ends in glory and in pathos. 
Glory that the men came so eagerly, pathos that they should 
have had to die so freely far from home, and that too at first 
because administration was not equal to endeavour. And 
at the head of it, first in death and glory, were the colonels 
and the 'chota sahibs 9 who died so freely at their heads and 
whose sons I hope will remember. 

Let us spare a thought however, not for the widows but 
for the unmarried girls, whose marriages ten times more 
essential to them than in the West, never took place who 
waited far beyond marriageable age to their great disgrace 
and who had to let the propitious star-blessed dates go by 
never in many cases to come again. Those who know the 
Punjab village will know the super-tragedy of the jhoks 1 and 
their daughters. 

1 Homesteads. 

[Face page 






IT is hardly possible to have said so much about the 
Indian Army and the martial races, of their past, their valour 
and their services, their glories and their tragedies, without 
wishing to peer into the future. It is only as people in a 
country in which British and Indian are working a con- 
dominium that they will interest us hereafter. If India is 
ever allowed to break from a friendly control, if false senti- 
ment and feeblemindedness are to lead Great Britain to let go 
her Imperial hold and return to the heptarchy, then India 
and her races may go to the devil their own way. But on the 
assumption that the British intend to remain a sovereign 
and adventurous people, and that India will run in friendly 
and gently controlled double harness, then the future is of 
great interest to consider. 

The martial races, as has been explained, are without 
exception, small landowners, yeoman farmers and farming 
tenants. As such, the passage of one or more lads of each 
family through the ranks of the Indian Army, has brought 


discipline, knowledge and progress into the homesteads to 
which they return. It has also brought wealth and prestige, 
as is clearly seen by the improvements and signs of prosperity 
in those villages that harbour and breed the jungi log y ' the 
men of war'. 

The ex-soldiers form a very valuable nucleus bringing 
to a very simple, ill-informed country knowledge of the 
world, of the British Empire and all that the Crown stands 
for. They, all without exception cultivators, form the 
vanguard of those who support and endeavour to under- 
stand the many improvements in agriculture, seed, irrigation, 
and the like which the Government is always endeavouring 
to introduce. 

Very real is their support of Government in times of 
trouble and rumour. Whenever there are rumours of war 
the reservists hasten to join, often when there is no intention 
of calling out the reserves. During the World War the 
pensioned Indian officers hurried to serve in any capacity 
and were to be found all over the world like the retired 
British officers of the Army and Navy, taking any duty that 
might be required of them. I well remember an old Sikh 
subahdar who had come to Mesopotamia in charge of a labour 
corps. He had a flowing beard that was pure white, and I 
said : " How long, old soldier have you been (in the Persian 
metaphor) eating your pension." He had a very deep voice 
and he replied, "Ho! Ho! Ho! I've been eleven years 
eating my pinsin, but when the war broke out father said 
to me and my brothers (also pensioned officers) ' Get out of 
this and go to the War, I won't have you young fellers loafing 
about my farm.' Ho ! Ho 1 " And father was what is known 
in the Northern Army as * Bay ley guard gya ', one of those 
men from the North as already explained, who had gone 
with Sir Colin Campbell to the Relief of Lucknow, or its 


subsequent re-capture, for the Residency at Lucknow was 
known as the Bayley Guard, the garrison which served as 
escort to Colonel Bayley, a resident in earlier times, and the 
Indian memory is a long one. 

The old pensioned officer in the Punjab, in Mahrattaland, 
in Madras, wherever it may be, is a tower of strength to the 
administration. Knowing what he does too, he is one check 
on the utterly incorrigible propensity of the lesser Indian 
official to victimize his neighbours or exact illegal gratification. 
In the good old days of Indian kings some potentate would 
lose his patience and have such an official crushed by his 
elephant, or punished by a similar summary method, to the 
delight of the public. To-day the evil subordinate is rarely 
treated as he deserves and the retired soldier in many districts 
acts as a check. He has a method of access to authority 
which scares the evil doer into moderation. 

The more the administration ' Indianizes ', the more will 
this check on roguery be important. 

The future of the martial races runs in two directions, 
one as citizen, as a yeoman and farmer, the other in the role 
we know him best, that of a soldier. As a farmer, a man 
of the martial class whether he has passed through the 
ranks, which can only apply to a small proportion, or whether 
he remains all his life on the land, provides the stuff from 
which the only effective supply of ruling personnel can be 
drawn. The merchant class and townsman who takes to 
politics by way of the law, and from which class most of our 
Indian civil servants are drawn shows no great sign of having 
sufficient * guts ' to be a public servant in responsible positions. 

There are, of course, certain brilliant exceptions who 
could be quoted but en masse, the personnel of the railways, 
of the active professions and of the administration, if it is 
to be Indian, must come from this class, the martial land- 


owning or land-cultivating class, who can and will say boh! 
to a goose and more. 


The constitution-makers and those who follow in their 
wake, have been busy finding and framing arrangements for 
the Indian Army of the future, but as they all seem to assume 
that Great Britain is not going to dominate India in the 
matter of general direction, we need not pay very much 
attention to them. The real problem is how far the Indian- 
ization of the Indian Army can be carried without jeopardizing 
the British Empire, and without destroying the fighting 
efficiency of the Indian Army as a fighting machine, bearing 
in mind that the Indian soldier of to-day is only able to 
meet his probable opponents if he is at his very best, and 
if his moral and physical qualities are very fully developed. 

Indianization of the Indian Army means the substitution 
or rather the introduction of Indians into some of the positions 
held by British ofUcers, and eventually it must also postulate 
that some of those officers, if fitted, shall be permitted to 
take higher command alongside and at times over Europeans. 

The writer has long been of opinion that we have been 
slow, lamentably slow, in bringing forward a few military 
Indian officers into the positions of British officers. He has 
always held that, as in the civil and medical departments 
and the other services where partial Indianization has been 
introduced, it should perforce have been tried in the Army 
also earlier. He was one of a small clique at Simla who 
urged this should be done when Government was search- 
ing for boons to announce to the Army at the time of 
His Majesty's visit to India in 1912. Older heads, notably 


Lord Roberts, advised against it, with the result that it has 
been done in response to agitation after the War, and the 
valuable experience of the World War has been lost. The 
difficulties were great no doubt, the other services of 
Government were not a parallel, in that the cheek-by-jowl 
life of mess and the close daily association that army life 
means both in peace and war, makes and made then, the 
proposition a different and a difficult one. 

Differences of religion, difference of outlook on life, differ- 
ent standards and ethics all make the close mingling 
difficult. Especially is this the case in so small a social 
circle as an Indian unit. 

But nevertheless the problem needed facing in some form, 
and there was this much in favour of its consideration, viz. 
that the British had infinitely more respect and affection for 
and more in common with the martial classes than with, to 
use the Indian idiom, the clerkly-werkly classes. 

In Chapter XII some outline of the ' Indianization ' 
question in the past has been given and it has been shown 
how, in the early days of the Indian Army, Indians rose to 
very high positions and occasionally to the command of 
irregular corps. It has been explained that it was the need 
for regular highly trained units, on a western model, to meet 
the harder, fiercer foe and their troops trained in western 
methods that saw the elimination of the Indian in higher 
positions a hundred and fifty years ago. It has also been 
explained how, after the Mutiny, the ' irregular ' system with 
a few British officers was introduced and how it failed in the 
first hard fighting on the North-west Frontier. More British 
officers alone then could combine the knowledge of modern 
ways with the power to lead. 

The Russian War scare increased the need for British 
leading. Unfortunately the World War gave us little experi- 


cnce of how Indians would re-act in the higher command, 
. . . and this opportunity has been lost. Happily, however, 
the experiment has been made since the War, and young 
Indians at Sandhurst have joined the Army in the place and 
status of Britons. There has not been a very wide choice 
as yet for the reasons aforesaid, and in the earlier days the 
young officers joined units exactly as a young Briton would 

Later when Lord Rawlinson was Commander-in-Chief, 
it was decided to Indianize entirely a certain number of 
corps, that is to say, all junior officers would be Indians 
so that gradually the units will be filled up from the bottom, 
and become all Indian as the years roll on. There have 
been two reasons for this decision: one because in the early 
years after the War it was thought that the fact that there 
would be Indians in the ordinary regiments was deterring 
British officers from coming to the Indian Army. This was 
not mere dislike of colour. The outlook of peoples with 
entirely different personal codes of honour, morals and 
conduct, though not necessarily less worthy, could not, it 
was felt, be the sajiie, while the close life in a mess, and thus 
the possible diminution of those amenities which alone make 
the Indian exile bearable, would suffer very much where the 
varying Indian races were mingled with the Europeans in 
such association. The other reason was the difficulty of 
Indians eventually having command over British officers. 
The young Indian himself was seriously displeased. His 
ambition was to live in close association with the European, 
and felt that the Indianized unit would have a lesser status 
in the estimation of Indians and the world. The writer 
believes that an error of judgment taken on a long view was 
made, and that the mixed mess on the whole would have 
been best for all, but as it seemed that any such step would 


alienate the better British boys from the Indian Army, the 
segregation policy appeared unavoidable and was adopted. 

In the meantime the Army officers had long realized that 
the Indian intelligentsia as a rule, save perhaps from the 
northern Khatri, would never make officers, and that the 
only real source from which to draw a reliable 'Brindian', 
the term colloquially applied to the Indian officer with 
British officer's status, must come from the class that now 
furnishes the * Indian officer ' and that the sons of the subahdars 
and ressaldars would be far more likely material and might 
have the character necessary, if caught young enough. 
Therefore, there were started King George's Schools for 
these very boys, in which an education on British boarding 
school lines for several years, prior to selection for Sandhurst, 
could be given. These schools ere long should give good 

In the desire to meet the demands of the politician the 
Government of India have announced their intention of 
Indianizing enough new units to form a complete Indian 
division. Already there are eight units to which the experi- 
ment is being extended, and four or eight more with the 
technical services is no great addition. The theory is that 
the sooner the worthiness of Indian officers is put to the 
test, the better. The trouble is, however, that the test is 
principally war, assuming that the more difficult peace 
duties of war training can be successfully performed. The 
test of war postulates the possibility of failure, and failure 
in war in a test that is any value is a bitter business. The 
proposal does indeed contain the idea that Indians can be 
trained to lead units in serious war, and we have yet to see 
that they can do so. There is already a hint, made in all 
good faith and with sorrow and disappointment, by those 
who are anxious for success, that the delightful young Indian 


lads who come through Sandhurst, are a little less efficient 
each year that they are longer away from the college, rather 
than passing each year from strength to strength. They 
go down the hill instead of up it. If this be true it is tragedy 
that has not been unexpected. 

There is another anxious point. The age that the Army 
officer is entering on to great responsibility which calls 
for character and energy, is about the age at which, probably 
from the climatic conditions of centuries, the Indian is 
inclined to evince a desire for ease, that will ruin him as 
an officer. Those with experience do not believe that the 
Indianized division will ever be possible, and feel that 
merely to please political talkers the Government is but sacri- 
ficing a slice of an Army they must now do without. Others 
feel that the proposal is one of despair in that perhaps those 
who are responsible for it have relinquished all hope of 
getting truth and hard facts faced by responsible ministers 
of the Crown, and by Viceroys . . . faced indeed by 
those who like the juggler are thrice happy if none of the 
balls fall to the ground during their turn of handling them. 
It will be for the Indians concerned to show that the 
croakers are wrong. 

The Commander-in-Chief in India is naturally only 
anxious to give the considered policy of Government the 
best chance of success possible. If it is left in his hands, it 
will be properly watched and controlled. If taken from his 
hands strange events may result. 

There is one point that all in authority may be sure of, 
viz., that if British officers are certain that wisdom and 
strength and not sheer opportunism are behind Government 
intention, and that they are not being asked to forge a weapon 
which is to destroy the British Empire, they will throw 
themselves heart and soul into the task. They will use their 


best efforts to make the men of the martial races as fit leaders as 
they have hitherto been soldiers and any others who so aspire. 

It has been announced that it is the Mhow Division which 
is to be Indianized as a whole. Within that District lie the 
battlefields of Mehidpore, of Assaye, and Argaum, three 
battlefields on which it has been necessary for a British 
force to destroy an Indian Army. It is to be watched that 
history is not compelled to repeat itself. 

A working difficulty is the future of the non-commissioned 
officers, whose prospects at present lie in the position as 
Indian officers of the present type and status, and whose 
education precludes a higher position. In the Indianized 
regiment, this type of officer disappears, the 'Brindian* 
alone being in charge. 

This diminution of prospects is causing some alarm 
among those who form the backbone of a corps. Alarm 
and discontent among a valued indispensable class, is a 
danger at all times and in the Indian army even more than 


The all important matter of the final cadet training of 
the 'Brindian* has been carefully considered. A committee 
of the intelligentsia went round the Empire examining the 
systems and some of them learnt a good deal, although 
it is said the distorted minds of others were more intent 
on ascertaining how much the dominions hated the mother 
country than on the business in hand. It has now been 
decided to start a normal * Sandhurst ' in India, which was 
really necessary if a large number of cadets is required. 
At first sight it had seemed also that it was hard to expect 
parents to send their boys so far from home as England 


but as a matter of fact, they actually prefer to do so, 
exactly as they also send their sons in large numbers 
to British universities and other colleges. 

Rightly or wrongly, and the writer ventures to think 
that the balance of arguments is in favour of it, an Indian 
'Sandhurst 1 there is to be. He hopes that some British 
cadets joining the Indian Army may even spend their last 
term there. 

If the British dominion is to remain on sound lines the 
less that ' separation ' takes place the better it will be. There 
are plenty of British officers who will make a great success 
of this cadet training so far as success be possible, though 
how far that may be, as in the matter of Indianization at 
all, is a question that time alone can solve. The training 
of youth is a British forte and there is no doubt that there 
will be plenty of enthusiasm in the new College. In fact 
ere long British cadet officers will be declaring that their 
boys are the finest in the world! All of which brings us 
back to the same point, viz. that if India will turn its face 
from the Ghandi madness, and the age-old bitter Brahmin- 
inspired venom and put a shoulder to the wheel in the way 
of comradeship, there is nothing that India cannot do, 
within her ' possibilities ' and the ' length of her cable tow '. 


The Simon Commission went very fully into the major 
conditi:ns of the military problem and they recorded their 
opinion that without the British garrison and an army of 
the northern races, India could not be defended. They 
also showed a grasp of some of the salient facts about India, 
by saying that without the discipline and control that only 


British officers could exert, the Army of warlike northern 
races could not be prevented from dominating India and 
forcing its will thereon, and the same remark undoubtedly 
applies to the Mahrattas and Gurkhas in the Army. Then 
the Commission proceeded to infringe British canons of 
business by making a logical proposal for the future. They 
went so far as to say that all the British troops and that 
part of the Indian Army officered by British officers must 
be an Imperial Army, an Army of the Crown, commanded 
by a Commander-in-Chief responsible to the Crown through 
the Governor- General and not responsible to the Govern- 
ment of India. Further, besides that there should be pro- 
vincial troops available to support local law and order, and 
welded as would be the forces of the * Princes' states into 
one major mobilization scheme for the defence of India 
on a large scale. In the local troops would be the opportunities 
for the ' Brindian '. The existing Territorial force, the State 
troops, and possibly some of the newly Indianized regular 
regiments might be the first fruits of the policy of local 
forces behind the Imperial first line. 

That is a normal, logical, strategical, conception. There 
might be plenty of 'Brindians' this semi-slang word is 
so useful that it must be retained here in the Imperial 
portion of the Army. There are already clever young men 
among them to whom the Staff College will be a possibility, 
but at any rate, for many a day the place for the higher 
employment of such would be in the 'local' forces. In 
the Simon scheme there is plenty of room for re-adjustment 
within the general framework, and that is the secret of a 
good scheme formed on so indeterminate a basis as the 
British position in India. There must be room to recoil 
as well as to advance, to retrace steps that are false with- 
out a bouleversement. Development and evolution and not 


revolution is the key note on which alone India can thrive 
and British rights be maintained. 

There is another interesting point that we may well 
remember. Those who are at all familiar with the story 
and the system under which the Government of India by 
the East India Company was conducted, are aware of its 
many excellences, and of the fact that it squared much 
more readily with a more logical basis of British dominion 
than the system which succeeded it. It had many weaknesses, 
it was also, as is the magnificent Indian structure of to-day, 
the butt and the cock-shy of every one with bile in his 
composition or who suffered from an inferiority complex. 
It came in for an excess of abuse largely unmerited, after 
the outbreak of the Mutiny of the Bengal Army and there 
is much to regret in the passing of the form of statesman- 
ship that lay behind its arrangements and the principles 
which animated both the Court of Directors and the Board 
of Control. Especially was this so in its military principles, 
which were better than its military practice. Each local 
Government produced and maintained its own native army, 
and its forces were of two kinds, general and local. The local 
supplemented the police and were for the maintenance of 
law and order in the wilder parts which still exist. Their 
place is now taken by the armed police. The European 
Army consisted of two quite separate forces. There was 
the Imperial garrison varying with circumstances but paid 
for by India and there were its own European forces, main- 
tained by and enlisted by the Government of India. The 
control of the Company's, that is to say its own Europeans 
by the Government of India, especially a more Indianized 
Government, would be simpler than when all the Europeans 
belonged to the Imperial Army. It will be seen that this 
original arrangement has many of the same germs as the 


Simon proposals, more permanent in principle than the 
arrangements introduced after the Mutiny when the Indian 
Government's Europeans were abolished as such and amalga- 
mated with the Imperial Army. 

The Simon proposals do embody some of the more 
logical premises which underlay the Company's system, 
especially in the sense of a Crown Army garrisoning a more 
or less * dominionized ' India supplemented by the local 
'Dominion* troops. 


The conclusion of the whole matter may briefly be sum- 
marized, and it can only be summarized here by the light 
of the faith with which this whole book has been written. 
That tinge and that faith is this. Firstly, that Great Britain 
has just as much right to rule in India as any other of the 
conquering races that form the martial classes, in view of 
her conquests, and a thousand times more right in view 
of the fact that she, and she alone, has spent all her energies 
in good Government and in the re-constitution of a broken 
continent. Secondly, that all the lives lost and capital lent 
for India constitute a deep-set right. Thirdly, that part 
passu with the maintenance of those paramount rights and 
the safeguards which shall ensure them, the advance of 
India shall continue as a sacred duty, and that the growing 
sense of responsibility in India shall be fostered to that end. 

The races that are likely and fit to take the lead in an 
awakening India can only be those races which have been 
described in this book as the folk who have the character 
and physical characteristics that fit them for the more ener- 
getic side of a native life. From them only can the more 


active national servants be drawn: The curious tempera- 
mental feud between them and the effeminate intelligentsia 
which is as old as India itself, is likely to endure, and as the 
Simon Commission states without British control can 
only end in the complete and ruthless domination of the 
masses by the martials. Given however, sufficient discipline 
and control from the outside, it may safely be said that the 
martial classes present the great hope of India in all more 
virile development. 

With this faint attempt to peer into the future, this story 
of the martial races, which is really the story of India, must 
come to an end. In every town, in every village in Great 
Britain, the officer with happy memories, often enough 
pathetic memories, of his life with some or other of the races 
just described, 'eats' as the Eastern has it, his pension, 
and cultivates his memories, memories of men who have 
followed him, fought and died by his side. In the villages of 
those Indian districts whence come the combatant races a 
similar case exists. The old soldiers both commissioned 
and otherwise cherish their memories, as has been told in 
the story of the Subahdar's Tita Bhai, quarrel with the 
civil officials, attend their regimental re-unions, flock to 
meet some sahib who is shooting or recruiting in the neigh- 
bourhood. At seasons of the year greetings often speed on 
across the waters to their old leaders, and the leader's son when 
he joins his father's regiment is eagerly and heartily received. 

Les enfants poussent toujours, the races increase and the 
land gets full. For a couple of generations have the 
great canals by which British engineers have spread the 
snows of the Himalaya on the parched Punjab land, catered 
for the increase by the million. But the new land is nearly 
finished, and it remains to be seen if the close scrutiny of 
the just distribution of water can be kept up, without which 


the land cannot produce its fair crop. It is these hardy 
races who will keep the new land productive, it is they from 
whom some at least of the engineers must come and indeed 
are now coming. Government is the matter of men of 
character, and character must in the end, be dependent on a 
modicum of personal courage. It is the descendants of the 
men who fought Alexander, of the women who took part 
in the Saccas of Chitoor, and even of those fierce Turks who 
drove them to it, on whom such future as India may possess 
must rest, not on the millions of the lesser folk who swarm 
on the land like myriads of ants. They and their intelligent- 
sia alone, have no promise for India, nor unless the regime 
is directed by the strong men from the West is there any 
chance of physical uplift for such. The strong men of the 
North, as Sir John Simon has pointed out, are more likely 
to work their own will for evil on the feebler folk of the 

So that is the pith of it. The virile men must lead, and 
someone must see that they can lead, and do not set about 
to misuse or run the land for themselves alone. Guided and 
controlled, a great feature remains for them. Loosed, we 
may expect centuries of Poppa Bhai ki Raf. 1 

For years the old cry, when the nominal Raj of the Mogul 
still remained, ran thus: 

Hukm-i- Sahiban A lishan. 

which may be interpreted: 

Mankind belongs to God. 
The land to the emperor. 

But the ordering of things to the mighty English. 
See p. 85 

A A 


How the enfeeblement of a ministration brings Poppa 
Bhai ki Raj already, the following extracts from the Indian 
papers of the spring of 1932 show, all during the month of 
April. In Peshawar a Moslem Inspector of Schools is found 
with his head chopped off, and none to say how or why, 
At Cawnpore nine villagers are tried for conspiring to break 
the law by burning the living widow on the funeral pyre of 
her dead husband Bhure Singh, in the presence of between 
two and three hundred sympathisers, and resisting the police 
who tried to save the unfortunate woman. 

At Lucknow a party of women-singers finding themselves 
hoarse offered as a sacrifice a nine-year old girl Musammat 
Kunia to the Goddess Bhagwani, the Wife of the Great God 
Siva, as a sure and certain cure, having first hacked her to 
pieces with a sharp mattock. In the Southern Mahratta 
country an amiable gentleman, obviously a Mahratta, by name 
Vithoba Karanjalkar of Pimple, was sentenced for ill-treating 
and roughly consummating his marriage with a girl of thir- 
teen. He had been married to her several years, but she, 
according to custom resided with her mother till of marriag- 
iable age. He having demanded her and been refused, 
removed her by force, tied her hands above her head and 
secured her feet by driving double-pointed plough nails 
into each foot. The kind Indian judge remarked in 
sentencing the prisoner that it seemed a pity that among 
the poorer class husbands still asserted their right in this 

Perhaps to set such things right even with the help of 
the martial races and to lead them to their eventual destiny, 
the Hukm-i-Sahiban Alishan is still necessary. It is one 
thing for a continent to have thrown up through the ages 


the martial races that have been described, it is another 
matter for them unaided to control a country with the 
proclivities that these cases show. Without the Hukm-i- 
Sahiban Alishan it looks as if the road might still lead to the 
'Saccas' of Chitoor, but given this Hukm there are plenty 
of stout willing hearts to develop the land. 

A book of sympathy about India can never do better 
than end with a verse from Sir Alfred Lyall. Thus West 
some kindly Lord Irwin speaks to East, 

" Let the temple moulder in gathering sand, 
Let the stones lie strewn in the cedar grove, 
Ye shall rule like Gods in a glorious land 
Ye shall live by knowledge and peace and love." 

But East replies to West somewhat hopelessly viz., 

" The burden of thought and the travail of care, 
Weigh down the soul in its wandering flight ; 
The sun burns ever, the plains lie bare 
It is death brings shade and the dreamless night." 

For it is but the spirit of Hindu complacency that is 
content. . . . 

" With the dirge and the sounds of lamenting 
And the voices of women who weep." 

Thus tolled the knell at the Cawnpore Massacre of 1930 
the fierce communal riots in Bombay of 1932 the imme- 
diate results of the weakening of the great psychological 
bonds of authority and peace which India owes primarily 
to Mr. Montagu's attempts to stir 'pathetic content', and 
upset the finest Government in the world. For a century 
and a half has Great Britain rebuilt, fitted together the 
broken pieces, while amateur modellers are now anxious 


to apply to an enormous country a system working fairly 
well in these small scale islands, which have taken a thousand 
years to create it. By trying to build in the last ten years 
a system which Britain trained herself for since the Saxons 
landed, we have built on foundations that have not yet 
been dug deep enough. We have now to grout our too 
hasty jerry-building. The educating of the manly and 
martial classes to control is sadly in defect yet, and the 
effervescence of education is in less settled minds. How 
those manly classes have been formed and evolved, how 
great and how dangerous they can be to themselves and 
everyone else, and how splendid under control and leading, 
this short account has endeavoured to show. 

The ineffective outlook of the Ghandi mind would but 
throw the country back, would get rid of the West and its 
millions of miles of life-giving water, its thousands of miles 
of rail that prevent famine, and would bring it where it 
was, like China with her bandits and war-lords. 

11 Scored with the brand of the burning heat, 
And the wrath divine and the sins of man 
And the fateful tramp of the conqueror's feet, 
It has suffered all since the world began/' 

The men of those races whose hands have never kept 
their heads cannot be expected to do so, nor do they seem 
to be worthy of the trust that the Crown would otherwise 
wish to place in their hands. On the other hand the men 
of the Rajput, Jat and kindred races and groups have it in 
them in due course to lead and control. And as this book 
is about soldier classes in a land that soldiers have made and 
marred, it is perhaps not out of place to quote once more 
the saying of a wise old Irish Commander-in-Chief in India, 
who was emphasizing the value of character at an important 


conference of the military alumni. " Ye may tache a poodle 
tricks but ye can't tache him to draa a badger ". Our energies 
in India have let the education that is so essential pass to 
the clever un-manly classes, who cannot alone use it effect- 
ively. That was not the method of one of England's wisest 
kings of whom Kipling wrote: 

" There are four good legs to my father's chair 
Priest and people and Lords and Crown. 
I sit on all of them fair and square 
And that is the reason it don't break down." 



Abbey-lubbers, 44 
Adil Shahi Dynasty, 101 
Afghan War, First, 175 

, early success, 176 

, later disasters, 177 

Afghanistan, 15 

in 1878, 224 

, ferment of races in, 56 
, constituent races of, 76 
Afridi and crucifix, 2 

and Aparoeti, 25 

, desertions in World War, 245 
, enlistment curtailed, 245 
, lack employment, 246 
Ahirs in the Army to-day, 283 
Ahmed Shah invades India, 129 
Ajmere falls to Moslems, 71 
Akbar succeeds Humayun, 59 

sacks Chitoor, 81 
Ala-ud-din Ghori, 67 
Alberuni, scholar, 62 
Alexander of Macedon, 3 
Aliwal, Battle of, 209 
Alptigin, 59 

, Dynas y of, 67 

Andras, the, 35, 37 

Anglo -Indians, 268 

, services of, in the Mutiny, 270 

, in the World War, 270 

Arabs in Sind (1711), 56 

Arbela, 21 

Arcot, defence of, 144 

Aristoboulos, the historian, 23 

Armies of the Mauryan, 170 

Armies of Native States, modernized, 


Army, the Indian, 
, commencement, 154 
, dressed in scarlet, 155 

Army, developed, 168 

, races in, 169 

, follows Royal Army, 169 

, romantic story of, 173 

, early constitution, 175 

, Lord Kitchener and, 170 

, Brahmmization of, 170 

Arrian, the historian, 22 

Aryan, castes, the, 9 

Asaf Jah, no 

Asoka, 34, 41 

ascends the throne of Magadha, 

becomes Buddhist, 34 
, edicts of, 34, 41 
Aurungzebe, Viceroy of the Dekkan, 


conquers Kingdom of South, 103 

and Shivaji, 105 

becomes Alangir, 105 


Baba Nanak, 119 

Baber, 74 

, at Panipat, 83 

, supported by Indian Moslems, 


, assumes title 'Ghazi', 84 
Babylon, 6 

Bahadur, King of Gugerat, 85 
Bahmani, the, Dynasty, 101 
Baird, General, 160 
Baji Rao's Horse, legend of, 259 
Bakhti and Sikhism, 125 
Bengal Army, composition of, 161 

, at its zenith, 172 

, Sepoys in the Sikh War, 214 
, before the Mutiny, 220 
, British in, 145 
, Nawabs of, 145 

362 INDEX 

Ben-i-Israel, 15 

Bernier's tales of the Moguls, 94 

Bhangi-Jhangi, rhyme of, in 

Bhonsla, 161 

Bhurtpur, ist siege of, 162 

Bijapur, Kingdom of, 101-4-5 

Bikramajit, 85 

Bombay comes to Charles II, 107 

Army remains faithful, 221 
Brahmins, 229 

as soldiers, 271 
, qualities of, 272 
Brahminization of the Army, 172 
Brahminism, waning of, n 

, revival of, 1 1 

of Dekhan, 99 

British in India, first arrival, 140 
, first fortification, 141 

Baluchistan, tribes in, 237 

Officers and Pathans, 240 
Buddha, the, n 
Buddhism, story of, 41 

and the Tartars, 37 

Calcutta founded, 141 
, growth of, 145 
, Black Hole of, 146 

plundered by Suraj-ud-Doulat, 

Caste, origin of, 10 
Chakdara, attack on, 189, 226 
Chakun, fort of, near Poona, 104 
Chandernagore founded, 142 
Chandra Gupta, 33 

, Vikramaditya, 37 

Charles II, dowry of his bride, 107 
Char nock, Job, at Calcutta, 141 
Chawand Rai of Delhi, death of, 70 
Che nab, River, 253 
Chillianwallah and Alexander, 25 
, battle of, 212 
China river, 253 
Chinese Pilgrims, 23, 37 
Chittoor, drama of, 50 

sacked by Akbar, 81 

by Alla-ud-din-Khyi, 81 

, first Sacca, 1303, 81 

, third Sacca, 1568, 87 

Christians in the army, 293 

, Syrian, with King's commission, 

Clive at Arcot, 144 

founds the Indian Army, 144 

sent to Calcutta, 146 

Clive, twice Governor of Bengal, 149 
Coast Army, the, 161 

, fading away of, 290 

Coorg and Tippu, 157 

*s, military experiments with, 294 

Coote, Sir Eyre, comes to India, 145 

, captures Pondicherry, 145 

Conflicting religions of India, 9 
Cornwallis, Lord, comes to India, 


, takes Seringapatam, 157 

, second tour, 164 

, death in India, 164 

Craterus, one of Alexander's 

Generals, 27 


Dalhousie, Lord, and the Sikhs, 214 

, annexes the Punjabs, 216 

Dargai, storming of, 24 
De Boigne, Count, and Sindia, 160 
Deccan v. Dekhan 
Dekhan, meaning of, 99 
, Kingdoms of, 101 
Delhi, mutiny at, 71 
, siege of, 218 
Deogarh, 100 
Derajat, 211 
DCS Voeux, Major, 260 
Dhulip Singh, 13 

Diwany, right given to British, 149 
Dogra, meaning of, 53 
Rajputs, 54 
Dom Race, the, 51 
Dom, sign of the, 286 
Doulatabad, 100 

Dum, Sir Beauchamp, C.-in-C. 
India, 319 

, his help in the War, 319 

Duni Chand, strange story of, 31 
Dupleix, Governor, 142 
Durani, origin of, 15 

Edwardes, Herbert, and Multan, 211 
Ellenborough, Lord, 65 

, and gates of Somnath, 65 

, action justified, 65 

, and Sind, 181 

, and Gwalior, 182 

Elphinstone, General, his force des- 
troyed, 177 
Erbil=Arbela, 21 
Eurasian v. Anglo-Indians 



Faruqi, historian, 62 

Ferozepore, Sikhs and British at, 137 

, in 1845, 208 

Ferozeshah, battle of, 20 

France, arrival of Indian troops in, 

French, first come to India, 142 

found Pondicherry, 142 

found Chandernagore, 143 

fight English, 143 

dominate S. India, 143 

at Hyderabad, 159 

Frontier, expeditions in the '90*8, 

Policy, 225 

risings of 1879, 225 

course of, 259 

Garhwal, 284-5 

, people of, 53 

, early invasion of, 53 

Garhwalis to-day in the army, 285 

as a Royal Regiment, 287 

in the World War, 288 

trouble at Peshawar, 287 
Gates of Somnath, 65 
carried off, 65 

and Runjhit Singh, 65 

and Lord Ellenborough, 65 

Gautama, Prince, ix 

, his descent, 41 

Ghats, the Western, 97 
Ghengis Khan and India, 72 
Ghuzni and Sabuktigin, 59 

invaded by Rajputs, 59 
Ghuzni, 14 

Gillespie, General, 188 

, killed, 190 

Goddard, Col., and his march, 153 
Golgonda, 101 
Goojerat, battle of, 212 
Goths, 7, 20 
Gots Sikh, 253 

Gough, Sir Hugh, in first Sikh War, 

, at Gwalior, 183 

, at Chillianwallah, 213 

, at Goojerat, 213 

Govindh, 121 

Grunth, the, 121 

Guides, return of, from Delhi, 67 

Gujars, enlisted to-day, 283 

Gulab Singh of Jammu, 249 
Gulistan, defence of, 259 
Gupta Dynasty founded, 37 
Gurkha, story of the, 184 
, meaning of the word, 183 
, the House of, 186 
, invasion of India, 186 

gallantry, x 89 

clans and tribes, 193 

, Ma gar and Gurang, 194 

regiments, 196 
, increase of, 197 

, Limbo, Rai, Khas, 194 

and the Tartar Wars, 18 
Guru, the Sikh, 121-2 

Govindh, 121 

Arjan, 121 
Gwalior War, 1842, 183 


Haider Ali, 152 

Hardinge, Sir Henry see Lord 

Hardinge, Lord, and First Sikh War, 

and Bengal Sepoy, 214 

Har Govindh, 121 

Hari Singh, General, 137 

Harsha encourages discussions, 43 

Harsha's Empire, 43 

Hastings, Marquis, 164 

Hearsey, Hyder, 269 

Hearseys, the, 269 

Hearsey, young, 165 

Hindu recovery after Mahmud in- 
vasions, 67 

Hindu revival, the, 45 

Hindustani fanatics, the story of, 

Holkar and Sindia, 162 

defeats Monson, 162 

defeated at Deig, 162 

pursued by Lake, 162 
Houen Chang, pilgrimage, 43 
, his route, 43 

, at Bamian, 44 
Humayun loses India, 74 

recovers India, 74 
Huns, turn Buddhist, 39 

Ibrahim Khan Gardi, 113 
Ibrahim Lodi defeated, 83 
India and the British (P. Kendal), vi. 
India no rule of Righteousness, 5 

364 INDEX 

Indian Army reformed after the 
Mutiny, 220 

Punjabis replace Hindustanis, 221 

Regular and Irregular Systems, 


to-day, 236 

classes enlisted, 236 

Frontiersmen, 236 

Punjabis, 237 

Sikh, 237 

Dogras, 237 

Rajputs, 237 

Mahrattas, 237 

Pathans, classes of, 239 

and the World War, 318 

in 1914, 318 

in France, 323 

Armadas leave India, 320 

future of, 341 

pensioned officers, 340 

Sandhurst, 349 

and Simon Report, 350 
Indian Ethnology, outline of, 6 
Indianization of Army before the 

World War, 231 
Indian Labour Corps, 337 
Indian Martial Races, careful study 

of, commenced, 221-2 
Indian Mule Corps, 339 
Indians have always supported 

British, 158 
Indian Troops in Marseilles, 323 

unprepared for War on big 

scale, 324 

and the King, 321 

and Lord Roberts, 327 

and casualties, 328 

, cavalry reviewed, 329 

withdrawn, 331 

in Mesopotamia, 332 

Palestine, 336 

Sinai, 336 

East Africa, 337 

Persia, 337 

China, 338 

Dardanelles, 338 

Transcaucasia, 338 

Islam invades India in 711, 56 
, rise of, 56 

in Sind, 56 
Issus, battle of, 21 


Jai Chand defeated at Etawah, 71 
aipal Rajah, defeat of, 62 

Jallalpur and Alexander, 27 
Jammu and Kashmir, States of, 248 

Brothers, the, 202 

State, 209 

a Rajput city, 248 

and the Dogras, 249 
Janissaries, 59 

Japji, the, 124 
Jats and Jats, 13 

difference between, 13 

are Scythians, 36 

coming of the, 47 

outside Rajput network, 48 
Jats, the modern, 276 

classes enlisted, 277 

at Bhurtpur, 277 
Jeremiah, saying of, 43 

Jhelum River, crossed by Alexander, 


Johur and Chitoor, 82 
Jullundur Doab annexed, 209 


Kabir, 119 

Kabir-panthis, 119 

Kanauj, 50 

Kanishka, 37 

Kapilavasthu, 41 

Kashmir and the Dogras, 249 

Kashmiri Afghan, 248-9 

modern, 248 

its pusillanious inhabitants, 248 

and Moguls, 248 

and Afghans, 248 

Katmandu captured by Prithwi 

Narayan, 186 
Katoch, the, 50 

Keene, Sir John, at Kabul, 177 
Kendal, Patricia, American writer, 


Khajjar Dynasty of Persia, 18 
Khas race, the, in Nepal, 194 
Khitji Dynasty, 73 
King George's schools for Indian 

lads, 347 

King, the, and Indian Troops, 327 
King's Pawns, story of, 296 
Kirkee, battle of, 165 
Kish, or Kais, descent of Afghan 

from, 15 
Kitchener, Lord, Army reform of, 


Konkan, the, 104 
Koregaon, defence of, 165 



Korumdevi, drama of, 90 

Krishna, 50 

Kshattriyas, 10, 19 

and Rajputs, 12 

Kumaon, 187 

Kumaonis as enlisted to-day, 287 

Kushans, 37 

Kut, Madras Artillery at, 270 

Kutb ud Din see Qutb 

Lahore, 203-20 <; 

Lake, Lord, and Bombay troops, i 

, at Delhi, 161 

, defeated at Bhurtpur, 162 

Lally, Count, 144 

Lawrence, Sir Henry, and Punjab, 


Lords of Iran, the, 78 
Lords of Turan, the, 78 
Lunar Race, the (Rajput), 50 


Madras Army, vicissitudes of, 172 

remains faithful, 220 

, its fading away, 290 

, soldiers to-day, 291 

, tragedy of, 292 

Madras Europeans, 156 

Sepoys, 1 60 

Soldiers, 292 

Regiment, reconstituted, 224 
Magadha, kingdom of, 32, 33 
Mahabun Mountain, 23 
Maharajpore, 183 
Maharasthra, 47, 97, 99 
Mahavira and the Jinns, 9 
Maharathas, the, 49 

and Rajputs, 49 

exact Chouth, iix 
Mahmud of Ghuzni, 14, 63 
Mahratta War, first, 153 
second, 162 

third, 162 

fourth, 162 

Mahrattas, 97, 98 
, origin of, 99 

on the Indus, 112 

and Pindaris, 117 

and Mysore, 152 
, Ditch, the, nx 

to-day, 288 

, their soldiering, 289 

Mahrattas, ii?th, 290 

Sepoys, staunchness of, 166 

quarrelling with each other, x6o 
Mahratti, 99 

Mamelukes, 59 

Marley, Major-General, in Nepal 

War, 189 

Marseilles, Indian Troops at, 3 
Martens, pictures of Mysore War, 


Mathura destroyed, 64 
Martial Races, percentage of, 2 

regrouped by Kitchener, 230 

in Europe, 231 

Maude, General, takes command 

in Mesopotamia, 333 
Meeanee, Battle of, 181 
Megasthenes at Magadha, 33 
Meheidpore, Battle of, 166 
Mekranis in ranks, 172 
Merats, Hindu, 282 
Mers, 282 
Merwara, 282 

Mesopotamia, Battle of Shaiba, 333 
Mesopotamian Campaign, 332 
Mihiragula the Tartar, 38 
Mogul, Dynasty, the origin of, 73 
Mogul, meaning of, 16 

in India to-day, 18 

Emperor shelters with British, 


Moira, Lord, 126 
Monson, Col., defeat by Holkar, 


Mool Raj Rebellion, 211 
Moon Race, the (Rajputs), 50 
Moplahs, their failure as soldiers, 


Mathura, 50 
Moslem population of India, 76 

Kingdoms of the Dekhan, 100 

Rajputs of the Punjab, 67 
Moslems as soldiers, 273 
Mornington Lord, 158 
Munro at Bukov, 148 
Multan, 211 

Muni Clan, the, 41 
Muhammed of Ghov, 67 

, Death of, 71 

Mussalman, 16 

Mutiny of the Bengal Army, 215 
Mysore, The First War, 152 
, The Second War, 152 

armies 152 

, The Third War, 156 
, The Fourth War, 156 




Nadir Shah invades India, 128 
Nagar Kot, Temples destroyed, 63 
Nanak Baba founds Sikh cult, 119 
Napier, Sir Charles, 179 

, and Outran*, 186 

, administration of Sind, 182 

, his victories, 187 

, relieves Lord Gough, 215 

Napoleon and Tippu, 159 
Nawab Vizier of Oudh, 147 
Nepal, its History, 185 
, its Races, 185, 193 
War, 164, 188 

, British plan for, 188 

, futile conduct of, 1 89 

, the Second Campaign, 192 

and Gardiner, 191 

and Ochterlony, 190 

Nicholls, Lt.-Col., in Nepal, 191 
Nizam Shah of Hyderabad, 17 

, Dynasty of, 101 

, his troops at Seringapatam , 


Nunkomar, 151 
Nuseree Battalion, story of, 196 


Ochterlony, General, 188, 192 
Oody Singh, 87 
defies Akbar, 88 

Pactiae, 25 

Pakhto, 25 

Panipat, Battle of, 113 

, casualties at, 114 

Panjdeh incident, the, 226 

Pariahs as soldiers, 169, 171 

in the army, 293 
Parthians in Afghanistan, 56 
Pashto, 15 

Pataliputra, 32, 33, 35 
Pathans, principal races of, 239 

and Afghans, 15 

who serve the crown, 259 
, characteristics of, 240 

humour, 247 

greetings, 243 

shame, 245 
Patricia Kendal, vi 
Peshawar in 1817, 165 
Perron, M., 160 

Phulkian States, 130 

Pindaris, 197 

Plassey, Battle of, 107 

Pollock, Gen., in Afghanistan, 177 

Poona, 1 06 

Popham at Gwalior, 153 

Poppa Bhai Ki Raj, 85, 353 

Poros, King, defeated by Alexander, 


Pertabghar, Mahratta Fortress, 106 
Pritin, Rajah, 71 
Pudmini of Chitoor, 81 
Punniar, Battle of, 183 
Punjab campaign, 171 
, tribes and clans of, 246 
, splendid soldiers, 247 
, anarchy in, 203 
, women of the, 261 
Prithwi Narayan of Gurkha, 186 

Quarrels of the Rajputs, 55 
Queen's Own Sappers, 293 
Quinsap, strange caste of, 293 
Qutb ud Din, made governor of 

Delhi, 70 
Qutb Shahi Dynasty, 101 


Rajgarh, mountain eyry at, 104 
Rajputana, men of, 278 

Moslems enlisted, 230 

races in army to-day, 279 
Rajputs quarrels admit Islam, 55 

alarm at Moslem progress, 62 

enraged at Moslem raids, 60 

invade Ghuzni, 66 

defeated by Mahmud, 60 

leave Hindustan, 70 

, recovery after Mahmud's day, 67 
, limits of, 50 

of the Punjab, a mixed race, 52 

become Moslems, 52, 70 

assemble to meet Mahmud, 62 

Divisions, 50 

of the Sun, Moon, and Fire, 50 

States at the revival, 49 
, origin of, 12 

and Kshattriga, 12 

revival, 45 

, Tartar blend in, 45 
, Forming of, 45 

Dogras, 249 

fall on Baber, 84, 87 


Rajputs Sagas, 90 

and Aurungzebe, 94 

, Moslems of the Punjab, 24 
Rama and the Sun Races, 50 
Rathores, 279 
Rathores, capital taken, 64 

at Chitoor, 86 
, fall on Sadoo, 91 

, terrible fight at Chondon, 92 
Rattas, the, 99 
Rawlinson, Lord, 346 
Regulating Act, the, 151 
Rimington, General, 329 
Rinthunbur, captured by Rajputs, 


Roberts, Lord, 327 
Rohillas, the, 78 
, Roh or Ruh, 78 
RohillaWar, 156 
Runjhit Singh, his origin, 135 
, governors of Lahore, 135 
, and the Koh-i-noor, 137 
, and Afghan Policy, 201, 202 
Russian railway in Central Asia, 

Russians and Afghans, 224 

Sabaktigin, 59 

Saccas v. Chitoor, 

Sadoo of Poogal, Tragedy of, 91 

Sadon, a story of the defence, 294 

Sakas, 36 

Sakya Muni, 41 

Salt Range, 247 

Samana, attack on, 258 

Sanscrit, 99 

Saragarhi, Tragedy of, 257 

Sayad, meaning of, 16, 114 

Sargon I, of Babylon, 19 

Scottish Clans resemble Rajputs, 7 

Selenius of Bactria, 33 

Seljuk Turks, 65 

Sepoy Armies, the early, 154 

at Madras, 154 

dressed in Scarlet, 155 

Officer, the, 155 

cadet system, 155 

Sepoy, cavalry, 156 

Sepoys in Afghanistan, behaviour of, 


Seringapatam, first capture of, 159 
Shah Shujah's contingent, 176 
Shaiba, Battle of, 333 
Shahji Bhonsla, 101 

Sheikh, meaning of, 16 
Sher Shah of Delhi, 87 
Shivaji, birth of, 102 
, adventurous boyhood, 103 

and Aurungzebe, 105 

at the Mogul Court, 105 
Shore, Sir John, Governor- General, 


Sidis (Sayads), 108 
Siddatha, 41 
Sikh, the Modern, 251 
, classes enlisted, 251 

Regiments, 254 
, Malwa, 252 

, hasten to enlist after defeat, 216 
, Army, surrender of, 214 

debauchery, 207 

Wars, 176 
Sikhism, Birth of, 119 

, teaching of Nanak, 126 

under the Moguls, 121 
, the Five Kakkas, 123 
, the Tenth Gur, 123 
Simon Commission, 350, 353 
Sinai, Indian troops at, 297 
Sind, Conquest of, 179 

Horse, the, 275 

, Arab invasion of, 56 

S India's French trained army, 160 

and Baji Rao, 161 

keeps out of the Pinderi wars, 

Singhar, fortress of, 108 
Singhs, the, 123 
Sitabuldi, defence of, 165 
Sitaram, Subahdar, story of, 174 
Skinner, James, 267 
Skinner, Robert, 269, 274 
Skinner's Horse at Multan, 275 

staunch in the Mutiny, 275 

Smith, Sir Harry, at Aliwal, 209 

Sobraon, battle of, 219 

Story of the King's Pawn, 297 

the White Lie, 300 

the Subahdars Tita Bhai, 302 

the Water Bailiff's Wife, 263 

the Rape of Putmini, 81 

the answer of Queen Sunjota, 95 

the Bridal Cortege of Korumdevi , 

Duni Chand, Recruit, 31 
Suraj-Bansi Rajputs, 50 
Sunjota, Queen of Kanauj, 95 
Sutlej campaign, 176, 208 
Suttee in Lahore, 207 
Syrian Church in Madras, 294 



Tamil soldiers, 224 
Tarain, Battle of, 70 
Tartars, 8, 38 
Taxila, 22, 25 
Telegu, 224 
Termez, 62 

Thameswar, Battle of, 70 
Tippu Sultan, succeeds Haider, 

Wars with British, 153-6-7 

terrible treatment of Hindus, 

157 , 
and Coorg, 157 

Tochi, the, tribes, 239 
Tod's Annals, 91 
Toramon the Tartar, 38 
Torna, part of, and Shivaji, 103 
Townshend, General, 334 
Trichinopoly, 144 
Tripartite Treaty, 201 
Turis, the, 239 
Turks in India, 17 
at Kut, 334 


Uighur=Ogri, 17 
Ujain, Vasodharma of, 38 
Ur of the Chaldees, 6 
Usbeg, 17 

Vaisyas, the, 10 
Vandals, the, 7, 20 
Vasodharma, 38 
Victorian Era, Wars of, 175 

Villayati, meaning of, 171 
Vizier of Oudh, 158 


Wadnakh, the, 107 
Wahabi, the, 227, 228 
Wandewash, Battle of, 145 
Warburton, Sir Richard, 269 
War gaum, Convention of, 153 
Warren Hastings under Clive, 146 

, his career, 149 

Wellesley, Marquis, 151, 158 
Wellesley, Arthur, at Mysore, 160 
Wellington, Duke of, 156 
White Huns, the, 38 
Willcocks, Sir James, 323 
Wish, Brigadier, at Malta, 211 

Xerxes, Indian troops with, 4 

Yadubansi Rajputs, 50 
Yellow Boys, Skinner's, 276 
Yuechi, Tartar Clan, 37, 38 

Zab, the Greater, 21 
Zaffir Khan and Bahmani, 101 
Zaman Shah invades India, 134 
makes Runjhit Singh, gover- 
nor, 135 , t ,. 

summoned by Tippu, 159 

Zaimukt tribe, the, 239 
Zemindari rights, 148 
Zend and Pashto, 25 

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(Sampson Low, Marston). 12/6. ( I 93 2 ) 

The latest of a series of noteworthy books in no way inferior to his well- 
known works, in human interest and historical value. " 

Illustrated London News. 

" Our thanks are due to the author for so lively and vivid account of episodes 
deserving long remembrances." Times Lit. Supplement.