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Title: Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier - A Record of Sixteen Years' Close Intercourse with the - Natives of the Indian Marches
Author: Pennell, T. L. (Theodore Leighton), 1867-1912
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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              Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier

              A Record of Sixteen Years' Close Intercourse
                 with the Natives of the Indian Marches


                                   By

                  T. L. Pennell, M.D., B.Sc., F.R.C.S.

                        With an introduction by

                 Field-Marshal Earl Roberts, V.C., K.G.

                   And with 37 Illustrations & 2 Maps



                             Second Edition

                                 London
                          Seeley & Co. Limited
                        38 Great Russell Street
                                  1909



                                   TO
                               MY MOTHER,
                                 TO THE
                 INSPIRATION OF WHOSE LIFE AND TEACHING
                            I OWE MORE THAN
                        I CAN REALIZE OR RECORD



INTRODUCTION


This book is a valuable record of sixteen years' good work by an
officer--a medical missionary--in charge of a medical mission station
at Bannu, on the North-West Frontier of India.

Although many accounts have been written descriptive of the wild
tribes on this border, there was still plenty of room for Dr. Pennell's
modestly-related narrative. Previous writers--e.g., Paget and Mason,
Holdich, Oliver, Warburton, Elsmie, and many others--have dealt
with the expeditions that have taken place from time to time against
the turbulent occupants of the trans-Indus mountains, and with the
military problems and possibilities of the difficult regions which
they inhabit. But Dr. Pennell's story is not concerned with the clash
of arms. His mission has been to preach, to heal, and to save; and
in his long and intimate intercourse with the tribesmen, as recounted
in these pages, he throws many new and interesting sidelights on the
domestic and social, as well as on the moral and religious, aspects
of their lives and characters.

During a long career in India I myself have seen and heard a good
deal about these medical missions, and I can testify to their doing
excellent and useful work, and that they are valuable and humanizing
factors and moral aids well worthy of all encouragement and support.

No one can read Dr. Pennell's experiences without feeling that the
man who is a physician and able to heal the body, in addition to
being a preacher who can "minister to a mind diseased" as well as to
spiritual needs, wields an influence which is not possessed by him
who is a missionary only.

As the author himself writes: "The doctor finds his sphere
everywhere, and his hands are full of work as soon as he arrives
(at his station). He is able to overcome suspicion and prejudice,
and his kindly aid and sympathetic treatment disarm opposition,
while his life is a better setting forth of Christianity than his
words. There is a door everywhere which can be opened by love and
sympathy and practical service, and no one is more in a position to
have a key for every door than a doctor."

These few words fairly sum up the situation, and I fully agree with
the view they express.

On such a wild frontier as that on the North-West Border of India the
life of a doctor-missionary is beset with many perils. A perusal of
Dr. Pennell's most interesting story shows that he has had his share
of them, and that in the earnest and zealous discharge of his duties
he has faced them bravely and cheerfully. I cordially recommend his
book to all readers, and my earnest hope is that medical missions
will continue to flourish.


    ROBERTS, F.M.

        December 19, 1908.



PREFACE


After sixteen years of close contact with the Afghans and Pathans
of our North-West Frontier in India, I was asked to commit some
of my experiences to paper. The present book is the result. I have
used the Government system of transliteration in vernacular names
and expressions, and I beg the reader to bestow a few minutes'
consideration on the table of corresponding sounds and letters given
on p. xvi, as it is painful to hear the way in which Englishmen,
who, with their wide imperial interests, should be better informed,
mispronounce common Indian words and names of places which are in
constant use nowadays in England as much as abroad.

Nothing is recorded which has not been enacted in my own experience
or in that of some trustworthy friend. In Chapters XIII. and XIV. it
would have been unwise to give the actual names, so I have put the
experience of several such cases together into one connected story,
which, while concealing the identity of the actors, may also make the
narrative more interesting to the reader; every fact recorded, however,
happened under my own eyes. In Chapter XXII., the night adventure of
Chikki, when he met an English officer in disguise, was related by
him to me of another member of his profession, and not of himself.

I wish to thank the Church Missionary Society for allowing me
to reproduce some articles which have already appeared in their
publications, notably Chapter XX. and part of Chapter IV. I tender
my best thanks to Major Wilkinson, I.M.S., Major Watson, H. Bolton,
Esq., I.C.S., and Colonel S. Baker, for some of the photographs which
have been here reproduced; and to Dr. J. Cropper for his kindness in
reading the proofs.

We are at present engaged in building a branch dispensary at Thal,
a place on the extreme border mentioned several times in the text,
where the medical mission will have a profound influence on the
trans-border tribes, as well as on those in British India. This will
be known as the "Lord Roberts Hospital," as that place was at one
time of the 1879-80 campaign the headquarters of his column.

The Author's profits on the sale of this book will be entirely
devoted to the building of the hospital, and carrying on of the
medical mission work at Thal.


    T. L. PENNELL.

    P. and O. s.s. "China,"
        Gulf of Suez,
            September 24, 1908.



CONTENTS


Chapter I

The Afghan Character

Pages

Paradoxical--Ideas of honour--Blood-feuds--A sister's revenge--The
story of an outlaw--Taken by assault--A jirgah and its unexpected
termination--Bluff--An attempt at kidnapping--Hospitality--A midnight
meal--An ungrateful patient--A robber's death--An Afghan dance--A
village warfare--An officer's escape--Cousins                     17-30

Chapter II

Afghan Traditions

Israelitish origin of the Afghans--Jewish practices--Shepherd
tradition of the Wazirs--Afridis and their saint--The zyarat, or
shrine--Graveyards--Custom of burial--Graves of holy men--Charms and
amulets--The medical practice of a faqir--Native remedies--First aid
to the wounded--Purges and blood-letting--Tooth extraction--Smallpox
                                                                  31-43

Chapter III

Border Warriors

Peiwar Kotal--The Kurram Valley--The Bannu Oasis--Independent
tribes--The Durand line--The indispensable Hindu--A lawsuit and its
sequel--A Hindu outwits a Muhammadan--The scope of the missionary
                                                                  44-53

Chapter IV

A Frontier Valley

Description of the Kurram Valley--Shiahs and Sunnis--Favourable
reception of Christianity--Independent areas--A candid
reply--Proverbial disunion of the Afghans--The two policies--Sir
Robert Sandeman--Lord Curzon creates the North-West Frontier
Province--Frontier wars--The vicious circle--Two flaws the natives
see in British rule: the usurer, delayed justice--Personal influence
                                                                  54-67

Chapter V

The Christian's Revenge

Police posts versus dispensaries--The poisoning scare--A native
doctor's influence--Wazir marauders spare the mission hospital--A
terrible revenge--The Conolly bed--A political mission--A treacherous
King--Imprisonment in Bukhara--The Prayer-Book--Martyrdom--The
sequel--Influence of the mission hospital--The medical missionary's
passport                                                          68-77

Chapter VI

A Day in the Wards

The truce of suffering--A patient's request--Typical cases--A
painful journey--The biter bit--The condition of amputation--"I am
a better shot than he is"--The son's life or revenge--The hunter's
adventure--A nephew's devotion--A miserly patient--An enemy converted
into a friend--The doctor's welcome                               78-88

Chapter VII

From Morning to Night

First duties--Calls for the doctor--Some of the
out-patients--Importunate blind--School classes--Operation
cases--Untimely visitors--Recreation--Cases to decide             89-97

Chapter VIII

The Itinerant Missionary

The medical missionary's advantage--How to know the people--The
real India--God's guest-house--The reception of the guest--Oriental
customs--Pitfalls for the unwary--The Mullah and the Padre--Afghan
logic--A patient's welcome--The Mullah conciliated--A rough
journey--Among thieves--A swimming adventure--Friends or enemies?
--Work in camp--Rest at last                                     98-113

Chapter IX

Afghan Mullahs

No priesthood in Islam--Yet the Mullahs ubiquitous--Their great
influence--Theological refinements--The power of a charm--Bazaar
disputations--A friend in need--A frontier Pope--In a Militia post--A
long ride--A local Canterbury--An enemy becomes a friend--The ghazi
fanatic--An outrage on an English officer                       114-125

Chapter X

A Tale of a Talib

Early days--The theological curriculum--Visit to Bannu--A public
discussion--New ideas--The forbearance of a native Christian--First
acquaintance with Christians--First confession--A lost love--A stern
chase--The lost sheep recovered--Bringing his teacher--The Mullah
converted--Excommunication--Faithful unto death--Fresh temptations--A
vain search--A night quest--The Mullahs circumvented--Dark days--Hope
ever                                                            126-139

Chapter XI

School-Work

Different views of educational work--The changed attitude of the
Mullahs--His Majesty the Amir and education--Dangers of secular
education--The mission hostel--India emphatically religious--Indian
schoolboys contrasted with English schoolboys--School and
marriage--Advantage of personal contact--Uses of a swimming-tank--An
unpromising scholar--Unwelcome discipline--A ward of court--Morning
prayers--An Afghan University--A cricket-match--An exciting
finish--A sad sequel--An officer's funeral--A contrast--Just in
time                                                            140-152

Chapter XII

An Afghan Football Team

Native sport--Tent-pegging--A novel game--A football tournament--A
victory for Bannu--Increasing popularity of English games--A tour
through India--Football under difficulties--Welcome at Hyderabad--An
unexpected defeat--Matches at Bombay and Karachi--Riots in Calcutta--An
unprovoked assault--The Calcutta police-court--Reparation--Home
again                                                           153-167

Chapter XIII

'Alam Gul's Choice

A farmer and his two sons--Learning the Quran--A village school--At
work and at play--The visit of the Inspector--Pros and cons of
the mission school from a native standpoint--Admission to Bannu
School--New associations--In danger of losing heaven--First night in
the boarding-house--A boy's dilemma                             168-178

Chapter XIV

'Alam Gul's Choice (continued)

The cricket captain--A conscientious schoolboy--The Scripture
lesson--First awakenings--The Mullah's wrath--The crisis--Standing
fire--Schoolboy justice--"Blessed are ye when men shall persecute
you for My Name's sake"--Escape from poisoning--Escape from
home--Baptism--Disinherited--New friends                        179-189

Chapter XV

Afghan Women

Their inferior position--Hard labour--On the march--Suffering
in silence--A heartless husband--Buying a wife--Punishment for
immorality--Patching up an injured wife--A streaky nose--Evils of
divorce--A domestic tragedy--Ignorance and superstition--"Beautiful
Pearl"--A tragic case--A crying need--Lady doctors--The mother's
influence                                                       190-201

Chapter XVI

The Story of a Convert

A trans-frontier merchant--Left an orphan--Takes service--First
contact with Christians--Interest aroused in an unexpected
way--Assaulted--Baptism--A dangerous journey--Taken for a spy--A
mother's love--Falls among thieves--Choosing a wife--An Afghan becomes
a foreign missionary--A responsible post--Saved by a grateful patient
                                                                202-210

Chapter XVII

The Hindu Ascetics

The Hindu Sadhus more than two thousand years ago much as
to-day--Muhammadan faqirs much more recent--The Indian ideal--This
presents a difficulty to the missionary--Becoming a Sadhu--An
Afghan disciple--Initiation and equipment--Hardwar the Holy--A
religious settlement--Natural beauties of the locality--Only man
is vile--Individualism versus altruism--The Water God--Wanton
monkeys--Tendency to make anything unusual an object of worship--A
Brahman fellow-traveller--A night in a temple--Waking the gods--A
Hindu sacrament--A religious Bedlam--A ward for imbeciles--Religious
delusions--"All humbugs"--Yogis and hypnotism--Voluntary maniacs--The
daily meal--Feeding, flesh, fish, and food                      211-226

Chapter XVIII

Sadhus and Faqirs

Buried gold--Power of sympathy--A neglected field--A Sadhu converted
to Christianity--His experiences--Causes of the development of the
ascetic idea in India--More unworthy motives common at the present
time--The Prime Minister of a State becomes a recluse--A cavalry
officer Sadhu--Dedicated from birth--Experiences of a young Sadhu--An
unpleasant bedfellow--Honest toil--Orders of Muhammadan ascetics--Their
characteristics--A faqir's curse--Women and faqirs--Muhammadan faqirs
usually unorthodox--Sufistic tendencies--Habits of inebriation--The
sanctity and powers of a faqir's grave                          227-240

Chapter XIX

My Life as a Mendicant

Dependent on the charitable--An incident on the bridge over the Jhelum
River--A rebuff on the feast-day--An Indian railway-station--A
churlish Muhammadan--Helped by a soldier--A partner in the
concern--A friendly native Christian--The prophet of Qadian--A
new Muhammadan development--Crossing the Beas River--Reception
in a Sikh village--Recognized by His Majesty Yakub Khan, late
Amir--Allahabad--Encounter with a Brahman at Bombay--Landing
at Karachi--Value of native dress--Relation to natives--Need
of sympathy--The effect of clothes--Disabilities in railway
travelling--English manners--Reception of visitors              241-256

Chapter XX

A Frontier Episode

A merchant caravan in the Tochi Pass--Manak Khan--A sudden
onslaught--First aid--Native remedies--A desperate case--A last
resort--The Feringi doctor--Setting out on the journey--Arrival
at Bannu--Refuses amputation--Returns to Afghanistan--His wife and
children frightened away                                        257-266

Chapter XXI

Frontier Campaigning

The Pathan warrior--A Christian native officer--A secret
mission--A victim of treachery--A soldier convert--Influence
of a Christian officer--Crude ideas and strange motives of
Pathan soldiers--Camaraderie in frontier regiments--Example
of sympathy between students of different religions in mission
school--A famous Sikh regiment--Sikh soldiers and religion--Fort
Lockhart--Saraghari--The last man--A rifle thief--Caught red-handed
                                                                267-276

Chapter XXII

Chikki, The Freebooter

The mountains of Tirah--Work as a miller's labourer--Joins
fortune with a thief--A night raid--The value of a disguise--The
thief caught--The cattle "lifter"--Murder by proxy--The price
of blood--Tribal factions--Becomes chieftain of the tribe--The
zenith of power--Characteristics--Precautionary measures--Journey to
Chinarak--A remarkable fort--A curious congregation--Punctiliousness
in prayers--Changed attitude--Refrained from hostilities--Meets his
death                                                           277-286

Chapter XXIII

Rough Diamonds

A novel inquirer--Attends the bazaar preaching--Attacked
by his countrymen--In the police-station--Before the
English magistrate--Declares he is a Christian--Arrival
of his mother--Tied up in his village--Escape--Takes
refuge in the hills--A murder case--Circumstantial
evidence--Condemned--A last struggle for liberty--Qazi Abdul
Karim--His origin--Eccentricities--Enthusiasm--Crosses the
frontier--Captured--Confesses his faith--Torture--Martyrdom
                                                                287-295

Chapter XXIV

Deductions

Number of converts not a reliable estimate of mission work--Spurious
converts versus indigenous Christianity--Latitude should be allowed
to the Indian Church--We should introduce Christ to India rather
than Occidental Christianity--Christianizing sects among Hindus and
Muhammadans--Missionary work not restricted to missionaries--Influence
of the best of Hindu and Muhammadan thought should be welcomed--The
conversion of the nation requires our attention more than that
of the individual--Christian Friars adapted to modern missions--A
true representation of Christ to India--Misconceptions that must be
removed                                                         296-304

Chapter XXV

A Forward Policy

Frontier medical missions--Their value as outposts--Ancient
Christianity in Central Asia--Kafiristan: a lost opportunity of the
Christian Church--Forcible conversion to Islam--Fields for missionary
enterprise beyond the North-West Frontier--The first missionaries
should be medical men--An example of the power of a medical mission
to overcome opposition--The need for branch dispensaries--Scheme of
advance--Needs                                                  305-312

Glossary                                                        314-318

Index                                                           319-324



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


    Dr. Pennell Travelling as a Sadhu                      Frontispiece
    A Khattak Sword-Dancer                                           28
    A Zyarat or Shrine on the Takht-i-Suliman                        34
    A Group of Lepers at a Zyarat or Shrine in Hazara                36
    The Khaiber Pass. A Village in the Pass                          46
    A Cavalry Shutur-sowar, or Camel-rider                           46
    Types of Frontier Tribesmen                                      50
    Bannu Villagers                                                  56
    The Khaiber Pass. Khaiber Rifle Sepoy on the Watch               62
    The Result of a Blood-Feud                                       82
    A Transborder Afghan bringing his Family to the Hospital         82
    Bannu Mission. A Group of Patients                               94
    A Group of Out-patients at the Mission Hospital                  94
    Travelling by Riding Camel                                      100
    Itineration by Means of Ekkas and Mules                         100
    Ferrying across the River Indus                                 112
    Travelling down the Indus on a "Kik"                            112
    Mahsud Labourers at Work in Bannu Cantonment                    148
    Bannu Mission. A Group of Students                              148
    A Football Match at Bannu                                       154
    The Bannu Football Team                                         154
    The Chief Bazaar, Peshawur City                                 156
    The Bazaar in Peshawur City                                     156
    The Indus in Flood-time                                         158
    A Ferryboat for the Mail on the Indus River                     158
    A Modern "Black Hole"                                           164
    Boy and Girl grazing Buffaloes                                  170
    Women carrying Waterpots                                        196
    Women going for water at Shimvah                                198
    Water-carrying at Shimvah                                       198
    Near Shinkiari, Hazara District                                 208
    A Muhammadan Faqir                                              212
    Dr. Pennell                                                     244
    Flour Mills near Shinkiari                                      278
    Map of the North-West Frontier Province                         313
    Map of the North-West Frontier of India                         318



TABLE OF THE CHIEF SOUNDS REPRESENTED IN THE
GOVERNMENT SYSTEM OF TRANSLITERATION



     a   =  short u, as in "bun."
     á   =  broad a, as in "mast."
     i   =  short i, as in "bin."
     í   =  ee, as in "oblique."
     e   =  a, as in "male."
     o   =  long o, as in "note."
     u   =  short oo, as in "foot."
     ú   =  long oo, as in "boot."
     q   =  guttural k.
     kh  =  ch, as in "loch."
     gh  =  guttural r, not used in English.
     '   =  the Arabic letter 'ain, a guttural not used in English.



PRONUNCIATION OF THE PRINCIPAL ORIENTAL WORDS USED IN THIS BOOK


        Afghán           Jahán            Nizám
        Afghánistán      Jamála           Panjáb
        Afrídi           Jelálábad        Panjábi
        Alláhu Akbar     Kabír            Pathán
        Amír             Kábul            Patwár
        Badakshán        Káfir            Pesháwur
        Baltistán        Kálabágh         Qurán
        Bengáli          Kalám            Rám
        Bezwáda          Karáchi          Ramazán
        Bhágalpur        Karím            Risáldár
        Bukhára          Khalífa          Ríshíkes
        Chenáb           Khorasán         Sádhu
        Chilás           Kohát            Sanyási
        Chinárak         Laghmáni         Saragári
        Chitrál          Loháni           Sardár
        Deraját          Majíd            Sarkár
        Dharmsála        Málik            Subadár
        Ghulám           Mirzáda          Sulíman
        Hákim (ruler)    Mughál           Tálib
        Hakím (doctor)   Multán           Tamána
        Hardwár          Nának            Tiráh
        Hazára           Nárowál          Waziristán
        Islám            Nezabázi



AMONG THE WILD TRIBES OF THE AFGHAN FRONTIER

CHAPTER I

THE AFGHAN CHARACTER

    Paradoxical--Ideas of honour--Blood-feuds--A sister's revenge--The
    story of an outlaw--Taken by assault--A jirgah and its unexpected
    termination--Bluff--An attempt at kidnapping--Hospitality--A
    midnight meal--An ungrateful patient--A robber's death--An Afghan
    dance--A village warfare--An officer's escape--Cousins.


The East is the country of contradictions, and the Afghan character is
a strange medley of contradictory qualities, in which courage blends
with stealth, the basest treachery with the most touching fidelity,
intense religious fanaticism with an avarice which will even induce
him to play false to his faith, and a lavish hospitality with an
irresistible propensity for thieving.

There are two words which are always on an Afghan's tongue--izzat
and sharm. They denote the idea of honour viewed in its positive and
negative aspects, but what that honour consists in even an Afghan
would be puzzled to tell you. Sometimes he will consider that he
has vindicated his honour by a murder perpetrated with the foulest
treachery; at other times it receives an indelible stain if at some
public function he is given a seat below some rival chief.

The vendetta, or blood-feud, has eaten into the very core of Afghan
life, and the nation can never become healthily progressive till public
opinion on the question of revenge alters. At present some of the best
and noblest families in Afghanistan are on the verge of extermination
through this wretched system. Even the women are not exempt. In 1905,
at Bannu, there was a case where a man had been foully murdered over
some disputed land. It was generally known who the murderer was, but
as he and his relations were powerful and likely to stick at nothing,
and the murdered man had no near relation except one sister, no one
was willing to risk his own skin in giving evidence, so when the case
came up in court the Judge was powerless to convict.

"Am I to have no justice at the hands of the Sarkar?" passionately
cried the sister in her despair. "Bring me witnesses, and I will
convict," was all the Judge could reply. "Very well; I must find my own
way;" and the girl left the court to take no rest till her brother's
blood, which was crying to her from the ground, should be avenged.

Shortly after this I was sitting in a classroom of the mission
school teaching the boys. It was a Friday morning, when thousands
of the hillmen come in to the weekly fair, and the bazaars are
full of a shouting, jostling throng, the murmur of which reaches
even the schoolroom. Suddenly a shot was heard, and then a confused
shouting. Running out on to the street hard by, I found a Wazir, quite
dead, shot through the heart. It was the murderer who had escaped the
justice of the law, but not the hand of the avenger, for the sister
had concealed a revolver on her person, and coming up to her enemy in
the crowded bazaar, had shot him point-blank. She was arrested there
and then, and the court condemned her to penal servitude for life. I
met her some weeks later as she was on the march with some other
prisoners to their destination in the Andaman Islands. Resignation and
satisfaction were her dominant feelings. "I have avenged my brother;
for the rest, it is God's will: I am content." Those were the words
in which she answered my inquiries.

The officer who has most power with the Pathans is the one who,
while transparently just, yet deals with them with a strong hand,
whose courage is beyond question, and who, when once his mind is made
up, does not hesitate in the performance of his plans. To such a one
they are loyal to the backbone, and will go through fire and water
in his train.


                "Tender-handed grasp a nettle,
                  It will sting you for your pains;
                Grasp it like a man of mettle,
                  Soft as silk it then remains."


This has its counterpart in a Pashtu proverb, and is no doubt a true
delineation of the Afghan character.

Some years ago some outlaws had fortified a village a few miles across
the border, and had there bidden defiance to the authorities while
carrying on their depredations among the frontier villages, where
they raided many a wealthy Hindu, and even carried off the rifles
from the police posts. The leader of the gang was Sailgai. His father
was Mian Khan, a Wazir of the Sparkai clan. When still a boy Sailgai
showed great aptitude and skill in archery, and when about fifteen
he commenced rifle-shooting, and soon became a noted marksman. This,
however, led him to associate with the desperadoes of the clan, and
before long he became the leader of a gang which used to go out at
night-time to break into shops and into the houses of rich Hindus. When
this occupation began to pall on him he became a highway robber, and
lay in wait with his confederates in various parts of the Kohat-Bannu
road to waylay and rob travellers both by day and night. The next
step onward--or downwards, we should say--was to become the leader
of a gang of dacoits. These men would enter a village, usually in
the late evening, and hold up the inhabitants while they looted the
houses of the rich Hindus at leisure. On these occasions they often
cut off the ears of the women as the simplest way of getting their
earrings; and fingers, too, suffered in the same way if the owner did
not remove his rings quickly enough. At the same time Sailgai became
a professional murderer, and used to take two hundred to four hundred
rupees for disposing of anyone obnoxious to the payer.

Still, up to this time he had contrived to keep clear of the police,
and had never been caught. If anyone informed against him he soon
discovered who the informant was, and paid him a night visit, only
leaving after he had either killed him or taken a rich ransom. Some
eight years ago he took two hundred rupees for killing a Bizun
Khel Wazir, and went to his house one evening with fifteen of his
followers. The Wazir, however, got a warning, and made a bold stand,
and Sailgai had to fire seven times before he despatched him, and
by that time the brother of the deceased had fetched some police and
followed up in chase of Sailgai. When, however, the police saw that
they had a well-armed band to contend with, although about equal in
number to the Wazirs, they beat a hasty retreat, with the exception
of one man, who opened fire on the murderers at two hundred paces,
but was hit and disabled, so that Sailgai and his party got away in
safety. Government gave a reward to this, the one brave man, and put
a price on Sailgai's head, so that he could no longer enter British
territory except by stealth, and he retired to his fort at Gumatti,
which he strengthened and made the base for marauding expeditions on
Government territory.

These subsequently became so frequent and so successful that the
Indian Government was finally constrained to send up a column under
Colonel Tonnochy, who was in command of the 53rd Sikhs at Bannu,
to destroy his fort once for all. Before the guns opened fire the
Political Officer, Mr. Donald, walked up alone to the loopholes of
his fort to offer Sailgai and his fellow-defenders terms. Knowing well
the long list of crimes that would be proved against him, he replied
that he had determined to sell his life as dearly as possible in the
fort where he had been born and bred; and we must say, to his credit,
that they restrained their fire till Mr. Donald got back to his own
lines. Colonel Tonnochy brought the guns up to within sixty yards
of the fort, and while directing their operations he was mortally
wounded. When the tower was finally taken by storm, all Sailgai's
companions were dead, and he himself wounded in four places. He,
however, with a last effort took aim at the British officer, Captain
White, who was bravely leading the assault, and shot him dead, and was
almost at the same moment despatched by that officer's orderly. Wazirs
from Gumatti, as well as from all the rest of the neighbourhood,
are constantly coming to the mission dispensary, and some of them
have been in-patients. The police munshi who made the bold stand
above mentioned was himself treated for his wound in our hospital.

The Afghan has in some respects such inordinate vanity in connection
with his peculiar ideas of sharm, and is so hot-headed in resenting
some fancied insult, that he sometimes places himself in a ridiculous
position, from which he finds it difficult to extricate himself
without still further sacrificing his honour.

An instance of this occurred in December, 1898. The mission school
athletic sports were in progress in the mission compound, and the
political officers of the Tochi and Wano were engaged not far off
in a jirgah of the representatives of the Mahsud and Darwesh Khel
sections of the Wazirs. Suddenly the cry was raised, "The Wazirs have
attacked us!" and for a short time all was confusion. Wazirs were seen
rushing pell-mell into school, bungalow, and other buildings, and a
great part of the spectators who had gathered to see the sports fled
in confusion. It transpired, however, that, so far from the Wazirs
desiring to do us any injury, they were the Mahsuds in flight from
the Darwesh Khels, who were hot in pursuit, chasing them even into the
mission buildings where they had sought refuge. The council had been
proceeding satisfactorily, and with apparently amicable relations on
both sides, when a Darwesh Khel malik, in the excitement of debate,
gesticulated too close to the seat of the Political Officer. A Mahsud
orderly, thinking he was disrespectful to the officer, pushed him back
with needless force, so that the malik slipped and fell. The Darwesh
Khels round him at once set on the orderly, saying he had done it of
malice prepense, and began to beat him. In another moment the whole
assembly were frantically attacking each other; but the Mahsuds,
being very decidedly in the minority, found safety in flight, and,
our mission compound being the nearest rallying-place, had come down
upon us in this unceremonious manner, with the Darwesh Khels in hot
pursuit. Fortunately, no serious injury resulted, and both parties
were soon laughing at their own foolish hot-headedness.

Bluff is a very prominent characteristic of the Afghan, and this makes
him appear more formidable than he really is to those who are not
acquainted with his character. He is also a great bully and exults in
cruelty, so that he becomes a veritable tyrant to those who have fallen
into his power or are overawed by his bluff. At the same time, he has
a profound reverence for the personification of power or brute force,
and becomes a loyal and devoted follower of those whom he believes to
be his superiors. It is often asked of me whether I carry a revolver
or other arms when travelling about among these wild tribes. For a
missionary to do so would not only be fatal to his chance of success,
but would be a serious and constant danger. It would be impossible
for him to be always on his guard; there must be times when, through
fatigue or other reasons, he is at the mercy of those among whom he is
dwelling. Besides this, there is nothing which an Afghan covets more,
or to steal which he is more ready to risk his life, than firearms;
and though he might not otherwise wish harm to the missionary, the
possibility of securing a good revolver or gun would be too great a
temptation, even though he had to shed blood to secure it. My plan was,
therefore, to put myself entirely in their hands, and let them see
that I was trusting to their sense of honour and to their traditional
treatment of a guest for my safety.

At the same time, I was rather at pains than otherwise to let them
see that the bluff to which they sometimes resorted had no effect
upon me, and that I was indifferent to their threats and warnings,
which, as often as not, were just a ruse on their part to see how far
they could impose on me. Once, when I was in a trans-border village,
resting a few hours in the heat of the day, some young bloods arrived
who had just come in from a raid, and were still in the excitement
of bloodshed. Some of them thought it would be a good opportunity to
bait the Daktar Sahib, and one of them, holding his loaded revolver
to my chest, said: "Now we are going to shoot you." I replied:
"You will be very great fools if you do, because I am of more use to
you than to myself, and you would as likely as not poison yourselves
with my drugs if I were not there to tell you how to use them." At
this the senior man of the party rebuked them, and offered me a kind
of apology for their rudeness, saying: "They are only young fellows,
and they are excited. Do not mind what they say. We will see that no
harm comes to you." On another occasion I came to a village across
the border rather late at night. There were numerous outlaws in the
village, but the chief under whose protection I placed myself took the
precaution of putting my bed in the centre of six of his retainers,
fully armed, in a circle round me, one or two of whom were to keep
watch in turns. I had had a hard day's work, and was soon sound asleep,
and this was my safety, because I was told in the morning that some
of the more fanatical spirits had wanted to kill me in the night,
but the others said: "See, he has trusted himself entirely to our
protection, and because he trusts us he is sleeping so soundly;
therefore, no harm must be done to him in our village."

Not long ago there was a notorious outlaw on the frontier called
Rangin, who had been making a practice of kidnapping rich Hindus,
and then holding them to ransom. I was in the habit of visiting our
out-station at Kharrak about once a month, and usually went alone
and by night. Information was brought that Rangin, knowing of this,
intended one day to kidnap me, and hold me to a high ransom. The next
time I visited Kharrak, I purposely slept by the roadside all night
in a lonely part, that the people might see that I was not afraid of
Rangin's threats. Needless to say, no harm came of it; but the people
there in the countryside spread the idea that, as there was an angel
protecting the Daktar Sahib, it would be a useless act of folly to
try to do him an injury.

Although the honour which an Afghan thinks is due to his guest has
often stood me in good stead, yet sometimes the observance of the
correct etiquette has become irksome. A rich chief will be satisfied
with nothing less than the slaying of a sheep when he receives
a guest of distinction; a poorer man will be satisfied with the
slaying of a fowl, and the preparation therefrom of the native dish
called pulao. On one occasion I came to a village with my companions
rather late in the evening. The chief himself was away, but his son
received me with every mark of respect, and killed a fowl and cooked
us a savoury pulao, after which, wearied with the labours of the day,
we were soon fast asleep. Later on, it appeared, the chief himself
arrived, and learnt from his son of our arrival. "Have you killed for
him the dumba?" he at once asked; and, on learning from his son that
he had only prepared a fowl, he professed great annoyance, saying:
"This will be a lasting shame (sharm) for me, if it is known that,
when the Bannu Daktar Sahib came to my village, I cooked for him
nothing more than a fowl. Go at once to the flock, and take a dumba,
and slay and dress it, and, when all is ready, call me." Thus it
came about that about 1 a.m. we were waked up to be told that the
chief had come to salaam us, and that dinner was ready. It would not
only have been useless to protest that we were more in a mood for
sleep than for dinner, but it would also have been an insult to his
hospitality; so we got up with alacrity and the best grace possible,
and after a performance of the usual salutations on both sides, we
buckled to that we might show our appreciation of the luscious feast
of roast mutton and pulao that had been prepared for us.

On one occasion, in turning back to Bannu from a journey across
the frontier, I had an escort of two villainous-looking Afghans,
who appeared as though they would not hesitate at any crime,
however atrocious. They, however, looked after us with the greatest
attention, and brought us safely into Bannu. On arrival there, I
offered them some money as a reward for their good conduct; they,
however, refused it with some show of indignation, saying that to
take money from one who had been their guest would be contrary to
their best traditions. Consequently, I sent them over to rest for the
night at the house of one of my native assistants, with a note to give
them a good dinner, and send them away early in the morning. He gave
them the dinner, but when he got up in the morning to see them off,
he found that they had already decamped with all his best clothes.

Among the Afghans theft is more or less praiseworthy, according to
the skill and daring shown in its perpetration, and to the success in
the subsequent evasion of pursuit. Two years ago an Afghan brought
his little daughter for an operation on her eye. The operation was
successfully performed, and the day of discharge came. Meanwhile
the eyes of the Afghan had lighted on my mare, and he thought how
useful it would be to him on his travels, and the night following
his discharge we found that he had come with a friend and taken the
horse away. Unfortunately for the success of the undertaking, he had
an enemy, who, when a reward was offered for the discovery of the
thief, thought he might enrich himself and pay off an old grudge
at the same time. The culprit had, however, by this time arrived
with his capture safely across the Afghan frontier into Khost,
and no laws of extradition apply there. Other members of the tribe,
however, reside in British India, and would be going up with their
families into the hills as the heat of summer increased. The Deputy
Commissioner called for the chiefs of the tribe, and informed them
that until they arranged for the return of the mare, he would be
reluctantly compelled to issue orders that they were not to go up
to the hills with their families. At first they protested that they
had no control over the thief, whom they had themselves turned out
of their tribe because he was a rascal; but when they found that
the officer knew them too well to be hoodwinked by their bluff,
they found it convenient to send up into Khost and bring back the
mare. The man through whose instrumentality it was brought back has
posed to me ever since as my benefactor, and expected a variety of
favours in return. The theft was universally reprobated by the tribe,
but chiefly because circumstances had doomed it to failure.

Notorious thieves and outlaws have frequently availed themselves of
the wards of the mission hospital when suffering from some fever
or other disease which has temporarily incapacitated them; but,
of course, they come under assumed names, and otherwise conceal
their identity. It is to be hoped, however, that they benefit
all the same from the addresses and good counsel which they daily
hear while under treatment. Sometimes, as in the case I am about
to relate, their identity becomes known. A few years ago, in Bed
26--the "Southsea" bed--there was Zaman, a noted thief, who came in
suffering from chronic dysentery, and continued under treatment for
over two months. He lingered on, with many ups and downs, but was
evidently past recovery when he came in. He paid much attention to
the Gospel that was read to him, and sometimes professed belief in
it, but showed no signs of repenting of his past career. But when
told eventually that there was no hope of his recovery, he at once
had a police officer summoned, so as to give him the names of some
of his former "pals," hoping thereby not only to get them caught and
punished in revenge for their having thrown him off when too weak and
ill to join in their nefarious practices, but also to gain a reward
for the information given. He gradually sank and died, professing
a belief in Christ; but He alone, who readeth the heart, knoweth. I
do not think he would have turned informer had not his confederates
apparently deserted him in his distress.

No description of Afghan life would be complete which did not give
an account of their public dances. These take place on the 'Id days,
or to celebrate some tribal compact, or the cessation of hostilities
between two tribes or sections. It can only be seen in its perfection
across the border, for in British India the more peaceful habits
of the people and the want of the requisite firearms have caused
it to fall into desuetude. Across the frontier some level piece of
ground is chosen, and a post is fixed in the centre. The men arrange
themselves in ever-widening circles round this centre and gyrate round
it, ever keeping the centre on the left, so as to give greater play
to their sword-arms. The older and less nimble of the warriors form
the inner circles; outside them come the young men, who dance round
with surprising agility, often with a gun in one hand and a sword in
the other, or, it may be, with a sword in each hand, which they wave
alternately in circles round their heads. Outside them, again, circle
the horsemen, showing their agility in the saddle and their skill
with the sword or gun at the same time. On one side are the village
minstrels, who give the tune on drums and pipes. They begin with a slow
beat, and one sees all the circles going round with a measured tread;
then the music becomes more and more rapid, and the dancers become
more and more carried away with excitement, and to the onlooker it
appears a surging mass of waving swords and rifles. The rifles are
as often as not loaded and discharged from time to time, at which the
gyrations of the horsemen on the outside become more and more excited,
and one wonders that heads and arms are not gashed by the swords which
are seen waving everywhere. Suddenly the music ceases, and all stop to
regain their breath, to start again after a few minutes, until they
are tired out. The excitement and the intricate revolutions often
bring the scene to the brink of a real warfare, and not infrequently
it ends in bloodshed. In one instance, where a man fell, and in
falling discharged his rifle with fatal effect into another dancer,
the unintentional murderer would have had his throat cut there and
then had not his friends hurriedly dragged him out and carried him
off to his home, fighting as they went. In this way blood-feuds are
sometimes started, which will divide a village into two factions,
and not end till some of the bravest have fallen victims to it.

On one occasion I was seated with some Afghans in a house in the
village of Peiwar in the Kurram Valley. Most of the houses were on
either side of one long street running the length of the village,
and I noticed that some little doors had been made from house to house
all down the street, and on inquiring the object of this, I was told
that some time before a great faction fight had been carried on in the
village. One side of the street was in one faction and the other side
in the other faction, and they were always in ambush to fire at each
other across the street. The only way to get to the village supply of
water was to go from house to house down to the bottom of the street,
and in order to do this without exposure, doors had been made, while
by common consent they had agreed not to shoot while getting their
supplies from the stream at the bottom. My host went on to show me
sundry holes in his door and in the wooden panels of the windows,
which the bullets of his neighbours across the street had penetrated,
and said: "It was behind that hole in the door there that my uncle
was shot; that hole in the window was made by the bullet which killed
my brother." Pointing to another Afghan who had come into the room
and seated himself on the bed, he said: "That is the man who shot my
brother." On my remarking upon the peace and goodwill in which they
appeared to be living at the present time, he said: "Yes, we are good
friends now, because the debt is even on both sides. I have killed
the same number in his family." After a faction fight of this kind,
the fatalities on both sides are added up, and if they can be found to
be equal, both sides feel that they can make peace without sacrificing
their izzat (honour), and amicable relations are resumed, it being
thought unnecessary to investigate who were the real instigators or
murderers. If, however, one side or the other believes itself to
be still aggrieved, or not to have exacted the full tale of lives
required by the law of revenge, then the feud may go on indefinitely,
until whole families may become nearly exterminated. The avenger will
go on waiting his opportunity for months or years, but he will never
forget; and one will always remember the hunted look and the furtive
expression and nervous handling of the revolver and cartridges which
mark the man who knows that one or more such avenger is on his track.

A Political Officer in the Kurram Valley was once visiting a chief
of the village of Shlozan, who, like all chiefs, had a high tower,
in which he would seek security from his enemies at night. His host
took him up into the tower, after carefully seeing that a window
in the upper story was shut. The officer, thinking he would like
a view of the country round, went to open it, but was hurriedly
and unceremoniously pulled back by the chief, who told him that
his cousin had been watching that window for months in the hope of
having an opportunity of shooting him there. The officer made no
further attempt to look out of the window, but some months later he
heard that his friend the chief, having inadvertently gone to the
open window, had been shot there by his cousin. So universal is the
enmity existing between cousins in Afghanistan that it has become a
proverb that a man is "as great an enemy as a cousin," the causes of
such feuds being such as are more likely to arise between those who
have some relationship. The causes of 90 per cent. of such feuds are
described by the Afghans as belonging to one of three heads--zan, zar,
and zamin, these being the three Persian words meaning women, money,
and land; and disputes are more likely to arise between cousins than
between strangers on such matters as these.



CHAPTER II

AFGHAN TRADITIONS

    Israelitish origin of the Afghans--Jewish practices--Shepherd
    tradition of the Wazirs--Afridis and their saint--The zyarat
    or shrine--Graveyards--Custom of burial--Graves of holy
    men--Charms and amulets--The medical practice of a faqir--Native
    remedies--First aid to the wounded--Purges and blood-letting--Tooth
    extraction--Smallpox.


A controversy as to the origin of the Afghans centres round the
question as to whether they are the children of Israel or not;
and there are two opposing camps, one regarding it as an accepted
historical fact that they are descended from the lost ten tribes of
Israel, and the other repudiating all Israelitish affinities except
such as may have come to them through the Muhammadan religion. The
Afghans themselves--at least, the more intelligent part of the
community--will tell you that they are descended from the tribe of
Benjamin, and will give you their genealogy through King Saul up to
Abraham, and they almost universally apply the term "Bani-Israil,"
or children of Israel, to themselves. Wolff, the traveller, relates
that an Afghan, Mulla Khodadad, gave him the following history:
Saul had a grandson called Afghána, the nephew of Asaph, the son of
Berachiah, who built the Temple of Solomon. One year and a half after
Solomon's death he was banished from Jerusalem to Damascus on account
of misconduct. In the time of Nebuchadnezzar the Jews were driven
out of Palestine and taken to Babylon. The descendants of Afghána
residing at Damascus, being Jews, were also carried to Babylon,
from whence they removed, or were removed, to the mountain of Ghor,
in Afghanistan, their present place of residence, and in the time of
Muhammad they accepted his religion.

To most observers the Afghan has a most remarkably Jewish cast of
features, and often in looking round the visitors of our out-patient
department one sees some old greybeard of pure Afghan descent, and
involuntarily exclaims: "That man might for all the world be one of
the old Jewish patriarchs returned to us from Bible history!" All
Muhammadan nations must, from the origin of their religion, have
many customs and observances which appear Jewish because they were
adopted by Muhammad himself from the Jews around him; but there
are two, at least, met with among Afghans which are not found among
neighbouring Muhammadan peoples, and which strongly suggest a Jewish
origin. The first, which is very common, is that of sacrificing an
animal, usually a sheep or a goat, in case of illness, after which
the blood of the animal is sprinkled over the doorposts of the house
of the sick person, by means of which the angel of death is warded
off. The other, which is much less common, and appears to be dying out,
is that of taking a heifer and placing upon it the sins of the people,
whereby it becomes qurban, or sacrifice, and then it is driven out into
the wilderness. The Afghan, more than most Muhammadans, delights in
Biblical names, and David, Solomon, Abraham, Job, Jacob, and many other
patriarchs, are constant inmates of our hospital wards. New Testament
names, such as King Jesus (Mihtar Esa) and Simon are occasionally met
with. The ceremonies enacted at the Muhammadan "'Id-i-bakr," or Feast
of Sacrifice, have a most extraordinary similarity to the Jewish
Passover; but as these have a religious, and not a racial, origin
and signification, and can be read in any book on Muhammadanism,
it is unnecessary to describe them here. The strongest argument
against their Jewish origin is the almost entire disappearance of
any Hebrew words from their vocabulary; but this may be partly,
at least, explained by their admixture at first with Chaldaic, and
subsequently with Arab, races. The Wazirs have a tradition as to their
origin, which, although its Biblical resemblance may be accidental,
is yet certainly remarkable when found among so wild and barbarous
a race. The tradition is that a certain ancestor had two sons, Issa
and Missa (probably Jesus and Moses). The latter was a shepherd, and
one day while tending his flocks on the hills a lamb strayed away and
could not be found. Missa, leaving his other sheep, went in search of
the lost one. For three days and nights he wandered about the jungle
without being able to find it. On the morning of the fourth day he
found it in some distant valley, and, instead of being wroth with it,
he took it up in his arms, kissed it, and brought it safely back to
the flock. For this humane act God greatly blessed him, and made him
the progenitor of the Wazir tribe. Though it would seem to us more
appropriate had this action been attributed to Issa instead of to
Missa, yet this tradition has often given me a text for explaining
the Gospel story to a crowd of these wild tribesmen.

Though all Afghans are fanatically zealous in the pursuit of their
religion, yet some are so ignorant of its teachings that more
civilized Muhammadans are hardly willing to admit their right to a
place in the congregation of the faithful. The Wazirs, for instance,
who would always be ready to take their share in a religious war, are
not only ignorant of all but the elementary truths of Muhammadanism,
but the worship of saints and graves is the chief form that their
religion takes. The Afridis are not far removed from them in this
respect, and it is related of a certain section of the Afridis that,
having been taunted by another tribe for not possessing a shrine of
any holy man, they enticed a certain renowned Seyyed to visit their
country, and at once despatched and buried him, and boast to this
day of their assiduity in worshipping at his sepulchre.

The frontier hills are often bare enough of fields or habitations, but
one cannot go far without coming across some zyarat, or holy shrine,
where the faithful worship and make their vows. It is very frequently
situated on some mountain-top or inaccessible cliff, reminding one
of the "high places" of the Israelites. Round the grave are some
stunted trees of tamarisk or ber (Zisyphus jujuba). On the branches of
these are hung innumerable bits of rag and pieces of coloured cloth,
because every votary who makes a petition at the shrine is bound
to tie a piece of cloth on as the outward symbol of his vow. In
the accompanying photograph is seen a famous shrine on the Suliman
Range. Despite its inaccessibility, hundreds of pilgrims visit this
yearly, and sick people are carried up in their beds, with the hope
that the blessing of the saint may cure them. Sick people are often
carried on beds, either strapped on camels or on the shoulders of
their friends, for considerably more than a hundred miles to one or
other of these zyarats. In some cases it may reasonably be supposed
that the change from a stuffy, unventilated dark room to the open air,
and the stimulus of change of climate and scenery, has its share in
the cure which often undoubtedly results.

Another feature of these shrines is that their sanctity is so
universally acknowledged that articles of personal property may
be safely left by the owners for long periods of time in perfect
confidence of finding them untouched on their return. This is the more
remarkable, remembering that these tribes are thieves by profession,
and scarcely look upon brigandage as a reprehensible act. The
inhabitants of a mountain village may be migrating to the plains for
the winter months, and they will leave their beds, pots and pans,
and other household furniture, under the trees of some neighbouring
shrine, and they will almost invariably find them on their return,
some months later, exactly as they left them. One distinct advantage
of these shrines is that it is a sin to cut wood from any of the trees
surrounding them. Thus it comes about that the shrines are the only
green spots among the hills which the improvident vandalism of the
tribes has denuded of all their trees and shrubs.

Graves have a special sanctity in the eyes of the Afghans, more
even than in the case of other Muhammadans, and you will generally
see an Afghan, when passing by a graveyard, dismount from his horse
and, turning towards some more prominent tomb, which denotes the
burial-place of some holy man, hold up his hands in the attitude
of Muhammadan prayer, and invoke the blessing of the holy man
on his journey, and then stroke his beard, as is usually done by
the Muhammadans at the conclusion of their prayers. There are few
graveyards which do not boast some such holy man or faqir in their
midst; in fact, as often as not, the chance burial of some such
holy man in an out-of-the-way part determines the site of a cemetery,
because all those in the country round desire to have their graves near
his, in the belief that at the Resurrection Day his sanctity will atone
for any of their shortcomings, and insure for them an unquestionable
entry into bliss. The graves always lie north and south, and after
digging down to a depth determined by the character of the soil,
a niche is hollowed out at one side, usually the western, and the
corpse is laid in the niche, with its face turned towards Mecca. Some
bricks or stones are then laid along the edge of the niche, so that
when the earth is thrown in none of it may fall on the corpse, which
is enveloped in a winding-sheet only, coffins being never used. The
origin of the word "coffin" is possibly from the Arabic word kafn,
which denotes the winding-sheet usually used by Muhammadans. [1]

Great marvels are related about the graves of these holy men, among
the commonest being the belief that they go on increasing in length of
their own accord, the increase of length being a sign of the acceptance
of the prayers of the deceased by the Almighty. Near the mission house
in Peshawur was one such grave, which went on lengthening at the rate
of one foot a year. When it had reached the length of twenty-seven
feet it was seriously encroaching on the public highway, and it was
only after the promulgation of an official order from the district
authorities that the further growth of the holy man should cease that
the grave ceased to expand. This shrine is still famous in the country
round as "the Nine-Yard Shrine," which numbers of devotees visit
every year, in the expectation of obtaining some material benefit.

The use of charms or amulets is practically universal. The children
of the rich may be seen with strings of charms fastened up in little
ornamented silver caskets hung round their neck, while even the
poorest labourer will not be without a charm sewn up in a bit of
leather, which he fastens round his arm or his neck. These charms are
most usually verses out of the Quran, transcribed by some Mullah of
repute and blessed by him; others are cabalistic sentences or words,
while some are mere bits of paper or rag which have been blessed by
a holy man. On more than one occasion I have found my prescriptions
made up into charms, the patient believing that this would be
more efficacious than drinking the hospital medicines; in fact,
one patient assured me that he had never suffered from rheumatism,
to which he had previously been subject, after he had tied round his
arm a prescription in which I had ordered him some salicylate of soda,
although he had never touched the drug. In one instance I found that
a man who had been given some grey powders, with directions how to
use them, had instead fastened them up, paper and all, into a little
packet, which he had sewn up in leather and fastened round his neck,
with, he told me, very beneficial result. From this it can be readily
understood that Mullahs and faqirs who pretend to have the power of
making charms for all known diseases, and sell them to the people at
large, are often able to enrich themselves far more rapidly than a
doctor who confines himself to the ordinary methods of treatment.

Once, when I was in camp, I came across a mountebank who was making
quite a large fortune in this way. He had travelled over a large
part of South-Western Asia, but did not stop long in any one place,
as no doubt his takings would soon begin to wear off after the first
days of novelty. One of his performances was to walk through fire,
professedly by the power of the Muhammadan Kalimah. A trench was
dug in the ground, and filled with charcoal and wood, which was set
alight. After the fire had somewhat died down, the still glowing
embers were beaten down with sticks, and then the faqir, reciting
the Kalimah with great zest, proceeded to deliberately walk across,
after which he invited the more daring among the faithful to follow
his example, assuring them that if they recited the creed in the
same way and with sincerity, they would suffer no harm. Some went
through the ordeal and showed no signs of having suffered from it;
others came out with blistered and sore feet. These unfortunates were
jeered at by the others as being no true Muhammadans, owing to which
they had forfeited the immunity conferred upon them by the recitation
of the creed. One young Sikh student, calling out the Sikh battle-cry,
ventured on the ordeal, and came out apparently none the worse. The
Muhammadans looked upon this as an insult to their religion, because
Muhammadans oftener than not heard that cry when the Sikhs had been
engaged in mortal combat with them, and this action of the young
Sikh appeared to them to be a challenge as to whether the Muhammadan
or the Sikh cry had the greater magic power. However, some of the
more responsible persons present checked the more hot-headed ones,
and the affair passed off with a little scoffing. Every morning and
afternoon the faqir prepared for the reception of the patients,
who were collected in great numbers on hearing of his fame. Each
applicant had to give 5 pice to the assistant as his fee. He was
then sent before the faqir, who remained seated on a mat. The faqir
asked him one or two questions as to the nature of the illness,
wrote out the necessary charm, and passed on to the next. Three or
four hundred people were often seen at one sitting. This would give
about 50 rupees (£3. 6s. 8d.) as a day's takings. Some days would,
no doubt, be occupied in travelling, and others less fruitful;
but his equipment and his method of travelling showed that it was
a very profitable business. He was stopping in the rest-house,
and invited me to dinner, which was served in English fashion. He
entertained me with stories of his travels, and made no secret of the
fact that he took advantage of the credulity of the people to run a
good business. When dinner was nearly over an assistant came in to
say that there were many people outside clamouring for charms. With
an apology to me for the interruption, he took a piece of paper,
tore it up into squares, quickly wrote off the required number, and
gave them to the assistant to go on with. In some cases, especially
those suffering from rheumatism or old injuries or sprains, he used
rubbings and manipulations, much as a so-called bone-setter does,
and these, no doubt, helped the charm to do its work.

The medical and surgical treatment of the faqirs is extremely
crude. Sometimes Jogis and herbalists from India travel about the
country and practise a certain amount of yunani, or Hippocratic
medicine; but the native doctors of Afghanistan have extremely little
knowledge of medicine. The two stock treatments of Afghanistan are
those known as dzan and dam. Dzan is a treatment habitually used in
cases of fever, whether acute or chronic, and in a variety of chronic
complaints, which they do not attempt to diagnose. It consists in
stripping the patient to the skin and placing him on a bed. A sheep or
a goat is then killed and rapidly skinned. The patient is then wrapped
up in the skin, with the raw surface next him and the wool outside. He
is then covered up with a number of quilts. When successful, this
treatment acts by producing a profuse perspiration, and when it
is removed--on the second day in the summer and the third day in
the winter--the patient is sometimes found to be free from fever,
though very worn and weak from the profuse sweating. If the first
application is not successful, it may be repeated several times. In
a case of severe injury to one of the limbs, the same treatment is
often applied locally. In the case of a fractured thigh, for instance,
the sheepskin is tied on, a rough splint applied externally, and
often left for a week or more. Where there has been an open wound,
and the patient has been brought several days' journey through the
heat down to our hospital in Bannu, you can usually anticipate the
character of the case by seeing the men who have carried the bed in
carefully winding their pagaris round their noses and mouths before
proceeding to unbandage it for your inspection, and when it is at
last opened all except the doctor and his assistant try to get as far
away as possible. A surgeon can scarcely be confronted with a more
complete antithesis to his modern ideas of aseptic surgery than a
case like this, and many and prolonged applications of antiseptics
and deodorants are required before the wound begins to assume a
healthy aspect, even if inflammation and gangrene have not rendered
amputation a necessity. In the case of a small wound, the whole or
a part of the skin of a fowl is used in the same way, the flesh of
the slaughtered animal being always a part of the fee of the doctor.

The other remedy, or that known as the dam, is akin to what is known
in Western surgery as a "moxa." A piece of cloth is rolled up in a
pledget of the size of a shilling, steeped in oil, placed on the
part selected by the doctor, and set alight. It burns down into
the flesh, and a hard slough is formed; this gradually separates,
and leaves an ulcer, which heals by degrees. This remedy is used
for every conceivable illness, a particular part of the body being
selected according to the disease or the diagnostic ability of the
doctor who applies the remedy. Thus, in people who have suffered from
indigestion you will often see a line of scars down each side of the
abdomen. For neuralgia, it is applied to the temples; for headache,
to the scalp; for rheumatism, to the shoulders; for lumbago, to the
loins; for paralysis, to the back; for sciatica, to the thighs; and so
on indefinitely. I have counted as many as fifty scars, each the size
of a shilling, on one patient as the result of repeated applications
of this remedy. The Afghans have extraordinary faith in both these
treatments, and I have sometimes sat in a village listening to an
argument in which some young fellow, lately returned from a visit
to a mission hospital, recounted the wonderful things he had seen
there, to which some old conservative greybeard retorted: "What do
we want with all these new-fangled things? The dzan and the dam are
sufficient for us." As formerly in the West, so still in Afghanistan,
the village barber performs the ordinary surgical operations, such
as opening an abscess or lancing a gum.

The women all claim a greater or less knowledge of such surgery and
medicine as they think necessary for them. After one of the village
frays, when the warriors come back to their homes more or less cut
and wounded, the women of the household at once set about their
treatment. If there is severe hæmorrhage some oil is quickly raised
to boiling-point in a saucepan, and either poured into the wound,
or if, for instance, a limb has been cut off, the bloody stump is
plunged into the oil. This, no doubt, acts as an effective, though
somewhat barbarous, hæmostatic. If the bleeding is only slight,
a certain plant gathered from the jungle is reduced to ashes, and
these ashes rubbed on the wound. In the case of a clean cut the
women draw out hairs from their own head, and sew it up with their
ordinary sewing-needles, and I have sometimes seen flesh wounds which
have been quite skilfully sewn up in this way. They are less skilful
in the application of splints. In most neighbourhoods there is some
village carpenter who prides himself on his skill in the application
of splints to broken bones; but in most cases he bandages them too
tightly, or with too little knowledge of the circulation of the limb,
so that not a year passes in which we do not get one or more cases
of limbs which have become gangrenous after quite simple fractures
through this kind of treatment.

Almost the only drugs which are used to any extent in Afghanistan
are purgatives, and especially those of a more violent and drastic
nature. Nearly every Afghan thinks it necessary to be purged or bled,
or both, every spring, and not unfrequently at the fall of the year
too. Scarcely any illness is allowed to go to a week's duration without
the trial of some violent purge. Sometimes the purge is given with so
little regard to its quantity and the vitality of the patient that it
results in rapid collapse and death. In other cases a latent dysentery
is excited, which may result in an illness lasting many months,
and leaving the patient permanently weakened thereby. The seasonal
blood-lettings are performed, as in the West, from the bend of the arm,
this position having, no doubt, come down to the practitioners of both
East and West from the ancient Greeks; but in the case of illness,
while the physicians of the West have had their practice revolutionized
by modern ideas of anatomy and physiology, those of the East still
follow the humoral and hypothetical pathologies of Hippocrates and
his predecessors. These practitioners know the particular vein in
the particular limb or part of the body which has to be selected for
venesection in any particular illness. I have known a young doctor from
England lose at once the confidence which the people might up to that
time have had in his medical knowledge, because in a case of illness
to which he was called he recommended venesection, and the patient's
medical attendant who was to carry out the treatment made the, to him,
very natural inquiry, "From what vein?" The English doctor said: "It
does not matter." Both patient and medical attendant not unnaturally
assumed that he was either a very careless doctor or an ignoramus,
and, in either case, that they had better call in a fresh opinion.

Cataract is a very common complaint in Afghanistan, and from time
immemorial there have been certain hakims, or native practitioners,
who operate on this by means of the old process of couching. These
men usually itinerate about the country from village to village, as
in most cases the old men and the old women who are suffering from
cataract are unable to undertake the journey to a town where one
of these practitioners lives; or it may be that their relations are
not willing to take the trouble for someone whose working days are
apparently over. In some cases no doubt the operation results in good
sight, but in the majority other changes which take place in the eye
as a result of the operation lead before long to total blindness. As,
however, the hakim seldom goes over the same ground again till after
the lapse of several years, his reputation does not lose by these
failures, as it would have done if he were always resident in one
place. The tooth extracting of the village is usually entrusted to the
village blacksmith, who has a ponderous pair of forceps, a foot and
a half to two feet long, hung up in his shop for the purpose. Where
the crown of the tooth is fairly strong and prominent the operation
generally results in a short struggle, and then the removal of the
aching tooth; but if the tooth is very carious, or not prominent enough
for a good grip, the results are often disastrous, even to fracture of
the jaw, and these ultimately come to the mission hospital for repair,
several often turning up in one day.

At one time smallpox was terribly rife in Afghanistan, and even now
no village can be visited without seeing many who are permanently
disfigured by it. When an Afghan comes to negotiate about the price of
an eligible girl for marrying to his son, one of the first questions
asked is, "Has she had the smallpox?" and if not, either the settlement
may be postponed until she is older, or else some deduction is made
for her possible disfigurement if attacked by the disease. Many times
fathers have brought their daughters to the hospital with the scars
left by smallpox in their eyes, begging me to remove them, not so much
for the sake of the patient as because the market value of the daughter
will be so much enhanced thereby. The custom of inoculation was at
one time almost universal in Afghanistan. A little of the crust of the
sore of a smallpox patient was taken and rubbed into an incision made
in the wrist of the person to be inoculated. The smallpox resulting,
though usually mild, was sometimes so severe as to cause the death
of the patient, and the people have not been slow to recognize the
great advantages which vaccination has over inoculation. Only two
circumstances deter the people from universally profiting by the
facilities offered by the British Government. The first reason is that
very often the vaccinators are underpaid officials, who use their
opportunities for taking bribes from the people, and make the whole
business odious to them. The other is, that they have a widespread
superstition that the Government are really seeking for a girl, who
is to be recognized by the fact that when the vaccinator scarifies
her arm, instead of blood, milk will flow from the wound; she is then
to be taken over to England for sacrifice, and the parents are afraid
lest their girl should be the unlucky one.



CHAPTER III

BORDER WARRIORS

    Peiwar Kotal--The Kurram Valley--The Bannu Oasis--Independent
    tribes--The Durand line--The indispensable Hindu--A lawsuit and its
    sequel--A Hindu outwits a Muhammadan--The scope of the missionary.


I was standing on a pine-clad spur of the Sufed Koh Range, which
runs westwards towards Kabul, between the Khaiber Pass on the north
and the Kurram Pass on the south. The snow-clad peaks of Sika Ram,
which rise to a height of fifteen thousand feet, tipped by fleecy
white clouds, were just behind me, while in front was the green valley
of the Kurram River, spread out like a panorama before me, widening
out into a large plain in its upper part, where numerous villages,
partly hidden in groves of mulberry and walnuts, nestled among the
lower spurs of the mountains, while farther down the hills on either
side of it closed in and became more rugged and bare, and the river
wound its circuitous path through defile and gorge, till it debouched
on the plains of India. Immediately before me was the pine-covered
Pass of Peiwar, which will always be memorable as the scene of the
great battle fought between the forces of the Amir, Sher Ali, and
the advancing column of Sir Frederick Roberts. There were the pines
covering the crest where the Afghan batteries were ensconced, and one
could trace without difficulty the circuitous path up the stony bed
of the mountain torrent, through a deep ravine, and then winding up
among the pine-woods, by which the gallant regiments of the advancing
army stormed and finally captured the Afghan position. Westward of the
pass was a fertile valley, dotted over with villages here and there,
forming part of the territory of the Amir of Afghanistan. A few miles
below the top of the pass could be seen the fort where the soldiers
of the Amir guarded his frontier. Turning eastward, some dozen miles
off, could be seen the cantonments of Parachinar, the westernmost
cantonments of British occupation, and the seat of administration of
this trans-border valley. There was a fort garrisoned by the local
levies of the Kurram Militia--Afghans from the villages round, who,
under the training and influence of three or four British officers,
have become part of the "far-flung battle line" of the defences of
the Empire.

I had been spending some weeks among the people of this district,
and the time had come for reluctantly leaving the shady groves and
cool breezes of the Upper Kurram for the sweltering plains of Bannu,
which even now I could see in the eastern distance covered by heat
haze, recalling the punkahs and restless nights which were soon to
be my lot instead of the bracing air of the Sufed Koh. Our tents and
baggage had been loaded up on some mules, which we could see winding
along the white road below us, while we were lingering behind to take
a last leave of the hearty Afghans, who had been both our hosts and
our patients. Three times had we to pitch our nightly camp before we
crossed the border of British India and entered the border town of
Thal, which is the first town in British India which a traveller from
Afghanistan enters. From the time of crossing the Afghan frontier till
now, he has been going through what is known as an "administrative
area." Here was a fort, occupied by troops of the Indian Army, under
command of a British officer.

Thirty-four miles still remained in a direct line between us and
our destination in Bannu, and before accomplishing this special
arrangements had to be made with the tribes occupying it for our
escort; for this tongue of country running up between Thal and
Bannu was not British India, nor even an administrative area,
but independent, and owned by the marauding Wazir tribe, who owed
allegiance to neither Amir nor Viceroy. A couple of ruffianly-looking
Wazirs arrived to escort us down. Their rifles were slung over their
shoulders, and well-filled cartridge belts strapped round their waists;
a couple of Afghan daggers were ensconced in the folds of the dirty
red pagaris which they had bound round their bodies, and they carried
their curved Afghan swords in their hands. We had now left the fertile
valley of Upper Kurram behind us, and wandered through a succession of
rocky mountain defiles, over precipitous spurs, and along the stony
bed of the river for more than thirty miles. The lower mountain
ranges separating Afghanistan from India form by their intricacy
and precipitate nature a succession of veritable chevaux de frise,
which by their natural difficulties maintain the parda or privacy of
the wild tribes inhabiting them, who value the independence of their
mountain fastnesses more than life itself. Here and there is a patch of
arable land in a bend of the Kurram River, overlooked by the walled and
towered village of its possessors, who have won it by force of arms,
and only keep it by their armed vigils, even the men who are ploughing
behind their oxen having their rifles hung over their shoulders,
and keeping their eyes open for a possible enemy. In some places a
channel from the river has been carried with infinite labour on to a
flat piece of ground among the mountains, where a scanty harvest is
reaped. For the rest the hill seems to be almost devoid of animal or
vegetable life. A few partridges starting up with a shrill cry from a
tuft of dry grass in front of one are occasionally seen, and stunted
trees of ber and acacia supply a certain amount of firewood, which
some of the Wazirs gather and take down to the Friday Fair in Bannu.

The Afghans will tell you that when God created the world there were
a lot of stones and rocks and other lumber left over, which were
all dumped down on this frontier, and that this accounts for its
unattractive appearance. There is one more range of hills to surmount
before we reach the plains of India. We have toiled up a rocky path,
from the bare stones of which the rays of the summer sun are reflected
on all sides, without any relief from tree or shrub, or even a tuft of
green grass, till the ground beneath our feet seems to glow with as
fierce a heat as that of the blazing orb above us. We have reached
the summit, and the vista before us changes as if by magic. Five
hundred feet below us is the broad plain of India, irrigated in this
part by the vivifying waters of the Kurram River, which, liberated
from the rock-bound defile through which they have wandered for the
last thirty miles, now dashing over their stony bed, anon hemmed
in by dark overhanging cliffs, are at last free to break up into
numberless channels, which, guided by the skill of the agriculturist,
form a labyrinth of silver streaks in the plain below us. As far as
the life-giving irrigation cuts of the Kurram River extend are waving
fields of corn, sugar-cane, maize, rice, turmeric, and other crops,
spread in endless succession as far as the eye can reach.

Scattered among the fields are the teeming villages of the Bannuchies,
partly hidden in their groves of mulberries and figs and their
vineyards, as though Cornucopia, wearied by the barren hills above
them in Afghanistan, had showered down all her gifts on the favoured
tribes below. Such is India as it appears to the Pathans inhabiting the
hills on our North-West Frontier, and when we see it thus after some
time spent with them in their barren and rocky hills, we can readily
understand that two thoughts are dominant in their minds. The one is:
"Those rich plains have been put there, in contiguity to our mountains,
because God intended them to be our lawful prey, that when we have
no harvest we may go down and reap theirs; and when we are hard up,
and have a big fine to pay to the British Government, we may lighten
some of the wealthy Hindus of the money that they have accumulated
through usury and other ways which God hates." The other thought is:
"What possible reason has the British Government, the overlord of such
rich lands, for coming and interfering with us in our mountain homes,
which, though nothing but rocks and stones, are still our homes for all
that, where we resent the presence and interference of any stranger?"

The reader will have observed that in the journey above described,
from Peiwar down to Bannu, four different territories have been
passed through. The first and the last--viz., Afghanistan and British
India--are two well-defined, easily comprehensible geographical areas;
but it is seen that betwixt the two are various other tribal areas,
in varying relations with the Indian Government. A few words must
be said to familiarize the reader with the political conditions
obtaining there. The frontier of British India is well defined, but
that of Afghanistan was more or less uncertain until the year 1893,
when Sir Mortimer Durand was deputed by the British Government to
meet the officers delegated by the Amir Abdurrahman, in order that
the frontier might be delimited. This frontier is since known as the
"Durand Line." The intervening area between the Durand Line and the
British frontier is in varying relations to the Indian Government.

Some parts of this, such as Tirah (the country of the Afridis and
Orakzais) and Waziristan (the country of the Wazirs and Mahsuds), are
severely left alone, provided the tribes do not compel attention and
interference by the raids into British territory, which are frequently
perpetrated by their more lawless spirits.

These raids are no doubt disapproved of by the majority of the
tribesmen, who recognize the fact that they must stand to lose in
any conflict with the British Government; but such is the democratic
spirit of the people that every man considers himself as good as his
neighbour, and a step better if he has a more modern rifle. As in the
interregnums of the days of the Israelitish Judges, each man does what
seems good in his own eyes, and bitterly resents any effort of his
neighbour, and even of the tribe, to control his actions or curtail
his liberty. Thus it happens that it is really very difficult for the
tribal elders to prevent their bad characters from perpetrating these
raids. The raiders are usually men with nothing to lose, owning no
landed property within the confines of British India, and guilty of
previous murders or other crimes, which make it impossible for them
to enter the country, except surreptitiously, as they would certainly
be imprisoned, and perhaps hanged, if caught.

A great number in the tribe own lands on both sides of the border, and
find it to their interest to take no overt part against the Government;
while at the same time, unless they give asylum to the desperadoes,
and conceal them on occasion, they are liable to be themselves the
victims. Thus it happens that in nearly every frontier expedition
there are some sections of the tribe which desire to be on good terms
with the British, and are known as "friendlies." It is difficult
for a military commander who has not previously known the people
to appreciate this, and when he finds his camp being sniped from a
supposed "friendly" village, he not unnaturally doubts the sincerity
of the people. As likely as not, however, the recalcitrant sections of
the tribe have been at pains to snipe from such points as to implicate
the friendly sections and force them into joining the standard of
war. On one occasion the exasperated General refused to believe the
representations of the Political Officer that the villages from the
neighbourhood of which the sniping came were friendly until he left
the camp and went over to live in the (supposed) enemies' village
himself! The well-disposed clans would welcome an administration of
the country by which these lawless spirits could be kept in check.

Then, there are certain semi-independent States, such as Chitral and
Dir, where there are rulers of sufficient paramount power to govern
their own country and to render it possible for the British to maintain
that amount of control of their external relations which is considered
desirable, by means of a Political Agent attached to the court of the
chief, while still leaving the latter free to manage his own internal
affairs in accordance with the customs of his tribe and the degree
of his own supremacy over the often conflicting units composing it.

Thirdly, there are what are known as "administered areas," such as the
Upper Kurram Valley, above mentioned. These are inhabited by tribes
over whom no one chief has been able to gain paramount authority for
himself, where, as is so often the case among Afghans, the tribe is
eaten up by a number of rival factions, none of which are willing
to acknowledge the rule of a man from a faction not their own. The
Government official, therefore, is unable to treat with one ruler,
but has to hear all the members of the contending factions. So great
is the democratic spirit that any petty landowner thinks he has as
much right to push his views of public policy as the representative
of an hereditary line of chiefs. This naturally greatly complicates
official relations, and the Political Officer, however much he would
like to refrain from interference in tribal home policy, finds that,
amid a host of conflicting units, he is the only possible court
of appeal. This results in an intermediate form of government: the
Indian Penal Code does not obtain; tribal laws and customs are the
recognized judicial guides, and there is a minimum of interference
with the people; yet the Political Officer is the supreme authority,
and combines in himself the executive and judicial administration of
the area.

Notwithstanding the exclusiveness of the religion that these
people profess, they find it impossible to do their business or
live comfortably without the help of the ubiquitous and obsequious
Hindu. Just as much as the great Mughal Emperors of old found it
best to have Hindus for the posts of treasurer, accountant, adviser,
etc., so the frontier chief of to-day has his Hindu vassal always with
him, to keep his accounts, write his petitions, and transact most of
his written and judicial business. The majority of the shopkeepers
also are Hindus. Even under the settled administration of British
India the Muhammadan has never become such an adept at bargaining,
petty trade, and shopkeeping as the more thrifty and quick-witted
Hindu. Thus in every village of any pretension there are the Hindus,
with their shops, who make their journeys to the big market-towns
on the frontier--Peshawur, Bannu, and Dera Ismail Khan--and return
with piece-goods, matches, looking-glasses, and a variety of Western
trinkets, as well as the food-stuffs which the Afghan covets, but
cannot produce himself, such as white sugar and tea. These Hindus
are regarded as vassals by the Muhammadan community they supply,
and each Hindu trader or shopkeeper has his own particular overlord
or Muhammadan malik, who in return for these services guarantees his
safety, is ready to protect him--by force of arms, if necessary--from
rival Muhammadan sections, and to revenge any injury done to him as
if it were a personal one to himself.

The Hindu supplies the brains and the Muhammadan the valour. The
Hindu is ever ready to outwit his overbearing but often obtuse
masters, and under British rule avails himself of the protection
the law affords to do things he would not venture on across the
border. Once when travelling across the border my guide was an outlaw,
who had been obliged to fly from British territory after committing
a murder. He told me that he had gone into partnership with a Hindu
for an extensive contract for road-making: the Hindu was to supply
the capital and keep accounts, and he was to recruit the coolies and
do the supervision of the work. "While I," he said, "was broiling
and sweating in the summer sun, that pig of a Hindu was comfortably
seated in his office falsifying the accounts, and I never got an anna
for all my labours. I thought I should get justice from the Sarkar,
so I brought a civil action against him; but I was a plain man, and he
learnt all about the ways of the law from some pleader friend of his,
and I lost the case. Then I paid another pleader a big sum to take
my appeal to the Sessions Judge, but he had manipulated the accounts
and paid the witnesses, so that I lost that too. Allahu Akbar! The
Judge gave his verdict before the shadow had turned [before midday],
and before the time of afternoon prayers had arrived that son of a
pig was as dead as a post. But then I had to come over here, and I
can only pay an occasional night visit to my village now."

A story which he told me to illustrate the mercantile genius of the
Hindu will bear repeating. A Muhammadan and a Hindu resolved to go
into partnership. The Muhammadan, being the predominant partner,
stipulated that he was to have the first half of everything, and the
Hindu the remainder. The Hindu obsequiously consented. The first day
the Hindu brought back a cow from market. He milked it, got the butter
and cream, made the dung into fuel-cakes for his fire, and then went
to call the Muhammadan because the cow was hungry and wanted grass
and grain. The Muhammadan said he was ready to do his share if the
Hindu did his. The Hindu blandly replied that he had already done his,
while the stipulated "first half" of the cow included the animal's
mouth and stomach, and fell clearly to the lot of the Muhammadan.

Now let us see what is the position of the missionary in each of these
areas. In British India he has a free hand so long as he keeps within
the four corners of the law. In Afghanistan there is an absolute veto
against even his entry into the country, and there is no prospect of
this changing under the present régime. A convert from Muhammadanism
to Christianity is regarded within the realms of the Amir as having
committed a capital offence, and both law and popular opinion would
decree his destruction. In the intervening tribal areas there is no
reason why a cautious missionary, well acquainted with the language and
customs of the people, should not work with considerable success. A
medical missionary who did not attack their religion with a mistaken
zeal would undoubtedly be welcomed by the greater number of the people,
though the Mullahs, or priests, would be an uncertain element, and
certainly hostile at the beginning. The local political authorities
have the final say as to how far the missionaries may extend their
operations. I shall revert to this subject in the concluding chapter
(Chapter XXV.), where I shall show that in no part of the country are
medical missions more obviously indicated, not only for Christianizing
the people, but equally so for pacifying them and familiarizing them
with the more peaceful aspects of British rule.



CHAPTER IV

A FRONTIER VALLEY

    Description of the Kurram Valley--Shiahs and Sunnis--Favourable
    reception of Christianity--Independent areas--A candid
    reply--Proverbial disunion of the Afghans--The two policies--Sir
    Robert Sandeman--Lord Curzon creates the North-West Frontier
    Province--Frontier wars--The vicious circle--Two flaws the
    natives see in British rule: the usurer, delayed justice--Personal
    influence.


Among the various tracts of border territory that have recently
been opened up and brought under the influence of civilization by
the frontier policy of the Indian Government, none is fairer or
more promising than the Upper Kurram Valley, on the lower waters of
which river Bannu, the headquarters of the Afghan Medical Mission, is
situate. The River Kurram rises on the western slopes of Sikaram, the
highest point of the Sufed Koh Range (15,600 feet), and for twenty-five
miles makes a détour to the south and east through the Aryab Valley,
which is inhabited by the tribe of Zazis, who are still under the
government of the Amir, and form his frontier in this part. The river
then suddenly emerges into a wider basin, the true valley of Upper
Kurram, stretching from the base of the Sufed Koh Range to the base
of a lower range on the right bank, a breadth of fifteen miles, the
river running close to the latter range, and the north-western corner
of this basin being separated from the head-waters of the Kurram by
the ridge of the Peiwar Kotal, where was fought the memorable action
of December 2, 1879, by which the road to Kabul was opened. This wide
valley runs down as far as Sadr, thirty miles lower down towards the
south-east, being narrower, however, below. Here the valley narrows
down to from two to four miles, and runs south-east for thirty-five
miles to Thal, where it ceases to be in British territory, but winds
for thirty miles among the Waziri Hills, until it emerges into the
Bannu Plain, and flows through the Bannu and Marwat districts into
the Indus at Isa Khel. Thus, with the exception of the head-waters and
some thirty miles just above Bannu, the territory is all now subject
to British rule, and is steadily becoming more peaceful and civilized.

Below the Zazis the valley down as far as Waziristan was originally
possessed by the Bangash, a Sunni tribe of Pathans, who came themselves
from the direction of Kohat. The Turis were a Shiah tribe inhabiting
some districts on the eastern bank of the Indus near Kalabagh,
who, being ardent traders and nomads, were accustomed to visit
the cool regions of Upper Kurram every summer for trade, health,
and pasturage. One summer, some two hundred years ago, a quarrel
arose between them and the Bangash of a village called Burkha, and
resulted in a battle, in which the Turis came off victorious, and,
destroying or driving away the inhabitants of Burkha, made it their
first settlement in the valley. Soon after this they attacked and
possessed themselves of two of the most important villages of the
valley, Peiwar and Milana, and to this day every Turi with aspirations
to importance claims land in one of these three villages, though it
may be only the fiftieth part of a field, as proof of his true lineage.

Year by year the Turis gradually strengthened their position, driving
the Bangash farther down the valley, except in some cases, such as
the inhabitants of the large and beautiful village of Shlozan, the
Bangash of which, all becoming Shiahs, amalgamated with the Turis,
and retained their lands.

Finally, having made their position secure, and realizing the charms
of the valley, the Turis ceased to return to the plain, and remained
in the valley all the year round. Hence to-day we find the upper part
of the valley inhabited only by Turis, while below this, as far as
the Alizai, the Turis and Bangash are mingled, their villages being
often side by side; and further down still the Bangash have the land
all to themselves.

Since the people have realized the peace resulting from English rule,
and have begun to beat their swords into ploughshares, many of the hill
tribes bordering the valley have taken every opportunity of settling
in allotments in the valley, and enjoying the larger produce of its
richer soil. These are the Mangals and Makbals above, and the Zaimukhts
below, thus introducing a fresh element into the population. Over and
above these any worker in the valley has to count on dealings with the
neighbouring tribes, who still cling to their mountain fastnesses,
and sometimes still show their old disposition to loot the more
peaceable inhabitants. These are the Ningrahars, Spinwars, and Paris
on the north, and the Zazi-i-Maidan on the south; while the Afghan
country of Khost being in close proximity, its people also would be
easily reached. To make the enumeration of the inhabitants complete,
it only remains to mention the Hindus, who, mostly of the Arora caste,
are in large numbers in the valley, and retain most of the trade,
and do much clerical and business work for the Muhammadans.

In the time of the Hindu Rajahs of Kabul they were probably in the
ascendant here, and the little archæology which the valley presents
is all of Hindu origin. Apart from the variety of tribes who are thus
brought into close proximity in the valley, it has a special interest
and importance from its being one of the two routes from Kabul to India
(the other being the Khaiber). Hence many nomads from Afghanistan
frequently visit and temporarily inhabit the valley. Prominent at
present among these are the Hazaras, numbers of whom have been driven
out from their own lands by the Amir, and have come here to labour
on the roads.

The Khorotis and Ghilzais also frequent the valley. It is owing to
this peculiarly central and cosmopolitan position, and partly to
the character of the people themselves, that this district presents
so many advantages as a centre of mission work and influence. There
is a great opportunity for mission work among the Turis. These, as
above mentioned, are Shiahs, while all the tribes round belong to
the orthodox sect of Sunnis; consequently, previously to the English
occupation in 1891 they were subjected to persistent, relentless
persecution at the hands of the Amir, and to frequent inroads
from their Sunni neighbours. They naturally, therefore, look on the
Christians as deliverers from the throes of Sunni rule and persecution,
and are ipso facto inclined to look on Christianity favourably, since
it has brought them so much peace and freedom from oppression. And
still, as a wordy warfare is carried on by their respective Mullahs,
both sides endeavour to find in Christianity points of resemblance
by which they can magnify their own sect, rather than, like the
Muhammadans of Bannu, to be constantly cavilling at every word from
a Christian tongue or a Christian book.

This has resulted in a wonderful (wonderful, at any rate, to a
missionary from bigoted Bannu) openness to conversation about the
Christian Scriptures, and readiness to receive Christian teaching. For
instance, in Bannu a well-inclined Mullah dare not read a Bible except
in secrecy, while in Kurram I have frequently seen Mullahs publicly
reading and commenting on the Holy Word to large groups of Khans and
other men.

Again, in Bannu mention of such doctrines as the Sonhood, the
Crucifixion, or the Sinlessness of Christ, or the Fatherhood of God,
is as often as not the signal for an uproar; while here the same
doctrines, even if not partially accepted, may yet be freely talked
about, with the certainty of nearly always getting a fair hearing.

The first summer during which I spent some time among these
people I nearly everywhere had a hospitable, not to say cordial,
reception. This, of course, was partly attributable to the
medical benefits they received, but it was markedly different
from the reception often accorded to the bearer of Gospel tidings
in Hindustan. At no place was there any open opposition from the
Mullahs, and most of them came to see me, and had long talks about
the Injil (Gospel), and asked for and gratefully accepted copies of
it, which I have reason to believe they preserved carefully and read
regularly; while the people often besought us to partake longer of
their hospitality or to visit them again next year, or, better still,
to start a dispensary in their midst.

A reference to the map shows how intimate are the relations of this
valley with Afghanistan, and relics of Afghan rule frequently present
themselves to the doctor when going about their villages--men who have
been crippled for life as a punishment for some crime, or it may be
merely because they incurred the displeasure of someone of influence,
who manufactured a case against them. I have seen men who have had
their right hand cut off for robbery, and others whose feet were
completely crippled by long-continued incarceration in the stocks,
or by a torture often inflicted to extract evidence, in which the
foot is tied with cords to a piece of wood like a magnified tent-peg
fixed in the ground. This peg has a cleft in it, and a wedge is then
hammered slowly into this cleft, thus gradually tightening the cords
till they cut into the foot and cause its mortification.

In every village there are one or more matamkhanas, where the Shiahs
hold their annual mournings for the martyrs of Kerbela (Hasan and
Huseïn) at every Muharram. Under Afghan (Sunni) rule these ceremonies
were often interdicted, or at least restricted; but now they are
able to carry them on unhindered, and pray for the continuance of
British rule in consequence. These places form convenient centres
for the men to gather together and talk, and in them many of my
religious discussions have been held. They are all the more ready
to accept the Christian account of the Crucifixion and its meaning
(which is such a stumbling-block to the Sunnis), because they look on
the martyrdom of the two brothers at Kerbela as having a vicarious
efficacy for those who perform the memorial rites, and regard 'Ali,
the fourth Khalifa from Muhammad, as being indeed a saviour.

If we could have visited this valley in the days long before
the Christian era, when the first Aryan immigrants were passing
down from Central Asia into the Panjab, we should have seen it
covered with their settlements, and seen them engaged in the simple
Nature-worship depicted in the Vedas, which record this stage of
Aryan civilization. This region was probably much better watered and
more fertile in those days than it is now. Not only does geological
evidence point to a greater rainfall and vegetation, but as these
early immigrations were mostly of large bands of pastoral people,
moving with their flocks and herds, their families and household
possessions, and as they probably only gradually moved down the valley
into the plains below, they must have found more pasturage than the
desolate frontier ranges would now afford.

The Kurram Valley above described serves as a good example of an
administered area fairly well advanced in the civilizing effects of
a settled and just Government.

The independent tribes, on the other hand, go down the scale till
you find tribes, such as some sections of the Wazirs and Afridis,
who are utter barbarians, entirely devoted to a nomadic life of
systematic highway robbery.

A Political Officer was once seated, with a number of the head men of
some of these independent tribes, on the top of one of their rugged
mountains, from which you look down on Afghanistan to the west and
India to the east. They had been touring with him as his escort for
some days. He had fed them well, and could chat familiarly with them
in their own lingo, so that they had learnt to talk with him without
reserve about even their tribal secrets.

"Now, tell me," said the officer, "if there were to be war--which
God forbid--between Russia and England, what part would you and your
people take? whom would you side with?"

"Do you wish us to tell you what would please you, or to tell you
the real truth?" was their naïve reply.

"I adjure you only tell me what is the 'white word'" (meaning the
true statement).

"Then," said an old greybeard among them, voicing the feelings of all
present, "we would just sit here up on our mountain-tops watching you
both fight, until we saw one or other of you utterly defeated; then
we would come down and loot the vanquished till the last mule! God
is great! What a time that would be for us!"

No doubt he spake truly, but such is the discord of the Afghan tribes
that no doubt the spoil would scarcely be gathered in before they
would begin to fight among themselves over the division of it. These
tribal jealousies and petty wars are inherent among the Afghans,
and greatly diminish their formidableness as foes. If you ask them
about it they will acknowledge this defect in their character, and
tell you how that one of their ancestors displeased the Almighty,
who, to punish him, wove the strands of discord in the web of their
nature from that time onwards. Hence the saying, "The Afghans of the
frontier are never at peace except when they are at war!" For when some
enemy from without threatens their independence, then, for the time
being, are their feuds and jealousies thrown aside, and they fight
shoulder to shoulder, to resume them again when the common danger is
averted. Even when they are all desirous of joining in some jihad,
they remain suspicious of each other, and are apt to fail one another
at critical moments; or else one tribe will wait to see how it fares
with those already in it before unsheathing their own swords. Thus it
was in the frontier rising of 1897 that the difficulty of quelling
the rising would have been immensely greater had it not been that
the tribes rose seriatim instead of simultaneously, and the rising
in one part of the frontier had been put down before another broke out.

Two policies have at various times been advocated with equal warmth by
their respective partisans. The earlier policy, which was supported by
Lord Lawrence in the days of his Viceroyalty, was generally known as
the "policy of masterly inactivity." Later on the "forward policy"
received more general approbation, its chief exponent being Sir
Robert Sandeman. Those who advocate the former point out the great
expenditure involved in all interference with the internal tribes
across our border, and that almost inevitably we become sooner
or later involved in wars with them. They would therefore have the
British Government strictly abstain from all trans-frontier politics,
and leave the tribes severely alone, so long as they give no trouble
to us on our side of the border. The "forward" party, on the other
hand, point out the danger of having this extensive area on the
most vulnerable part of our Indian Empire outside our own control,
and they advocate a system of controlling all the political affairs
of the trans-border tribes, while leaving their internal policy in
the hands of their own chiefs, who, though guided by our political
officers, would be free to maintain the ancient tribal customs.

Sir Robert Sandeman is, perhaps, the most remarkable instance of
the power which a single officer has been able to exercise over
these border tribes, and it was through him that the large tract
on the border between Quetta and the Deras was organized under our
Political Officers, working through the tribal chiefs. Allowances are
made to the tribes, in return for which they guarantee the safety of
the British posts on the highroads, and become responsible for any
misdemeanours on the part of other members of their tribe. Tribal
levies are organized under young officers of the British Army, who
train them in military discipline, drill, and marksmanship. The pay
received by these soldiers becomes a valuable asset to the tribe,
and a strong inducement to give up their more predatory habits, in
favour of the pax Britannica. Still, it was found necessary to place
regular troops of the Indian Army in some of the more important and
critical situations. The frontier is, for the most part, composed of
intricate, and in many parts inaccessible, mountain ranges, which form
an absolute barrier to the passage of troops; but piercing through
these are the passes, of which the best known are the Khaiber and the
Bolan, which from time immemorial have formed the highways through
which hostile armies have invaded India, and it would be through them
that any enemy of the future would endeavour to bring its forces. It
is therefore a paramount necessity to the British Government that
these passes should be securely guarded, and therefore each one of
them forms part of one of the areas administered by British officers,
and guarded either by native troops or tribal levies.

It is through these passes, too, that the great merchant caravans pass
down from Afghanistan and Central Asia into British India. In former
times the merchants had to subsidize the tribes through which they
passed, who would otherwise have blocked the passes and stolen their
goods; and it is partly to make up to the tribes for the loss of this
income that the tribal subsidies were arranged. Near where each of
these passes debouches on to the trans-Indus plain is a city, which
forms an emporium for the merchandise brought down, and a military
station for the protection of the pass. While Peshawur serves this
purpose for the Khaiber, Kohat commands the Kurram, Bannu the Tochi,
and Dera Ismail Khan the Gumal.

When Lord Curzon assumed the Viceroyalty, the frontier districts
formed part of the Panjab, and the Lieutenant-Governor of that
province was in administrative control of them. Lord Curzon wished
to bring them more directly under his own control, so in 1901 a new
province, composed of five frontier districts of the Panjab, was
constituted, and called the North-West Frontier Province. The five
districts composing this province are Hazara, Peshawur, Kohat, Bannu,
and Dera Ismail Khan. These are all beyond the Indus, except Hazara,
which is to the east of that river.

A Chief Commissioner was appointed over the whole province, directly
responsible to the Viceroy, and he had his headquarters and the centre
of government at Peshawur.

Lord Curzon's next move was to advance the railway systems of the
Panjab along the frontier, bringing their termini to the mouths of
the Khaiber and Kurram Passes. As this enabled a rapid concentration
of troops at any point along the frontier, he was able to withdraw
the regiments of the Indian Army which garrisoned the more outlying
districts, and to replace them by tribal levies.

No doubt it is the desire of the Government not to make any further
annexations of this barren, mountainous, and uninviting border
region; but it is not always equally easy to avoid doing so, and it
is a universal experience of history that when there are a number of
disorganized and ill-governed units on the borders of a great power,
they become inevitably, though it may be gradually and piece by piece,
absorbed into the latter. There are, however, financial considerations
which induce the Government to refrain from annexing a country which
has few natural resources, can pay little in taxes, and must cost a
great deal to administer.

But these frontier tribes form some of the finest fighting material
from which the Indian Army is recruited, and it may be that years
of regular and peaceful administration will destroy the military
qualities of these people, as has been the case in South India. The
many opportunities afforded by the frontier to the Indian Army for
active service, and the training that they get in the little frontier
expeditions, may also be looked upon by some as a valuable asset.

The usual sequence of events is as follows: First, the more
unruly sections of the tribes carry on a series of raids on the
frontier villages of India, as has been their custom from time
immemorial. Sometimes the miscreants are captured and meet their fate;
more often they escape, and, in accordance with the system of tribal
responsibility, a fine is put on the tribe from which they come. These
fines go on accumulating, the tribe running up an account with the
Government for its misdeeds.

Thus we come to the second stage, when the patience of the Government
is exhausted. The tribal heads are called in, and an ultimatum offered
to them. They must pay so much in fines and deliver the criminals
demanded, or an expedition will be organized. Much time--it may be
many months--is occupied in councils, while the tribe is endeavouring
to gain time or to make the terms more favourable.

The third stage is when the tribe fail to meet the Government's
conditions, and a punitive expedition is organized against them. This
expedition enters their hills, raises their parda, burns their
villages, fights a few actions--usually of the nature of ambuscades
or rearguard actions--realizes more or less of the fine, confiscates
a number of rifles, and comes back again.

The tribe is now free to commence its depredations afresh with a
clean sheet, and to begin to run up a new account, and, in order more
effectually to prevent this and keep a greater control over them,
the Government find themselves compelled to enter on the fourth stage,
which is that of annexing some points of vantage where military posts
can be erected, which will overawe and control them.

It is thus that a gradual, though it may be reluctant, annexation of
territory becomes inevitable.

Then, it must be remembered that there is always a section of the
tribe, and often a majority, who are favourable to annexation, for the
more settled and peaceful rule of the British brings many advantages
in its train. While before they were not able to cultivate their crops
at any distance from the village, and even then only when fully armed,
now they are able to till the ground in peace even miles away from
their habitations, and land which was before unculturable becomes
of great value. They are able to trade and carry on the ordinary
avocations of life with a security to which they have been hitherto
strangers. They learn the value of money, and begin to amass wealth.

There are always, however, two parties in the tribe who are opposed
tooth and nail to British rule, and as they have got power far
in excess of their more peacefully disposed brethren, they are
usually able to terrorize the more peace-loving majority into a
false acquiescence in their own opposition. These two parties are
the outlaws and the Mullahs.

The outlaws have made their living by raiding and robbery for
generations, and have no inclination to give up their profession for
more peaceable but less exciting and less profitable employment.

Not only have the Mullahs an antipathy to those whom they consider
kafirs, or infidels, but they know that under the changed conditions of
life, their influence, their power, and their wealth must all suffer.

Besides this, there are two elements in our rule which are
equally repugnant to all. One is the protection which we give to
the money-lender, and the other is the dilatory nature of our
justice. Usury is unlawful to the Muhammadans, but as they are
spendthrift and improvident, the Hindus are able to make a living
among them by lending them money in times of necessity. The Hindu
was formerly prevented from charging too high a rate of interest
or running up too long an account, by the fact that if he did so,
his Muhammadan masters, who held the sword, would come one night and
burn his house over his head, and let him start afresh. Under British
régime, however, the usurer is protected. He is able to recover his
debts from the impecunious Muhammadan by a civil action, and may
get the latter thrown into prison if he does not pay; while if the
Muhammadan tries to burn his account-books, he will find himself an
inmate of His Majesty's gaol.

The justice which the Muhammadan of the frontier appreciates is a rapid
and appropriate justice, such as used to be meted out by officers in
the days of Nicholson, when the offender might find himself accused,
arrested, judged, and visited with some punishment appropriate to
the crime all within the course of a few days. At the present time he
can, if rich enough, call in a pleader, and get any number of false
witnesses, and his case is inevitably dragged out by the magistrate
by successive postponements for getting the attendance of these
witnesses, or through some technicality of the law; and even when
he does--it may be after the lapse of some months--get a judgment,
the losing party in the suit is at liberty to bring an appeal to the
Sessions Judge, and from him another appeal can be lodged at the High
Court of Lahore, which has so many cases on its lists that it may be
his case will not be taken till after the lapse of two or three years.

The real strength of our administration on the frontier is the
personnel of our officers, for it has always been the man, and not
the system, that governs the country; and there are names of officers
now dead and gone which are still a living power along that frontier,
because they were men who thoroughly knew the people with whom they
had to deal, and whose dauntless and strong characters moulded the
tribes to their will, and exerted such a mesmeric influence over
those wild Afghans that they were ready to follow their feringi
masters through fire and sword with the most unswerving loyalty,
even though they were of an alien faith.

As an example of this, it is related that on a certain frontier
expedition the regiments were passing up a defile on a height, above
which some of the enemy had ensconced themselves in ambush behind
their sangars. The Afghans had been soldiers in the Indian Army,
who had now completed their service and retired to their hills, and
were, as is often the case, using the skill which they had learnt
in their regiments against us. They were about to fire, when one
of them recognized the officer riding at the head of the regiment
as his own Colonel. He stopped the others, and said: "That is our
own Karnal Sahib. We must not fire on him or his regiment." That
regiment was allowed to pass in safety, but they opened fire on the
one which succeeded.



CHAPTER V

THE CHRISTIAN'S REVENGE

    Police posts versus dispensaries--The poisoning scare--A
    native doctor's influence--Wazir marauders spare the mission
    hospital--A terrible revenge--The Conolly bed--A political
    mission--A treacherous King--Imprisonment in Bukhara--The
    Prayer-Book--Martyrdom--The sequel--Influence of the mission
    hospital--The medical missionary's passport.


I was once urging on a certain official the need of a Government
dispensary in a certain frontier district. "There is no need there,"
he replied; "the people are quiet and law-abiding. Now A---, that is a
disturbed area: there we ought to have medical work"--an unintentional
testimony to one result of the doctor's work, though rather hard on
the law-abiding section of the populace that they should have no
hope of a hospital unless they can organize a few raids, or get a
reputation for truculence.

Which will be better--a punitive police post or a civil
dispensary? This seems a not very logical conundrum, yet it is based
on sound reasoning, and a well-managed establishment of the latter
kind will often remove the necessity of setting up the former. The
doctor is a confidant in more matters than one, and the right man
will often smooth down little frictions and mollify sorenesses which
bid fair to cause widespread conflagrations.

A medical mission is a pacific, as well as an essentially pioneer,
agency.

There was a little missionary dispensary on the frontier, in charge
of a native doctor, a convert from Muhammadanism, who had gone in
and out among the people till he was a household friend all down
the country-side.

One day he was sitting in his dispensary seeing out-patients, when
he heard the following conversation:

Abdultalib. "The Sarkar has sent out agents to kill the Mussulmans
by poisoning their drinking-water."

Balyamin. "Mauzbillah! how do you know that?"

A. "Mullah D. arrived last night, and, sitting in the chauk, he told
how he had seen a man throwing pills into the well at Dabb village. He
went after him, but as soon as the man saw him he ran away."

B. "What is to be done?"

A. "First we must tell the women not to draw water from the wells--they
have certainly been poisoned in the night--but they can take their
pitchers to the tank in the big mosque; no one would interfere
with that."

B. "If we can catch the miscreant, we will show him plainly enough
who is the Mussulman and who the infidel."

As the news spread through the village, the excitement grew; women who
had already filled their pitchers from the wells hurriedly emptied
them and started off afresh to the mosque tank. Guards were placed
at the well, both to warn the faithful and to give short shrift to
any hapless stranger on whom suspicion might fall. The men about the
bazaar had procured thick sticks, and seemed only waiting for the
opportunity of using them, and things looked black all round. News was
brought to the police-station, and, without waiting to don his uniform,
the inspector buckled on a revolver, and, taking a constable with him,
hurried off to the most disturbed portion of the village.

The men there were sullen, and would give no information, and
two or three of the more truculent seemed inclined to hustle the
police-officer. Just then the native doctor appeared on the scene,
and recognized the gravity of the situation at once. One rash act,
and the police might have to use their firearms in self-defence. The
people, however, trusted the doctor. Had he not often championed them
when subjected to little police tyrannies, and had they not often
sought counsel from him in their village quarrels, and always found
his advice had helped them to come to an amicable settlement? So now,
when he quietly slipped his arm into that of the inspector, and led
him out of the dangerous quarter, chatting the while, till he got
him safely into a house without loss of official dignity, not even
the most truculent tried to resist his passage. Then he returned and
reasoned with them on the groundlessness of their suspicions. Had any
of them ever seen anyone throw anything into the wells? Had anyone
even got a stomach-ache from drinking the water? Did any King ever
want to kill off all his own subjects? If so, whom would he rule,
and where would be his kingdom? Finally, he bantered them out of
their warlike intentions: the sticks were returned home, business
resumed, the inspector came back as though his authority had never
been questioned, and a very ugly situation was successfully negotiated.

In the year 1879 the tribe of the Wazirs had been incited by their
Mullahs to rise, and they came down suddenly with their lashkar on
the little frontier town of Tank. There was a mission hospital there,
in charge of an Indian doctor, the Rev. John Williams. Before the
authorities could summon the troops the Wazir warriors had overrun
town and bazaar, and were burning and looting. Some young bloods went
for the mission hospital, but they were at once restrained by the
tribal elders, who forbade them to meddle with the property of "our
own Daktar Sahib," as they called him. Had they not often been inmates
of his hospital and partakers of his hospitality? Not a hair of his
head was to be injured. They at once set a guard of their own men on
the mission hospital, who warned off any excited tribesmen who might
have done it injury, and that was the only place in the bazaar that
escaped fire and sword and pillage. Some of his surgical instruments
had been carried off before the posting of the guard; but upon this
being made known, search was made through Waziristan, and the friends
of the doctor were not satisfied until all were returned to him.

Revenge is a word sweet to the Afghan ear, and even a revenge satisfied
by the culminating murder is the sweeter if the fatal blow, preferably
on some dark night, is so managed that the murdered man has a few
minutes of life in which to realize that he has been outwitted,
and to hear the words of exultation with which his enemy gluts his
hatred. In one case that came to my knowledge, after strangling his
victim, but before he was quite gone, the murderer dealt his victim a
terrific blow on his jaw, shattering the bone, with the taunt: "Do you
remember the day when I told you I would knock out your teeth for you?"

In the autumn of 1907 a fine stalwart Wazir was brought to the Bannu
Mission Hospital in a pitiable state: both of his eyes had been slashed
about and utterly blinded with a knife. His story was that his enemies
came on him unexpectedly in his cottage one day, beat his wife into
insensibility, tied him to a bed, and then deliberately destroyed his
eyes with a knife. His wife came to hospital with him, suffering from
severe contusions and some broken ribs, and we put them both into one
of our small "family wards"--so called because father, mother, and
children, if there be any, can all stop together for treatment. It was
painful to have to tell him that he would never see again, and still
more painful to hear him as he piteously said: "Oh, Sahib, if you can
give me some sight only just long enough to go and shoot my enemy,
then I shall be satisfied to be blind all the rest of my life." It
could not be. His lot would probably become that of the numerous
blind beggars that throng Eastern bazaars; for who would plough his
land now or speak for him in the village council? Yet of pure pity we
kept him a few weeks, that he might hear the story of the Gospel of
goodwill and forgiveness; but he would shake his head and sigh. "No,
that teaching is not for us. What I want is revenge--revenge!" Then,
because a concrete case will sometimes accomplish what a mere statement
cannot effect, I told him the story of the Conolly bed. Over each bed
is a little framed card denoting the benefactor or supporter of that
bed and the person commemorated thereby, and over this particular
bed is written:


    Conolly Bed.

    In Memory of Captain Conolly, beheaded at Bukhara.


As long ago as 1841 this brave English officer was sent on a
political mission to Bukhara, which was then an independent State,
and not under the rule of Russia, as now. The Muhammadan ruler,
Bahadur Khan, affected to be suspicious of his intentions, and threw
him into prison, where another English officer, Colonel Stoddart,
had already been incarcerated. It was in vain for them to protest
and to claim the consideration due to a representative of the British
Government; they were met by the answer that no letter had come from
the Queen in reply to one sent by the Amir, and that therefore they
had certainly come to stir up Khiva and Khokand to war against the
Amir of Bukhara. Their effects were confiscated; even their very
clothes were taken from them, till they only had their shirts and
drawers left, when a filthy sheepskin was given to Captain Conolly
as some protection against the winter cold of Bukhara. Their servants
were thrown into a horrible dungeon called the Black Well, into which
each man had to be lowered by a rope from the aperture at the top,
and was then left to rot in the filth below.

Captain Conolly managed to secrete a small English Prayer-Book about
his person, and this was a daily source of comfort to him and his
companion in prison, and he marked verses in the Psalms and passages in
the prayers from which they derived comfort. On the fly-leaves and the
margins he wrote a diary of their sufferings; month succeeded month,
and their hearts grew sick with hope deferred, and their bodies worn
with fever, wasting and wounds. On February 10, 1842, he writes:
"We have now been fifty-three days and nights without means of
changing or washing our linen. This book will probably not leave me,
so I now will, as opportunity serves, write in it the last blessing of
my best affection to all my friends." Again, on March 11, he writes:
"At first we had viewed the Amir's conduct as perhaps dictated by mad
caprice, but now, looking back upon the whole, we saw indeed that it
had been the deliberate malice of a demon, questioning and raising
our hopes and ascertaining our condition, only to see how our hearts
were going on in the process of breaking.

"I did not think to shed one more tear among such cold-blooded men,
but yesterday evening, as I looked upon Stoddart's half-naked and
much lacerated body, conceiving that I was the especial object of
the King's hatred, because of my having come to him after visiting
Khiva and Khok, and told him that the British Government was too
great to stir up secret enmity against any of its enemies, I wept on,
entreating one of our keepers to have conveyed to the chief my humble
request that he would direct his anger upon me, and not further destroy
by it my poor broken Stoddart, who had suffered so much and so meekly
here for three years. My earnest words were answered by a 'Don't cry
and distress yourself.' He, alas! would do nothing, so we turned and
kissed each other and prayed together, and we have risen again from our
knees with hearts comforted, as if an angel had spoken to us, resolved,
please God, to wear our English honesty and dignity to the last, within
all the misery and filth that this monster may try to degrade us with."

Again, on March 28: "We have been ninety-nine days and nights without
a change of clothes."

One of the native agents of the mission, Salih Muhammad by name,
subsequently escaped to India, and thus relates the closing scene of
the tragedy.

"On Tuesday night (June 14, 1842) their quarters were entered by
several men, who stripped them and carried them off, but I do not know
whether it was to the Black Well or to some other prison. In stripping
Colonel Stoddart a lead pencil was found in the lining of his coat
and some papers in his waist. These were taken to the Amir, who gave
orders that he should be beaten with heavy sticks till he disclosed
who brought the papers, and to whom he wrote. He was most violently
beaten, but he revealed nothing. He was beaten repeatedly for two or
three days. On Friday the Amir gave orders that Colonel Stoddart should
be killed in the presence of Captain Conolly, who should be offered
his life if he would become a Muhammadan. In the afternoon they were
taken outside the prison into the street, which is a kind of small
square. Their hands were tied across in front. Many people assembled
to behold the spectacle. Their graves were dug before their eyes.

"Colonel Stoddart's head was then cut off with a knife. The chief
executioner then turned to Captain Conolly and said: 'The Amir spares
your life if you will become a Mussulman.' Captain Conolly answered:
'I will not be a Mussulman, and I am ready to die!' saying which he
stretched forth his neck, and his head was then struck off. Their
bodies were then interred in the graves which had been dug."

For a long time the fate of these two officers was unknown in England,
and, indeed, overshadowed by the greater disaster in Kabul. Then a
missionary, the Rev. Joseph Wolff, undertook a journey to Bukhara,
and after many sufferings and dangers, ascertained that they had been
murdered two years before. He did not, however, come across the little
Prayer-Book, which appears to have been lying about in some shop in
Bukhara for seven years after the officers' death, when a Russian
officer, passing through the bazaar, happened to light on it. He
picked it up, and, observing its interesting nature, purchased it
from the shopkeeper. For another fourteen years the little book was
lying on his table at St. Petersburg, when a visitor who knew Captain
Conolly's relations saw it, and obtained leave to take the precious
relic and place it in the hands of the relatives of the deceased;
and thus, twenty-one years after her brother's death, Miss Conolly
obtained the full account of his sufferings, written with his own hand.

So far no vengeance had been exacted for the Amir's atrocity; now the
murdered man's sister thought she would like to have her revenge, so
when the Bannu Mission Hospital was inaugurated, she wrote out to the
medical missionary, expressing her desire to support a bed in memory
of her brother, and that bed has been supported in his name ever
since, and we tell the Afghans in it that that is the Christian's
Revenge. When I sit by the bedside of some sick or wounded Afghan
in that bed, and tell him and the others round him that it was their
co-religionists who killed this officer because he would not forsake
Christianity for Islam, and that now his sister is paying for them
to be nursed and tended, and praying for them that they may learn
of the Saviour who bid us forgive our enemies, and do good to those
who despitefully use us and persecute us, then it is easy to see that
the story has set them thinking. And when it is further brought home
by their experiences in the mission hospital, where they have been
lovingly tended by the very native converts whom they have abused and
perhaps maltreated in the bazaar, they return to their Afghan homes
with very different feelings towards Christians.

It is thus that the medical missionary gets his passport to all
their villages, not only in British India, but across the border
among the independent tribes. While visiting a Wazir chief once in
his border fort, he said to me: "You can do what we cannot possibly
do. I cannot go into that village over there, because I have enmity
with the people there. The chief of that tribe across the river a
few miles off has a blood-feud with me, and I have always to go armed
and with a guard lest he should waylay me; at night I cannot leave my
fort, but have to sleep ready armed in my tower. And I am like most
of us in this country: we all have our enemies, and never know when
we may meet them. But you can go into any of our villages and among
all the tribes, although you have not even got a revolver with you,
and, more than that, you get a welcome, too."

In some parts of the country across the border it is necessary to take
a fresh guide every few miles, as the various villages are on bad
terms, and might injure the traveller on the lands of the opposing
village merely in order to get their enemies involved in a feud, or
into trouble with the Government. These guides are called badragga,
and within the tribal boundary any member of the clan, even a child,
is often sufficient protection, as that is sufficient to show that the
traveller has received the sanction of the tribe to move about within
their boundaries. If, however, marauding bands are known to be about,
or if the tribe is at feud with a neighbouring one, then they will
send a fully-armed badragga of several men with you. I have, however,
seen a traveller consigned to the care of a boy of nine years or so,
and, no doubt, with perfect security.

On one occasion when it had been arranged that the badragga of a
certain clan was to meet me at a prearranged rendezvous, I arrived
at the appointed time and place under the care of the badragga of
the clan through whose territories I had just passed, but no one
was forthcoming. We waited an hour or so, but still no one came;
my badragga then accompanied us a little way forward till we came in
view of the first village of the next clan. Here they stopped and said:
"We can go no farther. If we were to go into that village, there would
very likely be bloodshed, as there is enmity between us and them;
but we will sit at the top of this knoll here and watch you while you
go on to the village, and if anyone interferes with you on the way
we will shoot." I went on with an Indian hospital assistant who was
with me, and when nearing the village a man came up and shook hands
with great heartiness, saying: "Don't you remember me? I brought my
brother to your hospital when he was shot and his leg broken, and
we were with you for two months." He brought me to the village and
to his brother, who hobbled out on a crutch to meet us, and was very
pleased. They insisted on our stopping while they called some of the
other villagers, who were anxious to see the doctor, and finally sent
us forward on our journey with a fresh escort and a hearty "God-speed."



CHAPTER VI

A DAY IN THE WARDS

    The truce of suffering--A patient's request--Typical cases--A
    painful journey--The biter bit--The conditions of amputation--"I
    am a better shot than he is"--The son's life or revenge--The
    hunter's adventure--A nephew's devotion--A miserly patient--An
    enemy converted into a friend--The doctor's welcome.


As I have already said, the Afghans never forget their tribal feuds
except in the presence of foes from without. Then they may put them
aside for a while, especially if their foe be not Mussulman in faith,
but only for a while. The feuds begin again as soon as the danger
is past.

But in the wards of the mission hospital all this is changed, and
here may be seen representatives of all the frontier tribes chatting
fraternally together, who as likely as not would be lying in ambush
for one another if they were a few miles off across the frontier. But
it is generally recognized among them that feuds are to be forgotten in
hospital; and accordingly the doctor gets an audience from half a dozen
different tribes in one ward when he is drawing out the conversation
from the land of feuds to the Prince of Peace, and when he contrasts
the Gospel of loving your neighbour with their rule of "shoot your
neighbour and get his rifle." They say in a half-apologetic tone:
"True; but God has decreed that there shall always be discord among
the Afghans, so what can we do?" Sometimes a patient will say: "I
want to be in a ward that has no windows, because I am afraid that
one of my enemies may come at night when the lamp is burning in the
ward and shoot me through the window by its light."

Great as is the variety of physiognomy, of dress, and of dialect,
even more diverse are the complaints for which they come. Eye
diseases form more than a quarter of the whole, and few cases give
so much satisfaction both to surgeon and patient as these, in many
of which the surgeon is able to restore sight that has been lost for
years, and to send the patient back to his home rejoicing and full
of gratitude. Here is a Bannuchi malik suffering from consumption, a
not uncommon complaint in their crowded villages; next him is a Wazir
lad from the hills, Muhammad Payo by name, suffering from chronic
malarial poisoning. He is an old acquaintance, as he returns to his
home when he feels strong enough, and then, what with coarse fare and
exposure (for he is a poor lad), soon relapses and comes back to us
at death's door, as white as a sheet, and has to be nursed back again
to vigour. Just now he is convalescent, and is going about the ward
doing little services for the other patients, and telling them what to
do and what not to do, as though he had been in the hospital all his
life. Poor fellow! he has lost both his parents in a village raid,
and would have been dead long ago himself but for the open door of
the mission hospital.

In another bed is a fair-haired, blue-eyed boy of twelve from Khost,
suffering from disease of the bones of his right leg, which he has
not been able to put to the ground for two years. His home is eighty
miles away across the mountains, and he had no one to bring him to
Bannu, though he had begged some of the traders to let him sit on one
of their baggage camels; but who was going to inconvenience himself
with a friendless boy like that? He had heard such wonderful stories
of the cures effected in the Bannu Hospital from a man in his village
who had been an inmate for six weeks for an ulcer of the leg, that he
determined to get there by hook or by crook, and he had accomplished
the greater part of the journey crawling on his hands and knees,
with an occasional lift from some friendly horseman, and had been six
weeks on the road, begging a dinner here and a night's lodging there
from the villages through which he passed. When he arrived, his state
can be better imagined than described: the weary, suffering look of
his face; the few dirty rags that covered him; the malodorous wound
on his leg, full of maggots, bound round with the last remains of his
pagari; while now there is no brighter, happier boy in the hospital,
with his white hospital shirt and pyjamas, clean, gentle face and
pleasant smile, as he moves about from bed to bed with his crutch,
chatting with the other patients.

Passing on, we see a big swarthy Afghan, with fine martial features,
in which suffering is gradually wearing out the old truculent air. He
had gone armed with a friend one night to a village where there was
a Militia guard. He maintains that they had merely gone to visit a
friend, and had been delayed on the road till night overtook them;
but to be out armed at night is of itself sufficient to raise a
prima-facie case against a man on the border, and when the Militia
soldiers challenged him, and instead of replying he and his friend
took cover, it was so clear to the former that they must be marauders,
that they opened fire. The friend escaped, but our patient received
a bullet through the left thigh, which shattered the bone. He was not
brought to the mission hospital for some time, and when we first saw
him it was obvious that unless the limb were speedily removed, his
days were numbered. He, like all Afghans, had an innate repugnance
to amputation, but finally consented on condition that the amputated
limb should be given to him to take back to his home, that it might
ultimately be interred in his grave; only thus, he thought, would he
be safe from being a limb short in the next world. Once I tried to
argue an Afghan out of this illogical idea, and when other arguments
failed, I suggested that the unsavoury object might be buried in a
spot in the mission compound, and he might leave a note in his grave
specifying where it might be found. He answered at once: "Do you
suppose the angels will have nothing better to do on the Resurrection
Day than going about looking for my leg? And even if they would take
the trouble, they would not come into this heretic place for it."

So the limb was removed and carefully wrapped up and stored away
somewhere, so that he might on recovery take it back with him to
his village. His wound is nearly healed now, and he has sent off his
sister, who was in hospital to nurse him, to his home to fetch a horse
on which to ride back the forty miles to his village, where he will
wile away many a long winter's night with stories of his experiences
in the Bannu Mission Hospital, and how kind the feringis were to him.

Among Afghans a man's nearest relations are often his deadliest
enemies, and "he hates like a cousin" is a common expression. Thus
it came to pass that one day a wounded Afghan was brought to the
mission hospital on a bed borne of four, and examination showed
a serious condition. He had been shot at close quarters the night
before while returning to his house from the mosque after evening
prayers. The bullet had passed completely through the left side of
the chest, the left lung was collapsed, and the patient was blanched
and faint from the severe bleeding that had occurred. A compress
of charred cloth and yolk of egg had been applied, through which
the red stream was slowly trickling. He believed he had been shot
by his uncle, with whom he had a dispute about the possession of a
field, but had not seen his face clearly. A room was got ready, the
patient's blood-saturated garments were replaced by hospital linen,
and the wound was cleansed and dressed.

For a long time he hovered between life and death, constantly attended
by two brothers, who, if they had been as instructed as they were
assiduous, would have made two very excellent nurses. Gradually,
however, he recovered strength, and the wound healed; and one day
when visiting his ward I found him sitting up with a smile on his
face, and after the usual greetings, he said: "Please come to me,
Sahib; I have a request to make." I sat by his bedside, and asked
what I could do for him. He drew me closely to him, and said in a
subdued voice: "Sahib, I want you to get me some cartridges; see,
here are four rupees I have brought for them." "Why, what do you
want them for?" said I. "Look here," said he, pointing to the wound
in his chest; "here is this score to pay off. I am stronger now,
and in a few days I can go home and have my revenge."

I said to him deprecatingly: "Cannot you forego your revenge after all
the good counsels you have been hearing while in hospital? We have,
after so much trouble and nursing, cured you, and now, I suppose,
in a few days we shall be having your uncle brought here on a bed
likewise, and have to take the same trouble over him." "Don't fear
that, Sahib," was the prompt reply; "I am a better shot than he
is." Well, we never did have to deal with that uncle, though I never
gave him the cartridges; probably he got them elsewhere.

Another day a similar cortège came to the hospital. This time the
man on the bed was a fine young Pathan of about twenty summers, and
his father--a greybeard, with handsome but stern features, and one
arm stiffened from an old sword-cut on the shoulder--accompanied the
bearers, carefully shielding his son's face from the sun with an old
umbrella. His was a long-standing feud with the malik of a village
hard by, and he had been shot through the thigh at long range while
tending his flocks on the mountain-side. It had happened four days ago,
but the journey being a difficult one, they had delayed bringing him;
and meanwhile they had slain a goat, and, stripping the skin off the
carcass, had bound it round the injured limb with the raw side against
the flesh. Under the influence of the hot weather the discharges
from the wound and the reeking skin had brought about a condition of
affairs which made bearers and bystanders, all except the father and
the doctor, wind their turbans over their mouths and noses as soon as
the hospital dresser began to unfold and cut through the long folds
of greasy pagari which bound the limb to an improvised splint and
that to the bed. It was a severe compound fracture of the thigh-bone,
with collateral injuries, and I called the father aside and said:
"The only hope of your son's life is immediate amputation. If I
delay, the limb will mortify, and he will certainly die." The old
man, visibly restraining his emotion, said: "If you amputate the leg,
can you promise me that he will recover?" "No," I said; "even then he
might die, for the injury is severe, and he is weak from loss of blood;
but without amputation there is no hope." "Then," said the father,
"let it be as God wills: let him die, for, by our tribal custom,
if he dies as he is I can go and shoot my enemy; but if he dies from
your operation then I could not, and I want my revenge." After this
they would not even accept my offer of keeping the wounded lad in
the hospital to nurse, but bore him away as they had brought him, so
that he might die at home among his people, and then--well, the mind
pictured the stealthy form crouching behind the rock; the hapless
tribesman of the other village with his rifle loaded and slung on
his shoulder right enough, but who was to warn him of his lurking
enemy? And then the shot, the cry, and exultation.

A man of the Khattak tribe was out on the hills with a friend after
mountain goats; he tracked one, but in following it up passed over into
the hills of a section of the Wazir tribe. He was passing along one
of those deep gorges which the mountain torrents have worn through
the maze of sandstone ridges, where the stunted acacia and tufted
grass afford pasturage to little else than the mountain goats, when
his practised eye descried two heads looking over the ridge four
hundred feet above him. Seeing they were observed, the two Wazirs
stood up and challenged them.

"Who called you to come poaching in our country?" "I shall come
when I choose, without asking your permission," retorted the
Khattak. "Swine! has your father turned you out because there was no
maize in your corn-bin?" The Khattak retorted with something stronger,
and each proceeded to impugn the character of the other's female
relations, till the Wazir, thinking he had excited the Khattak to
give him sufficient provocation, sent a bullet whistling past his
head. The Khattak made a jump for the cover of a neighbouring rock,
but before he had time to gain shelter a second bullet had struck
him in the leg, bringing him headlong to earth. His companion had got
the shelter of a rock and opened fire on the Wazirs; but the latter,
thinking they had sufficiently vindicated the privacy of their stony
hills, made off another way.

The Khattak could do no more than lift his friend into the shelter
of a cliff, stanch the bleeding with a piece torn from his pagari,
and make off in hot haste for his village to sound a chigah and bring
a bed on which the wounded man might be carried home. The chigah, of
course, came too late to track the Wazirs, but they bore the wounded
man home, and next morning brought him to the mission hospital. He lay
there for three months, carefully tended by his father and a brother,
and there all three were attentive listeners to the daily exposition
of the Gospel by the doctor or catechist; but the wounded man got
weaker and weaker, and when it became clear to all that his recovery
could not be hoped for, they took him off to his home to die.

The next day a Wazir of the same tribe that had shot him was brought
in suffering from an almost identical gunshot wound, and we thought
at first it had been the work of an avenger, but it proved to have
been received in another feud about the possession of a few ber-trees
(Zizyphus jujuba). This Wazir submitted to amputation, and is now
going about the hills the proud possessor of an artificial limb from
England, which his father sold a rifle to buy, and which is the wonder
and admiration of his neighbours.

The devotion shown in some cases by relations who have accompanied
some sick or wounded man to hospital is very touching, and in pleasing
contrast to their frequent enmity. One case that imprinted itself on
my memory was that of a man from Kabul, who had been a sufferer for
several years from severe fistula; his nearest relation was a nephew,
and he was a talib (student). Both were poor, but the man sold up
some little household belongings and hired a camel-driver to bring
him down on his camel. The journey to Bannu occupied fourteen days,
and the sick man suffered much from the constraint and jolting of the
camel-ride. An operation was performed, but it was some months before
the patient was cured and discharged, and during all that time he was
assiduously nursed by the talib, who sat day and night by his bedside,
attending to his wants and reading to him either the Suras of the
Quran or some Persian poet, only leaving him to go into some mosque
in Bannu, or in a village near, where some charitable Muhammadans
would give him his morning and evening meal.

To save the patients from the danger of having their money stolen by
other patients or visitors, we advise them on admission to give up
their money into our charge, to be kept safely until they get their
discharge, when it is returned to them. Usually they readily agree to
this, but sometimes we have some wary characters, usually Kabulis or
Peshawuris, whose experience of the world has led them to trust no one,
and these refuse to let their possessions out of their own keeping,
usually securing their money in a bag purse tied round their waist
under their clothes. One such Kabuli came into the hospital terribly
ill with dysentery. Fearing, I suppose, we might take his money by
force, he swore, in answer to the usual question, that he had not
a single anna on him, and all through his illness he begged a few
pice from us or from other patients to buy some little delicacy he
fancied to supplement the regular hospital diet. He said he had no
relations or friends living; "all had died," and certainly none ever
came to inquire after him. His disease resisted all our efforts to cure
it--he had been worn out with exposure and hard living--and at last,
one morning, we found him dead in his bed; he had passed away quietly
in the night, without even the patient in the bed next him knowing
of it. We then found a bag containing eighty rupees bound round his
waist; he had kept it carefully concealed from everyone throughout,
and now died leaving behind him what might have purchased him so many
little delicacies. There being no claimant for the money, we made it
into a fund for helping indigent patients to get back to their more
distant homes.

There was once a Mullah in Bannu who was particularly virulent in
his public denunciations of the mission and everything connected
with it. He would frequently give public lectures which were tirades
against all Christians, and missionaries in particular, telling the
people that if they died in the mission hospital they would assuredly
go to hell, and all the mission medicine they drank would be turned
into so much lead, which would drag them relentlessly down, down
to the bottomless pit--and very much more in that strain. We were
therefore somewhat surprised when one fine morning we beheld four
white-robed talibs bringing a bed to the hospital, on which was a form
covered by a white sheet, and on lifting the sheet, there was this
very Mullah! We did not ask him awkward questions, but admitted him
at once, and I think our Christian assistants throughout his long and
dangerous illness showed him particular attentions, and nursed him with
special care. They never taunted him with his former attitude to us,
but strove, by the exhibition of Christian forbearance and sympathy,
to give him a practical exposition of what Christianity is. When he
left the hospital he thanked us in the presence of his disciples,
offered a prayer for blessing on the hospital, and is now one of our
staunchest friends.

Here is a very sad case in Bed 18, called "the Gleaners' Bed," because
it is supported by the Gleaners' Union of Lambeth: A young man of
twenty-five or thirty, blind from his birth, and yet brought to the
hospital cruelly slashed in several places with sword and knife; one
cut on the right shoulder went through the muscle down to the bone. And
this was done only to rob him of the few things he possessed. Had the
culprit known that the man was blind, let us hope he would not have
been so brutal, but poor Mirzada was on the ground asleep, covered up
with a sheet, as is the custom with the natives, and had been attacked
in this way before he could escape or beg them to spare him. It was
so sad to see him stretched moaning on his bed, with eyes that had
never seen the light or the beauty of God's creation, heart that had
never felt, ear that had never heard of the "Light of Life" or the
"glory that shall be revealed." Our Christian assistants sat beside
him day by day, and told him of Christ and His love; but he never,
so far as we could judge, seemed to grasp the truth for himself, and,
when his wounds were healed, left us to beg by the wayside. We pray for
Mirzada, "who sitteth by the wayside begging," that he may yet find
the Light! He at least has learnt to bless the mission hospital and
the Christian friends in England, through whose charity he can say:
"I was a stranger, and ye took me in; sick, and ye visited me."

The doctor or his assistants may go a long journey up and down the
frontier and both sides of the border without coming to a village
where they will not get a hearty welcome from some old patient. He
will be made to sit down for a little good cheer in the village chauk,
that the grateful patient may call his acquaintances round to shake
hands with the Daktar Sahib, whose patient he was while in the mission
hospital, and with stories about whom he has so often regaled them
in the winter evenings.



CHAPTER VII

FROM MORNING TO NIGHT

    First duties--Calls for the doctor--Some of the
    out-patients--Importunate blind--School classes--Operation
    cases--Untimely visitors--Recreation--Cases to decide.


An Eastern day begins early. As the first streak of dawn lightens the
Eastern sky the slumberers are awakened by the long-drawn-out chant of
the Muezzin calling to prayer from all the mosques in the city. "God
is great, God is great. I give witness there is no God but God. I
give witness that Muhammad is the prophet of God. Come to prayer;
prayer is better than sleep." And forthwith every pious Muslim hastily
rises, performs the necessary ablutions, and commences the day with
ascription of praise to the Creator. The Hindus follow suit: little
bells tinkle in their temples as their priests rouse the slumbering
Gods, or as the Puritanical Arya Samajist offers his early sacrifice
of "Hawan," or incense. Meanwhile, the church bell calls the little
Christian community together for early morning worship, and they
unite in prayer and praise before separating, each to his or her
own sphere of work for the day. If the missionary desires a morning
"quiet time" he must get up early enough to get it in before this,
as after morning service the busy round of duties leaves him little
leisure till the evening shades close in.

Darya Khan, the "Lord of the Rivers," the hospital cook, is waiting
for the day's supplies, and reports fifty patients on full diet,
twenty on middle, and fifteen on milk diet. So many cases have left
the hospital, so many admitted; such a one died last night. And so
the supplies for the day are measured out and weighed, and orders
given for the purchase of fresh goods as needed.

Then come the ward clerks, with their tale of soiled linen and case
sheets to be checked, and clean towels, bandages, bed-linen, and
clothes for the in-patients have to be dealt out according to the
needs of each one.

This over, the head gardener, 'Alam Khan, or the "Lord of the
World," is standing by with the day's supply of vegetables and
flowers, and these have to be apportioned to the patients in the
hospital and to the various members of the staff whose families
reside on the premises. He follows with a string of questions, each
of which requires due consideration, such as, "Are the mulberries
to be shaken yet?" "Where are the young Pipul tree saplings to be
planted?" "Some oranges were stolen in the night; would I come and
see the footmarks?" "A hostel boy ('Light of Religion') was caught
among the plum-trees with some fruit in his pocket. Would I punish
him?" And so on, as long as one has leisure to listen and adjudicate.

The clock strikes eight, leaving just half an hour to visit the wards
before out-patients begin. There is the abdominal section operation
of yesterday to examine; the house-surgeon has come to report that the
case of tubercular glands has had a hæmorrhage during the night. We are
just hurrying over to see them, when up comes 'Alam Gul, the "Flower
of the Earth," to say his brother was coming down from the roof that
morning, when his foot slipped on the ladder; he fell on his head,
and was lying unconscious. Would I go and see him? The serious cases
seen, and 'Alam Gul's brother visited, the out-patient department is
demanding our attention. The verandahs are full of patients, the men
in one and the women and children in another, and while the catechist
is preaching to the former, a Bible-woman is similarly engaged with
the latter. Outside are some patients lying on the native beds, or
charpais, and a variety of other equipages which have all brought
patients--palanquins, camels, oxen, asses, and so on.

Let us see some of these. Here is a Wazir shepherd from the
mountains. He has been shot through the thigh while tending his flocks,
and eight rough-looking tribesmen of his have bound him securely on a
bed and carried him down, journeying all night through, and they have
left their rifles, without which they could not have ventured out,
at the police post on the frontier. Another of those on the beds is a
man of about fifty years, suffering from dropsy. He has been carried
sixty miles on this bed from Khost, a district in Afghanistan. A third,
who has been brought from another transfrontier village on an ox, is
suffering from a tumour of his leg, which will require amputation. And
so on with some half-dozen others. After this brief examination,
saying a word of welcome to the travel-stained Afghans who have borne
their precious burdens in with so much labour, and even danger, and
with a word of comfort and reassurance to the sick ones themselves,
the doctor enters his consulting-room, and the patients are brought in
one by one to be examined. Those requiring in-patient treatment are
sent off to the wards, and the remainder get the required medicines,
or have their wounds dressed and leave for their homes.

A great number of the out-patients are cases of eye disease, and
sometimes four or five blind men will come in a line, holding on to
each other, and led by one who is not yet quite blind. Very likely
they have trudged painfully upwards of a hundred miles, stumbling over
the stones in the mountain roads, and arriving with wounded feet and
bruised bodies. They sit together, listening, perhaps for the first
time in their lives, to the Gospel address, and eagerly awaiting
the interview with the doctor, when they will hear if they are to
receive their sight there and then, or to undergo an operation,
or what. For the stories they have heard of the power of Western
skill lead them to believe that if the doctor does not cure them on
the spot it must be that he is too busy or they are too poor. When,
therefore, as sometimes happens, the doctor sees at the first glance
that the case is a hopeless one, and that the sight is gone never to
be brought back, it is a painful duty to have to explain the fact to
the patient, and often the doctor needlessly prolongs the examination
of the eye lest the man should think that it was want of interest
in his case that makes the doctor say he can do nothing. And then
the beseeching, "Oh, sahib, just a little sight!" "See, I can tell
light from darkness; I can see the light from that window there." "I
have come all the way from Kabul because they said the feringi doctor
could cure everything. Why do you not cure me?"

One man refused to budge till I had taken him to see my mother; she
might be able to do something--she must have more skill than I, for
from whom had I learnt? Another went to her to beg her to intercede
with me for him, because he was sure it was want of will, not want
of power, that prevented him gaining his end. At last, when they
are convinced that nothing can be done, it is touching to see them
as they resignedly say, often with tears rolling down their cheeks:
"It is God's will. I will be patient." Then they may begin their weary
trudge home again, or stop in the Bannu bazaar for a few days to beg
some money to get them a lift on a camel for part of the long journey.

A commotion at the door, and a Bannuchi boy of about seven is
carried in on the shoulders of his father, with his hand tied up in
the folds of a turban. "We were crushing sugar-cane in our press,
when my beloved Mir Jahan got his hand in the cogs of the wheel,
and it was all crushed before we could stop the buffalo. Oh! do see
him quick--he is my only son, a piece of my liver!" And the father
bursts into tears. Mir Jahan is chloroformed at once, the bandages
unbound, and a terrible sight we see; the hand has been crushed into
a pulp, but the thumb is only a little cut. That will enable him to
pull the trigger of a rifle when he grows up, and that is what his
father and he consider of great importance. So the thumb is saved,
and the mangled remains of the other fingers removed, and a shapely
stump fashioned. It is fortunate that the Bannuchis have not much
machinery. This sugar-press is almost the only piece they have, and
we get several crushed hands every year as a result, usually because
they let their children play in dangerous proximity to the wheels,
and then leave them to "Qismet" (Fate).

Meanwhile, perhaps, some big chief has come in with several
attendants. He wants to have a special consultation with the doctor,
and has to be treated with as many of the formalities of Oriental
courtesy as the doctor can find time for. He gives some fee for the
hospital, or perhaps may send one or two ox-burdens of wheat or Indian
corn as his contribution to the hospital stores.

The patients are still coming, when a schoolboy comes to say that it
is time for the doctor to take his classes in school. It is not every
mission station that can provide a distinct European missionary for the
school, and Bannu is one of those where the supervision of the school
is one of the duties of the medical missionary, who takes the senior
classes in Scripture, English, and Science. So the consulting-room
is changed for the class-room, and the missionary finds himself
surrounded by a class of twenty to twenty-five intelligent young
fellows preparing for the matriculation at the Panjab University, and
waiting to be initiated into the mysteries of optics, or chemistry,
or mechanics, or to practise English composition, or he may have them
attentively listening while he goes with them through the ever-fresh
stories from the life of our Lord, hearing and asking them questions
as its inimitable teachings are brought home to them by precept and
by illustration. Class-work over, a visit of inspection is paid to
the other class-rooms, where the remainder of the school staff are at
their work, which the school principal must criticize and supervise,
giving some advice here, some correction there, and seeing generally
that everything is kept up to the mark.

Now we must go to see what progress has been made with the new ward
which is being built in the hospital. The beams must be selected and
tested. Here a carpenter has been putting some bad work into a lintel,
thinking it will not be noticed; there the bricklayers have been idle,
and have not finished the stipulated number of layers. The foreman
has a complaint to make of some of the coolies, who went away from
work without his permission. "We only went to say our prayers. Surely
you would not have us miss them?" they plausibly urge. Put them on
piecework, and their prayers are got over very quickly; but pay them
by the day, and even the ablutions seem interminable! But such is human
nature, and they have such an air of injured innocence it is difficult
to be angry with them. They are Mahsud Wazirs from over the border, and
work hard when well managed, so are let off with a warning this time.

This done, a visit must be paid to the mission press. Here not only
is printing in vernacular and in English carried on for the mission's
own requirements, but work is executed for the various offices and
merchants in the city. Accounts have to be checked, bills have to be
made out, proofs have to be corrected, and directions given for the
day's work.

Now it is time to visit the hospital wards, and perform the day's
operations.

Usually, patients are operated on the same day that they are
admitted. If this were not done, not only would the wards become
hopelessly congested, but in many cases the courage of the patients
would ooze out of their fingers' ends, and, instead of finding them
ready for the ordeal, one would be greeted by "I have just heard that
my father has been taken seriously ill. If I do not go home at once,
I shall never see him again." Another: "I quite forgot to arrange
for my donkey to get hay during my absence. I will go home and make
arrangements for it, and return in two days." Of course, one knows
that these stories are pure fabrications, but it would be useless to
tell them so, or to argue; one can only return them their own clothes,
take back the hospital linen, and let them go. Sometimes they come
back later on, and tell more fibs about their father or their donkey
in justification of themselves; more often they are not seen again.

While the operation cases are being prepared by the house-surgeon,
the doctor goes the round of the wards, examining, prescribing, and
saying words of cheer from bed to bed. This done, he is just about
to commence operations, when a man comes running up to say that his
brother was out shooting when his gun exploded, blowing off his hand;
would the doctor see him at once lest he bled to death? and close
behind him is the wounded man brought up on a bed. The doctor examines
him, sets a dresser to apply a temporary dressing, and perhaps a
tourniquet, so that the case may safely wait till the conclusion of
the other operations.

The operation cases to-day are representative of an average day in
the busy time of the year: they begin with five old men and three
women suffering from cataract, then two cases of incurved lids,
then an amputation, the removal of a tumour, and two cases of bone
disease. These over, the man with the injured hand is chloroformed
and the wound stitched up, except for two fingers, which were so
damaged that they had to be removed altogether.

The schoolboys are out now in the field playing football, and the
doctor, after refreshing himself with a cup of tea, thinks that nothing
would be more invigorating than a good hour's exercise with them; but
he has scarcely got his togs on before the servant comes to announce
that a certain big malik, or chief, has come to make a call. One would
like to put him off with an excuse for a more convenient time; but then
it was he who gave us lodging and hospitality when itinerating in his
neighbourhood six months ago, and this would be a poor return for his
courtesy; so he is ushered in, with four or five of his retainers,
and some minutes are spent in formal courtesies and talking about
nothing in particular. Then, just as one is going to suggest that
as one has something to do the interview might terminate, he comes
to the point and object of his interview. He has got a lawsuit on in
one of the local courts against a neighbouring malik. His case is an
absolutely just one; but as the other party have some relationship with
the head-clerk of the Judge's office, he fears he will not get justice,
unless--unless--- Would I just write a few lines to the Judge, asking
him to give his case full consideration? It would be no trouble to me,
and would confer a benefit on him which he will remember to his dying
day. One launches into an explanation, which is wearying because one
has so often given it in similar cases before, that the Judge would
be very angry if I adopted such a method of influencing his case,
that if his case is a just one there is no need of such measures,
that he must rely on the integrity of his witnesses, and so on; no,
he cannot or will not understand why you profess friendship with him,
and yet refuse so very humble a request as the writing of a note. By
the time the visitor has departed only half an hour is left for the
game of football, and there is a man waiting to take you to a case
of pneumonia at the other side of the bazaar, and two other calls
have to be made on medical cases in the city.

It is evening now, and once more the church-bell collects the
little Christian community together for the evening hymn of praise
and worship, and the pastor gives some words of instruction and
encouragement, specially intended for the catechumens and inquirers
who are present.

At last, however, these duties accomplished, dinner is
negotiated, and then the doctor can sit down to his newspaper
and his correspondence. He is not, however, long left free from
interruption. The first to come is the superintendent of the
boarding-house; he reports that some of the Hindu boarders have
been cooking meat in the school saucepan, and now the vegetarian
party refuse to eat food cooked in that vessel, which has ipso facto
become unclean.

The arguments of both sides are heard, and the case decided, that the
meat party are to provide their own saucepan. Then the house-surgeon
comes in with his nightly report of the wards, stating the condition
of the operation cases or of any other serious cases, and taking the
orders for the night. Following on him comes a catechumen who has a
quarter of an hour's instruction every night; then three of the senior
boarders, to ask some questions about the English composition for the
morrow, and get some hints for their essays. Lastly, the night-watchman
comes to report that, as there is a gang of Wazir marauders about,
special precautions must be taken for the security of the compound;
but he thinks that if I get him a new pistol and some cartridges all
will be safe.

A day such as I have described is not at all above the average during
the busy months of the year, and the doctor may consider himself lucky
if the soundness of his slumbers is not disturbed by any calls during
the night.



CHAPTER VIII

THE ITINERANT MISSIONARY

    The medical missionary's advantage--How to know the people--The
    real India--God's guest-house--The reception of the guest--Oriental
    customs--Pitfalls for the unwary--The Mullah and the Padre--Afghan
    logic--A patient's welcome--The Mullah conciliated--A rough
    journey--Among thieves--A swimming adventure--Friends or
    enemies?--Work in camp--Rest at last.


There is this difference between the medical missionary and the
preacher pure and simple: that while the latter has to seek his
congregation, the former will have his congregation come to him,
and often in such numbers that, like our Lord and His disciples,
he will not have leisure even so much as to eat. But even a doctor,
who finds his time at headquarters fully and profitably occupied,
will be committing a great mistake if he never itinerates. For it
is in camp and in village life that the missionary gets to know and
understand the people, and by travelling from village to village,
and living with them as their guest, he gets to know their real inner
life in a way that otherwise he never would, and for a missionary,
at least, such an experience is indispensable.

There are two methods of itineration. On the one hand, he may carry
tents and a full camp equipment, and pitch his camp near some large
village, or in the midst of several small ones, and may receive his
patients and do his daily work there, while visiting the villages
after his day's work is done. By this plan he is independent, and can
work at his own time, and can stay or move as his fancy dictates. On
the other hand, he may become the guest of one of the chief men of
the village, who will put his guest-house at his disposal and give
him hospitality. By this plan he is brought into much closer contact
with the people and will see more of them, but he will forfeit his
independence, will be obliged to consult his host in all his plans,
and must be prepared to put himself and his time at the disposal of
his host and the villagers, both by day and night.

Both methods have their advantages. For a new district, and where
the people are suspicious, the latter plan, though more exacting,
is probably the better; when the missionary has become well known
and has much work to do, the former is preferable.

The traveller who has spent a winter in touring India, but has only
visited the large towns and show places, and has never lived in
an Indian village, remains altogether a stranger to the deep inner
life of the Indian. The real India is not seen in the Westernized
bazaars of the large cities, but in the myriads of villages, wherein
more than 80 per cent. of the population of India dwell. Moreover,
a much better and more attractive side of Indian life is seen in the
villages than in the towns, and it is among their less sophisticated
population that the missionary spends his happiest hours.

When travelling without camp equipment, we generally follow the
Bible precept. We arrive at a village, and, "inquiring who within
it is worthy, abide there till we depart thence." This is usually
some malik, or head man, who possesses that great institution of
Afghanistan, a hujra, or guest-house. We are shown to this house,
usually a mud building with a low door and a few small apertures in
the walls in the place of windows, and a clean-swept earthen floor,
which may be covered by a few palm-mats. Hearing of our arrival,
the owner of the guest-house comes to receive us in the Oriental
fashion so familiar to readers of the Old Testament.

Thus, on one occasion I came rather late at night to one such
guest-house. The host had already retired, but rose from his bed
to receive me. I inquired if that was his hujra. He answered: "No;
it is God's, but I am in charge of it." Such expressions are not mere
form, as was shown by the cheerful and unostentatious way in which the
owner put himself out in order to insure my comfort. Once I arrived
about midnight at a village, the head man of which I did not know
personally, though it appears he knew me well. He was not satisfied
until I consented to occupy his bed, which he had just vacated for me,
while he went off to make himself a shift elsewhere. The acceptance
of such an offer might not always prove very attractive among those
Afghans whose ideas of cleanliness are not the same as ours, but to
refuse it would--at least, on the part of a missionary--be an act so
discourteous as to injure the attainment of those relations with the
people which he should desire.

The head man will at once call for some of his attendants, who,
except at the busy time of sowing and harvest, are probably lounging
about the chauk, and they at once bring a number of the plain wooden
bedsteads of the country, which are almost universally used, even
by the richer classes, in preference to chairs. Rugs and pillows are
brought, and perhaps a carpet may be spread on the floor. Tea is then
ordered, and an attendant brings in a tray on which is a very large
teapot and a number of very small saucerless cups, called in these
parts balghami, and used all over Central Asia for tea-drinking. The
whole is covered by an embroidered cloth, which is removed by the
attendant. Sugar is added to the teapot to a degree which to many
Western palates appears nauseating. Cardamoms, and sometimes other
spices, are also added. The milk, too, is usually added to the teapot,
although some hosts, who have learnt by experience the peculiarity of
Western taste, leave the milk and the sugar to be added by the guests
themselves. Tea is poured out and handed round, and drunk usually very
hot; and if the guests drink it with very loud smackings of the lips,
it is supposed to indicate that they particularly appreciate it. The
cups are filled repeatedly, and when the guest wishes to indicate
that he has had enough he turns the cup upside down.

By this time the news of our arrival has spread through the
village. There are probably a number of old patients there, who
have once or oftener been inmates of the base hospital, and they
help to collect all the blind, the halt, the maimed, and the sick
of the village, and we proceed to unpack our medicines and commence
prescribing and physicking.

Then will come the Mullah of the village, with his Quran under his arm
and his rosary in his hand, and with a very sanctimonious and superior
kind of air. He has come to see that the faith of the flock is not
endangered, and is followed by a number of his talibs, or students,
whose great desire is to hear a wordy battle between the Padre and
the Mullah, and to see the former ignominiously defeated.

Eastern ideas are cast in such a very different mould to Western, and
their system of logic and habit of mind are so unlike ours, that the
young missionary may consider himself fortunate if he is not frequently
held up to ridicule by some ignorant Mullah, who on such an occasion as
this, before an audience who are naturally inclined to side with him,
and can appreciate his language and arguments very much better than
ours, has all the advantage on his side. It is no doubt better to avoid
such discussions as far as possible. But this cannot always be done,
as the refusal to answer questions would be assumed to imply inability
to do so, and would be taken by the audience to indicate defeat. What
really impresses the people would not usually be our arguments, but
the patience and courtesy with which we meet, or ought to meet, the
endeavours of our opponent to make us lose our temper. According to
Eastern ideas, the mere stroking of the beard is supposed to indicate
irritation arising from the inability to answer the questions, and if
the inexperienced disputant incautiously puts his hand to his beard,
his opponent will most probably show off his advantage by pretending
to apologize to him for having made him lose his temper.

On one occasion, while touring among the frontier villages, I was
spending the night at a hujra, and after dark a Mullah had come in for
discussion, and a great number of the men of the village, attracted
by the hope of an interesting conflict between their champion and
the Padre Sahib, had collected to listen.

It was winter, and there was a fire of twigs burning in the middle
of the room, which was filling the place with its smoke, as there
was only one quite inadequate aperture in the centre of the room by
which it could find its exit. Round all four sides were a number of
the native beds, on which both disputants and audience were seated
cross-legged or reclining at their ease.

As the fire burnt low a boy would bring in some crackling thorns and
branches which were piled outside the room, and throw some on the
fire, which would blaze up and illuminate the faces of all around;
for the only other light was the little earthen oil lamp in a niche
in one corner, which only served to make the darkness visible.

The Mullah was evidently bent on making a display of his own dialectic
skill at my expense, and began in a rather condescending tone to
ask if I knew anything about theology; and on my replying that I
had come to the country in order to teach the Christian religion,
he turned to the audience, and said somewhat contemptuously:

"I do not suppose these Padres know much, but we will see." He then
turned to me and said: "Can you tell me the colour of faith?"

Rather puzzled by the question, I asked what he meant. He said:

"Why, is it white, or green, or red, or what colour?"

I replied that, as an abstract idea, it did not possess the quality
of colour.

Mullah: "Then can you tell me what shape it is? Is it round, or square,
or what?"

I: "Neither has it any shape. It is only an abstract quality."

Mullah: "It is evident that he does not know much about theology,
seeing he cannot answer such simple questions as the colour and shape
of faith."

At this time I did not know that the Muhammadans ascribed such concrete
qualities to all their abstract religious ideas.

Mullah: "Do you know anything about astronomy?"

I thought that here at least my knowledge might not be far inferior
to that of this Mullah, and said:

"Yes, I think I can answer you any questions on that subject."

Mullah: "Tell me, then, what becomes of the sun when it sinks below
the horizon every evening?"

I then proceeded to as simple and lucid an explanation as I could
of the revolutions of the earth on its axis, but could see from the
looks and ejaculations of the audience that they thought the idea
rather a mad one.

The Mullah himself made no effort to conceal his contempt, and said:

"That, then, is all you know about it?"

A little nettled, I said:

"Well, what explanation do you give?"

"We all know that the fires of hell are under the earth. The sun
passes down there every night, and therefore comes up blazing hot in
the morning."

I rather had my breath taken away by this explanation, which met with
ejaculations of approbation from the men around me, and I incautiously
asked the Mullah if he could explain the seasons.

Mullah (turning to the people): "It is evident that I shall have to
teach him everything from the beginning."

To me: "It is in the spring that the devil makes up his fires, and
piles on the firewood. Therefore the fires get very hot in the summer,
and cool down later on. That is why the summer sun is so hot."

Needless to say, the explanations of the Mullah appeared to
the audience as rational and lucid as mine were far-fetched and
incomprehensible, and they had no doubt as to which of the disputants
had won the day.

From this it can be seen that if a young missionary thinks that a
mere knowledge of Western learning and Western logic will enable
him to cope with the very limited learning of the Afghan Mullahs
on their own ground, he is vastly mistaken, and will before long be
put to ridicule, as I was on the above occasion, which was one of my
earliest experiences on the frontier.

Since then I have learnt how to argue with Afghan logic, and from
the Afghan point of view.

If it happens that the Mullah, or some friend of his, is in need of
medical or surgical advice, his attitude to you will undergo a great
change, and you will have much greater facilities for carrying on your
work among the people. Sometimes, when he sees the benefits accruing to
the poor people who had no other prospect of getting medical relief,
his attitude becomes unexpectedly friendly, as his better feelings
prevail over his religious animosity.

Once, having set out on an itineration, some Pathans came to tell me
I might as well save myself the trouble of going in that direction
because a certain Mullah, who had much influence in those parts,
had gone before us, warning the people not to accept our treatment,
listen to our preaching, or even come near us. I answered by the remark
which appeals to the Muhammadan mind under almost every conceivable
circumstance: "Whatever God's will has ordained will be," and told
him we should adhere to our original plan.

On the first two days the people certainly seemed suspicious, and
very few came near us. While we were on the march on the third day,
passing not very far from a village, a man who had apparently noticed
us from the village, which was situated on an eminence above the road,
came running down to us, and, after the usual salutations, said:
"There is an old patient of yours here who is very anxious to see
you; please turn aside and come to the house." On arrival we found
that it was a woman who, a year before, had been an inmate of the
Bannu Hospital for malignant tumour on the leg, which had required
amputation. Before she left the hospital we had made her a rough wooden
pin leg, on which she now appeared hobbling along to greet us. She
showed great delight at unexpectedly meeting us, and had apparently
been telling her fellow-villagers wonderful stories of what she had
seen and heard in the mission hospital, and of the unaccountable
love and sympathy which had been shown her there, for others of her
neighbours came crowding into her little courtyard, and among them,
though unknown to us, the Mullah who was supposed to be preaching a
crusade against us. He had apparently come in on the quiet to see for
himself what we and our work were like, and was greatly struck at the
undisguised delight with which we were greeted by our old patients; for
when the woman of the house begged us to stop while she prepared us a
meal, he came forward and disclosed himself, saying: "No; my house is
in the next village, and it is my prerogative to entertain the Padre
Sahib. He must come on to my house." At the same time he took up some
Pashtu Gospels which we had been giving away, but which the people, for
fear of theological displeasure, had been afraid to take openly, and
said: "This is Kalam Ullah [Word of God], and is a good book." Thus,
in a moment, by this providential presence of the Mullah, the whole
attitude of our reception was changed. Word was passed on from village
to village that we had become the guests and eaten the bread of the
Mullah himself, and that he had pronounced in favour of our books,
telling the people that we were Ahl-el-Kitab, or people of the Book,
the term which Muhammadan theologians apply to Christians and Jews
when they wish to speak of them in a friendly spirit.

We were not always equally fortunate, especially in our earlier years
on the frontier.

About two years after I first went to Bannu I went out on a short
itineration with my assistant Jahan Khan, an account of whom is given
in Chapter XVI.

We came to one village where the Mullahs had been exciting the feelings
of the people against us, and telling them that any food or vessel
we touched was thereby defiled. We found it difficult to get food or
drinking-vessel even on payment, and some of the patients who came
to us were induced to go away, and in some cases to throw away the
medicine they had already received.

With some difficulty we got a lodging for the night, and early next
morning we started off to look for a village where we might get a
more hospitable reception. But the minds of the people had already
been poisoned against us.

We went into the courtyard of the Patwar-Khana (village bailiff),
and sat down and opened our medicines. Some Hindus came for treatment,
and we got one of them to bring us some food; but the Muhammadans were
universally hostile, and stationed one of their number at the gate to
prevent any Muhammadan communicating with us. They then apparently
became annoyed with the Hindus, that they should be participating
in benefits from which they had excluded themselves, and stones
began to fall into the courtyard where we were seated; and as the
Hindus in these villages are not only in a small minority, but live
in dread of the fiercer Muhammadans, even they who had already come
to us disappeared, and we were left alone. It seemed useless to stop
in a village where we were not welcomed, so we saddled our animals
and departed.

Many years have passed since this experience. Patients from both
these villages frequently come to the Bannu Hospital, and now I and
my assistants get a welcome and hospitality whenever we visit them.

At other times the difficulties of itineration are not so much from
the people as from the hardships of travelling among the frontier
mountains, where the roads are nil, and the bridle-tracks such that
it is often impossible to get a loaded camel through.

I will therefore give a short account of a journey from Bannu across
the Wazir Hills to Thal, which we made in the summer of 1904.

As our route lay chiefly through independent territory, it was
difficult to procure camel-men for so trying a journey.

The men with the first camels we hired ran away when they found we
were going into the hills, as not only is the road very difficult for
laden animals, but they are afraid of being attacked by Wazir robbers,
the Wazirs having the worst reputation of all the tribes of Afghans
who live on the border. With some difficulty we got four more camels,
and as their owners were themselves Wazirs, we prevailed on them
to accompany us. We loaded up our tents, medicines, and bedding,
and about 9 a. m., when the sun was already very hot, we finally
started. Besides the two camel-men, there were a hospital assistant,
two servants, a Muhammadan inquirer, whom I was taking along for the
sake of instructing him, and one of the schoolboys, who had persuaded
me to let him accompany us, so that we were quite a large party. After
toiling for some hours along a mountain defile we came to Gumatti Post,
one of those frontier forts that line the North-West Border. This was
built close to an old Wazir fort, in capturing which, two years ago,
Colonel Tonnochy and Captain White lost their lives, as described in
Chapter I. We passed through the wire entanglement, and spent the heat
of the day talking to the native officer and soldiers in charge. In the
afternoon we set out again, and marched along the bed of the Kurram
River, which we had to ford six times, so that before we reached our
night camp it had become quite dark. Taking advantage of the dark,
some light-fingered Wazir thieves managed to steal the tent carpet
off the back of a camel without our catching sight of them. Our camp
was in a Wazir village, built on a cliff overhanging the river. The
people were rather excited, as another Wazir clan had been up during
the day and made off with twenty head of cattle. However, there were
some old patients among the people, so we got a hearty welcome. They
made us some tea, and set some of their number to watch round our
beds with their Martini-Henrys ready loaded in case enemies should
come during the night. The Mullah of the place came and had a talk
with us, and then we were soon all fast asleep.

Next morning we were up betimes, and I found my bed surrounded by a
number of women with squalling babies. One mother wanted me to see her
baby's eyes, another the stomach of hers, another the ears; in fact,
all the babies seemed to have made common cause to delay my departure
as long as possible. However, after doling out various lotions and
pills, and giving the mothers many instructions, which, I fear, were
only heard to be forgotten, we managed to get the camels loaded and
started. Now, however, a new difficulty confronted us. During the
night there must have been heavy rain higher up the valley, for the
river was in flood and unfordable. I knew by experience how strong
yet deceptive the currents of the river are when it is in flood, for
a few weeks before I had been out on a bathing excursion with some
of our schoolboys in another part of the same river. I had dived
into a deep pool, when I found myself in a return current, which
was carrying me back under a small waterfall, where the water was
sweeping over an obstruction like a mill-race, with a fall of about
four feet. As soon as I got to the fall I went down, down, down, till
I thought I was never coming up again. However, I did come up, only,
however, to be pulled back at once under the waterfall and down into
the depths again. The third time I came up I got a momentary glimpse
of two of the boys trying to throw me the end of a pagari. They were,
however, much too far away for me to reach it, and I was pulled under
again before I had time to get even one good breath. As I went down
I wondered if I should ever see the boys again, and how many times
I should come up before it was all over. Then all at once it struck
me that I was very foolish trying to get out at the surface, where
the current was beyond my strength, and I must change my tactics; so
I turned over and dived down till I felt the boulders at the bottom,
and then crept along the bottom with the aid of the current--which
there, of course, was flowing downstream--as long as I could. When I
could do so no more, and had to strike upwards, I found, to my delight
and thankfulness, that I was out of the eddy and going downstream. So
it was clearly impossible to keep along the river, even if we had
not had laden animals with us. We were obliged, therefore, to make a
long détour through the hills, which took us nearly all day. So rough
and precipitous was the path that we had the greatest difficulty in
getting the camels along, and had several times to unload them in
order to get them over bad places.

During the afternoon we saw a party of fifteen or sixteen armed Wazirs
hastening towards us. At first we thought they were coming to loot us,
and one of the Wazirs with us told us to stop, while he went forward
and called out, "Are you friends or enemies?" When they replied
"Friends" he went up to them, and then called us on to join him,
when I found that they were a party of outlaws who had fallen foul
of the Government, and, therefore, had made their escape across the
frontier. They got me to sit down with them in the shade of a rock and
write down a list of their grievances for them, so that they might
propitiate the Political Officer and obtain permission to return
to British India. I was very happy to render them this service, and
we parted good friends. I noticed, however, that the Wazirs with us
seemed uncomfortable, and kept their rifles ready cocked till they
had disappeared behind a turn in the defile. I make it a principle
never to carry any arms myself, and think I am much safer on that
account, but the villagers who accompany me always go well armed;
in fact, across the border few Afghans can go out of their houses
without their rifles on their shoulders ready for use, so terribly
prevalent are the blood-feuds and village quarrels. We spent that
night in a Wazir village, where we saw a number of patients and
made fresh friends. The head man of the village apologized next
morning for not accompanying us more than half a mile. He said that
he had blood-feuds with most of the villages round, and could not,
therefore, venture farther. The fame of the Bannu Mission Hospital,
however, was our best escort, and passport too, and we got a welcome
at almost every village we passed, through the mediation of numerous
old patients, who had recounted in all the villages the kind treatment
they had received at the hands of the feringis (Europeans) in Bannu.

Progress was somewhat delayed by frequent calls to visit a sick person
in one or another village, but openings for the Gospel were at the same
time secured, and the lessons of the parable of the Good Samaritan
imparted. By midday we reached Thal, which was for some days to be
our field hospital. Here we pitched our tents, under the shade of some
willows, by a small stream outside the town, and early the next morning
started work. A large crowd of sick and their friends had collected
from Thal itself and the villages round. I first read a passage out of
the Pashtu Testament, and explained it to them in that language. The
Gospel address over, I wrote out prescriptions for each one in order,
which my assistant dispensed to them. After a minor operation or two,
a fresh crowd had collected, another address was given, and they,
too, were seen and attended to. In this way five lots of patients were
treated, and about 200 or 300 people heard the Gospel story in their
own language. Then, as evening was drawing on, we shut up our books
and our boxes, washed off the dust of the day's work in the brook hard
by, and proceeded to interest ourselves in the operations which the
cook was conducting over an improvised fireplace, made of a couple
of bricks placed on either side of a small hole in the ground. Dinner
over, we had family prayers, and then fell soundly asleep.

An interesting town where we have sometimes stopped in our itinerations
is that of Kalabagh. It is situated on the right bank of the River
Indus where it finally breaks forth from the rocky gorge that has
hemmed it in with high, often precipitous, sides, which rise at Dimdot
to a sheer height of four hundred feet above the surging river, on
to the boundless alluvial plain of the Panjab. In some of the bends
between Attock and Kalabagh, it rushes at a great speed over rapids,
where the boatmen warily guide their heavy river boats, lest they be
drawn into some whirlpool, or dashed against the precipitous sides;
at others there are deep, silent reaches where the bottom is two
hundred feet from the surface. During the hot weather, when the river
is in flood, it is an exciting experience to be ferried across its
dark grey surging stream. At Kalabagh there are extensive quarries
of salt of a beautiful pink and white colour and great purity; these
bring in a considerable revenue to the Government. The town itself
is built on the side of a hill of red salt marl, some of the houses
being quarried out of the salt itself, so that the owner has only to
chip off a bit of his own wall in order to season his cooking-pot. It
is a standing grievance with the inhabitants that their own walls are
Government contraband, and they are subject to a fine if they sell
a brick from their wall without paying duty on it. The streets are
narrow and winding, and being, many of them, roofed and even built
over, are very dark, and in the hot summer nights insufferably close
and hot, and at all times distinctly insanitary and malodorous.

The people are pale and anæmic, and nearly all suffer from goitre in
a greater or less degree. They form a great contrast to the hardy
mountaineers of the Bangi Khel Khattak tribe on the hills behind
them. These form one of the great recruiting grounds of the Pathan
regiments of the frontier, while from Kalabagh itself it would be hard
to find a score of men who could pass the recruiting officer. In the
sultry summer weather the inhabitants spend the day under a number of
large banyan-trees (Ficus Indica) which are scattered along the edge
of the river. Here, too, the civil officers of the district hold their
courts, and I was encamped under a spacious banyan. Its spreading
branches not only sheltered me and all the sick and visitors who
thronged around me, but also the Deputy Commissioner of the district
and his court, together with the crowd of suitors and applicants that
always followed in his train; and the District Judge, with his court,
and a crowd of litigants, pleaders and witnesses--and this all without
incommoding one another.

The land away from the river is pulsating with the fervid heat of
the summer sun, and the town itself is like an oven; but there is
nearly always a cool breeze blowing on the bank of the river, and,
when heated and dusty with the day's work, one can throw off one's
clothes and cool oneself with a swim in the river, where the young men
of the place are disporting themselves all their leisure time. They use
the inflated skin of a goat or of a cow, and, supporting themselves
on this, can rest on the deep, cool bosom of the river as long as
they like without fatigue. The river is too rapid for them to travel
upstream, but when business takes them downstream, they simply fasten
their clothes in a bundle on their heads, lie across their inflated
skin, and quietly drift downstream at about four miles an hour as
far as they desire. On returning, they simply deflate their skin,
and sling it over their shoulders.

We were usually thronged with patients here from morning to evening,
and I have seen as many as three hundred in one day, the work
including a number of operations. One day a noted Muhammadan Sheikh
visited the place. He was a convert from Hinduism, and was travelling
about the country preaching Islam and decrying the Christian and Hindu
religions. He sent us a challenge to meet him in a public discussion on
the respective merits of the Cross and the Crescent. I was reluctant,
as such discussions are seldom conducted fairly or sincerely; but,
finding my reluctance was being misunderstood, I consented, and we
met one evening, a Muhammadan gentleman of the place being appointed
chairman. It was arranged that we were each in turn to ask a question,
which the other was to answer. He was given the first question, and
asked how it was that we had not miraculous powers, seeing that the
Bible said that those who believed in Christ should be able to take
poison or be bitten of snakes without suffering injury. The catechist
with me gave so lucid and categorical a reply that the Muhammadan
disputant and chairman changed their tone, and said that, as the
time was getting late, it would be better to postpone my question
till another time. Needless to say, that more convenient time never
came, and we were not again challenged to a discussion at Kalabagh,
and the Sheikh left for fresh pastures a few days later.



CHAPTER IX

AFGHAN MULLAHS

    No priesthood in Islam--Yet the Mullahs ubiquitous--Their great
    influence--Theological refinements--The power of a charm--Bazaar
    disputations--A friend in need--A frontier Pope--In a Militia
    post--A long ride--A local Canterbury--An enemy becomes a
    friend--The ghazi fanatic--An outrage on an English officer.


Here we are met by an apparent paradox. There is no section of the
people of Afghanistan which has a greater influence on the life of
the people than the Mullahs, yet it has been truly said that there
is no priesthood in Islam. According to the tenets of Islam, there
is no act of worship and no religious rite which may not, in the
absence of a Mullah, be equally well performed by any pious layman;
yet, on the other hand, circumstances have enabled the Mullahs of
Afghanistan to wield a power over the populations which is sometimes,
it appears, greater than the power of the throne itself. For one
thing, knowledge has been almost limited to the priestly class, and
in a village where the Mullahs are almost the only men who can lay
claim to anything more than the most rudimentary learning it is only
natural that they should have the people of the village entirely in
their own control. Then, the Afghan is a Muhammadan to the backbone,
and prides himself on his religious zeal, so that the Mullah becomes
to him the embodiment of what is most national and sacred.

The Mullahs are, too, the ultimate dispensers of justice, for there
are only two legal appeals in Afghanistan--one to the theological law,
as laid down by Muhammad and interpreted by the Mullahs; the other to
the autocracy of the throne--and even the absolute Amir would hesitate
to give an order at variance with Muhammadan law, as laid down by
the leading Mullahs. His religion enters into the minutest detail
of an Afghan's everyday life, so that there is no affair, however
trivial, in which it may not become necessary to make an appeal to
the Mullah. Birth, betrothal, marriage, sickness, death--all require
his presence, and as often as not the Afghan thinks that if he has
called in a Mullah to a sick relation there is no further necessity
of calling in a doctor. Thus the Mullah becomes an integral part of
Afghan life, and as he naturally feels that the advance of mission work
and of education must mean the steady diminishing of his influence,
he leaves no stone unturned to withstand the teaching of missionaries
and to prejudice the minds of the people against them.

The great religious fervour of the Afghans must be evident to anyone
who has had even a cursory acquaintance with them, whether in their
mountain homes or as travellers through India. I remember once
sitting in a village chauk while a religious discussion was going
on which threatened to launch the two opponent parties into making
bodily attacks on each other, and the whole of the matter under
discussion was whether prayers said by a worshipper on the skin of
a jackal were efficacious or not. According to the tenets of Islam,
if a worshipper were to perform his genuflections on the bare ground
they would be of no effect, because the ground might certainly be
assumed to be ceremonially polluted. Ordinarily, the worshipper will
spread a piece of clean cloth, or mat, or skin on the ground, and,
removing his shoes beforehand, will perform his prayers thereon. It
might be contended, however, that even though the skin of the jackal
were absolutely clean, yet the unclean nature of the animal still
attached to it, and rendered the prayers ineffective. The matter in
this case was referred to a renowned Mullah who lived some way off,
and to whom both parties had to send deputations several days' journey.

Then, in the mission hospital the question has frequently been
raised by the Afghan patients as to whether it was lawful to say
prayers in the clothes provided by the mission for the patients,
even though these may have come direct from the washing; and we have
been unable to persuade patients to put on clothes, however clean,
which might possibly prevent them from saying their prayers until
they have brought the case before some Mullah who was willing to
give an ex cathedrâ pronouncement in our favour. Mullahs sometimes
use the power and influence they possess to rouse the tribes to
concerted warfare against the infidels, as they tell them that the
English are; and often a prelude to one of the little frontier wars
has been some ardent Mullah going up and down on the frontier, like
Peter the Hermit, rousing the tribes to come down and fight. Often
they lay claim to magical powers whereby those who submit themselves
to their incantations become invulnerable, so that they are able to
stand up before the bullets of the English troops unscathed. Before
the war of 1897, a Mullah, known as the Mullah Povindah, was reputed
to have this power; and many of the Afghans I met maintained that
they had put it to the test, and seen with their own eyes the
bullets fall harmless off the people to whom he had extended his
protection. It was useless to say that they were trying to impose
upon them, for they thoroughly believed it themselves, as was shown
in many cases by the reckless daring with which they charged down on
the British troops. Even those who may be supposed to be free from
the superstition of the ignorant believe with equal fervour in this
power of the Mullahs and holy men. An instance of this occurs in the
Memoirs of the late Amir Abdurrahman, who relates that once during a
military review a soldier deliberately shot at him as he was sitting
in a chair. The bullet passed through the back of the chair, and
wounded a page-boy standing behind. He attributes his escape entirely
to a charm written on a piece of paper which a holy man had given to
him when a boy. He says: "At first I did not believe in its power to
protect; I therefore tried it by tying it round the neck of a sheep,
and though I tried hard to shoot the animal, no bullet injured her."

One of the commonest experiences of the open-air preacher on the
borders of Afghanistan is the wordy warfare in which he is obliged
to engage with some bellicose Mullah. The Mullah has heard that
the missionary has begun to preach, and he regards it as his duty
to come down and champion Islam. He brings a big volume of the Quran
ostentatiously under his arm, and is followed by four or five students,
or talibs, ready to applaud all his thrusts, while ridiculing in a very
forcible way the replies of the preacher. Such arguments can hardly
be expected to bear any reasonable fruit, because the object of the
Mullah is not to ascertain what your views on any doctrine really are,
but only to gain a strategical victory and hold you up to ridicule;
but it is equally impossible to refuse the challenge, for then not
only would the audience conclude that you had no answer to give,
but the Mullah would take care that no one remained to listen to
you. Frequently the object of the Mullah is to egg the people on to
acts of open violence, and then, when they see that the row is well
started, they suddenly make themselves scarce, and leave their flock to
take the risk of any subsequent police investigations which may result.

On one occasion I had a providential deliverance from an unpleasant
incident. On proceeding to the place in the market where I usually
preached, I found a Mullah in possession preaching to a scowling crowd
of townsmen. As we had always preached in that particular place for
years, I saw it was only a ruse to oust us from preaching first there
and then anywhere else where we might go, so I promptly took my place
by the Mullah's side, and commenced preaching to the same audience. The
Mullah vociferated, and the audience scowled more and more, and then
the Mullah, turning to me, said: "Look here, you had better get out of
this, as these people here are up to mischief, and it may go hard with
you." I felt much like Micah when the Danites said to him: "Let not
thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee." But
I told the Mullah that I held him responsible for the acts of his
followers, and I did not intend to forsake the place to which long
custom had given us a right. Just as the storm seemed about to break,
and I momentarily expected to be pitched across the street, a stalwart
smith, a well-known Muhammadan, himself respected by the people,
pushed through the crowd, and, taking the Mullah by the arm, said:
"Now, Mullah Sahib, you know the Padre Sahib never interferes with you
in your place, and that this is not your proper preaching-place. Why
do you want to make a row and injure him?" So saying, he took the
rather unwilling Mullah off to his usual place, and the more unruly
portion of the crowd, after hurling a few imprecations at me, followed
him, too. Our friend the smith was an old hospital patient, so this,
too, may be set down, under the overruling providence of God, to the
mollifying influence of a medical mission.

One of the most influential Mullahs on the British side of the Afghan
border is the Mullah Karbogha, so called from the village which forms
his Canterbury. In some respects his influence was directed towards the
moral improvement of the people, while in others his religious schools
became hotbeds of fanaticism. Thus he set his face steadily against
the evil practice, which is so prevalent among the frontier Afghans,
of selling their daughters in marriage to the highest bidder. Not long
ago a Mullah of considerable power, who had himself sold his daughter
in marriage, had to make the most abject profession of repentance
lest the Mullah Karbogha should excommunicate him, and he should have
to fly the country. He regards the smoking of tobacco as one of the
works of the devil, and when the Mullah makes his visitation to some
village there is a general scramble to hide away all the pipes; for
not only would any that he found be publicly broken, but the owner
would incur his displeasure. As the Afghans do not confine themselves
to the soothing weed, but mix it up with a number of intoxicating and
injurious substances, such as Indian hemp or charras, this attitude
of the Mullah may be regarded in the light of a reform. Unfortunately,
he regards it as a heinous sin for any Muhammadan to take service with,
or to receive pay from, the British Government.  Often on the frontier
a grave crisis has threatened to result from the refusal of one of
his underlings, or Sheikhs, as they are called, to grant the rites
of marriage or burial to some unfortunate Pathan who has enlisted in
one of the regiments of the Indian Army. The missionaries, of course,
are regarded by him and his Sheikhs as the embodiment of the heresies
of an infidel Government.

For many years the Mullah Karbogha apparently ignored me, but finally
I had information that his attitude was going to become more distinctly
hostile.  I thought it better, therefore, to act on the Biblical adage
to "agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with
him," and to seek to modify his attitude by a personal interview. It
was one hot August day that found me and an Indian medical assistant
riding to this frontier Mecca. It was a part of the district notorious
for deeds of violence, and after riding some ten miles, when the hot
summer sun made us feel the need of some refreshment, we came to one of
those villages where is posted a guard of some twenty Militia Sepoys,
who represent the army of the Government in their midst. It was only
a roughly-built house, loopholed and strengthened in some parts to
simulate a fort, and the soldiers themselves were only removed by
a few months' military training, a simple uniform, and the salt of
the Sarkar, which they had eaten, from the families of brigands and
highwaymen from which they had been enlisted. There had been a double
murder that morning in a village a few miles off, and most of the
soldiers were scouring the country round in quest of the marauders;
but, as usually happens, the murderers had got a good start, and
were already probably well across the frontier. When the soldiers who
remained in charge found that it was the Bannu Daktar Sahib who had
come so suddenly upon them, they were all attention. Tea was brewed,
and milk and unleavened cakes were fetched from the village, while
men suffering from ague and women bringing their children suffering
from various ailments to which Afghan children are liable soon came
crowding in, and a little store of medicines that we had carried on
our saddles was in great request.

After refreshing ourselves with their simple hospitality, and
chatting with them on the various subjects which come most naturally
to travellers and to missionaries, we tightened our saddle-girths,
which had been loosened to give the horses a feed, mounted, and rode
on. The road lay through a wide and picturesque valley. A small river
was dashing into silver spray over the boulders on some steep descent,
and elsewhere deepening into some pool overshadowed by acacias and
oleanders, where the fish could be seen disporting themselves on
the shingly bottom. The sides of the valley rose up to right and
left in rough escarpments, where the olive and the gurguri-berry
gave a clothing of green to the bare rocks, while here and there
the hills receded sufficiently to enable the thrifty husbandman to
clear a little piece of land from stones and to plant it with millet,
which in good seasons would supply his household with bread through
the winter months.

After a couple of hours of such riding, we approached the watershed
of the valley, northward of which the streams flowed in the opposite
direction towards the Miranzai and the Kurram. It was one of those
wide stony plains called in Afghanistan raghzas, covered for the
most part with stones stained black by oxides of iron and manganese,
and called by the people dozakhi kanrai, or "hell-stones," from their
tradition that they were thrown there in some ancient conflict between
the devils and the angels. The coarse grass springs up in tufts between
the stones, and affords a pasturage to the flocks of hardy goats and
sheep. Shepherds may be seen here and there guarding and attending
them, while in parts there may be sufficient soil to give in a rainy
season a fair crop of millet or of barley. Before long we descried
four tall minarets rising up beyond an undulation of the plain. This
was our first view of the famed cathedral of this Canterbury of the
frontier where the Mullah Karbogha held his court and issued his
decrees and excommunications, which carried dismay into any hapless
chief's home or village against whom they had been fulminated. As we
drew near we met various other travellers, who had come, it may be,
to bear the Mullah their respects and some votive offerings, or it
may be to bring some long-standing dispute for settlement. We wondered
within ourselves what the result of our pilgrimage would be.

As we drew near we got a fine view of the really beautiful and artistic
mosque which the offerings of the faithful had enabled the Mullah
to build at no little cost in this wild region, where both skilled
labour and building material were at a premium. There was a beautiful
tank of clear limpid water, supplied by a fountain in the hill above,
and here the faithful performed their ablutions before worship. Some
of the talibs and Sheikhs were sitting round the tank and in the
courtyard of the mosque, and appeared not a little surprised to see
the Bannu Daktar Sahib come to their own Mecca. We were informed
that the Mullah himself had gone to a neighbouring village to decide
some dispute, but two of the sons came out to receive us, and led us
into a verandah, where we were soon surrounded by the curious of the
place. They led our horses away with the promise to look after their
needs, and inquired as to the reason of our unexpected arrival.

We told them how the fame of the Mullah Karbogha had reached Bannu,
and how we had long been desirous of ourselves making his personal
acquaintance. After some hesitation, the Mullah's eldest son, who was
the chief in authority during his absence, asked if he should bring
us refreshments. This was what we wished, not so much because the hot
August sun had made us both tired and thirsty, but because it had a
deeper signification; for, after having once offered us hospitality
and broken bread with us, we should be recognized as guests of the
Mullah, and any opposition which he might have been contemplating
against us would be seen at once by the observant Afghans around to
have been laid aside in favour of the reception due to an honoured
guest. We therefore accepted the offer without demur, and tea sweetened
with plenty of sugar and flavoured with cardamoms was brought, with
biscuits, for our refection. Our repast over, and various questions
asked and answered, we were left for a time to ourselves, for in the
hot summer days of India the noonday hours are as sacred to retirement
and repose as those of midnight.

After a few hours' interval, wherein we were left to rest ourselves,
the Mullahs returned and commenced conversation somewhat more
affably. They had no doubt found themselves between the horns of a
dilemma, for their outward rejection of our advances might have led
to acts of open violence on the part of the fanatical inhabitants of
the town, the responsibility for which would ultimately have come home
to themselves in a way far from pleasant; while, on the other hand,
our reception as guests broke down their attitude of hostility,
as at once it would be noised all down the countryside that the
great Mullah had broken the bread of friendship with the Daktar
Sahib from Bannu, and among the Afghans the relationship between
host and guest is inviolable. Thus, it came about that on our host
making inquiries as to where we intended to spend the night, and
finding that we had no other plans, he insisted on our stopping as
his guests, and there and then sent his servants for the preparation
of our lodging and our evening repast. The ice thus broken, we were
able to proceed from general topics to the more abstruse theological
speculations, in which his reverence excelled, and, like a summer
shower, this friendly interchange of ideas washed away the dust of
many old prejudices and misunderstandings, and as the evening hours
drew on our talk continued under the starlit canopy of the glorious
Eastern night, and we were vowing mutual friendship, and he promising
on his own behalf and on that of his father himself to become our
guests on the next occasion of a visit to Bannu. When at last we lay
down to rest, we first thanked God, who had so prospered our journey,
and broken down the great barrier of prejudice, and opened a way for
us to carry on our work in the villages round.

Many of the people still looked askance at us, and spoke of us as
"infidels" and "blasphemers," and would, no doubt, have been led to
proceed further at a hint from the Mullahs; but our mission had been
accepted, and we knew it was only a matter of time that we should
be actually welcomed. Even now, grown bolder by the attitude of the
Mullah, some old patients appeared, and insisted on our accompanying
them to various houses in the village where there were patients in
need of medical help and advice. One cannot overestimate the religious
influences emanating from a place like Karbogha. Numbers of religious
students are attracted there by the fame of the Mullah even from
distant places on both sides of the border, and the offerings of the
faithful enable the Mullah to give a free-handed hospitality to one
and all, and in Afghanistan there is no quicker road to influence than
the ability to do this. It was a tradition in the villages round that
when the Mullah daily prepared his saucepans of rice and cakes of
unleavened bread in his kitchens, the amount was always found to be
sufficient for the pilgrims of that day, even though hundreds might
come in before night, unexpected and unprepared for.

After imbibing not only his theological teaching, but his religious
and political ideals, these students are scattered far and wide
from Kabul to Peshawur, and from Zwat to Waziristan, where they
become his staunch adherents against rival Mullahs or against a
materialistic Government. The more fanatical of these Mullahs do
not hesitate to incite their pupils to acts of religious fanaticism,
or ghaza, as it is called. The ghazi is a man who has taken an oath
to kill some non-Muhammadan, preferably a European, as representing
the ruling race; but, failing that, a Hindu or a Sikh is a lawful
object of his fanaticism. The Mullah instils into him the idea that
if in so doing he loses his own life, he goes at once to Paradise,
and enjoys the special delights of the houris and the gardens which
are set apart for religious martyrs. When such a disciple has been
worked up to the requisite degree of religious excitement, he is
usually further fortified by copious draughts of bhang, or Indian hemp,
which produces a kind of intoxication in which one sees everything red,
and the bullet and the bayonet have no longer any terror for him. Not
a year passes on the frontier but some young officer falls a victim
to one of these ghazi fanatics. Probably the ghazi has never seen
him before in his life, and can have no grudge against him as a man;
but he is a "dog and a heretic," and his death a sure road to Paradise.

One summer afternoon in Bannu I went out with some of our schoolboys
who were training for the mile race in the coming school tournament. I
was accompanying them on my bicycle as they were running round the
polo-ground, where some officers of the garrison were enjoying a game
of golf. Suddenly a young Afghan of some eighteen summers, who had been
able to arm himself with no more formidable weapon than a sharp axe,
rushed up to one of the officers, and, before he could realize what
was coming, dealt him a violent blow across the neck. The officer
partly shielded himself with his golf-club, and probably thereby
saved his life, for the axe came within a hair-breadth of severing
the main arteries, and before the fanatic could deal another stroke
he was felled to the ground by a blow from another officer with his
golf-club. He was only a village youth, with little knowledge of the
world, but had been incited to this act of suicidal fanaticism by a
Mullah, who, without the grit to become a martyr himself, thought
it an act of piety to incite the ignorant boy to the murder of an
innocent fellow-creature at the sacrifice of his own life. In this
case it became known who the Mullah in question was, and which was the
mosque in which he had given this teaching, and while the boy himself
suffered the extreme penalty of the law, the Mullah and the mosque
were not exempted from its operation. The former was transported to
the Andamans and the latter dismantled. Still, it is well known that
other Mullahs are daily engaged in the same teaching on both sides of
the frontier, and other young bloods are equally desirous of obtaining
the sweets of martyrdom.



CHAPTER X

A TALE OF A TALIB

    Early days--The theological curriculum--Visit to Bannu--A public
    discussion--New ideas--The forbearance of a native Christian--First
    acquaintance with Christians--First confession--A lost love--A
    stern chase--The lost sheep recovered--Bringing his teacher--The
    Mullah converted--Excommunication--Faithful unto death--Fresh
    temptations--A vain search--A night quest--The Mullahs
    circumvented--Dark days--Hope ever.


Muhammad Taib was born in the village of Thandkoi, in the Peshawur
district. His father was a small farmer, a good example of the better
sort of Muhammadan of the Yusufzai tribe, thoroughly religious, yet
not fanatical, and honest withal. He was careful not only to bring
up Muhammad Taib in a knowledge of his religion, but to preserve
him from the vices which are rife among the youth of the Pathan
villages. Taib's inclinations were towards study, and he showed a
great aptitude for books. His father, however, was of the old school,
which looked with suspicion on the education of the feringis; so it
happened with him as with most young men in Afghanistan who desire
to cultivate their minds: he became a religious student, or talib.

There happened to be a Mullah in the village known as the Khani
Mullah, who took a great fancy to young Taib, so he was placed under
his tutelage, and passed his days studying Arabic and Persian in the
village mosque, while at the same time all the tenets and rites of
the religion of Islam were inculcated and explained. A talib could,
however, never attain the knowledge and experience expected of a
Mullah if he were to remain in his own town; he must travel and sit
at the feet of several at least of the Mullahs most renowned for
their sanctity and learning. So, when young Taib was fifteen years
of age, he tied up his few books in a shawl, and set out from home
to sit at the feet of the renowned Manki Mullah. The learned man
himself would not condescend to teach so immature a pupil, but he
was surrounded by his Sheikhs, who acted as his staff, and taught
the talibs who flocked there from all parts of the country. Besides,
here Taib met with Mullahs from Delhi, Lucknow, Bukhara, Kabul, and
other far-famed seats of learning, contact with whom could not fail
to widen the horizon and enlarge the experience of the pupils who
sat around them, and listened to their arguments and dissertations on
the various schools of thought, and engaged in wordy polemics, which
practised the budding Mullahs in the art of drawing fine theological
distinctions on the interpretation of a Hadis or the difference of
a vowel point in the Quran.

Of a night the talibs would wile the hours away by telling tales
of their respective countries or capping verses from the Persian
poets. But Taib must travel and visit other Mullahs, too; so it
happened that, when seventeen years old, he visited Bannu, and
lodged in the mosque of a noted Mullah near the bazaar. One day,
when passing down the Bannu bazaar, he saw a crowd, and, going up,
he found an animated discussion going on between two Afghans. While
one was obviously a Mullah, the other seemed not to be; but with him
was a companion dressed as a Mullah, whose face struck Taib as not
quite that of any of the Afghan tribes he knew. He began to listen
to see if the enigma would be solved, but was still more surprised
to find that the argument was as to whether the Ingil (Gospel) and
Tauret (Pentateuch) should be read by Muhammadans or not. The Mullah
was arguing that the books had been abrogated by the mission of
Muhammad and the descent of the Quran on that Prophet, saying that,
though it was right to read them till Muhammad came, since then it
was only lawful to read the Quran. The stranger, on the other hand,
pointed out that Muhammad himself expressly referred his followers
to the perusal and study of the "former Scriptures," and clinched
his argument by quotations from the Quran itself.

Finally, the Mullah, finding himself getting into a dilemma, obtained a
release by the artifice with which we are very familiar by now. "It is
time for afternoon prayers. I must hurry off, or my prayers will lapse
by default," he said; and, folding up his Quran in his shawl, hurried
off. Finding their champion gone, another in the crowd called out:
"All who are Mussalmans go away; he is no true Mussalman who stops
to listen to these kafirs. There is no God but God, and Muhammad
is the Prophet of God." And then with one voice all the crowd took
up the last sentence and shouted in unison: "La ilaha ilia 'llahu,
Muhammadun rasulu 'llah!" till the bazaar echoed with the sound;
and then, with jeers and curses at the two preachers, in which Taib
thought it the proper thing to join, the crowd dispersed.

"Who were those two kafirs?" said Taib to a Bannuchi talib who was
walking away with him.

"The one in the dress of a Mullah is a feringi whom we call the
Padre Sahib. He has built a hospital here, where he preaches to the
people about Hazrat 'Esa, and he has, indeed, misled many; in fact,
the other kafir who was with him was led astray by him: he is an
Afghan from Laghman, and has brought disgrace on the Prophet. May
God destroy them both!"

Taib thought here would be good opportunities for acquiring the art
of theological polemics, so he came regularly every day with other
talibs to support the Muslim champion and jeer at the Christians if
they appeared at all discomfited. He could not help, however, being
struck by the forbearance of the Laghmani, who preserved an equable
temper, though the talibs tried to excite him by all the opprobrious
epithets with which their repertory is so well supplied. He saw,
too, that the more difficult their champions found it to answer his
arguments, the more they resorted to the expedient of crying him
down with derisive shouts and jeers, and he began to have a feeling
of sympathy, if not admiration, for him.

Then one day he waited behind till the talibs with him had gone,
and the Afghan preacher, seeing him lingering, took him by the arm
and entered into conversation with him. They went on talking till
they reached the mission compound, and Taib accepted the invitation
of the preacher to stop the night with him. Instead of finding him a
reviler of the Prophet and a miscreant, as he expected, he found that
all he said was quite reasonable and free from the rancour which his
talib friends always introduced into their theological arguments. Then
the peace and comfort of a Christian home, where the wife, instead
of being a chattel or a drudge, was a real helpmate, opened up new
trains of thought in his mind. The Laghmani, too, was a Pathan,
like himself, with the same Afghan prejudices and predilections,
and yet there was an undefinable something in him, a spirit of
self-control and self-abnegation and inward peace of mind, that he
did not remember having met with in any Pathan before. In short,
Taib, instead of being the guest of one night, as he had at first,
not without misgiving, consented to be, stopped on to learn more of
the new doctrine and discover the secret of the change that had been
effected in the Afghan preacher.

Taib proved an apt pupil, and the natural gentleness and fairness
of his character made Christianity all the more attractive to him,
and he applied himself with assiduity to the study of the Christian
Scriptures, and attended the Christian worship. There were struggles
without and doubts within to contend against.  His former talib
companions came in a body to see whether the Padre Sahib had kidnapped
him, and when they found him stopping in the mission compound of
his own freewill abused him and threatened him, but did not succeed
in getting him away. One of the chief Bannu Mullahs came and argued
with him for hours, telling him he was guilty of mortal sin in even
allowing himself to entertain doubts about the truth of Islam. But
Taib had become fascinated with the Scriptures, and especially with
the teaching of the Gospels, as is often the case with those who have
never read them till adult life, and he had no intention of forsaking
his host till quite decided one way or the other.

Ultimately he decided that the Prophet Christ must indeed be the
Son of God, the very Saviour that He claimed to be, and he asked for
baptism. It was thought better to let him wait a few months till he had
a maturer knowledge of the doctrines of Christianity, and had shown his
sincerity by standing some of the fire of persecution. There was no
lack of the latter. When he accompanied us to the bazaar preaching,
the foulest abuse was showered on him, and sometimes stones were
thrown, and on one occasion, when he was caught alone, he received
a beating from some talibs and others.

The Bishop of Lahore visited the station about that time, and Muhammad
Taib was baptized under the new name of Taib Khan, and was radiant with
delight at having been at last admitted to the Christian Church. I was
going on a long medical itineration about that time, and he accompanied
me, and was zealous in his new-found faith, taking every opportunity
of drawing Mullahs and others into conversation about the claims of
Christ and the witness of the Quran to Him. Those were perhaps the
happiest days he ever experienced.

Then came a new trial. Taib had been betrothed to a girl in his
village, and his relations, having heard of his baptism, came to
Bannu. In nothing is the honour and sharm of the Pathan more nearly
touched than in his marital relation, and the taunt that he had lost
the sharm which every Pathan so dearly loves, came nearer home to him
than persecution or loss of land and patrimony. One morning I found
that Taib had disappeared. No one knew exactly when or how, but he
had been seen with the people from his village the night before, and
nothing more was known. I assumed that by inducement or force they had
taken him away to his village, and therefore would have gone by the
Kohat road; but they had already had at least eight hours' start,
and the sun was now declining. However, no time was to be lost,
so I got an ekka, or native pony-cart, and, taking with me a young
Bannuchi convert, Sahib Khan by name, started off in pursuit.

For a long time we could get no news of the fugitives; then, at a
village thirty-five miles from Bannu, I was told that some Pathans
answering to the description of Taib and his captors had said their
afternoon prayers in the mosque there and then gone on. Our pony
was too tired to go farther; it was already midnight; the next
stage was eleven miles on, and they would certainly leave there
before daybreak. What was to be done? While we were debating this,
we heard the bugle of the tonga with the mails. This runs between
Bannu and Kohat every day in the winter and every night in the summer,
and accommodates three passengers. If the seats had not been taken,
we might go on in this. It so happened that two seats were vacant, so
we got in, and soon arrived at the next stage, a village called Banda.

Here we alighted. It was 1 a.m. The village was silent and dark except
for the light of the half-moon. On the side of the hill above the
village was the village mosque, and we knew that was the most likely
place for travellers to lodge; so we passed through the silent village,
and, removing our shoes, entered the courtyard of the mosque. Thirteen
men were stretched on the ground fast asleep and covered with their
chadars, the sheet or shawl which an Afghan always carries about
him and uses as a girdle or shawl during the day, and wraps himself
up in cap-à-pie at night. As Afghans always sleep with their heads
covered in their sheet or quilt, we could not recognize the object
of our search, and to wake all would mean certain defeat. But the
Bannuchies are at home in any night-work requiring stealth, so by
the light of the setting moon my companion lifted the corner of the
sheet from off the faces of the sleepers without waking any of them,
and the last one was Taib himself.

A touch on his shoulder and he was roused, and recognized us. I merely
said to him: "Will you come back with me to Bannu?" He answered,
"Yes, Sahib," and got up, wound on his turban, and left with us
without another word. We had to walk back to Khurram, the village
where we had left our pony-cart, and, finding it still there, drove
back to Bannu with the lost sheep, found none too soon.

Months now passed in study and in learning the work of a ward
assistant in the mission hospital, so that he might be able to earn
his own living, and use the opportunities of the mission hospital
in working among the Afghans attending it. There was a Mullah in a
village not far from Bannu, where he acted as the imam and village
schoolmaster. At one time Taib had himself been his pupil, and was
much attached to him. He had long been desirous of getting this Mullah,
his quondam teacher, or ustad, to study the claims of Christ, and one
day he had visited him with this object. When the Mullah mentioned
that he had been suffering from some deafness for some months past,
"Come to the mission hospital," said Taib; "the Padre Sahib there
will certainly cure you."

The Mullah hesitated at first when he heard that every day an address
on Christian doctrine was given to the assembled out-patients before
they were treated. He thought it hardly seemly that he, a Mullah and
an ustad, should sit and listen to heretical teaching without being
able to protest. However, tales of others who had been under treatment
and recovered won the day, and he decided to go. "After all," he said,
"I need not listen, and I can say extra prayers to atone for any sin
there may be in my going."

He came regularly till the cure was complete, but he did not keep up
his intention of not listening to the preacher; in fact, some things
that were said riveted his attention, and made him go home and search
his Quran, and his curiosity was aroused, and he talked over many
things with Taib Khan, and finally came to me to ask me if I would
read the Gospels with him. He was careful to say that he had not any
intention of becoming a Christian, but merely desired to read them
because every Muhammadan regarded them with veneration as the word
of God.

The Sermon on the Mount entranced him, and he used to kiss the book
and place it on his head, as Muhammadans do with their Quran. He would
read by the hour, but as I had not much time to devote to him, he used
to betake himself to the room of Taib Khan, and sit there half the day
studying the Scriptures. This could not go on, of course; the people
of the village heard of it, and said that they must have an imam who
was free from the suspicion of heresy; he lost his pupils, and at
last a Synod of the chief Mullahs of Bannu formally excommunicated him.

He then came to live in the mission compound, and spent some happy
months in study, while supporting himself as custodian of the mission
bookshop. Seldom have I seen so remarkable a growth of the Christian
graces in the character of any of our converts as in this man, and
it was a great delight to see him admitted to Christian baptism,
already more mature in Christian character than many who had been
in the visible Church for years.  He bore the most scurrilous abuse
with exemplary forbearance, and even when struck, as happened several
times when going through the bazaar, forbore to retaliate, which for
an Afghan is the acme of self-control.

He was a Seyyid--that is, one who claims descent from Muhammad--and
when he came with us to the bazaar preachings, and stood by our side,
the people were furious with him, saying that it was bad enough
that he, a Mullah and a Seyyid, should have become a Christian, but
to parade it there in the bazaar in that shameless way was too much,
and if he did not desist they would certainly kill him. I recommended
him to abstain from accompanying us to the bazaar preachings, because
I feared that the people would indeed put their threat into execution,
but he would not hear of it. He had read, he said, that our Lord said
He would be ashamed of those who were ashamed of Him before the world,
so how could he refrain from showing publicly that he had become a
Christian? He would think it an honour if he could obtain the crown
of martyrdom for the sake of the Saviour in whom he had believed.

One morning he found an Afghan dagger lying outside his door. We
thought perhaps his enemy had come in the night, but had been startled
by the night watchman and escaped, dropping his weapon; or it might
be that it had been left there to scare him, as much as to say, "That
is what is waiting for you if you do not desist." As a precaution
I told him not to sleep there any more, but gave him a bed in the
house of a native Christian near where I slept myself; for it was
summer, and we were all sleeping in the open. Three nights later I
was awakened about one o'clock in the morning by the report of a gun,
and, running over instinctively to Seyyid Badshah, found the enemy
had indeed come and shot him through the stomach.

Everything possible was done for him, but the wound was mortal, and
that evening he passed away, his last words being: "O Lord Jesus,
I am Thy servant!" There were many moist eyes as we carried Seyyid
Badshah to his last resting-place in the little cemetery at Bannu. His
had been a very lovable character, and in his short Christian life
he had been the means of influencing more than one Afghan towards
Christ. One in particular was a Mullah from the Yusufzai country,
Abdullah by name; and we sometimes spoke of the "four generations,"
as in these few years Taib had been brought by the Afghan preacher
from Laghman, whose story is given in Chapter XVI.; then Taib had
been the instrument in bringing Seyyid Badshah; and through Seyyid
Badshah's influence this other Mullah believed.

Taib Khan continued in the work of the mission hospital, but fresh
trials were about to test and sift him more severely than ever. The
old friend of his boyhood, the Khani Mullah, and some relations
came down to Bannu, and while pretending at first to acquiesce in
his having become a Christian, recalled to him the memories and
associations of his boyhood. He became violently homesick. The old
village scenes, his patrimony there only waiting for him to claim,
the girl to whom he had been engaged, and whom her parents were,
they said, still keeping unmarried in hopes that Taib would recant
and claim her--all these old scenes and ideas came to him with such
irresistible force that he came to me one day and asked for a month's
leave, that he might revisit his village. I well knew the dangers
to which he would be exposed, but I sympathized with his homesick
state of mind, and knew it would be futile to expect him to stifle
it, so I gave him leave, and, warning him of the specious nature of
the suggestions and temptations which would be offered to him there,
reluctantly parted from him. At the same time I told him that if he
did not return at the expiration of the month, I should conclude that
something was wrong, and go in search of him.

The month passed, and Taib did not appear, so I started for Peshawur,
and thence to Thandkoi, to get news of him. I took as my companion
Azizuddin, an Afghan, who but for his conversion to Christianity
would have been a distinguished Mullah, but now was a simple
mission catechist. It was a long walk of about seventeen miles
from the station to the village, and we were caught in a tropical
thunderstorm. Watercourses that had been all but dry an hour before
were now surging up to our armpits, and could only be forded with
difficulty. We reached the village like drowned rats, and the people
were kind to us and dried our clothes and gave us breakfast; but all
inquiries as to Taib Khan were fruitless, though someone indeed told
us that he had gone to the Akhund of Swat in company with the Khani
Mullah. We had to return to Peshawur after a bootless search.

A fortnight later, while on tour in the Kohat district, news was
brought me that Taib was again in his village. This time I took
a convert from Islam with the very Muhammadan name of Muhammad
Hoseïn. Though children born of Christian parents are never given names
distinctive of Islam, yet when converts have such names, and are not
desirous of changing them, we do not advocate a change of name, because
we wish them to feel that the change is a spiritual and not a material
one. So Muhammad Hoseïn and I set off, but resolved to proceed more
warily than in my previous visit; so, instead of going straight into
the village, we sat down by a well outside the neighbouring town of
Zaida, and my companion, leaving me there, went into the town to make
inquiries. Zaida is a larger and more important place than Thandkoi,
and contains many mosques, while the overlord is a well-educated
Muhammadan nobleman, an alumnus of the Peshawur mission school. He
was led to believe that Taib was secreted in one of the mosques there,
but would not be allowed to appear except perhaps at night.

He returned to me at the well, and by this time it had become known
who we were, so there was less hope than ever of Taib being allowed
to show himself. As evening drew on we made as though we would return
to Peshawur, but on reaching the first village on the Peshawur road I
let my friend go on alone, while I returned for a night quest. At the
same time I told him to wait for me till morning at the ferry over the
Kabul River, fifteen miles distant. I bound my turban over my face,
as is the custom with Pathans when they wish to be incognito, and,
throwing my lungi, or shawl, over all, returned to Zaida. I entered
the mosques one by one, and finally discovered Taib seated with some
Mullahs in one of them. I was still far from the attainment of my
object, as to have made myself known to Taib under such conditions
would, of course, have been fatal; so I betook myself to the chief
of the village above mentioned. He, being in Government service, was
away, but his brother received me, and I told him that I had reason
to believe that Taib Khan was being kept there against his will,
and wished him to call the young man and inquire from him whether he
wished to return to Bannu with me or no.

The chief, who had received me with the greatest good-nature, even
though he had been roused from his sleep for the purpose, acceded to
my request and sent a messenger to have Taib and the other Mullahs
called. Taib was much astonished, and apparently ashamed too, when
he saw me; but when the chief addressed him, saying, "Do you wish
to stop here as a Muhammadan or return with the Padre Sahib?" he at
once replied: "I will go with the Padre Sahib." There was a great
clamour from the Mullahs, on the one hand urging Taib not to leave,
and reviling him when he persisted, and on the other insisting to the
chief that Taib was really a true Muhammadan, and did not want to go,
but the eye of the Padre Sahib had a mesmeric influence on him, and he
should not, as a true Mussulman himself, allow Taib to go away with me.

Both Taib and the chief, however, stood firm, and the chief, turning
to me, said: "Now take him away with you, and look better after him
in the future; but make haste, and do not loiter on the way. I will
see that no one leaves the village for half an hour; after that you
must look out for yourselves."

I thanked him for his courtesy, and Taib and I wasted no time on the
road, and reached the Kabul River at dawn, just as Muhammad Hoseïn
was about to cross over.

Some years passed, and Taib Khan became one of our valued mission
workers, and I hoped that he was mature and strong enough to stand
any vicissitudes; but often one finds that, while a convert in his
first enthusiasm will suffer much for the Gospel's sake, afterwards
an inordinate idea of his own power and importance grows upon him,
and he falls a victim to the blandishments of false friends who seek
his downfall.

So it turned out with Taib Khan: he, like most of the Afghan converts,
would not have shrunk from martyrdom, and, in fact, he had already
undergone great hardships and sufferings for the Gospel's sake. He
was put in joint charge with another Indian Christian of a rather
remote dispensary. The Muhammadans of the place became very friendly,
and pointed out how needless it was for him to forsake his village,
his relations, and the graves of his forefathers just because he wished
to be a Christian; let him be a Christian if he liked--it was no doubt
written in his fate that he should be so--but let him go and live in
his village. With the knowledge that he had acquired of medicine he
could easily earn enough to support himself and his wife and child,
and besides that he could claim the piece of land that was his by
right, if he took the trouble to prove his title to it.

Then followed a spiritual decline. Hypercritical objections to
Christianity, which had never troubled him before, were made into
excuses for returning more and more to his original Muhammadan
position. Finally he went to live in his village, conforming himself
outwardly at least to the Muhammadan standard, though, no doubt,
professing in some respects still to have an attachment to the
Christian religion. Who is to judge? Even through perverts Christian
doctrine continues to permeate the great mass of Islam, and God will
undoubtedly bring back His own at the last. So, "undeterred by seeming
failure," we work and pray on, leaving the result with Him who knows
the hearts of men.



CHAPTER XI

SCHOOL-WORK

    Different views of educational work--The changed attitude of the
    Mullahs--His Majesty the Amir and education--Dangers of secular
    education--The mission hostel--India emphatically religious--Indian
    schoolboys contrasted with English schoolboys--School
    and marriage--Advantage of personal contact--Uses of a
    swimming-tank--An unpromising scholar--Unwelcome discipline--A
    ward of court--Morning prayers--An Afghan University--A
    cricket-match--An exciting finish--A sad sequel--An officer's
    funeral--A contrast--Just in time.


There are four attitudes towards educational work: that of the people
at large, who desire learning, not usually for learning's sake, but
because that is the portal of Government preferment and commercial
success; that of the priests and religious-conservative element,
who oppose it tooth and nail as subversive of the old religious
ideas and priestly power; that of the missionary, who finds therein
his vantage-ground for familiarizing the intelligent and influential
section of the people with the doctrines and ideals of the Christian
religion; and that of the Government, which, indifferent alike to
the motives of the missionary and the opposition of the Mullahs,
requires educated young men for administrative posts, and believes
that education eclipses fanaticism.

"Any parent sending his son to the mission school will be
excommunicated" was the fatwa of the Mullahs at Bannu when the
mission school was inaugurated; the delinquent would be unable to get
priestly assistance for marriage, for burial, or for the other rites
so essential to a Muhammadan's religious safety. But parents and boys
alike were desirous of availing themselves of the advantages of the
school, so the Mullahs relented, and said: "Let the boys go to school,
but beware lest they learn English, for English is the language of
infidelity, and will certainly destroy their souls." But without
English all the best Government appointments were unattainable, and
their boys would have to be content with inferior posts and inferior
pay; so pressure was again brought to bear on the Mullahs, and the fiat
went forth: "Let the boys read English, so long as they do not read
the Christian Scriptures, for the Christians have tampered with those
books, and it is no longer lawful for true Muhammadans to read them."

Again a little patience and a little gaining of confidence, and
the Mullahs tacitly retracted this restriction too, and now many of
the most prominent Mullahs themselves send their sons to the mission
school. The Muhammadan lads compete zealously with the others for the
Scripture prizes, and in 1907 two Muhammadan officials gave prizes
to be awarded to the boys who were most proficient in Scripture in
the matriculation class. Sic tempora mutantur!

A significant occurrence was the visit of His Majesty the Amir of
Afghanistan to the Islamic College at Lahore, when he made a speech,
in which he reiterated the advice: "Acquire knowledge! acquire
knowledge! acquire knowledge!" and went on to say that if they had
been previously well grounded in their religion they need not fear
lest the study of Western science might overthrow their beliefs or
undermine their faith.

Thus most of the Muhammadan boys in our school have already studied
the Quran in a mosque, and many continue to receive religious teaching
from their Mullah while studying in school. Thus they enter school
at an older age than the Hindu students, who, except in family life,
take little count of their religion, and slight their priests. The
danger is obvious: faith in the old order is lost, and there is
nothing but a conceited and bumptious materialism to take its place.

Here it is that the mission school holds the advantage of the
Government institution. The latter, in the endeavour to be impartial,
excludes all religious teaching, and therewith loses the most valuable
means of moral training. The mission school, on the other hand,
gives special prominence to religious and moral training, which
go hand-in-hand. "I prefer sending my son to the mission school,"
said a Muhammadan father to me once, "because he will be taught the
religious incentives to moral conduct there, and I shall not be afraid
of his character losing its moral balance." And this was said by a man
thoroughly orthodox and zealous in his own religion. There can be no
doubt that a far smaller proportion of the students in mission schools
and colleges lose the religious instinct of their forefathers, and it
is often the loss of this which results in moral instability and ruin.

"I never took an interest in studying my own religion till I was
taught Scripture in the mission school," said a pupil to me; and,
of course, we encourage the boys not only to perform the religious
duties inculcated by their own religion, but to study it thoughtfully,
and see how far it satisfies the aspirations of their souls. A
visitor to our school hostel of an early morning would find the
Muhammadans saying their prayers and the Hindus their devotions,
and we encourage this, and give facilities for it by setting apart
places for its performance, because it is a terrible thing to take
away a boy's faith, even though it be a faith in a mistaken creed,
and I think the man who has argued or bantered a young fellow out
of his faith without bringing him to a higher faith has incurred a
grave responsibility. The real enemy of the Christian faith is not
so much Islam or Hinduism, but infidelity and a gross materialism.

It is not education that is to blame for the unrest, sedition,
and materialism which threatens to engulf India, but the Government
system of education has undoubtedly much to answer for. God is ignored
in Government schools, prayer is proscribed, and the teachings of
English socialistic and materialistic philosophers are poured into
the capacious but untrained minds of the students. The result is
mental intoxication and libertinism. India has always been religious
to the core, and learning and religion have gone hand-in-hand. The
result of their divorce is destructive to moral stability, and the
Nemesis of the policy will pursue the country for years, even if,
as is to be hoped, the policy itself be discontinued.

When I first went to India I had a prejudice against mission schools,
and protested against a medical missionary having to superintend
one; but I have become convinced that the hope of India is in her
mission colleges and schools, for it is in their alumni that we find
young men who have been able to acquire Western knowledge without
losing the religious spirit, learning without moral atrophy, mental
nobility without a conceited mien and disrespect for their parents,
and breadth of view without disloyalty and sedition. I should like
to see the Government close all their schools and colleges except
those for primary and technical education, and devote the money saved
to the encouragement of private effort on lines more germane to the
spirit of the country.

The Indian student is an attractive personality and well worth
sympathetic study, for he is the future of the country in embryo. The
schoolboy has not yet lost the ancient Indian respect, even love, of
the pupil to the master, and is therefore much more readily subjected
to discipline than his English counterpart. His chief failing is
his incorrigible propensity to what is known in English schools as
"sneaking"; schoolboy honour and esprit de corps are being developed in
mission schools, but have very little basis on which to build. "Please,
sir, Mahtab Din has been pinching me." "Shuja'at 'Ali has stolen my
book." "Ram Chand has spilt the ink on my copy-book." If the master
is willing to listen to tales of this kind, he will get a continuous
supply of them all day long.

There are few boys who are not ready, by fair means or foul, to use
a master for paying off a grudge against a fellow-student, and as
the schemes are often deeply laid and the schemers very plausible,
the master has to be very much "all there," or, on the plea of
maintaining discipline, he will be merely a tool in a personal
quarrel. Once two or three of the senior students came to bring to
me serious charges against the moral character of one of the junior
masters. They were prima facie well substantiated by witnesses, but
on further investigation it turned out that the whole affair had been
engineered merely because the master had broken up an undesirable
clique of theirs. Such habits have, of course, to be sternly repressed.

There is much greater diversity in the social status of the boys
in an Indian school than in English schools. In the Bannu Mission
School every class of the community is represented--from the son
of the rich landowner to that of the labourer, from the Brahmin to
the outcast--and not only do they get on well together, without the
poor boy having to feel by taunt or treatment that he is unwelcome
or despised, but I have often come across genuine acts of charity
which have been done quite naturally and without any ostentation;
in fact, they tried to keep it secret in more cases than one. Thus,
a poor boy, unable to buy his books, has had them supplied to him by
the richer boys in the class. In one case a poor boy was left quite
destitute by the death of his father, and some of the boys arranged
a small subscription month by month to enable him to remain at school.

The Bannu school course commences in the infant class, where little
toddles of five summers sit on grass-mats and learn their alphabet,
to the big lads of eighteen in the fifth form, who are preparing for
the matriculation of the Punjab University. Visitors are sometimes
surprised to be told that many of the boys in this class are married
and have children, but such is unfortunately still the case. At one
time even much younger boys married, but a school law was passed that
any pupil marrying under the age of sixteen would be expelled. Since
then some twenty or more boys have had to leave because their parents,
usually much against the boys' will, insisted on getting them married
below this age. But many marriages have been postponed, and there is
a healthier public feeling against early marriage, and we hope that
before long there will be no married boys in the school at all.

I place great importance on the influence of the school hostels. These
are the boarding-houses where those students whose homes are in the
remoter parts of the district reside, and the contrast between our
raw material, the uncouth, prejudiced village lad, and the finished
product, the gentlemanly, affectionate student who is about to leave
us, is an object-lesson in itself. The boarders, though comparatively
few in number, are really the nucleus of the school, and take a
prominent part in matches and in school life in general quite out of
proportion to their numbers. The missionary is constantly in contact
with them, and they come to him at all seasons, till the relationship
is more like that of a father to his family than of a master to his
students. Such students leave the hostel with friendly feelings towards
Christians and Englishmen, which show themselves in after-years in
the hospitable and hearty reception which they accord not only to
the missionary, but to others who may be visiting their village.

There is a swimming-tank attached to the hostel, and the boys bathe
every morning except in the coldest winter months, when they bathe at
the well, where the water is several degrees warmer. Woe betide the
boy who is found asleep after sunrise! for should the manager come
round and find him so, he is hauled out by two of the monitors, who,
seizing him by hands and feet, toss him far into the swimming-tank
before he quite knows whether he is dreaming or awake. A similar
punishment is inflicted on a boy using foul language, who is thrown
in, clothes and all, for purification from its stain. At one time
visitors often got opportunities of seeing the punishment inflicted,
but it is getting rarer now as the standard rises.

A strange fragment of frontier boyhood was Amal Khan. He was brought
down to us from Afghanistan by a friendly Sardar, who had taken an
interest in him. He was only about eleven years old, but his father
and most of his family had been killed in vendettas, and his ruling
passion was to grow big and strong, buy a rifle, and go in quest of
the murderers or their relatives. His gentle little face and winsome
manner seemed so out of keeping with the cold bloodthirstiness of the
remarks he used to make with the greatest naïveté that he was looked on
as a kind of curiosity. Later on, when he had made some acquaintance
with Scripture, he used to like to hear the Gospel stories of the
gentleness of Jesus--the Good Shepherd, the miracles of compassion,
the parable of the Good Samaritan, and such like; but even then the
passion for revenge seemed to dominate his little breast, and he
finally went back to his village across the Afghan border in order
to apply himself more seriously to the object of his fate.

Once a well-to-do Afghan brought down his three sons to place them in
our hostel, and told me I might use any means I liked to discipline
them, short of shooting them. He had evidently found them too much
of a handful himself. They had been accustomed to run wild in a wild
country, and any idea of sitting still in a classroom to learn lessons
seemed to have never entered their heads. They seemed so accustomed to
the use of knife and revolver that the other boys, Afghans though they
were, came to ask me to take precautions for their safety. Finally,
when I had to "discipline" them, and that was not before very long,
they all three disappeared, and I never saw them till, some years
later, I visited their village.

Once a Government civilian wrote asking me to take a young ward of
court into my hostel. The account of him was not promising, as,
though only sixteen, he had been turned out of two schools for
misconduct. His family was of noble Afghan descent, but had been
bereft of most of its male members owing to the wretched blood-feuds,
and this boy was now the head of the family. Hoping to be able yet
to save him and to make him a power for good instead of for evil,
as he must by his position become one or other, I consented, and a
day was appointed for his admission. The day passed, but the boy did
not appear. I then got a letter from the officer responsible for him,
saying that as he had just murdered his younger brother, the hope of
his schooling must be abandoned.

Some of the masters of the little Government primary schools in the
more remote parts lead very unenviable lives, especially if they happen
to be Hindus. Their pupils often defy their authority, and they are
afraid to chastise them. I have myself seen a boy allowed to sit in
class with a loaded revolver in his belt. The unwillingness of the
master to enforce his authority is excusable, yet, had he complained,
he would merely have lost his place and his pittance. On another
occasion I came upon a poor Hindu schoolmaster in a certain village
who was about to send in his resignation. He had punished a boy for
playing truant, and the father had just been round with a loaded
rifle and dared him to touch his son again.

In the mission school the work of the day commences with roll-call,
at which a portion of Scripture is read by the headmaster, and
the Lord's Prayer repeated. During the latter the boys have to
stand. They do not object to this, but I remember once a Hindu boy
being accused of having become a Christian because he had shut his
eyes and folded his hands during the prayer. He told me that many of
the boys really joined in the prayer, and certainly they have got to
value and appreciate prayer. On a Sunday evening the boarders come to
my house to sing hymns from "Sacred Songs and Solos" and vernacular
collections, and if I omit to offer the usual prayer at the close,
they remind me of the omission; they do not wish to go away without it.

Once, at a cricket-match with a rival school, when the issue of
the game was hanging in the balance, and depended on the last man,
who had just gone in, making four runs, a Muhammadan Afghan, one of
the eleven, retired to a corner of the field and repeated the Lord's
Prayer, closing it with a petition for the victory of the school,
and returned to find the winning run just made! At meetings of the
schoolboys among themselves it is not uncommon for prayer to be
offered by one of the number, and at a farewell dinner given me in
1908 by some pupils a very beautiful and touching prayer was offered
by an old Hindu student, now reading in the Lahore Medical College,
and all the other Muhammadans, Hindus, and Christians stood up for it.

Missionaries were the first to open schools on modern lines, but at
the present time Muhammadans, Hindus, and Sikhs are endowing their own
schools and colleges on the most lavish scale, and teaching their own
religions therein, just as the mission schools teach Christianity. This
certainly has many advantages over the Government system, where
religion is ignored. His Majesty the Amir of Afghanistan is alive to
the necessity of keeping up with the times, and is founding a college
on modern lines at Kabul, which will be the first step towards the
foundation of an Afghan University. During his recent visit to India
he selected a number of trained Muhammadan graduates from Lahore and
elsewhere, who are to inaugurate the new scheme. He will, no doubt,
encounter the opposition of some of the more fanatical Mullahs, who
already look upon him as having been contaminated with many Western and
heretical ideas; but the ultimate result will be good, and the attempt
shows that even for Afghanistan a new era is approaching. Perhaps
it may not be long before a mission school at Kabul will receive the
royal sanction.

The following episode I relate in this place because it shows the
striking contrast between the uneducated ghazi fanatic of the hills
and young men of the same race and antecedents who have passed through
the humanizing and civilizing influences of a mission school.



It is a lovely autumn afternoon in the little frontier town of
Bannu. The trees round the recreation-ground between the city and
cantonments are becoming sere and showing variegated tints of yellow
and brown. There is an unusual crowd round the greensward which forms
the station cricket-pitch, and as it is Friday, the Bannu market-day,
a number of Wazirs and other hillmen who are coming to and from market
stop for a few minutes to gaze on the scene that lies before them,
and probably to wonder in their minds what mysterious ultimate object
the Feringis have in the evolutions they are watching enacted, or
whether it is some preliminary to military operations on their own
hill fastnesses.

Turning to the recreation-ground itself, we find that it is a
cricket-match between the garrison officers and the Mission High School
students. The boys have been stealing a number of runs, and their
score is beginning to draw on towards a century, when the officers
put on a new slow bowler, and a succession of unwary batsmen fall
victims to his wiles, and soon the innings is over with a score of
eighty-eight. The officers begin to bat, and the score rises rapidly;
then some good catches send several players back to the pavilion
(here represented by some shady shisham-trees). The score reaches
eighty-eight, and the last player goes in, a young fair-haired boy,
the son of the slow bowler; the winning run is made, and the boy
caught at point next ball, and the innings is over.

Just one week has passed. Again it is market-day, but no tribesmen can
be seen anywhere near the recreation-ground; instead we see long lines
of khaki-dressed native infantry, while sentries and patrols guard all
the roads leading thereto, and all is silent as the grave. Then we see
a long procession slowly, silently moving out of the fort, long ranks
of native infantry--Sikh, Pathan, and Punjabi Mussulmans--with slow,
measured tread and arms reversed; then a gun-carriage surmounted by
a coffin covered with the Union Jack and wreaths, the masterless
steed, the mourners; a group of sunburnt officers of the Frontier
Force and some more troops bring up the rear. It is the funeral of a
distinguished frontier officer, and the slow bowler of last Friday,
now borne to his last resting-place, the victim of a dastardly ghazi
outrage the day before.

Just facing the cricket-ground is a shady and flowery patch of ground,
enclosed by a simple brick wall and containing a number of white
tombstones. Here lie many gallant officers, military and civil--some
killed in action; others, like the present Captain Donaldson, killed
by religious fanatics in Bannu and the neighbourhood while in the
execution of their duties; others, again, carried off by pestilence
and disease. Here, too, in lowlier grass-grown graves, lie a number
of the native Christian community. East and West, high and low,
all gathered in one small plot, covered with the same Mother Earth
to await their common resurrection--so glorious in its expectations
for some, so dread in its possibilities for others.

Here, just facing the now deserted cricket-ground, the long procession
halts; the chaplain, just arrived after a hasty drive of ninety miles
from Dera Ismaïl Khan, begins to recite the solemn verses of the Burial
Service, and the booted and spurred officers do their last brotherly
service and shoulder their comrade's coffin from the gun-carriage
to the grave. The strains of the "Last Post" sound forth--a shrill
call to the sombre mountains round as the last rays of the setting
sun fall slanting through the foliage on the faces of the mourners;
some sharp words of command ring forth from a native officer; the
troops wheel about, and all is solitude and silence.

Only the day before a new regiment was to arrive in Bannu, and, as the
custom is, the station regiments were marching out with their band
to welcome them in. At the head of the regiment a group of officers
were riding, including the officer commanding the district, Colonel
Aylmer, V. C., and his Brigade-Major, Captain Donaldson. Just beyond
the fort the road narrows a little to pass over a culvert, and the
officer on the outside of Captain Donaldson fell back a little to
make room for him.

Behind that culvert a Mahsud Wazir was in hiding, determined to kill an
infidel and gain a martyrdom in the most sensational manner possible,
so that for many an evening in years to come the tribal bards might
sing his praises round the camp-fires and in the village chauks. Just
as Captain Donaldson, now on the outside rank, came abreast of him,
he sprang out; a pistol shot rang through the air, and the officer
fell mortally wounded. There was, of course, no escape for the Mahsud;
bullet and bayonet at once disabled him, though he lived long enough
to be hanged that afternoon. Our first feelings are those of horror
at the enormity of the act--killing a stranger who has never seen or
injured him--but who is worthy of our severer judgment, this young and
ignorant soldier (for he had recently served in the Border Militia),
thirsting for religious fame by a deed of daring, or the Muhammadan
priest who had assiduously taught him that all Feringis were kafirs,
and that to kill one of them, in no matter how dastardly a manner,
was a sure passport to Paradise, and that eternal joys were awaiting
him as the reward of the valour and righteousness of his deed? Here,
at any rate, we see the two extremes--the gentlemanly Afghan from the
mission school, entering with zest and sport into the game of cricket
with the officers, and, so far from feeling any resentment towards
them, ready, if need be, to fight with them shoulder to shoulder in
the common cause of humanity, under the same flag, and defend them
with their own blood from the fanaticism of their fellow-countrymen;
on the other hand, the fanatical tool of the Mullah, who quails before
his ex-cathedrâ denunciations, but is ready at his suggestion to meet
a bloody death as a martyr in the cause of his religion.

As an example of the former, I might mention Muzaffar Khan, an old
student of the Bannu Mission School, who risked his life to save that
of the Political Officer of the Tochi Valley, with whom he was on
tour. While that officer was viewing a Muhammadan shrine a fanatic
rushed out and ran a dagger into his body; but, quick as thought,
Muzaffar Khan threw himself on the would-be murderer and dragged him
back before he had been able to inflict a fatal wound. The ghazi was
secured and hanged soon after, while the officer recovered, the stab
having just missed a vital part, although it had pierced right through
his body.

Yet, but for the mission school, Muzaffar Khan might have been the
ghazi himself. Race and religion were the same, but their environments
had been different.



CHAPTER XII

AN AFGHAN FOOTBALL TEAM

    Native sport--Tent-pegging--A novel game--A football tournament--A
    victory for Bannu--Increasing popularity of English games--A
    tour through India--Football under difficulties--Welcome
    at Hyderabad--An unexpected defeat--Matches at Bombay and
    Karachi--Riots in Calcutta--An unprovoked assault--The Calcutta
    police-court--Reparation--Home again.


The reader must imagine himself on a flat open piece of ground covered
by the hard alluvial earth known in the Panjab as pat. This kind
of earth is somewhat saline, and has a universally smooth surface,
unbroken by grass or shrub, which is utilized by the villagers for
their games and fairs, and by the British for the evolutions of their
troops. Around are a number of Bannu villages, but the men and children
have all collected round this piece of ground in their gala-day attire,
for it is the Day of the Feast, "'Id-el-fitr," or the Breaking of
the Fast, following the month of Ramazan, and is to be celebrated as
usual by sports and merry-making. All the men who own or can borrow
a horse are mounted upon steeds of all descriptions, more or less
richly caparisoned, according to the ability of the owner. Saddles
are of the high-backed pattern universally used in Afghanistan, with
a long wooden croup, which helps the rider to retain his seat. They
are all carrying the long bamboo iron-tipped lance for their national
sport of tent-pegging, or nezabazi, as the Afghans call it. Some of
the boys who are there as spectators are mounted two or even three
on a horse, and others, mounted on riding camels, are able to get a
good view of the games over the heads of the others.

The pegs, cut out of the wood of the date-palm, are fixed in the
ground, three or four abreast, so that an equal number of horsemen
may be able to compete simultaneously. The competitors, with their
embroidered turbans and gay, many-coloured coats and shawls, form a
brave show at one end of the course, as they pass the intervening time
in showing off feats of horsemanship on their prancing chargers. Then,
at a given word, three or four strike their heels into the horses'
sides--for they wear no spurs--and as often as not rousing their own
excitement and that of their horses by shouting out the Muhammadan
Kalimah ("La ilaha illa 'llahu, Muhammadun rasulu 'llah"), career
wildly down on the pegs, and, if successful, gallop on triumphantly,
waving the peg at the end of their lances.

This goes on till men and horses are weary, and then a new game
commences. This is known as tod or kari. The people form a large
circle; then some young athlete, stripped except for his loin-cloth,
tied tightly round, or secured by a leather waistband, jumps lightly
out into the arena, his muscular frame showing to advantage as he
contracts his muscles under his glossy, well-oiled skin. Two other
athletes, similar in attire and appearance, answer his challenge
from the party on the opposite side. The endeavour of the challenger
is to avoid capture, while yet allowing the pursuers to come near
enough for him to give them at least three slaps with the open hand;
while the pursuers in their turn try to seize him and throw him on
to the ground, in which case they are adjudged the winners, and a
fresh challenger comes forth. Both sides are apt to get very excited,
and the throws are often so violent that bones are broken, or other
injuries received; and if that side believes this to be due to malice
prepense, the game not unfrequently terminates in a free fight.

These amusements and games go on until nightfall, when they may be
followed by some fireworks, and competitors and spectators, both
equally wearied, go home to their feast of pulao and halwa. Such
scenes have no doubt been common in Afghanistan for centuries past,
but the reader must now come with me to a different scene, and he will
see how Western influences are changing even the sports of the people.

This time we are in a large grassy sward between Bannu city and
the cantonments. There is a crowd, as before, of some thousands of
spectators, but the football goal-posts and flags show that the game
is something different. It is the day of the provincial tournament of
all the schools of the province, and teams of the various frontier
schools from Peshawur, Kohat, Dera Ismaïl Khan, as well as those of
Bannu, have collected here to pit their skill and prowess against one
another in games and athletics. The referee, an English officer from
the garrison, has blown his whistle, and the youthful champions come
out, amid the cheers of their supporters, from the opposite sides of
the ground. The Bannu team are somewhat smaller in stature, and are
wearing a uniform of the school colours--pink "shorts" and light blue
shirts. The Peshawur team are heavier in build, and are wearing their
blue-and-black uniform. The referee blows his whistle again, and both
sides are exerting all their powers to reach their adversaries' goal.

As the ball travels up and down, and the chances of one or other side
appear in the ascendant, the cheers from their supporters redouble,
and as goals are attempted and gained or lost the excitement of all
the spectators is not less than may be witnessed at a similar match in
England. The captain of the Bannu side is a native Christian, whose
father is a convert from Muhammadanism; but the other Muhammadans
and Hindus in his team are loyal to him to the backbone, and carry
out his every order with that alacrity which displays the new esprit
de corps which has developed in our mission schools.

On his outside left is a young Hindu, who carries the ball past
the opposing half-backs and backs right up to the corner, from
which he centres with great skill to the captain. The captain is,
however, being marked by the other opposing back, so he passes to
a Muhammadan lad on his inside right, and then the whole line of
forwards--Muhammadan, Hindu, and Christian--rush the ball through
the goal, amid the triumphant cheers of their side.

The game is restarted, and Peshawur makes a number of desperate
rallies and skilful rushes, which, however, are all foiled by the
vigilance of the Bannu backs and the agility of the goal-keeper, a tall
Muhammadan lad, whose weight and height both tell in his favour. Once
one of the Peshawur forwards brought the ball right up to the mouth
of the goal. The Bannu custodian seized it, but the Peshawari was
upon him. The goal-keeper held the ball securely, awaited the charge
of the Peshawari, who bounded back off him as from a wall, and then
cleared the ball with his fist far up the field to the Bannu left
half. The whistle for "time" is sounded, and the Bannu boys rush into
the field and carry off their victorious schoolfellows shoulder high,
amid great clapping and cheering.

The next day the final cricket-match is held. In this the Dera Ismaïl
Khan boys are pitted against one of the Peshawur teams. Peshawur
has already defeated Bannu and Kohat, and the Dera Ismaïl Khan boys
have disposed of the other Peshawur team. All the technicalities of
the game are observed with as much punctiliousness as in England,
and their white flannels show off well under the bright Indian sun,
and but for their dark faces and bare feet one might imagine that he
was watching a public school match in England. To-day the laurels
rest with Dera Ismaïl Khan, and they triumphantly bear off a belt
with silver shields awarded annually to the winning team.

The old order changes and gives place to the new. Tent-pegging will
always retain its charm, with its brave show and splendid opportunities
for the display of manly courage and dextrous horsemanship, so dear
to a militant nation like the Afghans, and will always remain their
favourite pastime. But the simpler native games are gradually giving
place to the superior attractions of cricket and football, and the
tournaments which of recent years have been organized between the
various native regiments and between the different tribes inhabiting
each district and between the schools of the provinces are doing much
to create a spirit of friendly rivalry, and to develop among these
frontier people a fascination for those sports which have done so much
to make England what she is. Some tribes among the Afghans, such as the
Marwats, are very stay-at-home, and soon become homesick if they enlist
in a regiment or undertake a journey. Others, like the Povindahs,
are perhaps the greatest overland merchants of the East. They travel
down from their mountains in Khorasan, through the passes in the
North-West Frontier, and traverse with their merchandise the length
and breadth of India, and numbers of them engaged in the trade in
camels cross over the seas to Australia and take service there.

With the idea of developing the esprit de corps of the school, and
gratifying their love of travel, while at the same time conferring on
them the benefits of a well-planned educational tour through the chief
cities of India, I arranged in the summer of 1906 to take the football
team of the Mission High School at Bannu on a tour through a great
part of Northern India. A number of colleges and schools from Calcutta
to Karachi not only accepted our challenge for football matches, but
offered us hospitality for such time as we should be in their town. Our
team represented all classes--Muhammadans, Hindus, native Christians,
and Sikhs. The captain of the team was an Afghan lad of the Khattak
tribe, Shah Jahan Khan by name, while the vice-captain was a native
Christian, James Benjamin. Various difficulties presented themselves,
but all were eventually successfully surmounted. Stress of work and
school duties compelled us to make the tour in the slacker time of the
year--viz., in July, August, and September. This was also the hottest
time in most of the places we visited, and some of the matches were
played in a temperature bordering on 100° F., while the spectators
were sitting under punkahs.

At this time of year the River Indus is in full flood, and presents a
remarkable sight as, bursting forth from its rocky defile at Kalabagh,
it spreads out over the flat alluvial plain of the Western Panjab. In
the winter it may be confined to one, two, or three channels, each
about one to four hundred yards wide; but in the early summer, swollen
by the melting snows of the Himalayas, it overflows its banks, and not
infrequently forms a wide expanse of water ten miles broad from bank to
bank. At such a time the villages, which are built on the more raised
areas of its bed, appear as little islands scattered here and there,
the people of which get to and from the mainland in their boats. It
is then that the tonga, or cart, has often to be dragged over miles
of submerged road, with water from one to three feet deep, before
it reaches the place where it is able to transfer its passengers and
burden to the ferry-boats, which are waiting to carry them across the
deeper portions of the river, and it may be that several changes from
boat to cart and cart to boat have to be made before the traveller
attains the farther shore, where is the railway-station and the train
waiting to carry him down to Karachi or up to Lahore.

In our case, after getting across the main stream in the ferry-boat, we
put our luggage into two carts, and, removing our superfluous clothing,
started to trudge through the inundated country to the station of
Darya Khan, on the eastern bank. Sometimes there was a quarter of a
mile or so of fields not yet submerged; sometimes the water was up
to our knees or hips for miles together, and in one place there was a
deep channel about one hundred yards wide, where a ferry-boat was in
readiness for the luggage, but we enjoyed having a swim across. Two
of the team, who were less practised swimmers, and had miscalculated
the strength of the current, found themselves being carried rapidly
down the stream; but just as some of those who had already gained the
opposite bank were about to return to the rescue, they found their
feet on a sandbank, and were able to struggle across. The thirteen
miles across the swollen river took us from nine in the morning till
four in the afternoon, though it must be admitted we loitered several
times to enjoy a swim in the cool waters of the deeper channels.

We found, too, that the football season differs in various
places. While Calcutta plays football in July and August, Karachi
plays from December to March, and Bombay in the spring. However,
even those colleges which were not in their actual football season
sportingly agreed to get up matches during our visit. In no place
did we find greater enthusiasm among the colleges and schools for
football and a more open-handed hospitality than in Hyderabad, the
capital of the Nizam's Government, and here our team experienced
their first defeat in this tour.

We had had thirty hours' travelling from Ahmadnagar, in the North,
and the stations on this line were so ill supplied with refreshments
that we had been unable to get anything except some biscuits and
sweets, and, arriving at Hyderabad at midday, we found the match
had been fixed for 4 p.m., so that the team had only time for a
hastily-prepared meal before the match. The college of the Nizam
put a strong team against us, and for the first time in the tour the
Bannu boys were distinctly outmatched. It was, however, nice to see
what good feeling was evinced by both teams in this and nearly all
the matches of the tour, both sides fraternizing with the greatest
bonhomie both before and after the matches, and friendships were made
which continued long after our team got back to Bannu.

Tours such as this undoubtedly tend to promote that feeling of
friendship and union between the races of various parts of India
which has hitherto been so little in evidence. It also tends to
widen sympathies and to lessen religious prejudices. Not only did the
members of our team sink the prejudices which might have arisen from
diversity of religious opinion, but our hosts, too, represented all
classes and faiths. Thus, in Hyderabad the organizer of hospitality
was a Christian missionary, the Rev. Canon Goldsmith. A house was
lent us for residence by a Parsi gentleman, and dinners were given
us by the Muhammadans of the place.

Further south the Hindus were more in evidence, and entertained us
royally at Bezwada and Masulipatam. In the latter place we were the
guests of the staff of the Noble College, belonging to the Church
Missionary Society, and here an amusing incident took place. The boys
in these parts are accustomed to play football with bare feet, and are
light, lithe, and wiry, while our Northerners were heavy, big-boned,
and wore the usual football boots; so it came about that when they
saw our team arrive, their hearts melted within them for fear, and
they refused to play unless our boys consented to play barefooted;
and this they refused to do, as they had had no practice in playing
like that. It seemed as though we should have to go away without a
match, but a missionary there had a boarding-house of Christian lads
of the district, and these sportingly declared that they were ready to
play. Both teams appeared at the appointed time amid a great concourse
of spectators. The Bannu boys, with their football boots, looked
much the heavier team; but the Telegu boys proved themselves much
the more nimble, and outran and ran round our boys time after time,
and as the Bannu boys played very cleanly and were careful not to hack,
they did not suffer from want of boots; but, on the other hand, several
of our boys took off theirs at half-time, hoping thereby to become as
nimble as their antagonists. They, however, lost by one goal to love,
amid the greatest excitement. The teams which had refused to play were
now most importunate in begging us to stop for other matches, but as
we were engaged for a match next day at Guntur it could not be done.

With one exception, our Afghans had never seen the sea, and they
were all greatly desirous of making its acquaintance. I accordingly
arranged for the journey from Karachi to Bombay to be on one of the
British India steamers which ply between those two ports. It was the
height of the July monsoon, and they had not realized what their
request entailed. There was a strong wind on our beam the whole
of our forty hours' journey, and the little steamer Kassara rolled
continuously the whole time, the billows sometimes breaking over her
fore-deck. All but three of them suffered the terrors of mal-de-mer
in its worst form, and earnestly wished that they had never been so
rash as to dare the terrors of the ocean at such a time. We arrived at
Bombay amid a torrential rain--a bedraggled, dispirited, and staggering
crew. It was pitch dark, and it was only with some difficulty that we
found our way to the Money School of the Church Missionary Society,
where we were to receive hospitality. The shops were closed and the
watchman asleep, but after some delay we aroused him, got some tea
at a belated coffee-shop, and lay down on the boards to wish for
the morrow. It rained almost continuously during our stay at Bombay,
but we managed one match with the City Club, of which the following
account appeared in the Bombay Gazette:


    "Match between the Bannu Football Team and the City Club.

    "The visitors opened the attack last evening from the southern end
    of the Oval, and although the City Club at times were pressed, the
    game was more or less of an even nature. The Bannu combination was
    the first to score, and soon after followed up with their second
    goal. Pulling themselves together, the City Club then made several
    good rushes, and eventually succeeded in scoring. Soon after they
    annexed their second goal, and equalized matters. In the second
    half the game was intensely exciting, as either side tried to
    get the winning goal. The visitors had a warm time of it, but
    eventually succeeded in getting their third goal. A minute before
    the close of time, however, the City men equalized by a well-judged
    shot, and the match thus ended in a draw of three goals each."


One of the best matches of the tour was with the Y.M.C.A. of Karachi,
which was thus described by the Sindh Gazette:

"An interesting football match was played on Tuesday evening last on
the Howard Institute ground, between the team of the Y.M.C.A. and
Dr. Pennell's team of Pathan boys from the C.M.S. High School,
Bannu. The first goal was scored soon after the match began, by
a soft drive, and was in favour of Bannu. Almost immediately the
Y.M.C.A. equalized by Bannu heading into their own goal during a
mêlée from a corner kick. Soon afterwards the Y.M.C.A. took the
lead through a clever run up by Wolfe, who passed neatly to Morton,
who netted with a neat shot. On the whole play was very even till
half-time, when the Y.M.C.A. led by two goals to one. At half-time
the Y.M.C.A. lost the services of their outside right, who retired on
account of a weak knee. Bannu generally took the lead in attacking,
and scored twice again, the last time from a stinging shot well up
the field. The Bannu team played consistently, and altogether without
roughness. We are glad to have seen them in Karachi, and wish them
all success in the remainder of their tour."

From Guntur we travelled north to Calcutta, where a series of matches
had been arranged, after which we had arranged a number of matches
with the schools and colleges of the United Provinces of Agra and
Oudh, and those of the Panjab; but an unforeseen and unaccountable
misadventure brought our tour to a premature conclusion a few hours
before the time fixed for our departure from Calcutta. It was the
outcome of one of those waves of unrest which followed the outburst
of the storm with which the Bengalis exhibited their resentment at the
partition of Bengal. The Bengalis had organized a boycott of European
goods, and in the fervour of their campaign had placed a number of boy
sentinels at the doors of the shops of those merchants who dealt in
articles of Western manufacture. These were largely Marwari merchants
from the Bombay Presidency, and they thought to relieve themselves of
this wasp-like horde of boy sentinels by circulating the rumour that a
number of Panjabis and Afghans had come down from the North to kidnap
boys and children whom they could lay hands on. This rumour was widely
believed by the credulous mob of Calcutta, and, all unknown to us,
who were ignorant even of the existence of the rumours, our team had
been pointed out as some of the probable kidnappers.

We had returned on the morning of August 23, 1906, from playing
a number of matches in Krishnagar, and were to leave Calcutta the
same afternoon to play a match the following day at Bhagalpur. The
team had broken up into two parties to get their breakfast in one of
those eating shops which abound in the Calcutta Bazaar, and I had
gone along to Howrah Station to purchase the tickets. It was a hot
day, and on my return I stopped at a refreshment shop in the Harrison
Road, near the Church Mission Boarding-House, where we were stopping,
to get a glass of lemonade.

I was sitting quietly drinking it in the shop front, when I noticed
the whole bazaar was in an uproar. The crowd was rushing to and fro,
and the shopkeepers were hurriedly putting up their shutters. All
ignorant of the fact that it was my own boys who were being attacked,
I quietly finished my glass and strolled back to our hostel, thinking
there was no reason why I should trouble myself about affairs of
Calcutta which did not concern me. No sooner had I entered the
gates of the compound when I saw one of our team--Rahim Bakhsh--his
face covered with blood, and another one injured. "Do you not know,"
cried one, "that our boys have been murderously assaulted, and perhaps
killed?" "Where are they?" I hurriedly asked. "They are probably in the
hospital by this time." A cab was passing at the moment, and I jumped
in, and drove off to the hospital. Running up into the casualty room,
I was horrified to find six of the team lying about with their clothes
all torn and covered with blood and mud. Their heads had been shaved
by the casualty dressers, and were so cut and swollen that I could
not recognize them all until I had spoken to them, and then for the
first time I learnt what had happened.

A party of nine had gone in a refreshment room, and were having their
breakfast. Meanwhile they noticed that a crowd of many hundreds had
collected outside. Scarcely realizing that they were the cause of
the crowd, after finishing their meal, they came out to return to
the Mission Boarding-House, but were met by cries on all sides:
"These are the kidnappers! Kill them! kill them!" Even now they
did not understand the cause of the excitement, but when they asked
what it was all about, and what was wanted from them, they were only
answered by derisive shouts and a shower of stones and brickbats.
Before they had time to organize any resistance they were separated
one from another, in the midst of a raging mob, who belaboured them
with stones and sticks until they fell senseless in the street. Two
only managed to escape--Rahim Bakhsh, whom I had met in the hostel,
and one other, who had managed to get into a passing carriage.

Five of them, having been reduced to a state of insensibility, were
taken by the mob and thrown into a back alley, where the blood from
their wounds continued to flow and trickle down in a red stream
into the street gutter. One of them--Ganpat Rai--was rescued by
a friendly Bengal gentleman, who bundled him into his house and
attended to his wounds, and afterwards sent him under escort to the
hospital. Another--Gurmukh Das--was being belaboured by some ruffians
while lying in the middle of the road, when an English gentleman passed
in his carriage. Naturally indignant at what he saw, he jumped down
and asked them what they thought themselves to be, beating a senseless
man in that way; and if he had committed a crime, why did they not
take him to the police-station? Someone in the crowd called out,
"This Englishman is their officer: let us kill him!" and, leaving
the boy, they all set on him. He defended himself for some time,
when some ruffian, coming up behind, turned a basket over his head,
and it would have gone hard with him had not some friendly natives
pulled him into the Ripon College, which was close at hand.

We would fain have got away from Calcutta as soon as the condition
of the wounded enabled us to travel, for the unaccustomed diet and
climate was affecting the health of all of us; but we found ourselves
prisoners to the will of the Government, who required us to remain
in Calcutta as witnesses in the prosecution which the Government was
instituting, and we had to spend day after day of weary waiting,
hanging about the police-courts of Bow Street Bazaar. The police
had secured a number of men who had been shown to have taken part
in the riot, and most of these had secured barristers and pleaders
for their defence; consequently, there was a formidable array of
advocates on the side of the defence, each one of whom thought it
his duty to cross-examine each member of the team at tedious length,
and regardless of some of the questions having been asked us time
after time by his brothers of the law.

The brow-beating and cross-examining which we had to undergo could
not have been worse had we been the aggressors instead of the victims,
while the irrelevancy of the questions and the needless waste of time,
entailing constant postponement from day to day, was exceedingly
trying to us in our wounded and feeble condition, only anxious to
get back to our homes on the frontier. The barristers and pleaders
of the defence professed notwithstanding to be very sympathetic
with us in our troubles, and one and another would come up and say
something like this: "We people of Calcutta are most sorry for this
very unfortunate occurrence. No doubt most of the men in the dock
are guilty, and should be punished for so unwarranted an attack on
innocent travellers, but there is one man who has been arrested by
some mistake of the police. He had nothing to do with it, and should
be released, because he is quite innocent." As in each case the man
"arrested by mistake" proved to be the one for which the barrister
was holding a brief, their protestations lost something of their force.

A more pleasant feature was the genuine sympathy shown by a
certain section of the Bengalis, a sympathy which was voiced by the
Hon. Surendra Nath Bannerji, who convened a public meeting, in which
he expressed the regrets of the Calcutta citizens in an address which
was presented to us in a silver casket.

At last the court, taking pity on our uncomfortable condition,
consented to take our examination and cross-examination previous to
that of the hundred and more witnesses which the defence were going
to bring, and which would have entailed some months' stay in Calcutta,
had we been kept back to the end of the trial.

When we reached Bannu we were honoured with a civic reception, which
went far to make up to the members of the team for the discomforts that
they had undergone. The Civil Officer of the district, the Municipal
Commissioners, and a great number of the citizens, met us with a band
some few miles before reaching Bannu, and we were escorted in amid
great rejoicings.



CHAPTER XIII

'ALAM GUL'S CHOICE

    A farmer and his two sons--Learning the Quran--A village school--At
    work and at play--The visit of the Inspector--Pros and cons of
    the mission school from a native standpoint--Admission to Bannu
    School--New associations--In danger of losing heaven--First night
    in the boarding-house--A boy's dilemma.


Pir Badshah was a well-to-do farmer of the Bangash tribe, not far
from Kohat, and he had married a woman of the Afridi tribe from over
the border, called Margilarri, or "the Pearl."

He had not to pay for her, because it was arranged that his sister
was to marry her brother, and in cases where an exchange like this
is made nothing further is required.

They had two sons, 'Alam Gul and Abdul Majid. The father intended
that the elder should be educated, and one day he hoped would become a
great man, perhaps Tahsildar (meaning Revenue Officer) of the British
Government, so he was going to give him the best education he could
afford; while Abdul Majid was to look after the lands and become a
farmer, for which it is not supposed that any education is necessary.

Pir Badshah was very orthodox and punctilious in all the observances
of his religion, so the two boys were not to learn anything else
until they had sat at the feet of the village Mullah, and learnt to
read the Quran.

The mosque was a little building on the hillside. It was built of
stones cemented together with mud, and in the centre was a little niche
towards the setting sun, where the Mullah, with his face towards Mecca,
led the congregation in their prayers. There was a wooden verandah,
the corners of which were ornamented with the horns of the markhor,
or mountain goat. Beyond this was the open court, in which prayers
were said when the weather was fine, and either in this verandah or
the courtyard 'Alam Gul and his brother used to sit at the feet of the
old Mullah, reciting verses from the Quran in a drawling monotone,
and swaying their bodies backwards and forwards in the way that all
Easterns learn to do from the cradle when reciting or singing.

When they had finished the Quran and learnt the prayers and other
essentials of the Muhammadan religion, 'Alam Gul was sent to the
village school, while Abdul Majid began to make himself useful on
the farm.

He used to go out with his father's buffaloes to take them to pasture,
and sometimes he used to take his brother out for a ride on one of
these ungainly animals. Then, when the harvest was ripening, a bed was
fastened up at the top of four high poles, and he had to sit all day
on this to protect the crops from the birds. For this purpose cords
are fastened across the field up to the bed, and oil-cans or other
pieces of tin are fastened to them here and there, so that as Abdul
Majid had all the ends of the cords in his hands, he could make a din
in any part of the field where he wished to frighten away the birds,
and sometimes was able to take half a dozen home for the evening meal.

'Alam Gul, on the other hand, was being initiated into the mysteries
of the Hindustani language and of arithmetic.

The school was a little mud building in the centre of the village, and
the schoolmaster was a Muhammadan from the Panjab, who found himself
rather uncomfortable in the midst of these frontier Pathans, whose
language seemed to him so uncouth and their habits so barbarous. His
meagre salary of ten rupees (13s. 4d.) a month was somewhat augmented
by his holding the additional post of village postmaster; but it had
this disadvantage--that when one of the villagers came in to buy an
envelope, and get the postmaster to address it, as probably he did not
know how to write himself, teaching had to be dropped for a season:
for it must be remembered that for a Pathan villager to send off a
letter is quite an event, and he may well afford to spend a quarter
of an hour or so, and give the postmaster a few annas extra to get
it properly addressed and despatched to his satisfaction. Meantime,
'Alam Gul and his companions would take the opportunity of drawing
figures on the sand of the floor, or of playing with a tame bullfinch
or a quail, which they were fond of bringing into the school.

To make up for these little interruptions, the schoolmaster used to
sit from morning to night, and expect his pupils to be there almost
as long, only giving them an interval of about an hour or so in the
middle of the day to go home and get their morning meal. Friday used
to be a whole holiday, for it was on that day that all the men of
the village had to assemble in the mosque for the morning prayers,
and when these were over 'Alam Gul used to go out with some of the
elder village boys to catch quails in the fields. This they did by
means of a long net spread across about thirty or forty feet of the
field. The quails were driven up into this, and the meshes of it
were of such a size that, though they could get their heads through,
their wings became hopelessly entangled, and they fell an easy prey
to the fowlers. The male quails were then kept in little string or
wicker baskets for the great quail fights, which were one of the chief
excitements and pastimes of the village. This pastime is one of the
most universal in Afghanistan, and even well-to-do men think there
is no shame in spending a great part of the day toying with their
favourite quails, and backing the more redoubtable ones against some
quail belonging to a friend, while all the men of the neighbourhood
will be collected round to see the two champions fight.

'Alam Gul had to spend five years in this school. At the end of this
time the Government Inspector came round to examine the pupils for
the Government primary examination. This was an eventful day for the
schoolmaster, for on the report of the Inspector his promotion to some
more congenial sphere and the increase of his salary would depend. The
boys, too, were all excitement, for if they passed this examination,
they would be allowed to go to the big school at Hangu or Kohat.

The schoolmaster would spend days drilling them how they were to
answer the questions of the Inspector; how they were to salaam him;
how they were to bring him a hookah if he required one, bring him tea,
or do him any other service which it might be supposed would put him
in a better mood for making a good report of the school.

The Inspector was a Peshawuri Pathan of portly presence (it is
commonly believed that among the upper ranks of native Government
officials a man's salary may be gauged by the girth of his body)
and of supercilious manners, as though his chief aim in life were to
criticize everyone and everything.

All the boys had put on their best clothes for the occasion, and
'Alam Gul had borrowed the turban which his father was accustomed to
wear on feast days.

On the arrival of the Inspector, the boys hurriedly got into line. The
schoolmaster called out: "Right-hand salute!" for though not a boy in
the school knew a word of English, it is the custom to give all the
class orders in that language. Then one boy was hurried off to hold
his horse, another to go and get it some hay, a third to get a chair
for the great man, while the schoolmaster himself was obsequious in
obeying his every sign.

The boys were examined in Urdu, writing and reading, arithmetic,
geography, and Persian. There were five boys altogether in the top
class, and of these, to the delight of the schoolmaster, the Inspector
declared four to have passed, among them being 'Alam Gul.

His father wanted to send 'Alam Gul to the Government school at
Kohat, but 'Alam Gul had a friend who had been reading in the Bannu
Mission School, and the tales that he had heard from him had given
him a great desire to be allowed to go there to study. His father,
however, was opposed to the idea, because the Mullah told him that
people who went to mission schools must become infidels, because they
were taught by Feringis, who were all infidels, and that if he sent
his son there he would excommunicate him.

There would have been no hope of 'Alam Gul attaining his wish had
it not been that just at that time the Subadar (native officer), an
uncle of 'Alam Gul's, came to the village on leave from his regiment,
which was stationed at Bannu, and it so happened that he had made
the acquaintance of the missionary in charge of the Bannu School,
and had been very favourably impressed with what he had seen of the
institution, and he offered to take 'Alam Gul back with him to the
regiment, and let him live with him.

The father had now to propitiate the Mullah, so he killed a sheep,
and made some luscious dishes with the meat, and some halwa, or sweet
pudding, which is supposed to be a delicacy to which the Mullahs are
very partial, and called his reverence in to partake of the feast;
and when his heart was merry, he propounded the scheme to him.

After he had heard the arguments of the Subadar, the Mullah relented,
and said that he knew how to make a charm which, if it were always
worn round the boy's neck, would effectually prevent him from being
contaminated by any heretical teaching which he might have in the
school; and if 'Alam Gul were admonished to be careful always to wear
this charm, he might safely be allowed to go with his uncle. So when
the leave of the latter expired, 'Alam Gul was put into his charge,
and went off with great excitement, filled with hopes of what he
would do in the great school of which he had heard so much.

The day after his arrival in Bannu the Subadar sent 'Alam Gul down
to the school in charge of a soldier of his regiment.

The soldier and 'Alam Gul came into the mission compound, and, seeing
some boys standing about, told them their errand. One of the boys
offered to take them to the head-master. They were taken to the school
office, and here they found the head-master. He was an old gentleman
with a grey beard and a kindly face, Mr. Benjamin by name. When a young
man he had himself been converted from Muhammadanism to Christianity,
so that he was able to sympathize with the religious difficulties of
the boys under his charge, and he had been for thirty years head-master
in this school, and was looked up to by the boys as their father.

'Alam Gul's certificates were examined, and he was told what books
he must obtain, and that if he came the next morning he would be
enrolled as a scholar of the Bannu Mission School.

This being an Anglo-vernacular school, where English is taught in all
but the very lowest classes, boys who come from the village schools
have to spend one whole year in learning English, in order that the
following year they may be able to take their place with the other
boys in the class to which they are entitled; so 'Alam Gul was enrolled
in this, which is called the "Special Class."

The next day the soldier again brought him, and left him alone in
the school. Here he was surrounded by a greater number of boys than
he had ever seen before in his life--boys of all ages, all sorts,
all sizes, and all religions.

There were some Muhammadans from his district, but none from his
village, or that he knew, so he felt very nervous, and wished himself
back again in the little village school on the mountain-side among
his old playmates.

Then the letters of the English language seemed so uncouth and
different from the euphonious sounds of the Arabic and Persian
alphabet, to which he had been accustomed.

"A, B, C," said the master, and "A, B, C," repeated the other boys
in the class; but he found he could not shape his mouth to these
unfamiliar sounds, and tears began to flow at the apparent hopelessness
of the task which he had undertaken with so much enthusiasm. However,
day by day the work grew easier, and new friends and acquaintances
began to be made among his class-mates. Every day there was some
fresh astonishment for him.

In the village school he had played what they called Balli-ball,
a village imitation of cricket, played with rough imitations of bats
and wickets; but here he found that every class had its own cricket
team, which played with real polished bats and balls brought all the
way from Lahore. And above all was the School Eleven, composed of
boys who were looked up to by young hopefuls of the lower classes,
much as we might regard a County Eleven in England--boys who played
in real wilayiti flannels, and had matches with the English officers
of the garrison, and saw that the other boys in the school treated
them with the respect due to their position.

'Alam Gul wondered if ever the day would come when he would find
himself numbered among this favoured throng. It was not long before
the captain of his class told him that he must come and practise, to
see if they could make him one of their class cricket team. He would
have accepted with alacrity had it not been for one circumstance,
which gave his unformed religious ideas a rude shock. The captain of
the party was a Hindu! It seemed to him ignominious, if not subversive
of his religion, that he should subject himself to the orders of a
Hindu class-fellow, and he would have refused had not a Muhammadan
from his district, reading in the class above him, to whom he confided
his scruples, laughed at him, and said: "You silly fellow! we do
not trouble about that here; everyone has his religion ordained by
Fate. What does it matter, be he Muhammadan, Hindu, or Christian,
if he play cricket well?" When his fears had been thus allayed,
'Alam Gul joined his party, and soon became as enthusiastic a member
of it as any.

A year passed, and he was promoted to the first middle class, where he
took up the full curriculum of subjects, learning not only English,
but arithmetic, Urdu, Persian, Arabic, geography, Indian history,
and elementary science.

Before he had been many months in this class he was attacked by
malarial fever, which is so virulent in the Bannu Valley in the autumn
months. His uncle sent a soldier to say that he had sent him back to
his village in charge of a man of his regiment, and that he would
come back after recovering; so his name was entered on the roll of
those absent for sick-leave.

About three weeks later his father himself appeared at the school
one day, and requested to interview the head-master.

After the usual salutations were over, the father began:

"Sir, I have a request to make."

"What is it?"

"I wish you to strike the name of my son off the roll-call of your
school."

"Why so? What has happened?"

"He is ill--very ill."

"But I have given him sick-leave. He can stop at home as long as he is
ill, and then come back to school. His name can remain on the register,
and he return when he is quite well."

"Certainly, he will come back if he recovers; but, then, he is very
ill. Supposing he were to die?"

"If he were to die, then what matter whether his name be on our
register or not?"

"Sir, the Mullah tells me that if he die with his name still on the
register of the mission school, he could never go to heaven."

Arguments were useless, and the head-master had perforce to satisfy
the father by giving the boy a leaving certificate.

Ultimately, however, 'Alam Gul recovered, and was allowed to go back
to the mission school; but a few months later the regiment in which
his uncle the Subadar was was transferred to another station, and
the uncle wished to take his nephew with him there. But the boy had
by this time formed a great attachment to the school, and begged to
be allowed to remain, so it was arranged that he should be entered
in the school boarding-house.

This hostel accommodated a number of those pupils whose homes were
too far from Bannu for them to attend as day scholars, and who had
no relations in the town with whom they might lodge. Each boy is
provided with a bedstead and a mat, and he brings his own bedding,
books and utensils.

The first night 'Alam Gul felt very strange. Instead of the small
crowded room of his house was a large airy dormitory, shared by some
twenty of his schoolfellows. At one end of the dormitory was the
room of the Superintendent, so that he could supervise the boys both
by day and night. The Superintendent was a Hindu, but 'Alam Gul had
got used by this time to respect his masters, even though they were
not Muhammadan, and had overcome some of his old prejudice. As the
Superintendent treated him kindly, and there was a Muhammadan friend
of his in the next bed, he was soon very happy there.

Attached to the hostel was a pond of water supplied daily from the
Kurram River, in which it was the duty of every boarder to bathe
regularly. This tank served other purposes too, as 'Alam Gul found to
his cost. It was the rule that all boarders were to be up and have
their bedding tidily folded by sunrise. The Principal of the school
every now and again paid surprise visits to the boarding-house about
that time, and woe betide the luckless boy who was found still asleep
in bed! Two of the monitors were told to take him by the head and
heels and swing him far into the middle of the tank.

'Alam Gul had not been many weeks in the boarding-house before one
morning he overslept himself, and before he had time to rub his
eyes or change his clothes he found himself plunged in the water,
which at that time--the early spring--was cold enough to become a
real incentive to early rising.

Schoolboys freshly joined were often found to have the bad habit of
freely abusing each other, and using foul language. The swimming-tank
formed an excellent corrective for this too, because the boy found
guilty was treated in the same way, being pitched in with all his
clothes on, and allowed to creep out and dry himself at leisure.

Once, indeed, 'Alam Gul felt very much like leaving the school
altogether. Every day in each class a period is set apart for the
Scripture lesson. At first 'Alam Gul did not wish to be present at
this, but when he found that all the other boys attended it without
demur, and remembered the power of the charm which the Mullah had
given him, he thought it did not, after all, matter; he need not pay
attention to what was taught, and so he went. But this day a verse came
to his turn to read in which were the words, "Jesus Christ, the Son
of God." He remained silent. The catechist who was teaching him said:

"Why do you not read?"

"I cannot read that."

"Why, what is wrong? Read it."

"That is blasphemy. God had no son. I cannot read that."

"It is written in the Book, and you must read it."

"I will not read it!"

The catechist was not willing, however, to grant him exemption,
and gave him some punishment.

'Alam Gul had a fit of Pathan temper then, and there was a serious
breach of discipline, which could not be overlooked. Before, however,
he had time to arrange with his father for leaving the school, he had
cooled down sufficiently to take a less prejudiced view of the case,
and decided to undergo the discipline, and stay on with us.



CHAPTER XIV

'ALAM GUL'S CHOICE (CONTINUED)

    The cricket captain--A conscientious schoolboy--The Scripture
    lesson--First awakenings--The Mullah's wrath--The crisis--Standing
    fire--Schoolboy justice--"Blessed are ye when men shall persecute
    you for My Name's sake"--Escape from poisoning--Escape from
    home--Baptism--Disinherited--New friends.


About this time three circumstances occurred which brought about a
change in 'Alam Gul's ideas.

The first happened in this way. The captain of the cricket eleven
chanced to be a Christian boy, and as two or three of the members of
the cricket eleven had left, he was in need of some fresh talent to
fill their places; so a match had been arranged with a number of the
boys of the school who were aspirants to places in the coveted eleven.

'Alam Gul by this time had developed into a very steady player, who
could be relied upon to keep his wicket up at times when his side was
going to pieces; and on this particular occasion he was one of those
selected for trial, and it so happened that he made one of the best
scores of the match. This was the commencement of the friendship with
the cricket captain, which went a long way to mould his ideas. Hitherto
he had rather fought shy of making friends with the Christian boys,
for fear anything should be said repellent to his religious ideas;
but as his friendship with the cricket captain increased, they had
many a chat--not only on cricket and school matters, but on deeper
things that concerned the faith in their hearts.

The second circumstance arose in this wise: On the occasion of a
paper-chase the track had led through an orchard, and some of the
boys were not proof against the temptation of helping themselves
to the fruit, and the next day the owner of the garden came in high
dudgeon to the Principal of the school to complain that some of the
fruit had been stolen.

"You call yourself a mission school, and here are your boys coming
into my orchard and taking my fruit!"

The next day the Principal had a roll-call of the school, and made a
short speech to them, saying that he much regretted that some of the
boys had brought a bad name on the school by stealing plums. He then
ordered that the boys who had taken any should fall out and stand
in a row in front. After much exchange of glances and hesitation,
twenty or so of the boys fell out. These were ranged up in line,
facing the rest of the school, while the Principal told them that
he intended to make an example of them as a warning to others not to
sully the fair name of the school.

One of the printers from the mission press was then called, with his
printing-roller well inked, and this was rolled three times down the
face of each boy, leaving one long black streak down the forehead
and nose and one down each cheek, which they were not allowed to wash
off for the rest of the day.

'Alam Gul was rather surprised to see that one of these boys was a
member of the cricket eleven, who evidently felt the indignity very
acutely. 'Alam Gul had been by his side during the paper-chase,
and he had noticed that he had passed by the fruit without taking
any; so he went up afterwards to console him, and ask him why he had
fallen out with those who had taken the fruit. He told him that when
he saw the other boys plucking the plums, he had himself taken one;
but then he thought how they had been told in the Scripture lessons
that that was a wrong thing to do, and so he had thrown the plum away.

'Alam Gul had hitherto never looked on the Scripture lesson as
a time for moral improvement, but rather as a time when fidelity
to his religion required him to shut his ears; so when he found
his schoolmate with a conscience that had become so tender through
listening to the Scripture teaching that he even thought it necessary
to confess to having plucked a single plum which he had not eaten,
his mind was filled with an inrush of new conflicting ideas.

The third influence came to him through the Scripture lesson
itself. The Indian pastor was teaching them from that chapter of the
greatest pathos in all history--the Crucifixion of our Lord. When it
came to his turn he read the verse: "Father, forgive them, for they
know not what they do." Not very long before he would have resented
even having to read a verse addressing the Almighty as "Father,"
but now his heart was full of new emotions. "How could the Prophet
Christ pray for the forgiveness of enemies?" He remembered how an
uncle of his, on his death-bed, in making his last testament to
his sons, had enumerated his enemies and what evil they had done
him, and impressed upon them that revenge for those wrongs was the
heirloom which he had bequeathed to them, and which they must regard
as their bounden duty to perform. He remembered, too, how many of his
own family had been killed in blood-feuds, and even now his uncle,
the Subadar in the regiment, took precautions against somebody whom
he suspected of being his enemy. If Christ was able to die in this way
and His teaching had still such moral power, how was it that Muhammad,
who professed that his teaching had superseded that of Christ, had
not been able to give his followers an equal power? Why were there
Muhammadan tribes always torn with discord and feud and bloodshed on
every side, and by those who professed to do such deeds in his name?

'Alam Gul now began to study the Gospels for himself, and an interest
was awakened in his heart which surprised him; and instead of trying to
shirk the Scripture lessons, he began always to look forward to them,
and asked many questions which showed the greater insight that he was
gaining into their meaning. The next vacation, when he went home, he
took an early opportunity of visiting the old Mullah who had given
him the charm when first he joined the school five years before,
and asked him about some of his difficulties. He wanted to know
why the Muhammadans always spoke of the Book of the Law and of the
Gospels with respect, and yet would not allow people to read them,
and why the Gospels spoke of Christ as the Son of God, which he had
been taught to consider blasphemy.

The Mullah, however, did not deign to try to solve his difficulties,
but became very angry, and abused him roundly, and that evening
went to his father to tell him to take his son away before he became
utterly corrupted.

'Alam Gul got a great beating that night, and ran away to the house
of a relation, and did not come back for three days, and asked no
further questions.

His father, no doubt, thought that the beating had had its effect, and,
when the time arrived for rejoining school, allowed him to go back.

The crisis came on the day of a school picnic. It was a May morning,
and the masters and boys were going to a shady spot on the banks of
the Kurram River, where the day would be spent in aquatic sports
and merry-making. 'Alam Gul sought counsel of the missionary in a
quiet spot under the trees, where he might unburden his heart without
being disturbed.

"Does Christ demand that I should confess Him openly? Should I not
wait till my parents are dead?--because it will be a great trouble
to them when they hear that I have become a Christian, and they will
never want to see me again. Cannot I be a secret follower, and continue
to live as a Muhammadan, and attend the prayers in the mosque?"

"If any man confess Me not before men, neither will I confess him
before My Father. If any man love father or mother more than Me, he is
not worthy of Me." "Let the dead bury their dead, but follow thou Me."

How pulsating with the deepest verities of life these sayings seem,
when we put them forward to such an inquirer in answer to such
questions! How charged with the magnetism which draws the seeking
soul almost in spite of itself--a two-edged sword dividing asunder
the bones and the marrow!

"No; you must go home and tell your father what your intention
is. Persecution must come, sooner or later, and unless you are
willing to bear it for Christ's sake now, how can you be received
into the company of His soldiers? You have a duty to your parents,
from which you cannot absolve yourself, and no blessing of God will
rest on your actions when you are deceiving them, and till you are
of full age you are bound to obey them."

'Alam Gul was awake a long time that night after the lights were out
and all the other boys in the dormitory were fast asleep under their
quilts. At last he got up, and, with his pocket-knife, cut the cord
that still bound the charm that the old Mullah had made for him, and
stuffed it away among his books. He then knelt down by his bedside for
a few minutes, and when he got into bed again he had made his choice,
and his mind was made up; but there were to be many vicissitudes
before the goal was reached.

'Alam Gul was in the matriculation class now, and a member of the
coveted cricket eleven. He still performed his Muhammadan prayers,
and kept the fast of Ramazan; but the moments which gave him most
satisfaction in the day were those in which he took his little
English Testament into a quiet corner on the roof of the school-house,
and read the words of our Lord, calling the weary and sin-laden to
Himself, and, after set portions of the Muhammadan prayers were over,
in the part reserved for the munajat, or private petitions, he would
pray earnestly in the name of Christ that God would make the way
clear to him to become His disciple, and to incline the hearts of
his relations thereto as well. He had to stand fire, too, among his
school-fellows, now that it had become known that he was an inquirer;
but his position in the school, and the fact that he was nearly the
best bat in the cricket team, and therefore of value to the honour
of the school in the inter-school tournaments, prevented them from
carrying the persecution very far, and it was more banter and sneers
than anything worse. A few irreconcilables, however, tried to injure
his reputation by spreading lying rumours about him, even going to the
head-master with some concocted evidence against his moral character,
which, had that official been less conversant with the wiles of
the backbiters, might have resulted in his expulsion from school,
but actually resulted in their utter discomfiture.

One Muhammadan youth, who professed great zeal for his religion,
was always starting some recriminating religious discussion, till the
other boarders passed a resolution that any of their number starting
such a discussion was to be fined one rupee.

Before the lapse of many days there were the two at it again, hammer
and tongs, in the middle of the dinner-hour. A schoolboy court was
appointed to name the culprit responsible for starting the discussion,
and it is a pleasing tribute to the schoolboys' love of fair play that,
though the judges chosen were one Muhammadan and one Hindu, they both
decided that the Muhammadan was guilty, and should be fined. The latter
declared that he was going to pay no fine! They then held a fresh
council, to settle how they were to bring the pressure required for
the carrying out of their law. At last one boy said: "I have it. Till
he pays the fine, not one of us is to speak to him or have anything
to do with him, on the pain of a fine of one anna." This bright idea
was passed unanimously, and, after a few anna fines had been levied,
the recalcitrant member gave in. Sweets were bought with the proceeds,
there was a general merry-making, and no more disturbances of the
peace on 'Alam Gul's account, who was tacitly allowed to have what
opinions and fads he liked without further interference.

He had not so easy a time, however, when the vacation came round and
he went home, and in much fear and trembling made his longings known
to his father.

First they resorted to blandishments, reminded him of his good family
and noble ancestors, and of the bright future which lay before so
clever and well educated a boy. His brother was about to be married;
even then they were preparing for the wedding-guests. This would have
to be all stopped, for the family of the bride would refuse to give
her into a family disgraced, and then his brother would die of shame,
and no one would be able to wipe the stain away for ever.

When these tactics failed, the old Mullah was called. He was too
wroth to argue when he found that 'Alam Gul no longer wore the charm,
and abused him with all the epithets that he could think of, and left
the house threatening to excommunicate the whole family. Later on he
came back in a calmer mood with two older Mullahs from a neighbouring
village, who were much revered for their learning and sanctity, and
these surrounded 'Alam Gul, and argued for hours to show him the error
of his ways and the corruption of the Christian Scriptures. 'Alam
Gul had one argument, to which they had no answer to give:

"If you say these Scriptures are corrupted by the Christians, then
where have you genuine copies by comparison with which we can see
the proof of it? Had the Muhammadans themselves no copies of the
Scriptures which they were able to preserve from those wicked people
who wanted to corrupt them?"

Finding their arguments of no avail, they formally cursed him with
all the anathemas of the Quran, both for this life and the next.

The next trial was to be the most heart-searching and trying of all,
and 'Alam Gul felt he would ten times rather have had the anathemas
of the Mullahs or the beatings of his enemies. It was when he went
into the zenana. His mother was there with other women, and as soon
as they saw him they began weeping and loudly lamenting. His mother
came with her hair dishevelled, and, falling down before him, beat
her breast, and bewailed with loud cries and frantic gesticulations
that she had borne a son who was going to disgrace the family and
bring down her grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.

'Alam Gul burst into tears, and besought his mother to be comforted;
saying that she had been misinformed as to what he was going to do,
and who the Christians were. He was not going to forsake her, but
would serve her to the day of his death.

"I adjure thee," she said, "swear to me that you will never go near
those Christians again or read their books."

"No, mother, I cannot do that; for their book is the Kalam Ullah
[the Word of God], and God is with them of very truth."

The women were still weeping, and 'Alam Gul persuading, when his
father came in, and, seizing 'Alam Gul, pulled him outside, and,
getting a thick stick, beat him till he was black and blue all over,
and then left him with a kick and a curse.

That night 'Alam Gul found that all his clothes had been taken away,
and he was left with only a loin-cloth. This had been done lest
he should run away and escape, they thinking that in a few days,
finding the hopelessness of his position, he would relent and submit.

Six days he remained thus, being given nothing more than a bit of
stale bread once a day and a little water. Still he remained firm,
and refused to go to the mosque or repeat the Kalimah; and when he
found himself alone for a time, he knelt down and prayed for help
and deliverance.

On the seventh morning an uncle came, and sat down by his side, and
began to commiserate him and profess his sympathy for the hardships
he was undergoing. He then untied the corner of his shawl, and got
out some sweetmeats and gave them to 'Alam Gul, as some amends for the
privations he had been undergoing. Something, however, in his demeanour
made 'Alam Gul suspicious, and he excused himself for not eating the
sweetmeats at once, and put them in a handkerchief by his side.

When his uncle had departed, he gave some of the sweetmeats to one
of the dogs in the house. Very shortly afterwards the dog began to
vomit and show signs of pain. He was now sure that the plan had been
to poison him in such a way that his death might be reported as due to
some ordinary sickness, and he made up his mind to escape at all costs.

It was midday, and nearly everyone was enjoying a sleep during the
oppressive noon of a summer day. Searching about, he found a shirt
and an old turban, and, donning these, he slipped out, and was soon
through the deserted village street out in the fields beyond. He
dared not take the direct route to Bannu, for he knew that pursuit
would be made, and the pursuers would probably take that direction;
so he turned northwards towards Kohat, and came to the village of a
schoolmate, who gave him shelter and food for that night in his house
and a pair of shoes for his feet, which had become blistered on the
hot rocks over which he had been travelling.

The next night he slept in a mosque, and then reached the highroad
from Kohat to Bannu, and got a lift on a bullock-waggon travelling
to the salt-mines of Bahadur Khel. On the fifth day after leaving
his village, very footsore, tired, and ragged, he appeared in the
mission compound at Bannu.

He was now nineteen years of age, so nothing stood in the way of his
being admitted as a catechumen, of which he was greatly desirous,
and the following Easter he was baptized into the Christian Church.

He had, of course, been publicly disowned and disinherited by his
family, who now regarded him as one dead; but he was supremely happy
in his faith, and was always seeking opportunities of leading, not
only his schoolmates, but also Mullahs and others whom he encountered
in the bazaar or elsewhere, into conversation concerning the claims
of Jesus Christ.

His original acquaintance with the Quran and Islam had been deepened
and extended by the study of books of controversy and his knowledge
of Christianity by daily Bible study, so that even the Mullahs found
they had to deal with one who could not be silenced by the threadbare
arguments and trite sophisms which were all that most of them knew
how to use.

There was a great crowd of students and others both inside and outside
the native church on the day when, arrayed in clean white clothes,
he came to receive the rite of baptism, and the deepest silence was
upon all when he answered a clear, unfaltering "I do" to each of the
questions of the native clergyman who was officiating. His reception
afterwards by his Muhammadan acquaintances was not altogether a hostile
one. Students form a remarkable contrast to the ignorant portion of the
population in the comparative absence of religious fanaticism and their
ability to recognize and honour sincerity of motive, even in those
who are to them apostates, and many of his Muhammadan schoolmates
maintained their friendship with him, and others who at first had
joined in the opposition and abuse of the crowd came round before
long and resumed their old relations as though nothing had happened.

Judging by other cases, even his own relations will probably resume
friendly relations after the lapse of time has enabled them to do so
without incurring a fresh stigma among the villagers, and they will
be all the more ready to do this if he has won for himself a good
position in Government service, and is able to help them to meet the
dunnings of the money-lender in a bad season.

When 'Alam Gul had to find some way of earning his own living, he
found many avenues closed to him. The Muhammadans would not give him
work, and even in Government offices, if his immediate superior was at
all a bigoted Muhammadan, he would find it impossible to stop there
without getting involved in traps that had been laid for him almost
every day, and which would ultimately and inevitably result in his
dismissal in disgrace.

Finally he obtained a post in the Government Telegraph Office, and,
by his industry and punctuality, rapidly made progress and attained
a position which was a universal silencer to the common taunt,
"He has only become a Christian for the sake of bread," with which
young converts are assailed, even when the charge is palpably untrue.



CHAPTER XV

AFGHAN WOMEN

    Their inferior position--Hard labour--On the march--Suffering
    in silence--A heartless husband--Buying a wife--Punishment for
    immorality--Patching up an injured wife--A streaky nose--Evils of
    divorce--A domestic tragedy--Ignorance and superstition--"Beautiful
    Pearl"--A tragic case--A crying need--Lady doctors--The mother's
    influence.


In all Muhammadan countries women hold a very inferior, almost
humiliating, position, being regarded as very distinctly existing
for the requirements of the stronger sex. In Afghanistan they labour
under this additional hardship, that the men are nearly all cruel
and jealous to a degree in their disposition, and among the lower
sections of the community the severe conditions of life compel the
women to labour very hard and continuously--labour which the men
think it beneath their dignity to lighten or share.

The wife has to grind the corn, fetch the water, cook the food, tend
the children, keep the house clean--in fact, do everything except
shopping, from which she is strictly debarred. The husband will
not only buy the articles of food required for the daily household
consumption, but he will buy her dresses too--or, at least, the
material for them--and the lady must be content with his selection,
and make up her dresses at home with what her lord is pleased to
bring her. How would their sisters in England approve of that?

The fetching of the water is often no sinecure. If the well is in the
village precincts it may be pleasant enough, as it no doubt affords
excellent opportunity for retailing all the village gossip; but in
some places, as, for instance, during summer in Marwat, the nearest
water is six or seven, or even ten, miles away, and the journey
there and back has to be made at least every other day. In Marwat
the women saddle up their asses with the leathern bottles made from
goatskins long before daybreak, and the nocturnal traveller sometimes
meets long strings of these animals going to or returning from the
watering-place under the care of a number of the village women and
girls. The animals in these cases have to be satisfied with what they
drink while at the source of the water-supply.

When the women get back to their houses it will be still scarcely
dawn, but they have a busy time before them, which will occupy them
till midday. First the grain has to be ground in the hand-mills; then
yesterday's milk churned; then the cows and goats milked; then the
food cooked, the house cleaned, and a hundred and one other duties
attended to which only a woman could describe.

When on the march the women are heavily loaded. They can often be seen
not only carrying the children and household utensils, but driving
the pack animals too, while the lordly men are content to carry only
their rifle, or at most give a lift to one of the children. Yet it is
not because the men are callous, but because it is the custom. Their
fathers and forefathers did the same, and the women would be the
first to rebuke a young wife who ventured to complain or object.

Some of the women of the Povindah tribe are splendid specimens of
robust womanhood. These people travel hundreds of miles from Khorasan
to India, carrying their families and household goods with them, and
the women can load and manage the camels almost as well as the men,
and carry burdens better. The outdoor, vigorous, active life has made
them healthy, muscular, and strong, and buxom and good-looking withal,
though their good looks do not last so long as they would were their
life less rough. But when a baby is born, then comes the suffering. The
caravan cannot halt, and there is seldom a camel or ox available for
the woman to ride. She usually has to march on the next day, with the
baby in her arms or slung over her shoulder, as though nothing had
happened. Then it is that they endure sufferings which bring them to
our hospital, often injured for life. If there is no hospital, well,
they just suffer in silence, or--they die.

The Afghan noblemen maintain the strictest parda, or seclusion, of
their women, who pass their days monotonously behind the curtains
and lattices of their palace prison-houses, with little to do except
criticize their clothes and jewels and retail slander; and Afghan
boys of good family suffer much moral injury from being brought up
in the effeminate and voluptuous surroundings of these zenanas. The
poorer classes cannot afford to seclude their women, so they try to
safeguard their virtue by the most barbarous punishments, not only for
actual immorality, but for any fancied breach of decorum. A certain
trans-frontier chief that I know, on coming to his house unexpectedly
one day, saw his wife speaking to a neighbour over the wall of his
compound. Drawing his sword in a fit of jealousy, he struck off her
head and threw it over the wall, and said to the man: "There! you are
so enamoured of her, you can have her." The man concerned discreetly
moved house to a neighbouring village.

The recognized punishment in such a case of undue familiarity would
have been to have cut off the nose of the woman and, if possible,
of the man too. This chief, in his anger, exceeded his right, and if
he had been a lesser man and the woman had had powerful relations,
he might have been brought to regret it. But as a rule a woman has no
redress; she is the man's property, and a man can do what he likes
with his own. This is the general feeling, and no one would take
the trouble or run the risk of interfering in another man's domestic
arrangements. A man practically buys his wife, bargaining with her
father, or, if he is dead, with her brother; and so she becomes his
property, and the father has little power of interfering for her
protection afterwards, seeing he has received her price.

The chief exception is marriage by exchange. Suppose in each of
two families there is an unmarried son and an unmarried daughter;
then they frequently arrange a mutual double marriage without any
payments. In such cases the condition of the wives is a little, but
only a little, better than in the marriage by purchase. If a man and
a woman are detected in immorality, then the husband is at liberty
to kill both; but if he lets the man escape, he is not allowed to
kill him subsequently in cold blood. If he does, then a blood-feud
will be started, and the relations of the murdered man legitimately
retaliate, or he must pay up the difference in the price between
that of a man's life and that of a woman's honour. In practice, one
often finds that a man has been murdered where, by tribal custom,
he should only have had his nose cut off; as it is obviously easier
for the aggrieved husband to ambush and shoot him unawares than to
overpower him sufficiently to cut off his nose.

Every year in the mission hospital we get a number of cases, many
more women than men, where the sufferer has had the nose cut off by
a clean cut with a knife, which sometimes cuts away a portion of the
upper lip as well. This being a very old mutilation in India, the
people centuries ago elaborated an operation for the removal of the
deformity, whereby a portion of skin is brought down from the forehead
and stitched on the raw surface where the nose had been cut off, and
we still use this operation, with certain modifications, for the cases
that come to us. Two years ago a forbidding-looking Afghan brought
down his wife to the Bannu Mission Hospital. In a fit of jealousy he
had cut off her nose, but when he reflected in a cooler moment that
he had paid a good sum for her, and had only injured his own property
and his domestic happiness, he was sorry for it, and brought her for
us to restore to her as far as possible her pristine beauty. She had
a low forehead, unsuitable for the usual operation, so I said to the
husband that I did not think the result of the operation would be
very satisfactory; but if he would pay the price I would purchase
him an artificial nose from England, which, if it did not make her
as handsome as before, would at any rate conceal the deformity.

"How much will it cost?" said the Afghan.

"About thirty rupees."

There was a silence: he was evidently racked by conflicting sentiments.

"Well, my man, what are you thinking about? Will you have it or no?"

"I was thinking this, sir," he replied, "you say it costs thirty
rupees, and I could get a new wife for eighty rupees."

And this was said before the poor woman herself, without anything
to show that he felt he had said anything out of the common! I am
glad to say, however, that he ultimately decided to have the original
wife patched up, paid the money, and I procured him the article from
England, which gave, I believe, entire satisfaction, and the last time
I heard of them they were living happily together. Perhaps he is able
to hold out the threat of locking up her nose should she annoy him,
and knows he can remove it as often as he likes now without having
to pay up another thirty rupees.

In a case where I procured a false nose for a man, the shop in
England sent out a pale flesh-coloured nose, while his skin was
dark olive! Obviously this had to be remedied, so I procured some
walnut stain, and gave him something not very different from the
colour of the rest of his face. Unfortunately, he started off home
before it was dry, and was caught in a rainstorm. He was annoyed to
find himself the centre of merriment on his arrival at his village,
and came back to me to complain. The nose was all streaky!

The fine physique and good health of the hill Afghans and nomadic
tribes is largely due to the fact that their girls do not marry
till full grown, not usually till over twenty, and till then they
lead healthy, vigorous, outdoor lives. They form a great contrast to
the puny Hindu weaklings, the offspring of the marriage of couples
scarcely in their "teens."

The two greatest social evils from which the Afghan women suffer
are the purchase of wives and the facility of divorce. I might add a
third--namely, plurality of wives; but though admittedly an evil where
it exists, it is not universally prevalent, like the other two--in
fact, only men who are well-to-do can afford to have more than one
wife. The Muhammadans themselves are beginning to stem the evil and
explain away the verses in the Quran which permit it, by saying that
there is the proviso that a man may only marry a plurality of wives if
he can be quite impartial to all of them; and as that is not possible,
monogamy must be considered the law for ordinary mortals.

The following, which was enacted under my eyes, shows the evil that
results from divorce and polygamy. There were three brothers, whom
we will call Abraham, Sandullah, and Fath, all happily married to one
wife each. Abraham, the eldest brother, died. The second brother was
now entitled to marry the widow; but she did not like him, while she
had a decided liking for the youngest brother, Fath. She had, however,
a hatred for Fath's wife, and was determined not to be junior wife
to her. Fath, carried away by the charms and cajolings of the widow,
consented to divorce his own wife on condition of the widow marrying
him. She agreed, vowing she would never marry Sandullah, and then Fath
divorced his wife. But meanwhile Sandullah insisted on his rights,
and forced the widow to marry him. She perforce submitted, but I think
he got some lively times at home, and the woman took opportunities
of meeting Fath. Then what does the insatiable and foolish Sandullah
do but marry the divorced wife of his younger brother. The widow was
now furious: she had refused to marry the man she fancied unless he
divorced that woman, and now she is married to the man she did not
want, and has got the hated woman as co-wife into the bargain.

There was a man of desperate character in the village who had
been captivated by the widow's charms. She had so far refused his
advances, but now, to have her way, she told him that if he desired
to gain his end he must first dispose of her present husband. That
was no obstacle to the lover, and, with the collusion of the woman,
he enticed the man out into his cornfield one day, and there strangled
him. The murder eventually was brought home to the unscrupulous lover,
and he got penal servitude, while the foul enchantress was left free
to marry the youngest brother, Fath, whom she originally desired.

Very few of the Afghan women can read the Quran; for the rest they
are absolutely ignorant of all learning, and often when we are trying
to explain some directions for treatment in the hospital, they excuse
their denseness by saying: "We are only cattle: how can we understand?"

They know very little of their own religion beyond the prayers and
a variety of charms and superstitions.

Some time ago we had a strange case in the women's (Holtby) ward. She
was a feeble old Hindu woman who felt she had not long to live, and
who had such a horror of her body being burnt to ashes after death,
as is the custom with Hindus, that to escape from her relatives she
came into the hospital, saying, she wished to become a Muhammadan,
so that she might be buried. We began to explain to her the Gospel
of Christ, but she appeared too old to take in something so novel,
and finding we were not the Muhammadans she took us for, she sent
word to a Muhammadan anjuman to have her taken away. We assured
her that we would nurse and care for her, and not burn her body;
but no! perhaps we might only be some kind of Hindus in disguise! So
she went off with her Muhammadan friends, and in due time was buried.

Unlike this old lady, some of the cases that come into our women's
ward are tragic beyond words. Let me give one story as told us
by the poor sufferer herself, and she is only one of many who are
suffering, unknown and uncared for, in Afghanistan at the present
time. For, indeed--for the women especially--it is a country full of
the habitations of cruelty. Her name was Dur Jamala, or "Beautiful
Pearl." She and her husband were both suffering from cataract, and
lived near Kabul. They were trying to resign themselves to lives of
blindness and beggary when someone visited their village who told
them of a doctor in Bannu who cured all kinds of eye diseases. So,
getting together all they could, which only came to about eighteen
rupees, they started out on foot on their long and weary journey to
Bannu--one hundred and fifty miles of rough road, with two mountain
passes to cross on the way! They took with them their only child,
a girl of about ten, and travelled slowly, stage by stage, towards
Bannu. But before they had got far on their way, in a lonely part
of the road, some cruel brigands robbed them of all their savings,
beat her husband to death before her eyes, and tore away the weeping
child, whom they would sell for a good price into some harim.

Poor Dur Jamala was left alone and helpless, crushed with grief. From
that time it took her just ten months to get to Bannu, having been
helped first by one and then by another on the way. She reached Bannu
very worn and weary, and in rags, and was very grateful indeed to us
for a comfortable bed and a good meal. The operation was successful,
and resulted in her obtaining good sight in that eye.  But meanwhile
someone had frightened her, telling her that hell would be her
punishment for listening to our teaching. She wept very much, and
refused to allow us to operate on the other eye or listen to any more
of our "wicked religion." We saw no more of her for about four months,
when she appeared one day in our out-patient department in great pain
from suppuration of the second eye. She had been to some charlatan,
who, in operating on it, had completely destroyed the vision of that
eye, and she had suffered so much that she was only too glad to put
herself again under our treatment. The second eye had to be removed,
but she is able to work, as the sight of the first is good, and she
often comes to us now and listens to the teaching, although she still
says: "Your medicine is very good, but your religion is wicked." Yet
in listening to the Gospel story she finds some solace in the great
sorrow which has so clouded the life of poor "Beautiful Pearl."

If some of our medical ladies and nurses in England saw how their
poor Afghan sisters suffered, often in silence and hopelessness,
would not some of them come out to do the work of Christ and bear His
name among them? "I was sick, and ye visited me." Though till now we
have only had a man doctor in Bannu, yet forty or fifty women attend
the out-patients' department nearly every day, and many of these have
undertaken long and wearisome journeys to reach us.

There are the Hindu women from Bannu city collected together in
one corner of the verandah, lest they should be polluted by contact
with the Muhammadan women from the villages. For the women are much
greater sticklers for the observance of all the niceties of Hindu
ceremonial than their more Westernized husbands, and would have to
undergo the trouble of a complete bath on returning home if they had
been in contact with anything ceremonially impure. One can recognize
the Hindu women at once by their clothes. They wear the same three
garments winter and summer--a skirt reaching down to their ankles;
a curious upper garment, like a waistcoat with no back to it; and
a veil, which falls over and covers their otherwise bare back, and
which they hurriedly pull over their faces when they see a man.

The Muhammadan women have indeed the veil, but the other garments
are quite different. The upper garment is a full dress, coming
down at least to the knees, and full of pleats and puckers, and
ornamented by rows of silver and brass coins across the breast,
while the nether garment is a pair of loose, baggy pyjamas of some
dark-coloured material, usually blue or red, with very remarkable
funnel-like extremities below the knees. At this point the baggy
portion is succeeded by a tightly-fitting trouser, the piece about
twice the length of the leg, and which is, therefore, crowded up above
the ankle into a number of folds, which accumulate the dust and dirt,
if nothing worse. The Povindah women--strong, robust, and rosy from the
bracing highlands of Khorasan--are dressed almost entirely in black,
the Marwat women in blue veils and red-and-blue pyjamas, the Bannuchi
women in black veils and red pyjamas, and the women of other tribes
each in their own characteristic dress.

Even the style in which the hair is plaited and worn is sufficient
not only to indicate what tribe the woman belongs to, but also whether
she is married or unmarried. The Povindah women are very fond of blue
tattoo marks over their foreheads, while all alike are proud of the
row of silver coins which is worn hanging over the forehead. The
Hindu women plaster the hair of the forehead and temples with a
vermilion paste, not merely for cosmetic reasons, but because it is
sacred to their god Vishnu. Then, the sturdy, sunburnt faces of the
Wazir women tell tales of the hard, rough outdoor life they perforce
lead, and contrast with the more delicate and gentler faces of the
Hindus. Notwithstanding the careful way in which all except the hill
women veil their faces from masculine gaze, they are very sensitive
as to what is being thought of them, and sometimes an impudent man
meets a woman who at once closely veils herself, and remarks to his
companion: "Ah! her nose has been cut off!" This imputation, not only
on her looks, but on her character, is usually too much for her,
and she indignantly unveils her face, to cover it up again at once
in shame when she finds it was only a ruse!

The hill women rarely, if ever, wash either their bodies or their
clothes, and suffer much in the hot weather from skin troubles as
a result. The Hindu women, on the other hand, who appear to aim at
doing in everything the exact opposite to their Muhammadan sisters,
bathe on the slightest pretext, summer and winter, and often women
who carefully veil their faces when passing down the street bathe in
the river and streams in a state of nudity, regardless of passers-by.

Most of the women have a great aversion to telling their own name,
because it is considered a very indelicate thing for a married woman to
mention her own name. It would be very difficult to make the necessary
entries in the register were it not that there is usually some other
woman with her, and etiquette does not prevent her friend telling
what her name is. Otherwise she will usually mention the name of her
eldest son, who may be a baby in arms, or may be a grown man--never,
of course, of a daughter: she must only be mentioned in a whisper,
and with an apology, if at all--saying: "I am the mother of Paira Lai,"
or "I am the mother of Muhammad Ismaïl."

Notwithstanding the state of servitude in which the women are kept
and their crass ignorance and superstition, they have great power in
their home circles, and mould the characters of the rising generations
more even than the fathers.

This fact was brought home very forcibly to me one day in school. A
subject had to be fixed on for the next meeting of the school debating
society. Various subjects had been proposed and negatived. I suggested:
"Who has most influence in moulding our characters--our fathers or our
mothers?" "How could we have so one-sided a debate?" responded half a
dozen boys at once. "Who could be found to argue for the fathers? Of
course, our mothers have all the influence." How important, then,
for the future of the nation that something should be done to raise,
and elevate, and purify the mothers of the nation!



CHAPTER XVI

THE STORY OF A CONVERT

    A trans-frontier merchant--Left an orphan--Takes service--First
    contact with Christians--Interest aroused in an unexpected
    way--Assaulted--Baptism--A dangerous journey--Taken for a spy--A
    mother's love--Falls among thieves--Choosing a wife--An Afghan
    becomes a foreign missionary--A responsible post--Saved by a
    grateful patient.


In the highlands between Kabul and Jelalabad is a secluded valley, girt
with pine-clad hills, and down which a tributary of the Kabul River
flows, fertilizing the rice crops which rise terrace above terrace on
the slopes of the hills, and meandering in sparkling rivulets through
the villages which lie nestling among orchards of peaches and apples,
interspersed with fine walnut and plane trees. This is the Valley
of Laghman, and, like the Kabulis, the men are great merchants,
and travel about between Central Asia and Hindustan. One of these
merchants took his young son, Jahan Khan, down with him to India on
one of his journeys, in order that he might serve his apprenticeship
in the trade of his father and see something of the wealthy cities
and beautiful buildings of India, the fame of which had so often
roused the boyish imaginations of the youth of Laghman, and made it
the desire of their lives to travel down once to India and see for
themselves its glories and its wealth.

Father and son travelled about for two years, buying and selling
and taking contracts for road-making, at which the Afghans are
great adepts, till one summer the father was stricken down with
dysentery. The boy took him to a mission hospital, where for the first
time he heard the story of the Gospel; but he had been always taught
to look upon the English as infidels, and he used to stop his ears,
lest any of the words spoken by the mission doctor might defile his
faith. The disease grew worse, and the father paid some men to carry
him to the shrine of a noted saint in the neighbourhood, called Sakhi
Sarwar, which was renowned for its power in healing diseases. He made
a votive offering, but still the malady grew worse, and at last one
morning Jahan Khan found himself an orphan hundreds of miles away from
home and relations, with no friends and no money to help him home. It
is the great desire of an Afghan who dies away from his country to
have his body embalmed and carried back, it may be, hundreds of miles
on a camel, to be interred in his ancestral graveyard; but how could
the poor boy, without money or friends, perform this duty? He had to
be content with burying his father near the tomb of the famous saint,
whose benign influence might be expected to serve him in good stead
on the Day of the Resurrection.

Jahan Khan then took service with some Muhammadans of the country,
and it was in this way that I first met him. Soon after my arrival in
India I wanted a body-servant who knew no language but Pashtu, in order
that I might the more easily gain proficiency in that language. The
Muhammadan gentleman to whom I applied recommended me Jahan Khan;
but Jahan Khan himself resented the idea of becoming servant to a
Feringi and an infidel, which he thought would jeopardize his faith
and his salvation. His Muhammadan patron laughed at his scruples,
and quoted the Pashtu proverb, "The Feringis in their religion, and
we in ours," saying: "So long as you say your prayers regularly,
and read the Quran, and keep the fast, and do not eat their food,
lest by any chance there should be swine's flesh in it, you have no
reason to fear."

For some time Jahan Khan served me well, but was evidently chary of
too dangerous an intimacy. I had at that time an educated Afghan
who was teaching me Pashtu, and he sometimes twitted Jahan Khan
with his inability to read. This made the boy desirous of learning,
and he persuaded the munshi to give him a lesson every day. When the
alphabet had been mastered, the munshi was looking about for some
simple book for reading-lessons, and he happened to take up a Pashtu
Gospel which had been given him and laid aside, and from this Jahan
Khan got his first reading-lessons. Before long the teaching of the
book he was reading riveted his attention. It was so different from the
old Muhammadan ideas with which he had been brought up. Instead of the
law of "Eye for eye and tooth for tooth," was the almost incredible
command to forgive your enemies. His reading-lesson became the event
of the day for him, not merely on account of the advance in learning,
but because of the new ideas which were stirring in his mind. When the
munshi observed that a change had come over him, he became alarmed,
and told Jahan Khan that he must have no more reading-lessons at all,
and that he had better give up all idea of learning to read. The
seed was, however, already sown, and despite the adjurations of the
munshi, Jahan Khan astonished me one day by coming to ask that I
should continue the reading-lessons with him.

It was a delight to notice week by week the growth of the Spirit in
the boy's heart, but with all that there were many storms to brave
and many seasons of darkness and unbelief, which threatened to crush
the young seedling before it was yet able to weather the storm. The
Afghan nature is hot-tempered and reckless, and he found it difficult
to curb his spirit under the taunts of those around him. One afternoon,
as I was sitting in my room, I heard shouts from outside--"O Daktar
Sahib! O Daktar Sahib!"--and on running out found that two Muhammadans
had seized him and were beating him, while they were trying to stifle
his cries by twisting his turban round his neck. This was only the
first of many times that the young convert was to bear the reproach
of the Cross, and he had not yet learnt to take the vindictiveness
of his Muhammadan compatriots with the forbearance which was a later
growth of the Spirit. This assault, however, resulted in a parting
of the ways, and from that time Jahan Khan publicly avowed himself a
Christian. He had many a battle yet to fight--not so much with outward
enemies as with his own Pathan nature--but the Spirit was to conquer.

Some time after his baptism Jahan Khan conceived a burning desire to
revisit his childhood's home. His widowed mother was still living
there with his brothers and cousins, and he wanted to tell them of
his new-found faith. We pointed out to him the great dangers that
attended his enterprise. In that country, to become a pervert from
Muhammadanism was a capital offence, and even the nearest relation
could not be depended on to incur the odium and danger of protecting
a relative who had brought disgrace on Islam. Jahan Khan could not,
however, be dissuaded, and at last the preparations were made. Some
copies of the Gospels in the Persian and Pashtu languages were
sewn inside his trousers, a baggy Afghan garment, lending itself
appropriately to this kind of secretion.

On reaching Jelalabad, some of the Afghan police arrested him on
suspicion of being a spy of the ex-Amir, Y'akub Khan, and he was in
imminent danger of discovery. A few rupees in the hands of the not too
conscientious officials saved the situation, and after sundry other
vicissitudes he reached his home. His mother and brothers received
him with every token of delight, and for some days there were great
rejoicings. Then came the time when he had to make known his change
of faith. At first, when the villagers missed him from the public
prayers in the mosque, they thought it was merely the weariness of
the journey; but as the days passed by, and he still did not appear,
it became necessary to give explanations. No sooner was it known that
he was a Christian than the villagers clamoured for his life. An uncle
of his, however, who was himself a Mullah, managed to appease them on
condition that he should leave the country at once; and that night
there were great weepings in his house, for his mother felt that
she was not only going to lose her newly returned son, but that he
had sold his soul to the devil and disgraced her whole family. Still,
however, mother's love conquered, and she prepared him his food for the
journey, and parted with many embraces. "O that you should have become
a Feringi! Woe is me, but still you are my son!" He left the books with
some Mullahs there, who, though they would have been afraid to accept
them openly, or let it be known that they were in the possession of
such heretical literature, were nevertheless actuated by curiosity to
hide the books away, that they might see, at some quiet opportunity,
what the teaching of the book of the Christians was.

Jahan Khan's dangers were not yet, however, over. Travellers from
Kabul to India could not venture through the passes in small parties,
but joined one of those enormous caravans which pass twice weekly
through the Khaiber Pass. In these caravans, besides the honest
trader and bona-fide traveller, there are usually some unscrupulous
robbers, who try by trickery or by force to get the property of
their fellow-travellers. A common method with them is some evening,
after the day's journey is over, to propose a convivial party. "We
have just slain a kid," they will say to the unsuspecting traveller,
"and we have cooked the most delicious soup. Will you come and share
it?" But in the soup they have mixed a quantity of a poisonous herb,
which causes insensibility, or it may be madness, in those who
partake of it. Whether they knew of Jahan Khan's secret, or whether
they thought that he might be carrying money with him, I cannot say;
but he, all unsuspectingly, joined in one of these evening feasts,
and remembered nothing more until, some days later, the caravan entered
Peshawur. With a great effort he struggled up to the mission bungalow,
but it was some days before he was able to undertake the journey to
Bannu, and still longer before he regained his previous health.

His visit to his home had not been without fruit, and about a year
later a brother and two cousins journeyed down from Laghman to Bannu,
and while there one at least was brought to ask for Christian baptism,
and is to this day working in one of our frontier medical missions. The
others placed themselves under instruction, but they could not stand
the heat of the Indian summer, and became so homesick for their
mountain village that they returned there.

Among the thousand and one duties that fall to the lot of a frontier
missionary is that of becoming a matchmaker to some of the converts. It
may be that in one station a number of young men are brought into the
Christian fold where there is no corresponding women's work, whereby
they might be enabled to set up house for themselves, while it would
be courting many dangers to expect them to live for an indefinite
period in a state of single blessedness. Thus it came about that I
undertook a journey with Jahan Khan down to India, and in one of the
zenana missions there we found a girl who was to become his helpmeet
through life. She came of one of those Afghan families which had long
been domiciled in British India, and had been brought to the Christian
faith through the devoted efforts of some lady missionary. She had also
received the training of a compounder and midwife from the lady doctor
where she had been converted, and so was able to be, not only a light
to his home, but also an efficient helper in the work of the mission.

Some time after the happy pair had made their home in Bannu, and
after on three successive occasions the arrival of a young Afghan
had brought still more happiness into their married life, a letter
came from a devoted missionary working in a difficult outpost in the
Persian Gulf. The letter set forth how the missionary had been left
almost without a helper in one of the most difficult and fanatical
fields of missionary effort among Muhammadans, and ended by an appeal
for some native worker to come out and help. It was difficult to
resist such an appeal, and though loth to lose the services of Jahan
Khan even for a time, one felt that one had no worker more eminently
suited for stepping into the breach. The Afghan makes an excellent
pioneer. His pride of race and self-reliance enable him to work in
an isolated and difficult field, where a convert from the plains of
India would quickly lose heart. So it came about, in a few weeks' time,
that we had a farewell meeting in Bannu for bidding God-speed to Jahan
Khan and family in their new sphere of missionary labour; and we felt
what a privilege it was, for not only had we seen the first-fruits of
the harvest of Afghanistan, but had also seen an Afghan convert going
out as a missionary to what was as much a foreign country for him as
India is for us. For some time he shared with the devoted American
missionaries the vicissitudes of work among the fanatical Arabs of
Bahrain, and here his eldest daughter was taken from him and laid
to rest in the little Christian cemetery. When some time later he
could be spared to return to Bannu, we put him to work in the mission
hospital, where he was not only able to influence the numerous Afghans
who every week came from over the border as patients, but was able
also to acquire great proficiency in medical and surgical practice.

Some years after this we had occasion to open fresh work in a
village--Kharrak--in the midst of the Pathan population of the Kohat
district, and when we were in need of a thoroughly reliable man to
place in this isolated outpost, we found no one better suited than
Jahan Khan. Kharrak is a chief salt mart in the Kohat districts, and
in the centre of a fertile valley, which, from the amount of grain
it produces, has been called the "Granary of the Khattaks." Hard
by are salt-quarries, which employ a good number of labourers, and
attract merchants with their caravans from distant parts. I first
visited this town in 1895, in company with Jahan Khan, and found a
rough and fanatical population, who refused to listen to our message,
and even rejected our medical aid. As years passed by many of them had
occasion to become patients in the Bannu Mission Hospital, and they
carried back good accounts to their fellow-townsmen of the benefits
they had received and the sympathy that had been displayed towards
them, with the result that before long our visits were welcomed, we
were able to preach in their bazaars, and eventually they asked us to
open permanent work there, gave us a suitable site close to the town,
and raised subscriptions to help in the building.

When first Jahan Khan and his devoted wife started work at Kharrak,
they had a great deal of prejudice and antagonism to overcome, owing
to their being converts from Muhammadanism; but, by patience and
consistency of life, by uniform kindness to all the sick and needy
who came for their aid, they gradually lived it down. I have now no
greater pleasure in my work than to visit Kharrak, and to see these two
faithful workers in their hospital, surrounded by the sick and needy,
telling them of the precious sacrifice of Christ--the very Muhammadans
who were once, in their fanaticism, thirsting for his blood, now
quietly sitting round and listening attentively while he recounts, day
by day, the story of the Cross. I will give an instance to show how
a consistent Christian life can influence even such wild, ferocious
Pathans as those of Kharrak. Some fanatical Muhammadans, irritated
at the preaching of the Gospel in their town, hired a professional
assassin to come to shoot Jahan Khan; but the man happened to be one
who had been indebted to the young doctor for recovery from a severe
illness, in which he had, by his unremitting attention, been the means
of saving his life. When he found who it was he was required to kill,
he returned the money and informed Jahan Khan, that he might be on
his guard. Jahan Khan called for the men who had hired the assassin,
expostulated with them for their ingratitude for the benefits they had
received in the hospital, and, when they expressed their contrition,
freely forgave them, and now they are his staunch partisans.



CHAPTER XVII

THE HINDU ASCETICS

    The Hindu Sadhus more than two thousand years ago much
    as to-day--Muhammadan faqirs much more recent--The Indian
    ideal--This presents a difficulty to the missionary--Becoming
    a Sadhu--An Afghan disciple--Initiation and equipment--Hardwar
    the Holy--A religious settlement--Natural beauties of the
    locality--Only man is vile--Individualism versus altruism--The
    Water God--Wanton monkeys--Tendency to make anything unusual
    an object of worship--A Brahman fellow-traveller--A night in a
    temple--Waking the gods--A Hindu sacrament--A religious Bedlam--A
    ward for imbeciles--Religious delusions--"All humbugs"--Yogis
    and hypnotism--Voluntary maniacs--The daily meal--Feeding, flesh,
    fish, and fowl.


All the travellers and tourists who have recorded their experiences
of India mention the strange, fantastic, ochre-habited ascetics
who are met with in town and village, by the roadside and at
fairs--nay, even in the modern railway-station, where they seem
strangely out of place. But few have cared to cultivate their more
intimate acquaintance; they have little in them that is attractive
to the Western eye, and often appear absolutely repulsive. Yet,
to a missionary at least, there is a fascination about them. They
embody the religious ideals of the East, and carry one back to the
hoary past, long before Alexander marched into India, when the same
enigmas of life were puzzling the mystical mind of the East, and the
same Sadhus were seeking their solution in her trackless jungles and
beside her mighty rivers. Sadhus, I say, because then there were no
faqirs. Faqirs are of comparatively recent origin, dating from the
time of the Muhammadan invasions, about the tenth century of our
era. Now the distinction is often lost sight of. The word "faqir"
is an Arabic one, and denotes a Muhammadan ascetic; while the word
"Sadhu" is Sanskrit, and is best retained for the Hindu ascetic.

The Muhammadan faqir is altogether different from the Hindu Sadhu in
his motives, his ideals, his habits, his dress--in fact, in nearly
everything; yet contact with the Hindu Sadhus has had a profound effect
upon him, and their philosophies have coloured his religious ideas. The
Hindus have, on their part too, not been unaffected by the influx of
Muhammadans, bringing their new monotheistic ideas, and some of the
Hindu orders appear to be attempts to graft the Muslim monotheism on
to the mystical Hindu pantheism. This is seen most developed in the
Kabir Panthis and the various orders originating from Guru Nanak. A
desire to propitiate and attract their Muhammadan conquerors was
probably not wanting in the moulding of these new orders; indeed,
Kabir and Guru Nanak seem to have had visions of elaborating a creed
in which Muhammadan and Hindu could unite together.

The Indian religious ideal has always been ascetic and despondent:
ascetic, perhaps, because life seemed sad and hopeless. On the other
hand, the Western ideal is an altruistic and optimistic one.

The young missionary, who very likely appeared to his sympathetic
friends in England to be making great sacrifices in order to go
"to preach the Gospel to the heathen," sometimes ignorantly imagines
that the people round him in India will recognize what he has denied
himself in order to come among them, and will respect him in due
proportion. Poor deluded man! The modern Christian in England has not
even learnt the alphabet of austerities and self-denials practised
in the name of religion, of which the Indians are past masters. He
appears to them as one of the ruling race, surrounded by the comforts
and luxuries of a house, many servants, books, flowers, photographs,
pictures, and the various little creations of civilization, which
custom has made the Western no longer to look on as superfluous
articles of luxury! Their ideal has been nearer that of the Swami,
who had so overcome the bonds of the flesh that he required neither
clothes nor viands, but sat nude and impassive, maintaining his
vitality on an occasional banana or mango!

Should the missionary try to accommodate himself to the Eastern
ideal, and forego many things that are lawful to him in order to
gain more influence with the people for his message? Every Indian
missionary has probably asked himself this question at some period
of his career. At one time such questionings forced themselves on
me with great importunity. There seemed such a gulf between myself,
in my comfortable house, surrounded by so many conveniences, and the
poor people, around me. The multitudinous administrative duties of
the missionary in charge of a station seemed to leave so little time
for spiritual dealings with inquirers, and at the end of a long day
weariness made it difficult to maintain that very essential equipment
of every missionary--"a heart at leisure from itself to soothe and
sympathize."

Then I had a desire to learn more about these men, who might be
supposed to represent the embodiment of the religious ideals of the
East. The best way seemed to be to adopt their dress and habits, and
travel about among them for a time. A young Afghan, who was a pupil
of mine and a Muhammadan student in the school, begged to be allowed
to accompany me as a chela, or disciple. As the time at my disposal
was limited, it would not have been possible to visit many of the
places where Sadhus most do congregate had we confined ourselves to
the more orthodox method of progression on foot, so we decided to
ride our bicycles. This did not seem to affect the reception we met
with from the fraternity--in fact, it is not at all uncommon to see
Sadhus riding; often pious Hindus seek to gain merit for themselves
by providing them with the means for doing so.

When we left Bannu, we took no money with us; but we seldom were in
want, as we received ungrudging hospitality from Hindus, Muhammadans,
and Christians alike. The ochre-coloured garments are sufficient
passport all over India, and people give alms and offer hospitality
without requiring further evidence of the genuineness of the claims
of the applicant on their charity. In fact, unless the Sadhu is of
known bad character, the Hindu would gain his end--that of acquiring
merit by almsgiving--as much by giving to one as another; and he
would be very unhappy were he not afforded these opportunities of
keeping up the credit side of his account, all the more if his gains
are ill-gotten, or he is conscious of some underhand dealings which
require corresponding acts of merit to balance them.

One of the most interesting places we visited was Hardwar, the holy
bathing-place on the Ganges, which is visited by tens of thousands
of Hindu pilgrims from every part of India every year, and the
neighbouring Sadhu colony of Rishikes. The latter is a village
inhabited only by the Sanzasis and other Sadhus, who have built
themselves grass huts in a very picturesque spot, where the Ganges
River emerges from the Himalaya Mountains, and commences its long
course through the densely-populated plains of India. It is at Hardwar
that the great Ganges Canal, one of the great engineering feats of the
British rule, has been taken from the river to vivify thousands of
acres of good land in the United Provinces to the south, and supply
their teeming populations with bread. A little above the town of
Rurki a massive aqueduct carries the whole volume of the canal high
above a river flowing beneath, and yet higher up two river-beds are
conducted over the canal, which passes beneath them. The uniqueness
of this piece of engineering is dependent on two other factors--the
crystalline limpidity of the blue water and the glorious scenery
which forms a setting to all.

I no longer needed to inquire why the common consent of countless
generations of Hindus had made this neighbourhood their Holy Land;
the appropriateness of it flashed on my mind the moment the glorious
vista opened before me. There beyond me were the majestic Himalayas,
the higher ranges clothed in the purest dazzling white, emblem of the
Great Eternal Purity, looking down impassive on all the vicissitudes
of puny man, enacting his drama of life with a selfish meanness so
sordid in contrast with that spotless purity; and yet not unmoved,
for is there not a stream of life-giving water ever issuing from those
silent solitudes, without which the very springs of man's existence
would dry up and wither? And then, in the nearer distance, the lower
ranges clothed in the richest verdure of the primeval forest, vast
tracts not yet subdued by the plough of man, where the religious
devotee can strive to rise from Nature to Nature's God, amid those
solitudes and recesses where no handiwork of man distracts the soul
from the contemplation of the illimitable and mysterious First Cause.

While looking down from the elevation of the canal, there was
spread out at our feet a bucolic scene of peace and plenty, where
villages and hamlets, surrounded by green fields and cultivation, lay
scattered among sylvan glades, drinking in vivifying streams which
had journeyed down by chasm and defile, through valley and meadow,
from those distant solitudes.

How natural it seemed that in those early Vedic ages, when the
reverence for the forces of Nature was still unsullied by the
man-worship engendered by the development of his inventive genius,
this vast cathedral of God's own architecture should have been made
the chosen place of worship of the race, where the more devout spirits
strove not only to worship and adore, but to shake off the trammels of
a mere mundane corporal existence, till the spirit was as free as the
birds in the air around, as clear from earthly dross as the limpid
waters below, and as integral a part of the great eternal whole as
Nature around, so diverse in its manifestations, yet knitted together
in one congruous whole by a pervading and uniform natural law. But
facilis descensus Averni! How often the most glorious inspirations
are dragged down and down till they subserve the basest instincts
of man! So here a little farther on--at Hardwar--we were to have the
spiritual elation engendered by the natural scene cruelly shattered by
a sight of the vileness and sordidness of the most repulsive aspects
of humanity, and by realizing how the most Divine conceptions can be
dragged down and abased to pander to all that is brutal and evil in
man. Not, of course, that all the Sadhus at Hardwar and Rishikes have
debased their holy profession. Many among them, as I shall shortly
describe, are as earnest seekers after Divine illumination as could
be met with in any country; but, by one of those strange paradoxes so
common in the East, they live side by side with the basest charlatans
and the most immoral caricatures of their own ideals without evincing
any consciousness of the impropriety of it, or resentment at their
profession being thus debased before the public eye.

The individualistic idea eclipses that of the public weal, and each is
so intent on perfecting his own salvation, and drawing himself nearer,
step by step, to his goal of absorption in the Eternal Spirit, that
he has come to forget that man has a duty to those around him from
which he cannot absolve himself. St. Paul tells us, "No man liveth to
himself, and no man dieth to himself." The Sadhu says each unit is
only concerned in building up its own karma, or balance of good and
evil actions, whereby it must work out its own destiny regardless of
the weal and woe of those around. The Hindu idea connects the soul
with those other souls before and behind it in a long concatenation
of births; the Christian idea connects the soul with the other souls
around it, contemporaneous with its own corporeal existence, and linked
with it by the good and evil vibrations of its own vitality. Thus the
vista of the Sadhu is always introspective, even to a vesting of the
natural vital functions of the body with spiritual significations,
which require the most laborious practisings and purifications to
make them all subserve his great ideal of absolute subjection of
the body to the spirit. The vista of the Christian missionary and
philanthropist is extraspective, seeking to make his own life a means
for elevating spiritually and materially the lives of those around him,
and disciplining his own body and soul rather, that he may thereby
more effectually further this end. "For their sakes I sanctify myself,
that they also may be sanctified."

A constant stream of pilgrims is ever passing through the bazaar of
Hardwar to and from that particular part of the river, the water of
which is supposed to possess a superlative sanctity. Here they bring
the calcined bones and ashes of their dead relations, and there is ever
a stream of pious Hindus bringing these doleful relics for consignment
to the sacred stream. As I looked down into the crystal waters I could
see the fragments of white bones lying about on the pebbles beneath,
with the fish playing in and out among them. Strange commingling of
life and death! And this has been going on at this spot for three
thousand years, for woe to the Hindu who has no son to perform his
funeral rites, no relative to bring his ashes to the cleansing waters
of the mighty Ganges! His soul will wander about restlessly, and the
sequence of its reincarnations leading to its ultimate absorption in
the Eternal Spirit, will be hampered and retarded! There they fill the
glass bottles of all sizes, which they have brought for the purpose,
and then place them in wicker baskets on the two ends of a bamboo pole,
which is balanced over the shoulder, and with which they will often
travel hundreds of miles on foot till they reach their destination. If
the Hindu for whom the water is being obtained is well-to-do, he
will have the water fetched with great pomp and ceremony, ringing
of bells, playing of instruments, and chanting of mantras, while the
baskets containing the water are gorgeously decorated, and a servant
is deputed to fan the aqueous god as he is borne along. Probably the
Hindu would grudge a tenth part of the cost to purify or amplify the
water-supply of his own village!

Naturally the town drives a thriving trade in the bamboo rods, baskets,
bottles, and all appurtenances of the mighty pilgrimage. The bazaar
is crowded with monkeys, the feeding of which affords boundless
opportunities to pious Hindus for accumulating merit. These favours
the monkeys repay by surreptitiously snatching sweetmeats and fruits
from the open shop-fronts and darting off with the booty to the roofs
of the shops opposite, where they devour them in quiet with sly winks
and leers at the luckless shopkeeper. Though inwardly wrathful, he
cannot retaliate on the sacred animals, lest he be dubbed a heretic
and his trade depart. Here, too, we see everywhere exemplified the
irrepressible faculty of the Hindu for worshipping anything which
can possibly be made into an object of veneration.

Probably all the world through, no race is to be found so bent on
turning all the events and circumstances of life into religious
acts of worship. If anything or anyone is pre-eminently good or
pre-eminently bad, or has any particular quality, good or evil,
developed to excess, or is a monstrosity in any way, then he or it is
sure to become an object of worship. A Hindu addicted to wine-bibbing
will sometimes turn his drinking orgy into an act of religious worship,
in which the wine-bottle is set up on a pedestal and duly garlanded,
apostrophized, and adored. A Sadhu may be a notoriously bad man, but
if his vices have given him a preeminence over his fellow-men, he will
find multitudes of Hindus, men and women, who will regard them only
as so many proofs of his divinity, and worship him accordingly. It is
not that the Hindu does not recognize or reprobate vice--he does both;
but, then, he holds the idea that spirit is eternally pure and good,
and matter eternally gross and evil, and that if a Sadhu attains the
stage where spirit has triumphed over body, his actions become divorced
from ethics, and are no longer to be judged as though his spirit was
capable of contamination from the acts of its earthly tabernacle.

Hence it is that the stories of the Hindu divinities, which seem to
us distinctly immoral, do not strike the pantheistic Hindu mind as
such, for ethics have ceased to be a concern to one whose austerities
have won for him union with the Divine Essence. Here in Hardwar was a
weird collection of bovine monstrosities--cows with three horns, one
eye, or a hideous tumour; calves with two heads or two bodies. These
were paraded forth by their fortunate possessors, who reaped a good
harvest of coins from the devout visitors, who worshipped them as
illustrations of the vagaries of divinity, and hoped, by offering
them alms, to propitiate their destinies.

Rishikes, the city of the Sadhus, is eighteen miles higher up the
river from Hardwar, and the road lies through a dense forest. The
road is only a rough track, but pious Hindus have erected temples
and rest-houses at short intervals, where travellers can spend the
night and get refreshment. After proceeding some distance through the
forest I met a Brahman journeying the same way with a heavily-laden
pony. The pony was obstreperous, and the luggage kept falling off,
so the Brahman gladly accepted the offer of my assistance, and after
repacking the luggage in a securer manner we got along very well. The
Brahman beguiled the time by telling me histories of the past glories
of the Rishis of the Himalayas, and how the spread of infidelity and
cow-killing was undermining the fabric of Hinduism. False Sadhus and
Sanyasis from the lower non-Brahman castes were crowding into their
ranks for the sake of an easier living, till it was almost impossible
to distinguish the true from the false, and a bad name was brought
upon all.

Any Hindu of the three upper castes may become a Sadhu, and should,
according to Manu's code, become a Sanyasi in his later years. But
he does not thereby attain to the sanctity of a Brahman, and the
Brahmans have many stories to relate to show how many have undergone
extreme austerities and bodily afflictions in order to obtain spiritual
power, and have thereby gained great gifts from the gods, but without
attaining the coveted sanctity of the born Brahman.

The sun had already set, and the forest path was becoming difficult
to follow in the gathering gloom when we reached a clearing with a
temple and a few cottages built round it, so we decided to spend the
night there. Through the kind offices of the Brahman, I was given a
small room adjoining the temple, on the stone floor of which I spread
my blanket, and prepared to make myself comfortable for the night. I
had consumed my supper of bread and pulse, and given the remnants to
the temple cow, and settled myself to sleep, when I was roused by a
fearful din. The temple in which I had found refuge was dedicated to
Vishnu and Lakshmi, and their full-size images, dressed up in gaudy
tinsel, were within. The time for their evening meal had arrived,
but the gods were asleep, and the violent tomtoming and clashing of
cymbals which awoke me so suddenly was really intended to make the
drowsy gods bestir themselves to partake of the supper which their
worshippers had reverently brought them.

When the gods were thoroughly roused, and the dainty food had
been set before them, the priest proceeded to fan them with some
peacocks' feathers while the meal might be imagined to be in course
of consumption, and meanwhile the worshippers bowed themselves on the
floor before them, prostrating themselves with arms and legs extended
on the stones and foreheads in the dust, the more zealous continuing
their prostrations as long as the meal lasted. In these prostrations
eight parts of the body have to touch the ground--the forehead, breast,
hands, knees, and insteps--and I have seen pilgrims travelling towards
a holy place some hundreds of miles distant by continuous prostrations
of this kind, the feet being brought up to where the hands were, and
the prostration repeated, and thus the whole distance measured out by
interminable prostrations. This formidable austerity may take years,
but will gain the performer great sanctity and power with the gods
whose shrine he thus visits.

The meal over, the worshippers knelt reverently in line, and received
a few drops each of the water left over, and a few grains of corn that
had been sanctified by being part of the meal of the gods, taking them
from the priest in their open palm, and drinking the water and eating
the corn with raptures of pleasure and renewed prostrations. One could
not but be forcibly reminded of a somewhat ceremonious celebration
of the Christian Eucharist. This over, the worshippers departed, the
gods were gently fanned to sleep, the priest and the most substantial
part of the dinner were left alone, and I became oblivious.

The next morning the Brahman and I were up betimes, and girded
ourselves for the accomplishment of the nine miles of forest which
still lay between us and our destination, before reaching which we
had to ford several small rivers. However, the rays of the sun had
scarcely become pleasantly warm when we found ourselves elbowing our
way through the Sadhus and pilgrims who were crowding the small but
striking bazaar of Rishikes. This place has so little in common with
the world in general, is so diverse from all one's preconceived notions
and ideas, its mental atmosphere departs so far from the ordinary
human standard, that it is hard to know whether to describe it in
the ordinary terms of human experience, or whether to look on it as
a weird dream of the bygone ages of another world. As for myself,
I had not been wandering among its ochre-habited devotees for a
quarter of an hour before my mind involuntarily reverted to a time,
many years past, when I was a student of mental disease in Bethlem
Hospital, and to a dream I had had at that time, when I imagined I
found myself an inmate, no longer as a psychological student, but with
the indescribably uncanny feeling, "I am one of them myself. Now these
madmen around me are only counterparts of myself." So now, as some
of these forms of voluntary self-torture and eccentricity, nudity,
or ash-besmeared bodies, aroused feelings of abhorrence, I had to
check myself with the thought: "But you yourself are one of them too:
these weird Sadhus are your accepted brothers in uniform." And so the
illusion continued so long as I moved among them, and when finally
I left Rishikes behind me, it was like waking from some nightmare.

Accompany me round the imaginary wards, and we will first visit that
for imbeciles. We find most of them sitting out in the jungle under
trees or mats, avoiding the proximity of their fellow-creatures,
recoiling from any intrusion on their privacy, preserving a vacuous
expression and an unbroken silence, resenting any effort to draw
them into conversation or to break into the impassivity of their
abstraction. They do not look up as you approach; they offer you no
sign of recognition; whether you seat yourself or remain standing,
they show no consciousness of your presence. Flies may alight on their
faces, but still their eyes remain fixed on the tip of their noses,
and their hands remain clasping their crossed legs. They have sought
to obtain fusion with the Eternal Spirit by cultivating an ecstatic
vacuity of mind, and have fallen into the error of imagining that the
material part of their nature can be etherealized by merely ignoring
it, until the process of atrophy from disuse often proceeds so far that
there is no mind left to be etherealized at all, and there is little
left to distinguish them from one of those demented unfortunates who
have been deprived by disease of that highest ornament of humanity.

Leaving these, let us proceed to the ward set apart for delusional
insanity. The first Sadhu tells you that he is possessed by a spirit
which forbids him to eat except every third day. Another avers that
he is in reality a cow in human form, and therefore must eat nothing
but grass and roots. A third I found sitting in nudity and arrogance
on his grass mat, and repeating sententiously time after time: "I
am God, I am God!" I remember a patient at Bethlem whose delusion
was that he was himself the superintendent of the asylum, the one
sane man among all the mad, and he went round the ward pointing out
to me each patient with the remark: "He is mad--quite mad. He, too,
he also is mad," and so on. But I was much surprised to meet the
same gentleman here. He was in the form of a Bengali Babu, a B.A. of
the Calcutta University, and had held high posts under Government;
but now, in later life, in dissatisfaction with the world at large,
had thrown it all up and sought in the garb of a Sanyasi recluse at
Rishikes for that peace which an office and Babudom can never afford.

Recognizing me as a novice, he took me by the arm, saying in
English (which in itself seemed strange and out of place amid these
surroundings): "Come along; I explain to you jolly well all the
show." We strolled in and out among the various groups of Sadhus,
and at each new form of Sadhuism he would deliver himself after
this manner: "See this man--he is a humbug, pure humbug. See that
man lying on all the sharp stones--he is a humbug. Look at these
here--humbugs! There, that man, reciting the mantras--he pure
humbug. All these humbugs!" and so on.

Here is the section for the study and practice of hypnotism. These
yogis maintain that by a knowledge of the spiritual states engendered
by various samadhs or contorted positions of the body and legs,
and by elaborate breathing exercises, they are able to subdue the
unruly and material currents of the bodily senses and the brain,
and tap that inner source of spiritual knowledge and divinity which
makes them ipso facto masters of all knowledge, able to commune at
will with the Deity Himself.

The contortions into which they are able to thrust their limbs, and the
length of time that they are able to sit impassive and imperturbable in
what appear to be the most painfully constrained postures, show that
years of practice, commenced when the joints and sinews are supple,
must be required for the attainment of this ecstatic state. There
can be no doubt, I think, that masters do exercise the power of
hypnotism on their chelas, and are thereby able to perform painful
operations on them (such as piercing various parts of their anatomy
with iron skewers) without their wincing or showing visible signs
of pain. Other practices which these yogis have been carrying on
for centuries in their haunts in the Himalayas remind one forcibly
of the modus operandi of the Western hypnotist, and no doubt both
attain success through a knowledge, empirical though it may be,
of the same psycho-physiological laws.

Leaving these, let us examine some of the cases of mania--a few
of them acute, others more or less chronic, or passing on into a
drivelling dementia. Here is a man quite naked, except for the white
ashes rubbed over his dusky body, who, with long dishevelled locks and
wild expression, hurries up and down the bazaar barking like a dog,
and making it his boast never to use intelligible language. Another,
after painting his naked body partly white and partly black, has tied
all the little bits of rag he has picked up in the road to various
parts of his person. A third has adorned his filthy, mud-covered
body with wild-flowers, whose varying beauty, now withering in the
noonday sun, seems a picture of how his mind and conscience, once
the glory of his manhood, have now faded into a shadow. Another is
lying by choice in the mud by the roadside, to be fouled by the dust
of the passers-by, and almost trampled on by the cows, hoping by this
abject affectation of humility to be thought the greater saint. For,
by a curious paradox, it is often those who make the greatest display
of humility and subjection of the passions who show the greatest
sensitiveness to public opinion of their sanctity, and quite fail
in concealing their jealousy when some other Sadhu outdoes them,
and gains the greater meed of public admiration.

There is another man to be seen wandering aimlessly about and picking
up bits of filth and ordure, and putting them in his mouth and chewing
them. But to give a further account of these caricatures of humanity
would be loathsome to the reader, as their contemplation became to
me--the more so as the thought kept recurring to my mind, "And you
are one of them, too, now"; and who knows to what point the imitative
faculty of man, that contagion of the mind, may not raise or lower him?

By this time, however, the long fast and the fresh, keen air from the
Ganges made me begin to wonder how I was going to satisfy a call from
within. It was now close on midday, and I saw the Sadhus collecting
round certain houses with bowls, gourds, and other receptacles. These
were the kitchens established by pious Hindus of various parts of
India with the object of acquiring sufficient merit to counterpoise
their demerits--the bribery, chicanery, and lying of their offices,
or the more covert sins of their private life. A rich Hindu may
establish a kitchen in his own name alone, but more often a number
unite together to form a guild to keep the kitchen going, and the
merit is portioned out like the dividends of a joint-stock company
to its shareholders. There were some twenty or more of such kitchens
here, in each of which three chapattis and a modicum of dal, potatoes,
greens, or some other vegetable were given; and there was nothing to
debar a Sadhu from going to as many kitchens as he desired--in fact,
he knew he was conferring a benefit on the shareholders by consuming
their victuals and supplying them thereby with merit.

The gnawing pangs of hunger made me mingle with the shoving, jostling
throng, and hurry from kitchen to kitchen till I had accumulated
nine chapattis, and vegetables in proportion. Modesty then made me
withdraw, but not so most of my companions. One of these who rejoined
me a little later had been to eight kitchens, and brought a supply of
twenty-four chapattis, and a large bowl of dal, potatoes, and other
vegetables. The custom of the place then required me to descend to
the margin of the Ganges, and, squatting on a stone which was lapped
by its pellucid waters, to consume my portion with draughts of the
holy water. But not without a preliminary ceremony, for while the
Sadhus had been collecting round the kitchens, the cows and bulls
had been collecting on the banks of the river, and it was de rigueur
first to set aside three portions, and give one to these holy animals,
a second portion to the birds in the air, and a third to the fish in
the river, after which the remainder, whether one chapatti or twenty,
might be consumed with an easy conscience and a courageous digestion.



CHAPTER XVIII

SADHUS AND FAQIRS

    Buried gold--Power of sympathy--A neglected field--A Sadhu
    converted to Christianity--His experiences--Causes of the
    development of the ascetic idea in India--More unworthy motives
    common at the present time--The Prime Minister of a State becomes a
    recluse--A cavalry officer Sadhu--Dedicated from birth--Experiences
    of a young Sadhu--An unpleasant bed-fellow--Honest toil--Orders of
    Muhammadan ascetics--Their characteristics--A faqir's curse--Women
    and faqirs--Muhammadan faqirs usually unorthodox--Sufistic
    tendencies--Habits of inebriation--The sanctity and powers of a
    faqir's grave.


There were, however, some bright spots even in Rishikes, gems
among the rubble, lumps of gold concealed among the mass of baser
metals--minds earnestly seeking a higher spiritual life, losing
themselves, wearying themselves in the quest after truth, intensely
conscious of the vanity of this world and its pursuits and pleasures,
and striving to obtain in a contemplation of the One only Pure,
the only Unchangeable, the only True, that peace of mind which they
instinctively felt and experimentally found was not to be realized
in the pursuit of material objects. The painful mistake which made
their quest so hopeless was the endeavour to divest themselves of the
bonds of their bodily material tabernacle, which, if subjugated to
the spirit, forms the basis on which that spirit can work healthily
and naturally to its divinest development, but which, if altogether
ignored and contemned, reduces that same spirit to a morbid fantasy.

With regard to the learning of many of the Sanyasis there is not a
shadow of doubt. There are men there fit to be Sanskrit professors
in the Universities, and who are deep in the lore of the ancient and
voluminous literature of Hinduism. Yet who benefits by all their
learning? They may transmit it to a few disciples, or it may live
and die with them; they make no attempt to methodize it, to draw
conclusions, to contrast the old order with the new, to summarize or
to classify, but cultivate it purely as a mental exercise or religious
duty, without apparently even the desire to benefit the world at large
thereby. This self-centred individualism, each mind self-satisfied,
self-contained, with the springs of sympathy and altruism hard frozen,
ever revolving on itself, and evolving a maze of mysticism, at length
becomes so entangled in its own introspection that other minds and
the world outside cease to have any practical existence for it. This
is at once the most salient and the saddest feature of the learned
and meditative Sadhu.

But there they are--men who might have shone academically, who might
have enriched the world with thought, research, and criticism, but
who have chosen to live for and within themselves, careless whether
others live or die, are instructed or remain ignorant. Though they
have categorically rejected altruism, and denied that they have a duty
towards their neighbour, and done their best to shut up the doors
of sympathy, yet even with them human nature refuses to be utterly
crushed, and will assert itself. One can often discern a suppressed,
yet insuppressible, hunger after sympathy, and one has no doubt but
that the sympathy which finds its highest expression in the love of
Christ, whether acted or recounted, will penetrate their hearts, and
find a response. Unused, any organ will atrophy, and so their capacity
for sympathy may be latent and not easily roused. Let someone, however,
go to them as a fellow-creature, full of love and sympathy--not to
despise and to fault-find, but to take hand in hand and bring soul
to soul--and he will find that the Sadhus of Rishikes are human,
very human, with the same spiritual hungerings and thirstings, and
able to realize and rejoice in the same salvation.

It is a pity that more missionaries have not devoted themselves
to working among these people. They would need to be men of great
devotion and self-abnegation, but there have been many such in other
spheres. They would be repelled and disappointed by the callousness and
fraud of the majority, but there are the gems to be sought out, and
how much hard granite is the miner willing laboriously to crush when
he is sure of finding nuggets of gold here and there! And among these
Sadhus are men who, converted to Christianity, would be apostolic in
their zeal and devotion, and might, by travelling up and down India,
not now in the vain accumulation of merit, but as heralds of the
Gospel of goodwill, become the Wesleys and Whitefields of a mighty
mass movement of the people towards Christ.

As an example of such a one and the way in which he was converted from
the life of a Sadhu to that of a Christian preacher, I will quote here
the account that Rev. B. B. Roy gives of his conversion. It shows how
strong a hold the ascetic Sadhu idea has on a religiously-minded Hindu,
and how spontaneously his heart seeks in austerity and retirement for
the peace which a growing sense of sin and of the evil of the world has
taken away. At the same time it shows that, as in the case of Buddha,
asceticism fails to afford any lasting comfort or peace to the weary
storm-tossed soul. He says: "Constant starvation and exposure to all
sorts of weather reduced my body to a living skeleton.

"After a few months' travel I came to Hardwar, and then proceeded to
a place called Rishikes, celebrated for its Sadhus and Sanyasis. My
intention was to stay there and practise yoga [a kind of meditative
asceticism], to attain to final beatitude; but a strange event took
place, which entirely changed my purpose. The rainy season had already
set in; the jungle path was muddy, and at places full of water, so when
I reached Rishikes I was almost covered with mud. Leaving my things in
a dharmsala, I was going to bring water from the Ganges when I smelt
a very bad odour. As I turned round I saw a dead body in the street,
rotting in the mud. Around the corpse were the huts of the Sanyasis,
who were performing tap-jap almost the whole day; but none of them had
even enough of compassion to dispose of the body of the poor man who
had died helpless on the street. I thought that if this was religion,
then what was irreligion? My spirit revolted against these Sadhus.

"I perceived in my heart of hearts that yog-sadhan cannot create that
love in man which makes a man feel for a fellow-man. Where there is
no such love there can be no religion from God."

And then he goes on to relate how, leaving Rishikes, he fell in with a
Christian preacher, and eventually found in Christ that peace which all
his voluntary hardship had failed to afford, and how he had been led on
and on in his pilgrim walk, till he had now the blessed and responsible
work of teaching others of his fellow-countrymen how best to bring
the good news of the eternal love to all the hungry and thirsty souls
around. (He was then Principal of a theological seminary.)

There have already been many such cases of Sadhus and faqirs converted
to Christianity, and these men and women have, as might be expected,
exerted an immense influence on their fellow-countrymen. They have
presented them with a Christianity in an Eastern dress which they
can recognize as congenial to the sentiments of their country, and
exemplified in their own self-denying lives, full of the spirit of
that austerity which the Indian has long believed to be inseparable
from religious zeal.

Devotion, austerity, and asceticism in the cause of religion have
been characteristic of India as far back as history records. Life
has always been precarious for the majority of the population in
the East, and plagues, famines and wars have familiarized them with
the tragic spectacles of multitudes of young and old being suddenly
carried off in the midst of business or enjoyment. Consequently,
their sages dwelt much on the uncertainty of life, and developed
the doctrine that the world and its gay shows were only an illusion
of the senses, and the goal of the spirit was to divest itself of
this illusion and rise superior to the limitations of matter. By
the practice of austerities, the grossness of the flesh, the demands
of the body, and the storms of the passions, would be subdued, and
the spirit gain freedom from the endless round of reincarnation,
and ultimately join the illimitable sea whence it came, as the drop
on the lotus-leaf falls back into the water and is lost therein.

Then, it is universally believed that by these austerities the ascetic
gains power with the gods, and can bring down blessings from above
for himself and his votaries. He can, in fact, extort favours from
the unwilling gods if he only carry his self-torture and privations
to the requisite extreme.

We find much the same idea in the ascetic saints of the early Christian
era. Thus Tennyson, in his poem "St. Simeon Stylites," puts the
following words into the mouth of the saint. He is addressing a crowd
of people who have come to worship him, and who believe that, owing
to his great austerities, he has the power of granting their requests.


        "Speak! is there any of you halt or maim'd?
        I think you know I have some power with Heaven
        From my long penance; let him speak his wish."


The idea of merit is ever present to the Hindu. By practising austerity
himself, or by paying another to practise it for him, he can accumulate
merit, which will render each succeeding birth more propitious, and
bring him nearer his ideal of bliss, when his soul will be finally
freed from the endless chain of reincarnations. It must, sad to say,
be admitted that with the great majority of the Sadhus of the present
day the motives which actuate them are much more mundane and sordid
than what I have described above. Lazy good-for-nothings, too indolent
to work, find that in the garb of a Sadhu they can be assured of a
living which, though it may not be a luxurious one, is yet one free
from anxiety and toil. Fraudulent scamps enrich themselves on the
credulity of the people by counterfeiting austerities and miraculous
powers, which successfully deceive the simple-minded, who, without
even a desire to examine their claims and reputed performances too
critically, freely bestow gifts of money and kind on them, in the
hopes of gaining their favour for the attainment of some benefit or
cure, or other object.

Then, there are the political faqirs, who use their position to
disseminate political propaganda, usually of a seditious nature. From
their habit of travelling all over the country they have special
opportunities of becoming the channels for the transmission of news,
and before the days of telegraph and post-office the people would
get most of their news of the rest of the country through these
pilgrims and ascetics; and even at the present day they are able
to disseminate secret intelligence and transmit the orders of the
organizing authorities in such a way as to be very difficult of
detection. When I travelled as a faqir I was frequently shadowed by
the police, and sometimes a talkative and inquisitive companion would
join me who eventually proved to be a detective in his disguise.

As examples of the superior Sadhu--the man who from high aspirations
has voluntarily given up position, honour, and wealth in the world
for the life of a recluse--I will give the two following instances.

I met a man at Rishikes who had been the Prime Minister of a Native
State. While in that capacity he had to deal with bands of robbers
who infested the highways, and had committed some cold-blooded
murders for the sake of the money and goods of the travellers. When
a number of these men had been caught and participation in murders
proved against them, he found it his duty to condemn them to death
by hanging. The sentence was duly executed, but from that day he got
no rest at nights. Visions of the culprits would rise before him as
soon as he lay down on his couch, and they would appear to be pointing
their fingers at him as the cause of their death. This so unnerved him
that he could not get a night's rest, and dreaded going to sleep. Want
of rest and nervous perturbation prevented him from duly carrying on
the work of the State, and he asked for leave, nominally to attend
the funeral of his mother, but really to expiate his sin, and gain
repose of mind by a pilgrimage to a noted holy place. But he failed
to get ease of mind there, and had it impressed on him that only by
leaving the world and spending the rest of his days in seclusion,
meditating on God, would he find rest from the blood-guiltiness that
was tormenting him. He forthwith resigned his position in the State,
divided his property amongst his family, put on the garb of a Sanyasi,
and was spending the rest of his days in contemplation and religious
exercises.

The other case I met in a village on the Pir Pangal Range, where
he had built himself a cottage with a garden, in which he spent his
days in religious studies and contemplation, and receiving the many
people who used to come to him for advice, or to derive advantage
from contact with his superior sanctity and wisdom. He had been
Risaldar-Major in one of the regiments of Bengal Cavalry, and had
fought under the British flag in several campaigns, and won wounds
and medals. On retirement he forsook his home and relations and all
worldly pursuits, and spent his time in the contemplation of the
Deity and such works of charity as came in his way.

Both these men were truly devout, unostentatious spirits, who had
found that the delights of Divine communion exceeded the pleasures
of this transitory world.

Some Sadhus are set aside from birth for this life by their parents,
and as a good example of such a one I will tell the story of a man
who joined company with me on the road near Ludhiana. I will relate
it in his own words:

"My father is a small Hindu farmer in the State of Patiala, and
when three sons had been born to him, he made a vow that he would
consecrate the fourth to the service of God. When I was born he
allowed me to stop with my mother only till I was four years old,
and then he took me to a certain large city, where there is a famous
shrine, and a very holy man who is renowned for his piety and deep
learning. At first I wept much at being taken away from my brothers
and sisters, but the Swami treated me kindly and gave me sweetmeats,
and I used to fetch his mat and books and put oil in his lamp and do
other little services for him. Then, as I got older, he taught me to
read, first in Bhasha and then in Sanskrit, and he taught me all the
laws of worship and guides to bhagti (devotion). When I became a lusty
young man, he told me to make pilgrimages to various sacred places
and to visit other sages and holy men, and I went forth on my first
journey, taking with me only a staff, a gourd for drinking-water,
a blanket, and a couple of shasters (holy books).

"I had never been out in the world before, and at first I was very
timid of asking people for food in new places that I had never hitherto
seen; but people were nearly always kind to me and gave me food to
eat and shelter at night, and so I got bolder, and I would recite
to them verses out of the holy books in return for their kindness,
for I had no money or anything else to give them. In this way I have
travelled many hundreds of miles on foot, and seen many sacred places
and holy men. After each journey I return to my preceptor, and tell
him my experiences, receive fresh counsel and instruction from him,
and now I am just starting on a fresh journey to Dwarka."

Looking down at my bicycle, I felt quite a luxurious traveller
compared with this brave fellow, starting off with no hesitation and
no misgivings on a journey of hundreds of miles, with not a pice in
his wallet, and a kit even more slender than my own.

He had little idea as to where Dwarka was, but was content to ask
his way day by day, and trust to God and the hospitality of his
co-religionists on the way for sustenance.

"Yes," he said, "sometimes I do want to see my family. My brothers are
all gryasthas (married householders) now, and I sometimes take a few
days' leave from my master to visit them and my parents. I am quite
happy in this life, and do not desire money or service or children;
for when my heart is lonely I read in my copy of the Bhagvad Gita and
get consolation, and I like that better than any other book because it
makes my heart glad. No, I have never met anyone who has spoken to me
of Christ, and I do not know anything about Him; but I am quite happy
because I am sure that if I continue a life of penury and celibacy
and pilgrimage I shall attain salvation."

To resume my own experiences at Rishikes. When night came on I was
given shelter in one of the monasteries, and though the floor was
stone, and a chill wind blew through the cloisters, I should have slept
soundly had not my next bed-fellow--or rather floor-fellow, for there
were no beds--thought it incumbent on him to spend the night shouting
out in varying cadence, "Ram, Ram, Jai Sita Ram, Ram, Ram!" I suggested
that keeping a weary fellow-pilgrim awake all night would detract from
the merit he was acquiring, but only received the consolation that if
he kept me awake I was thereby sharing, though in a minor degree, in
that merit; so it perforce went on till, in the early morning hours,
my ears grew duller to the "Ram, Ram," and my mind gradually shaped
itself into an uneasy dream of ash-covered faqirs, chapattis, cows,
and squatting Sadhus. Next day, in the forest road near Rishikes,
I came across a string of hillmen bowed down under heavy loads of
firewood, which they had been cutting in the hills near to sell for
a few pice in the bazaar. This was their daily lot, earning just
sufficient by continuous hard labour to find for themselves and their
families sufficient coarse food for a meagre sustenance. The question
rose in my mind, Who approached nearer the ideal?--the idle Sadhu,
who makes religion an excuse for living in greasy plenty on the
hard-won earnings of others, while doing next to nothing himself,
or these woodmen of the forest, and all the dusty toilers in the
ranks of honest labour? And an answer came, clear and sure:


    "Honest toil is holy service; faithful work is praise and prayer.
    They who tread the path of labour follow where My feet have trod;
    They that work without complaining do the holy will of God.
    Where the many toil together, there am I among My own;
    Where the tired labourer sleepeth, there am I with him alone."


The ascetics of Afghanistan are almost all Muhammadans, and I shall
therefore speak of them as faqirs, that being the counterpart of
the Hindu Sadhu. These faqirs have started from an entirely different
religious standpoint, and travelled along a very different experimental
road to those of their Hindu brethren; but the ultimate result is
strikingly similar in many salient features, and Hindu asceticism
and pantheistic thought have deeply coloured their ideas and habits.

There are endless different orders of Muhammadan faqirs, most of
which had their origin in Central Asia, Bukhara and Baghdad having
contributed perhaps the largest share. Each of these orders has its
own method of initiation, its own habit of dress, set phrases and
formulæ, and other characteristics.

Except in a few cases in India, none of these orders of faqirs
or dervishes adopt the ochre garments of the Sadhus. The most
characteristic garment of the faqir is known as the dilaq, which is
a patchwork, particoloured cloak. The owner goes on adding patches
of pieces of coloured cloth which take his fancy, but I have never
seen him washing it, and as it gets old he stitches and patches it
till very little of the original is left. The older and more patched
it is, the greater is the pride he takes in it, and he would not part
with it for love or money.

The order which is most commonly seen in Afghanistan is that known
as Malang, or wandering dervish. These men have a dilaq, a staff,
and a begging-bowl, and travel all about the country begging. They
are nearly all illiterate, and their knowledge of their own religion
does not usually extend beyond certain chapters from the Quran and
stock formulæ. But they have a wonderful vocabulary of words of
abuse and curses, and the people are in great fear of being visited
by some calamity if they offend one of them and incur his wrath,
as they believe in their being able to blast the life of a child
or the offspring of a pregnant woman, or to bring other calamities
down from heaven on the heads of those with whom they are wroth. Once
while I was stopping in a village on the border one of these gentlemen
came to say his prayers in the mosque, and had left his shoes at the
entrance, as is the custom. After he had said his prayers with great
sanctimoniousness he went to resume his foot-gear, but found, to his
dismay, that some thief had gone off with them. Then followed a torrent
of curses on whoever the thief might be, in which all imaginable
calamities and diseases were invoked on him and his relations,
accompanied by every epithet of abuse in the Pashtu vocabulary, and
that is pretty rich in them! The very volubility and eloquence of his
anathemas would have dismayed any ordinary thief had he been within
earshot, but whether he ever got back his shoes or not I cannot say.

Women who are childless will visit various faqirs, whose prayers have
a reputation for being efficacious for the removal of sterility. They
write charms, and dictate elaborate instructions for the behaviour
of the woman till her wish be fulfilled, and they take the gifts
which the suppliant has brought with her. Were this nothing more
than a fraud dictated by avarice, it would be reprehensible, but
worse things happen; and when a child is born after due time, the
husband of the woman cannot always claim paternity. It is a strange
thing that in a country where husbands so jealously guard their women
from strangers they allow them so much freedom in their dealings with
faqirs, whom they know to be morally corrupt. It recalls the Hindu
Sadhu and divinity, who is popularly supposed to have attained an
elevation where ethics are no longer taken account of.

In a religion such as Islam it is scarcely possible for an order
of dervishes to be orthodox, and, as a matter of fact, most of them
are extremely unorthodox, and there is often considerable disputing
between them and the priesthood on this account. But the faqirs have
such a hold over the people at large, and in many ways are so useful
to the propagation of Islam, that the Mullah find it more politic to
overlook their heresies and use them in the promotion of religious
zeal and fanaticism.

It will be found that the underlying current of religious thought in
nearly all these orders is that of Sufism, and Sufism is the product
of the aspiration of the Mussalman soul, wearied with the endless
repetition of forms and ceremonies, after something more spiritual;
and in its search after this spirituality it has drawn most on the
pantheistic philosophies of Hinduism.

Pantheism is, of course, the antithesis of the Judaic theocracy of
Islam, and we read of a faqir who went about calling out, "Ana hu,
ana el haqq" ("I am He, I am the Truth"), being put to death for
blasphemy; but all the same, these Muhammadans, who feel most the
aspirations of the soul for Divine communion, find it in a greater
or less assimilation of pantheistic doctrine.

Most of the faqirs one meets with in Afghanistan are lazy fellows, who
abhor hard work, and find they can make an easy living by begging, and
acquire at the same time, what is so dear to many natures, the homage
and respect of the credulous and superstitious. When one does meet
with one who is willing and able to converse on spiritual topics, one
usually finds that he is a disciple of Hafiz, the great Sufi poet of
the Persians. Like the Hindu Sadhus, they are much addicted to the use
of intoxicants (though rarely alcohol), and charras and bhang (Indian
hemp) are constantly smoked with tobacco in their chilams. When thus
intoxicated they are known as mast, and are believed by the populace
to be possessed by divinity, and to have miraculous powers of gaining
favours from heaven for those who propitiate them.

When such a faqir dies he is buried in some prominent place, often at
the crossing of roads, and his tomb has even greater efficacy than he
himself had when living; and those who wish to obtain his intercession
with the Almighty for themselves bring little earthen cups full of oil,
with little cotton wicks, which they burn at his grave, as a Roman
Catholic burns candles at the shrine of a saint. The most propitious
time for doing this is on Thursday night, and at such times one can see
the tombs of most renowned sanctity a veritable illumination with the
numbers of little lamps burning far into the night. At the same time
offerings are given to the custodian of the shrine, who is himself
a faqir, by preference a disciple of the one whose grave he tends.

In one such shrine that I visited there were the remains of what
must once have been a fine sycamore-tree, but which was then, with
the exception of one branch, a mere withered shell, which had to be
propped up to prevent its falling to the ground. The one green branch
was said to be miraculously kept alive by the shadow of the tomb
falling on it; and if any childless pilgrim would take home a few
leaves and give a decoction of them to his wife, he would assuredly
before long be the happy father of a son; while for the relief of the
other ills to which flesh is heir there was a masonry tank outside,
in which the sick, the halt, and the blind bathed, and were said
to receive the healing they came for. Many of our hospital patients
have already been to this and similar faith-healing establishments,
so they are not always efficacious.



CHAPTER XIX

MY LIFE AS A MENDICANT

    Dependent on the charitable--An incident on the bridge
    over the Jhelum River--A rebuff on the feast-day--An Indian
    railway-station--A churlish Muhammadan--Helped by a soldier--A
    partner in the concern--A friendly native Christian--The prophet
    of Qadian--A new Muhammadan development--Crossing the Beas
    River--Reception in a Sikh village--Recognized by His Highness
    Yakub Khan, late Amir--Allahabad--Encounter with a Brahman at
    Bombay--Landing at Karachi--Value of native dress--Relation to
    natives--Need of sympathy--The effect of clothes--Disabilities
    in railway travelling--English manners--Reception of visitors.


In this chapter I shall recount a few of the more interesting incidents
that befell me and my disciple when on our pilgrimage as Sadhus. As
we were travelling without money, we were dependent on the offerings
of the charitable not only for our daily food, but for such little
items as the toll required for crossing the bridges over the five
great rivers of the Panjab. The first river we came to was the Indus,
and there being no bridge over that part of the river, it is crossed
in ferry-boats. We had no difficulty here, for we were known; and
one of my pupils was on duty at the ferry and assisted us over. It
was not so easy, however, at the Jhelum River. When we reached the
western end of the bridge, the toll-keeper stopped us for payment. I
told him that I was a Christian Sadhu journeying to Hindustan, and
that we had no money of any kind with us. He may have believed us,
he may not; but from the way he eyed the bicycles, probably he did
not. Anyway, he told us plainly--no pice, no path; and no setting
forth of the peculiar privileges of a Sadhu could make him budge from
the practical financial view of the question, so we had nothing for
it but to sit quietly down by the roadside and await events.

Shortly afterwards a party of Hindus, on their way to their morning
ablutions in the river, sauntered up, and stopped to gaze at the novel
combination of bicycles and Sadhus. This soon led to conversation,
in the course of which we told them the object of our journey and the
cause of our detention. They then tried with no little earnestness to
get us to relinquish the preaching of the Gospel for the promulgation
of the Vedas, and even offered to pay the two annas required for our
toll if we would accede to their plan. This gave me an opportunity
for pointing out the attraction of Christ, which made it impossible
for one who had once tasted the sweets of following in His footsteps
to desert Him for another master.

They clothed their contempt for the message of the Cross in their
compassion for our hopeless predicament, as they considered it;
"for," they said, "there are no Christians here to help you over,
and it is not likely that Hindus or Mussulmans would help you on such
a mission." I replied that I was content to wait by the roadside till
help came, and that I felt sure we should not have long to wait. "Go
back into the town--there are Christian missionaries there who will
help you; but no one will be coming this way if you wait all day." I
replied that if it was the will of Allah that we should cross,
He could send to us there the means requisite, as much as in the
city. I had scarcely spoken when we saw an officer, attended by a
sowar, riding up in the direction of the bridge. When he reached us
we recognized an officer from the frontier, who had, as we learnt,
just then been sent down to Jhelum on special duty. He recognized me,
and appeared amused and surprised at meeting me under such peculiar
circumstances. When he learnt what was the cause of our detention,
naturally the toll-keeper had not long to wait for his two annas,
and I was able to point out to my Hindu friends that it had not taken
long for God to send us help from even so far as Peshawur, and we
went on with light and thankful hearts. Truly, two annas is worth
much more in some circumstances than one hundred rupees in others!

We then wheeled comfortably along the interesting Grand Trunk Road,
now to the north and now to the south of the railway-line. The crisp
morning air of a Panjab winter has an exhilarating effect on the
appetite, and we were only exceptional in that we had the appetite
but no wherewithal in our wallets to satisfy the same. To tantalize us
the more, it was the feast-day succeeding the great Muhammadan fast,
and in all the villages the men were feasting, and the children, gaily
dressed in their gala clothes, were amusing themselves on numerous
swings, hung up on the trees round the villages, or in playing about
on the roads. My Afghan companion, who had been having the fast
without the feast, finally went up to a party of merrymakers, and,
after saluting them with the customary "Salaam alaikum," said that he
was very hungry, and would be glad of a share of the 'Id cakes. The
man addressed surveyed us in a leisurely fashion from head to foot,
and said: "You! you call yourselves faqirs, ride bicycles, and beg
your bread! Phew!" and turned his back on us. My companion turned to me
with a very un-Sadhu-like expression on his face, saying: "We Afghans
used always to say that Panjabi Muhammadans are only half Mussulmans;
but now I see we were wrong: they are not a quarter. In our country
we call in every stranger and traveller to share our feast." The
latter part of his statement was certainly true; as to the former,
I must leave those who know them best to judge.

Shortly after midday we reached Lala Musa, and, visiting the station,
found the train had just come in. We mingled with the bustling crowd,
and watched the native sweetmeat and refreshment vendors going from
carriage to carriage, calling out: "Garm chapati! garm chapati awe
dal!" (Hot rolls! hot rolls and pulse!); "Ghi ki pakorian!" (Vegetable
fritters fried in butter!); "Garm dudh!" (Hot milk!), and various
other delicacies; and we watched the fortunate possessors of pice
selecting some tempting sweetmeat or panake. Then we passed on to
the refreshment-rooms, where the European passengers were taking a
hurried meal, and I remembered many occasions when I had been into
that same refreshment-room without being a tithe as hungry, and now,
how could I venture inside? Should I not be greeted with: "Now then,
out of this; no faqirs wanted here!" So I wandered back among the
third-class passengers. A Sikh native officer spoke kindly to me and
offered me some cardamoms, and then the whistle blew. The passengers
hurried to their seats, and we were left alone.

A railway porter entered into conversation, and, finding who we
were, directed us to go to the village, where there was a Christian
preacher. We went to the caravanserai, where there were some Afghan
traders sitting on a bed. They seemed surprised at getting a greeting
in Pashtu, but returned it heartily. Then I saw a well-dressed man
walking off towards the bazaar, and something in his face and a book
in his hand seemed to indicate him as the Christian preacher, and,
on introducing ourselves, we found we were not mistaken. He asked us
into his house to rest, and informed us that he was an agent of the
Scotch mission at Gujrat. After the rebuff of the morning we were
loth to say that, though the sun was now declining towards the west,
we were still awaiting our breakfast; so after a time I rose to go,
when, to our no small satisfaction, the kind man asked us to stop
till tea was ready.

It was my custom at most of the towns to preach in the bazaar, and
usually, during or after the preaching, someone in the audience would
offer us hospitality. When we reached Pind Dadan Khan, however, it
was too late for this, darkness having set in; and after wandering
about the bazaar for a time, and talking to a few people, none of
whom offered us hospitality, we went to the public serai, or inn,
known as "Victoria Ghar," where travellers can rest without payment,
and spent the night there. Someone had given us two pice, and with
this we bought a pice chapati and a pice of sugarcane, and dined
off this. Being thirsty, I asked a respectable Muhammadan who was
dining on a bed hard by for a glass of water. He gave it; but when
I raised the glass to my lips, he said: "I would like to know first
what your religion is." I replied: "I am a Christian." Hearing this,
the gentleman took the glass from me, saying: "I do not wish to sully
my glass with your touch." This was a bigotry which I am glad to say
I rarely met with, and is certainly not justified by the teaching of
the Quran, which permits commensality with Christians and Jews.

After this rebuff we did not care to ask any other inhabitant of
the place for water. The next day we travelled on to Khewra, and,
on passing through the bazaar, saw the Government doctor, a Hindu
assistant-surgeon, sitting outside the dispensary seeing patients. He
knew us, and in place of water brought us milk, and then got us a
breakfast. Welcome as this was, his kind greeting cheered us even more.

The next river we had to cross was the Chenab. On arriving at the
bridge, I found a detachment of English soldiers on the march, and one
of these gave the two annas required for our toll. About two years
later, when visiting Lahore, a missionary friend there said to me:
"I met a friend of yours the other day."

"Indeed! Who was that?"

"I was travelling up to Peshawur by rail, when some English soldiers
got into the carriage, and one of them, looking at me, asked me if
I was a Padre. On my answering his question in the affirmative,
he then said he was glad of that, because he took an interest in
missions. I asked him why he did so. 'You see,' he said, 'some time
ago we were on the march to Lahore, and at the Chenab bridge there
was a missionary chap who hadn't the money for crossing the bridge,
and so I paid it for him. I became a kind of partner in the concern;
that is why I take an interest in missions.' This was your friend, was
it not?" I, of course, recalled the incident at the Chenab bridge, and
hope my friend has continued his practical interest in mission work.

The last day of the year 1903 found us at Narowal, a village famed
in the missionary annals of the Panjab. Leaving that, we soon reached
the Ravi River, which lower down flows by the walls of the capital of
the Panjab. Here it was running clear and cold below a sandy cliff
on its western bank. It had evidently been encroaching on the lands
of the farmers, and engulfing many a fertile acre, and the houses of
the village, too, the ruins of the latter showing some way along the
bank. The east bank was a low, wide expanse of sand, which had long
been left dry by the receding stream. Seeing no other way of crossing,
we were preparing to doff our clothes and ford, when a good soul of
a zamindar came up.

"Peace be with you."

"And on you be peace."

"Whither are you going, O Sadhu-log, and what is your order and sect?"

"We are Christian Sadhus travelling from Afghanistan to India, and
are seeking means to cross this river."

"Then you are my teacher," said the zamindar, brightening into a smile,
"and I will get a boat and take you across."

Although the good fellow had been brought to the brink of ruin by the
destruction of his lands and house by the rapacious river, he went and
procured a boat and rowed us across, knowing that it was not in our
power to give him any reward, except to pray for him that he might
recover his lost land, and to give him some spiritual comfort.

After the pleasure of meeting with this brother so opportunely, we
went on encouraged, and soon reached Dera Baba Nanak, the residence
of the descendants of the famous Guru and the seat of a darbar (Sikh
temple), the gilded dome of which we saw glittering in the sun. Passing
over our stay here and at other intervening places, I might mention
our visit to Gadian, rendered famous by being the headquarters of the
Muhammadan reformer Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who died in 1908. This man had
collected round him a band of zealous followers, but, unfortunately,
the good he might have done was nullified by his impious claim to be
the returned Messiah, in accordance with which he professed miraculous
powers, and demanded a correspondingly abject obedience.

Heavy rain-clouds were overcasting the sky when we set out, and we had
scarcely covered the eleven miles of unmade road that connects Batala
with Gadian when the downpour commenced, and continued throughout
the day. Moulvi Muhammad Sadiq, the head-master of the Mirza's High
School, received us with the greatest courtesy, and gave us one of the
schoolrooms to rest in, and shortly afterwards, as the Mirza himself
was indisposed and unable to see us, we were taken into the presence
of his lieutenant, Moulvi Moha-ud-din. This Moulvi is very learned,
probably the most learned in Gadian; he comes from the town of Bhera,
in the Panjab, but has travelled a good deal. He was teaching theology
to a large class of youths and men in Eastern fashion, reclining
on a simple mat and cushion himself, while his pupils sat on the
ground round him. Tea was brought in for us and him while he went
on teaching. The Hadis from which the pupils were reading was on the
subject of prayer, and the Moulvi explained the passages with great
force and perspicuity as the pupils read them out turn by turn. After
some dissertation on the correct intonation of prayers, he took up
(probably for our benefit) a comparison of the texts of the Quran and
the Bible, showing how the custom of committing the former to memory
had resulted in its verbal correctness. Following the same line,
Muhammad Sadiq compared with this the recent criticisms on the Bible
by the Christian expositors; and the "Encyclopædia Biblica," which
he seemed to have studied minutely, afforded him an inexhaustible
store of argument.

After this the midday meal was brought in, and then we were sent for
by a relation of the Nawab of Maler-Kotla, who had become a disciple
of the Mirza, and had devoted himself and his resources to his
service, and was living in the village in a simple, almost Spartan,
manner. After conversation with him and others, I was shown the high
school, college classes, and boarding-house. Though the buildings
for the latter were second-rate, yet the management seemed good, and
the inmates orderly and well trained. In particular I noticed that,
though the next morning was chilly and drizzly, yet all were up at the
first streak of dawn, and turned methodically out of their warm beds
into the cold yard, and proceeded to the mosque, where all united
in morning prayers, after which most of them devoted themselves to
reading the Quran for half an hour to one hour. Many of the masters,
too, seemed very earnest in their work, and had given up much higher
emoluments to work for quite normal salaries in the cause to which
they had devoted themselves.

We were fairly tired out with a long day of talking and interviewing,
and slept soundly. We were disappointed, too, in receiving a message
that the Mirza was still too unwell to see us, but would do so in the
morning. However, when morning dawned we heard with much regret that
he had passed a bad night and was still unable to see anyone. As his
attendants were unable to hold out any prospect of a speedy interview,
and as, indeed, we felt doubtful whether the interview was desired,
we prepared for an early start. We had been kindly and hospitably
received, and there was something inspiriting in seeing a number
of educated men thoroughly zealous and keen in the active pursuit
of religion, though the strong spirit of antagonism to Christianity
was saddening. Moreover, one could not but feel that, as in similar
cases in England and America, here was a man of great ability who had
effectually deceived himself, and had then been the means of deceiving
a multitude of others into believing his false claims. As we read in
Matthew xxiv. 11, "False prophets shall arise and shall deceive many."

The next river we came to was the Beas, and when approaching it
from the direction of Gurdaspur, on a bright winter's morning,
we were struck by the beauty of the landscape. On our left was a
glorious panorama of the Himalaya Mountains, range surmounting range
of glistening snow, a vision of dazzling white. All was set off by
the varying greens and browns of the rich Panjab Plain to the east
and south, the forests and fields of which lay mapped out before us,
and the River Beas a gleaming streak of silver meandering through
its fertile tracts. Reaching the river, we found that the toll-keeper
was on the farther side and the river itself unfordable. Asking the
boatmen whether we could cross without paying toll, as we had no means
of doing so, they said the only way was for one of us to cross over
and ask. We thought on our part that it would be better for both of
us to cross over and ask, and as the boatmen saw no objection to this,
we heaved our machines on board one of the boats and crossed over with
a number of camels and bullocks. Safely arrived on the other side,
we went to the toll-office and did what most Easterns do when they
are in a quandary--sat down and waited to see what would turn up. The
official in a leisurely way took the toll of all the passengers,
quadruped and biped alike, eyed us narrowly without speaking, and
then, in still more leisurely fashion, began to smoke his hookah. As
time passed we both became contemplative, he on the wreathing columns
of smoke from his pipe, I on the bucolic landscape around me. His
patience was the first to waver, and he broke the silence with:
"Now, Sadhu-ji, your pice."

"Indeed, I carry no such mundane articles."

"Then what right had you to cross the Sarkar's river in the Sarkar's
boat?"

"Indeed, our purpose was to crave a favour of your worthy self."

"What do you desire of me, O Sadhu-ji?"

"Merely that, as we are on a pilgrimage to India and have no money,
you would allow us to cross without paying toll; and as you were on
this side and we were on that, and nobody would take our message,
there was nothing for it but to come in person to ask the favour."

"Very well, Sadhu-ji, your request is granted, and may you remember
me."

As an instance of the reception we got in a Hindu village, I may
cite the case of one which we reached in the late afternoon in the
Sirhind district. Most of the men must have been working out in the
fields when we arrived, for we scarcely saw anyone as we wended our
way to what seemed the principal house in the village, and, sitting
down outside it, my companion began to sing a popular Indian hymn:
"Zara tak soch ai ghafil kih kya dam ka thikana nai" (Think a little,
O careless one, how little certainty there is of this life.) First
some children and then some men collected, chief among the latter
being a venerable and stately old Sikh, the owner of the house and
the religious guru or sodhi of the place.

The song ended, he inquired who we were, and what were our object
and destination; and when he had been satisfied on all these points,
he informed us that, though he had never entertained Christian
Sadhus before, yet if we were ready to be treated like other Sadhus,
he would be very glad to offer us the hospitality of his house. We
thankfully accepted his offer, and he prepared a room for us, and
later on brought us a supper of rice and milk in his own vessels,
which to us, after a long and tiring day, seemed quite a royal repast.

It was not often that I was recognized as a European, until I had
declared myself, but the following occasion was a notable exception. I
was sitting in the little jungle station of Raval, and a party of
gentlemen in semi-Indian costume arrived from a hunting expedition. The
chief was an elderly thick-set man with an iron-grey beard, dark
piercing eyes and gold spectacles. He eyed me narrowly a short time,
and then said to one of those with him in the Persian language:
"That man is an Englishman." I replied, "I recognize you gentlemen
as Afghans." He assented, and I entered into conversation with one of
the Afghans with him, who told me that it was His Highness Yakub Khan,
ex-Amir of Afghanistan, who had thus recognized me.

On the other hand, at Allahabad I was going on my bicycle along a
road which was slippery from a recent shower of rain. In turning a
corner the machine skidded and I fell, and as I was picking myself up,
an English girl who was passing, called out: "O Sadhu! you must have
stolen that bicycle, and that is why you do not know how to ride."

Finally we made our way to Bombay, having been helped the last part
of our journey by a friend who bought us our railway-tickets. Here
we desired to return homewards by taking the steamer to Karachi. We
then had no money, but I was asked to give a lecture on my travels,
and after the lecture several of the audience gave me sums amounting
altogether to eleven rupees. When, however, we went down to the docks
to take passage, we found that our steerage fare cost ten rupees, and
five rupees was demanded for each of the bicycles too! We purchased
our tickets and stood on the quay awaiting developments. Among the
crowd was a Brahman holy man, who was sprinkling the passengers with
holy water and receiving a harvest of coppers in return. He came
to sprinkle us, but we declined the honour. He then asked why we
were waiting instead of going aboard with the other passengers. I
told him that we were waiting because we could not pay the fare of
our bicycles. He retorted that unless we invoked his blessing (for
a remuneration) we should assuredly never start, but that, having
done so, everything would turn out well. When we still declined,
he went away prophesying that all sorts of misfortunes would befall us.

The last of the passengers had gone aboard, the appointed time for
starting had arrived, but no friend had appeared to help us out of the
difficulty. The Brahman came back and taunted us with our position,
and what it might have been had we but accepted his offer. All I could
say was, "Wait and see." Just as the steamer was about to start a
ship's officer called to us and said that the captain was willing to
take our bicycles free of charge. With a friendly nod to the Brahman,
we crossed the drawbridge and in a minute more were under way.

We had now one rupee left for food, but still we were not left in want,
for when that was finished the Goanese cooks came and inquired about
us and gave us a share of their own dinner. At Karachi the steamers
anchor out in the harbour a considerable distance from the landing
wharves, and passengers are taken ashore in native boats, a number of
which crowd alongside the moment the ship is moored. But these boatmen
naturally require remuneration, and we had none to give, so that it now
seemed as though we should have greater difficulty in getting off the
steamer than we had in getting on. Just then a launch came alongside
for the mails, and a ship's officer came up and asked if we would like
to go ashore on it. Of course we accepted the offer with alacrity,
had our machines on board in a trice, and were safely on terra firma
again before the native boats had got away from the steamer.

This pilgrimage gave me many opportunities for philosophizing
on the rôle that a man's clothes play in gaining him a reception
or a rejection. My missionary brethren took various views on the
subject. Most exhibited incredulity as to the expediency of donning
native garb, while showing some sympathetic interest; few were
antagonistic on principle, though one missionary brother, indeed,
weighed the matter a long time before admitting us into his house. He
thought that the gulf between East and West was a priori unbridgeable;
therefore no attempt should be made to bridge it, and that the relation
between a missionary and his native associates should be sympathetic
(patronizing?), but not familiar. To go about with an Indian brother,
sharing the same plate and same lodging, seemed to him the height
of unwisdom, even to shake hands being to go beyond the bounds of
propriety; while as for an Englishman donning native clothes, he was
dimming the glamour of the British name in India, which in his eyes
was next door to undermining the British rule itself. My mind had
been made up on this subject before I had been very long in India,
and on no occasion did circumstances tend to weaken my own opinion
that the gulf is by no means unbridgeable, and that the sooner and
the more heartily we set about bridging it, the better it will be
for the promotion of the kingdom of Christ in this land.

Sympathy cannot be wholly made to order: it is largely dependent on
extraneous and adventitious circumstances, and I believe that the
adoption of native dress increases that sympathy on both sides--on
the side of the missionary, because it enables him to realize more
vividly what treatment is often meted out to our native brethren and
how they feel under it, and on the part of the Indians because the
restraint which they usually feel--at least, in country districts--in
approaching a Sahib is removed.

No doubt one reason why Indian Christians are so largely adopting
Western dress is that they receive much more courtesy, conspicuously
so when travelling on the railway. I had occasion to make some
inquiries in Batala Station office. I might have drummed my heels on
the threshold till I was tired had I not been fortunate in meeting an
Indian brother wearing English dress, who walked in without diffidence,
though when I attempted to follow him, I was met with a push and a
"Nikal jao!" (Get out!). On another occasion, travelling by the night
mail from Lahore, I was anxious to get some sleep, and I saw that
the native compartment was crowded, while in the European compartment
there was only a single English soldier. He barred my entrance with a
"Can't you see this is only for Europeans?" I humbly suggested that I
belonged to that category, but his prompt "Don't tell me any blooming
lies!" made me think it better to seek my night's rest in another
compartment. While at Lucknow I essayed to visit the European cemetery
at the old Residency, but the custodian would not hear of admitting
me, utterly discrediting my statement that I was a European. Surely
this unnecessary and most offensive restriction might be removed. I
can readily judge from my own feelings at the time how naturally and
greatly self-respecting Indians would resent this piece of racial
antipathy, which permits a common gate-keeper to subject any Indian
to indignity.

One naturally associates with those who give the heartiest welcome,
and when in native garb the attraction is to those for the sake of
whom we have come out to this land, while, on the other hand, there is
danger that, when dressed for the drawing-room or the tennis-courts,
we may spend too much of our time on that side of the gulf. If we
English realized how much pain we often cause our Indian brethren,
not so much by what we say or do as by the way we say or do it and
the way we act towards them, a great cause of racial misunderstanding
and ill-feeling would be removed.

Suppose a Sahib is seated in his study, and the bearer announces "A
Sahib has come to call," the answer is given at once: "Ask him into
the drawing-room." A moment after an Indian gentleman arrives, and the
bearer is told to give him a chair in the verandah, or he may be even
left standing in the sun, as happened to me more than once, till the
Sahib had finished eating his lunch or writing his letters. At more
than one bungalow, whether it belonged to a missionary or an official,
the bearer would not even report my presence till he had catechized me
as to who I was and what I wanted. I have had to wait as long as two
hours before the Sahib found leisure to see me, being left meanwhile
without a seat except God's good earth, in the wind and cold, or in
the heat and sun, as the case might be. A missionary, of all people,
should not have a room set apart and tacitly understood to be "for
English visitors only," or make a habit of receiving the two kinds of
visitors in altogether different style, or allow his menial servants
to hustle and hector the already diffident and nervous native visitor.

When I was on my pilgrimage with my disciple, how our hearts opened to
those true friends who received both of us alike, and did not chill
us at the outset with the suggestion, "I suppose your friend would
like to be taken to the house of the catechist." Why, forsooth? Many
a time we were both the guests of the humblest of our Indian brothers,
and perfectly happy in unrestrained communion with them; others, too,
of stations high above our own received us both with an unreserved
hospitality, in which nothing was allowed to show that any difference
was made between English and Indian, and we honoured and loved them
for it. Why, then, should others be at pains to show that they
had one treatment for the Englishman and another for the Indian,
or perhaps conceal that feeling so poorly that we were never able to
feel at ease with them? Which, I ask, is more likely to remove racial
antipathy and unrest, and to make our Indian brethren feel that the
Christianity which we preach is really genuine and means what it says?



CHAPTER XX

A FRONTIER EPISODE

    A merchant caravan in the Tochi Pass--Manak Khan--A sudden
    onslaught--First aid--Native remedies--A desperate case--A last
    resort--The Feringi doctor--Setting out on the journey--Arrival
    at Bannu--Refuses amputation--Returns to Afghanistan--His wife
    and children frightened away.


It is evening, and a party of Lohani merchants are slowly defiling
with their camels through the Tochi Pass, one of the mountain gorges
which connect our Indian Empire with Afghanistan, and its last beams
are shining in the faces of a dozen stalwart men now returning to their
homes near Ghuzni, with the proceeds of their winter's trading on the
plains of India. The men and some five or six women are on foot, while
their children and two or three more women are mounted on some of the
camels, which would otherwise be returning unladen, their loads having
been sold in Multan. The women, veiled as usual, show little more to
the passer-by than one eye and a small triangular piece of cheek;
while the men are either holding the nose-strings of the camels,
or walking beside them with their guns over their shoulders, and a
pistol and long knife or sword peeping out from their open cloak;
for the weather is getting hot now with approaching summer, and they
are passing through the hostile country of the Wazirs, that wild
border mountain tribe who think it their ancestral right to harass
and plunder the merchant caravans passing through their district as
much as opportunity allows.

Among the merchants we are struck by one fine, tall, broad-shouldered
fellow, stalking along by the side of the foremost of his three camels,
his gun and sword ready for use, but, in the absence of any sign of
an enemy, walking at ease, humming quietly to himself a native ditty,
in expectation of speedily seeing his home again, and rejoining his
wife and three children, who have not accompanied him on this journey.

These three camels form his wealth and the centre of his hopes
and prospects, for by means of them does he yearly take down his
merchandise of skins and fruit to the markets of India, and return
in early summer--it is now the month of May--with the proceeds to
his home.

Manak Khan--for that is his name--has been down many a winter
now with his three camels to the Derajat, or that part of India
nearest Afghanistan, and has had more than one scuffle with the
Wazirs, while passing through their land, in defence of his little
stock-in-trade. His fellow-travellers evidently consider him one of
their boldest and best men, for it requires no little knowledge of the
country, and courage, too, to lead a party composed largely of women
and children, and encumbered by a lot of baggage, through mountain
passes, where they are daily and nightly exposed to the attacks of
the mountaineers hiding behind the rocks, or crowning the heights on
either side, and thirsting for their small possessions.

The sun has now disappeared behind the hill before them, and, like
good Muhammadans, they make a brief halt for the evening prayers. The
men cleanse their hands and feet with sand--for there is no water to
be had here--and, selecting a smooth piece of ground, spread their
shawl and, facing the Holy City, perform the requisite number of
genuflections and calls on God.

Suddenly there is the loud report of several guns; the bullets whistle
through the midst of the party, and in a moment all is confusion
and uproar. The camels start up and try to escape; the women seize
their children or the camel-ropes; while the men snatch their guns,
which had been just now put down, and hastily take aim at some dozen
men running down the mountain-side in the direction of the camels,
with their long knives ready for action. But the first volley had
not been without effect: Manak Khan is lying on the ground, blood
flowing fast from a wound in his left leg just above the knee, and
anxiously is he watching what is now a hand-to-hand conflict close by
him. The Wazirs have rushed among the camels and have cut their cords,
and are attempting to drive them off; while the other merchants,
having discharged their matchlocks, attack them with their swords,
and camels and men are mingled in one shouting, slashing mêlée.

Fortunately for the Lohanis, two of the leading Wazirs fall quickly
with fatal sword wounds, and the remainder, seeing that the Lohanis
have not been caught napping, and that the tide is turning against
them, make off as quickly as they appeared, and the merchants have
far too much to do in quieting their frightened camels to think of
a pursuit. A hasty council is held. It is found that one man has
his arm broken by a sword cut, and Manak Khan has his leg broken,
the ball having passed through the bone and opened the knee-joint,
while most of the remainder can show smaller cuts.

The women now come to the rescue. A veil is torn up and the wounds
bound, some being stitched by the women pulling hairs out of
their own heads, and using their ordinary sewing-needles on their
husbands' skin. An immediate march is resolved upon, but then comes
the difficulty about Manak Khan. Moving him causes him great pain
and the blood to gush forth afresh, while to leave him is out of the
question, for his throat would be cut long before morning. Whatever may
be the faults of an Afghan, he is not one to forsake a friend in the
hour of need, and so it proves here. A piece of cloth is half burnt,
and the blackened shreds, soaked with oil, rubbed over the wound,
and the leg then bound to a musket with the ample folds of a shawl,
and, lastly, our hero is tied on a rough bed, and mounted high on
the back of a camel.

Great were the lamentations when Manak Khan reached his village
home; and instead of his strong step and hearty greeting consoling
his wife for her long winter of separation, she came forth only to
see the pain-marked face and helpless form carried in on a bed,
and to hear the account of the night attack in the dread Tochi
Pass. "Bismillah! let the will of God be done," consoles the village
Mullah, while some practical friend starts off for the nearest hakim,
or doctor. The latter shortly arrives; and the wife retires into the
cottage, while the greybeards assemble in the courtyard to offer their
bits of experience and advice, and vow vengeance over the Quran on
the luckless Wazirs who committed the deed.

After no little ceremony and interchange of ideas, the doctor decides
on a combination of two remedies, for the case is a serious one:
the leg is greatly swollen from the groin to the calf, and unhealthy
matter is issuing from both the apertures of entry and exit of the
bullet, while the shattered bones grate on each other, and cause
the man to bite convulsively the rolled-up end of his turban, on the
slightest movement.

For the first remedy a fat sheep is bought and slain and immediately
skinned, the reeking skin being applied at once to the bare leg,
with the bloody side next the skin, from groin to heel, and the whole
bound up and placed in the hollow formed by burning out the central
core from the half of a three-foot length of tree-trunk.

For the second remedy a message is sent to a certain religious devotee,
who has an asylum in the neighbourhood and a great reputation for
charms which will cure all manner of diseases (when it is the will
of God that they shall be cured). Next day he arrives, clad in simple
goatskin, with the hair outside, and a cap of similar material. Many
long prayers are gone through with the help of the Mullah, and at last
a small piece of printed paper torn from an Arabic tract is produced,
and carefully sewn up in a small piece of leather, and tied in the
name of God round the man's ankle.

Then comes the last ceremony, and one not to be overlooked on any
account--that of providing a feast at the sick man's expense for all
parties concerned. His little store of rupees is fetched out, and
returns lighter by a third to the folds of the old turban in which
it was carefully hoarded, while the charm-maker is seen leading away
a fine milch goat.

Day follows day, and night follows night, but still Manak Khan lies
tossing feverish on a bed of pain, and still is the patient Sadura
watching by his bedside, and daily bringing in fresh milk and butter
and sugar, and making tempting pancakes, only to be left half tasted
by the fever-stricken frame of her loved one. At last the tenth day
comes, on which the sheepskin is to be removed, and the hakim comes,
and the Mullah comes, and the greybeards come, and prayers are read,
and money is given; but, to the disappointment of all, the limb
is found no better, swollen as before, and bathed in evil-smelling
matter, which makes his friends, all but his faithful wife, bind a
fold or two of their turbans over their noses and mouths.

So week follows week. One herb is tried after another; the last of
his rupees disappears among the hakims, for, peradventure, think they,
the doctor did not heal it at once because his fee was not high enough,
so a larger fee is given, and a hint that if only he will say for what
price he will speedily heal it, they will go all lengths to pay him;
for it must be unwillingness, not incapability, that prevents his
doing so.

So two months passed away, but still the limb was swollen and sore,
still was he unable to rise from his bed of pain.

Then they determined to send a messenger to the neighbouring town
of Ghuzni, and call in a doctor of great repute from there. True,
his charge was high--one of the three camels must be sold to defray
it--but what hope was there for them with the breadwinner hopelessly
crippled? So the messenger went and the doctor came, and his remedy
was tried. Two bunches of wool were thoroughly soaked in oil and then
set fire to, and fastened on the skin near the knee; the pain was
great, but Manak Khan stood it bravely, tightly biting his turban-end
and grasping his friend's arm in a spasmodic grip. When the burnt
flesh separated after a few days the ulcers left were dressed with
some leaves from a plant growing on the shrine of a noted saint,
and renewed every two or three days. Still there was no improvement,
though charms and amulets were bought at high prices from many a saint,
and the Ghuzni doctor came again and took away his second camel.

Manak Khan and Sadura were beginning to lose all hope, when one day
a traveller was passing through their village on the road to Kabul,
and as he was sitting with the villagers, telling them the latest
news from India, one of them asked him about a scar on his left arm.

"Ah," he said, "when I was in Dera Ismaïl Khan I had a terrible
abscess; but there was an English doctor there, and he lanced it, and
got it quite well in a couple of weeks; and," he went on, "numbers of
people have been going to him, and I have seen some wonderful cures."

"Really!" say they; "and had you to pay him a great deal?"

"No; that is the strange part: he will not take any money from
anyone, but sees all the people that go to him, be they ever so poor,
for nothing."

"That cannot be; he must have a reason behind it all."

"No, not unless it be this--that you know he is a Feringi, and, like
all other Feringis, an unbeliever; but, more than that, he seems
to want all the people to believe on Hazrat 'Esa" (Lord Jesus) "as
being the Son of God" (here the Mullah and several of the men spit
on the ground and say, "Tauba, tauba"), "and to this end he has got
an assistant who preaches to all the people who go to him, and tells
them about Hazrat 'Esa, and how he was a hakim and cured people."

"Well, this is strange, but I wonder if he could cure Manak Khan."

And so all particulars are asked, and the advice of all the greybeards,
while Manak Khan catches at the idea as a dying man at a straw. Sadura,
however, is not so easily convinced. She did not relish the idea of
her husband being separated from her once more, and moreover, said
she, where the doctor of Ghuzni had failed, how was it likely that
another doctor, and he a blasphemer of their Prophet, would succeed?

So the idea was waived for a time, and things went on as before,
while their last camel was sold to pay their increasing debts, and
gloom settled on the little circle. But as the September days were
lengthening and still no hope appeared, they settled that they would
try the Feringi's medicine. But then came the difficulty as to ways
and means; their last camel had been sold, and Manak had no friends
who would take him down to the plains free of expense.

At last a bright idea struck them: their little daughter, Gul Bibi,
was now seven years old, and many a man would be willing to lend eighty
or ninety rupees on condition of her being kept for his wife. And so
it was settled: the bargain was struck, and with the proceeds a man
was engaged to take him on camel-back down to the Derajat plains. The
village carpenter made a kind of litter, which could be fastened
on the back of a camel, and as his wife must stop for the children,
his old mother volunteered to take the journey with him and tend him
through it.

It was a sad farewell this time, and long did Sadura stand at the
outskirts of the village watching the camel and its precious burden,
with the old mother and sturdy camel-driver trudging by the side,
gradually disappear round a corner of the defile.

On the seventh day they emerged from the Gomal Pass on to the Plain
of Tank, and here they stayed a little to recuperate with the kind
Dr. John Williams, of the Christian hospital there; then going on
till the trees and mudhouses of Dera Ismaïl Khan came in sight. Here
a fresh disappointment awaited them: the Feringi doctor had left Dera,
and gone to carry on his work in Bannu, one hundred miles farther. But
what cannot be cured must be endured, and so the camel's head is turned
towards Bannu, and the weary march resumed once more. Five days later,
as the evening was drawing on--it was now late in November--Bannu was
reached, and the new Feringi doctor inquired for; and a few minutes
later the camel, with its strange burden, came through the gates of
the mission compound, and the long tedium of the three hundred miles'
journey was brought to a close.

Such was the story with which Manak Khan came to me, and which
he gradually unfolded to me some two months later, as confidence
had increased, and I used to sit by his bedside hearing tales of
his mountain home. Great was the sorrow with which I had to tell
him that his case was incurable, that his leg had become thoroughly
disorganized, and amputation was necessary; but, like most of his race,
his aversion to the loss of a limb made him prefer the long months of
a bed of sickness and the tedious and repeated operations performed
in an endeavour to save the limb in a usable condition. In this way
he and his mother remained with us till the middle of April, when,
as the heat of the plain began to be felt, they were compelled to
return to their mountain home, with little or no improvement.

Yet with one great difference, which lightened up the sadness of his
departure: he had learnt to believe on Christ Jesus as his own Saviour,
and to look up to Him as the One who carries us safely through sickness
and trial, and is preparing a home for us at last; and very earnestly
did he assure me that during the long days of patient suffering in
our little mission hospital he had learnt to lift his heart in prayer
to Him who hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and look
up to Him as his Saviour.

"And," said he, "if God spares my life, I will tell my people of Him,
and come back with my family to be received into the Christian Church."

So he left us, and our prayers followed him on his long and painful
journey home; and may it not be that he is a light shining in a dark
place, and witnessing in that little Afghan village of how he went for
bodily healing, but God saw fit to pour light into his soul instead,
and make the very tedium of a protracted illness in the Bannu Mission
Hospital the guiding light to heaven?

Every now and again we got news of Manak Khan. He had taken with him
some books in the Pashtu language, a New Testament and some others,
and these used to be read by a Mullah in his village and some other
friends of his who could read. His leg, however, never got well,
and was the cause of his death some three years later. When on his
death-bed, he directed his wife to go to Bannu with her children and
place herself under my protection, and one autumn morning she arrived,
with three children. Before she had been with us many days, however,
others of her tribe came and warned her that if she stopped with us
she would lose her religion, sell herself to the Evil One, and be
lost for ever, and they accompanied these admonitions with threats, so
that ultimately she left us, and we have not seen her since. But who
knows? Sometimes after the lapse of years these people return to us,
and the thread of circumstance is picked up again where it had been
cut, as though there had never been any breach of continuity at all! Or
it may be the seed goes on growing in some distant Afghan village
unknown to us, but known to and tenderly cared for by Him who will not
let even a sparrow fall to the ground without His will, and who has
counted among His own many a one now resting in a Muhammadan graveyard
against that day when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed.



CHAPTER XXI

FRONTIER CAMPAIGNING

    The Pathan warrior--A Christian native officer--A secret
    mission--A victim of treachery--A soldier convert--Influence
    of a Christian officer--Crude ideas and strange motives of
    Pathan soldiers--Camaraderie in frontier regiments--Example
    of sympathy between students of different religions in mission
    school--A famous Sikh regiment--Sikh soldiers and religion--Fort
    Lockhart--Saraghari--The last man--A rifle thief--Caught
    red-handed.


Some of the finest fighting material of the Indian Army comes from
the Pathan tribes, both on the British side of the border and across
it in Tirah and Waziristan, and very pleasant fellows some of these
Pathan warriors are. Often when wandering about the frontier have I
received the hospitality of some outpost or stayed with the native
officer in some blockhouse, and listened to them recounting tales
of active service or of their mountain homes. Many of these native
officers are old students of the frontier mission schools, and these
extend a doubly hearty welcome. Some are serious religious inquirers,
and, from having travelled and mixed with all kinds of men, are able
to examine the claims of Christianity with less prejudice than the
priestly class.

A notable instance is that of Delawar Khan, who was a Subadar of
the famed Corps of Guides. He was at one time a notorious robber
on the Peshawur frontier, and a price had been set on his head. The
Rev. R. Clark relates of this man [2] that once a Government officer
met him in a frontier village beyond the border, and offered him
service in the Guide Corps if he would lead an honest life, or
the gallows the first time he was caught within our territory if
he refused. The excitement of his adventurous career had a great
charm for him, and the teaching of the priests had persuaded him
that he was doing God's service in his lawless course. He, therefore,
scornfully refused the Englishman's offer, saying he would continue his
lawless life, in spite of whatever the Sahibs could do. After a time,
however, he thought better of it, and as a price was set on his head,
he determined to apply for it in person, thinking he might as well
have it himself as anyone else, and so, taking his own head on his
shoulders, he went and claimed the reward. The officer, knowing the
kind of man he was, again offered him service, which he then accepted,
and enlisted as a soldier in the Guide Corps, in which, by his bravery
and fidelity, he rapidly rose to be a native officer. Ultimately
he became convinced of the truth of the Christian doctrine which he
had heard the missionaries preach in the Peshawur bazaar, and, with
his characteristic bravery, did not hesitate publicly to acknowledge
himself a Christian and receive Christian baptism. Through his example
and under his protection some other soldiers in the same corps also
became Christians.

His death is thus related by the Rev. R. Clark in his account of
his life: "A few months ago he was sent by Government on a secret
mission into Central Asia. He was a Christian, and Government trusted
him. He passed safely through Kabul on his way to Badakhshan. As he
was travelling in disguise, a man who had heard him preach in the
Peshawur bazaar betrayed him to the judge, who condemned him to be
blown away from a cannon as an apostate. During the trial a copy of
one of Dr. Pfander's works dropped from his bosom. The judge took it
and tore it in two. The King of the country, however, heard of it,
and asked to see the book, and, having read a part of it, pronounced
it to be a good book, and set Delawar Khan at liberty. Soon after,
however, he died in the snow on the mountains, a victim to the
treachery of the King of Chitral."

A native officer in the native levies of the Kurram Valley was
converted through reading a Pashtu Testament which an officer gave him,
and when I visited him in his home in Shlozan, in the Kurram Valley,
I found that he was in the habit of reading the book to some of his
neighbours who came together to listen; and although up to that time
he had never met a missionary, he had made much progress in Christian
experience and knowledge of the Bible.

I had a pupil in the mission school who enlisted in one of the frontier
regiments. He was the son of a Mullah of the Khattak tribe. After he
had been in the regiment about a year he wrote me a letter saying
that he desired Christian baptism, and was looking forward to the
day when he would be standing by my side preaching the Gospel to
his fellow-countrymen. This was through the influence of a Christian
officer in his regiment. Not that the officer tried to convert his
men--far from it--but the beautiful transparency of his character
and the sincerity of his religion drew his men irresistibly to him,
and several desired to become Christians. A Pathan becomes very much
attached to an officer whom he admires, and will bear any hardship
or danger for him, and therefore it is not surprising that some have
become desirous of adopting his religion. For a long time there was
a sect on the frontier called the Nikal Sains, who formed a kind
of schismatic Christian sect owing to their devotion to Nicholson,
of Delhi fame, which amounted in their case almost to a worship of him.

On one occasion a Pathan soldier in a frontier regiment came to me,
urgently begging me "to make him a Christian." He was so ignorant
of what Christianity meant that I could only offer to give him
instruction, but he was so much on outpost duty that this was
very difficult. He knew that in order to become a Mussulman it was
sufficient to repeat the Kalimah in a mosque, and he thought that there
must be some corresponding Christian formula, and that by repeating
it in our church he might become a Christian. He thought, further,
to prove his sincerity to me by saying he was ready to wear a topi
(hat) instead of a turban. His desire apparently rose merely from an
admiration of his Christian regimental officers.

In the Tochi Militia there was a Wazir Subadar, a fine fellow, who
had seen much active service, and would soon be retiring. One day he
was murdered, possibly by a Sepoy whom he had been obliged to punish.

Shortly afterwards his son came to me, earnestly begging me to admit
him to the Christian Church. Apparently it was to escape from the duty
that devolved on him as a Muhammadan of revenging his father's death
by another murder. He was not a coward by any means, but knew he would
be killing an innocent person, for the real murderer was beyond his
reach, and he recoiled from committing such a crime, and he knew that
our teaching was against revenge, and therefore desired to become a
Christian. As he was a soldier, I would not act without a reference
to his commanding officer, and as he was excited and suffering from
much mental tension, I thought it better to wait. Ultimately he did
shoot a man, who may have been his father's murderer or not, and I
believe was sentenced to penal servitude for life in consequence.

There is something peculiarly attractive, I think, about the
frontier regiments. They have very hard service, constant outpost
duty, few nights in bed, with ever the danger of the Pathan rifle
thief and ambuscades. And yet officers and men are always cheerful,
hospitable, and full of the spirit of camaraderie. Even the Sikhs and
Pathans seem to lay aside their hereditary feuds, and fight and work
heartily together, shoulder to shoulder. Some of the most striking
tributes to the influence of the Christian rule of England are seen
in this fellowship between different races and religions. In the
little frontier wars one sees Pathan soldiers side by side with the
stalwart Sikhs, or, it may be, the little Gurkhas with the tall Panjabi
Muhammadans. Much the same is seen in the playing-fields of our mission
schools, where Christians, Muhammadans, Hindus, and Sikhs are as
loyal to one another as if they had never had a religious difference.

A scene I shall always remember was the funeral of a young Sikh
student, who was a brilliant member of the school football eleven, and
was carried off one summer recently by sudden illness. His Muhammadan,
Christian, and Hindu fellow-students vied with each other in showing
honour to his memory, and accompanied the body to the burning-ground
on the banks of the Kurram River. For the Muhammadans at least this
would have at one time been considered as most inconsonant with
their religion.

The fine, tall Sikh soldiery of the frontier regiments are some of the
nicest men one could have to deal with; the native officers are such
perfect gentlemen, and so gentle and docile when conversing about their
Sikh religion or the Christian Scriptures, that it is difficult to
realize what lions they are in the fight, and how they are the heroes
of so many a frontier epic. A Sikh soldier is always ready to talk on
religious matters, and delights in singing the beautiful theistic hymns
of Kabir and Nanak and others of his countrymen; and they will sit
round untiringly, listening with unflagging interest for hours, while
I talk or read to them from the Christian Scriptures. In the frontier
war of 1897 no Sikh regiment covered itself with greater glory than the
36th, which was quartered at Fort Lockhart when the Afridi rising first
broke out. I was in camp on the Samana Range, outside Fort Lockhart,
that August just before the outbreak, and these fine soldiers used
to sit round me on the rocks outside the fort while we talked of the
teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of those of Guru Nanak, which
present so many points of resemblance to them. A few weeks later,
and many of those very men had died fighting bravely on the rugged
mountains and defiles of Tirah, on which we were then looking down.

One incident will bear repetition, as possibly some of the very men
to whom I was then speaking were the heroes of it. A few hundred yards
from Fort Lockhart is a small fort called Saraghari, which commands one
of the eminences of the Samana Range. This was occupied by a handful
of these Sikhs under a native officer. Looking down westward from the
Samana Range are the terraced valleys and a labyrinth of the rugged
mountain ranges of the Afridis; and so suddenly did these tribes
respond to the tocsin of war when Seyyid Akbar and his associate
Mullahs sounded it all through Tirah that the various forts on the
Samana were surrounded by the lashkars before it was possible to
reinforce or withdraw the little garrison of Saraghari. The garrisons
of Forts Lockhart and Gulistan had, in fact, their hands full with the
tribesmen who had entrenched themselves in sangars all around, from
which they kept up such a fire that no one could show himself. The
Afridis saw that the post of Saraghari was the most easily won; the
fort itself was smaller and less strongly built, and contained only
a small garrison of their hereditary enemies, the Sikhs.

There was a signaller in the little garrison, and he signalled over
their dire straits to Fort Lockhart, but from there the answer was
returned to them that it was impossible to send reinforcements--they
must fight to the end. For them to retreat was impossible, for the few
hundred yards between the two forts was swept by the Pathan bullets,
while their riflemen swarmed in the sangars and behind the rocks
all along. Not a man could have lived to reach a distance of twenty
yards from the fort. The Sikhs knew that the Pathans would give them
no quarter, so they prepared to sell their lives dearly. The Afridis
worked nearer and nearer, and many of the brave defenders fell. The
signaller signalled to Fort Lockhart, "Five of us have fallen"--ten,
twelve, and finally there was only the signaller left. The Pathans
swarmed over the walls with their exulting "Allahu Akbar!" and the
throat of the last wounded Sikh was cut; so the noble garrison fell
at their posts to a man. The fort has never been rebuilt, but there
is a monument at the place to record this gallant bit of frontier
warfare, and another monument to them was erected in the centre of
their holy city, Amritsar, not far from the Golden Temple, their
chief place of worship. Here I made the acquaintance of the gallant
officers of this regiment, who were in a few weeks to bear the brunt
of the severest of the fighting and hardships of that campaign. I read
service on the last Sunday before hostilities commenced, and among the
officers who attended was their brave commander, Colonel Haughton,
whose commanding presence and bravery made him an easy target later
on for the tribesman's bullet, but not before he had covered himself
and his regiment with glory.

I will here record two little episodes, which are of common enough
occurrence on the frontier, but illustrate the dangers that the
sentries run when on duty among such cunning and stealthy rifle
thieves as the Pathans; and show also that, wily though he is, the
Pathan is not infrequently caught by an equally wily native police
or levy officer.

A regiment had marched into Bannu, and, there being no quarters
available, were encamped on the parade ground. The night being dark and
rainy, sentries had been doubled, and were much on the alert. Suddenly
two of them were stabbed from behind by Pathans who had crept into
the lines unnoticed, and watched their opportunity for running their
long Afghan knives into the chest of the unsuspecting soldiers. The
thieves got off with both rifles, and, though a hue and cry was raised,
no trace of them was found.

Once I was spending a night in a levy post on the frontier, when the
native officer in the command of the post got information through a
spy that an Afridi was about to cross the frontier, having in his
possession a number of cartridges that had been stolen from the
lines of a British regiment in Peshawur. A train was just about to
arrive from Kohat, and the officer went down to meet it. All the
passengers seemed quite innocent; some traders returning from market,
a few soldiers going on leave, and some camp followers, appeared to
be all who had arrived. There was, however, a Mullah with a Quran,
which he was carrying rather ostentatiously, and a wallet, which was
less obvious, under the folds of his shawl. Here was his man. He went
up to him. The Mullah was indignant at the supposition--he had merely
been into Kohat to buy a few household trinkets. He was marched off
to the levy post all the same, and, on turning out the contents of
his wallet, eighty-one Lee-Metford cartridges were disclosed. That
night the Mullah spent in the cells reciting passages in the Quran
with a long and monotonous intonation which kept me awake a long time
with its weirdness. I suppose, however, it may have been meant to
procure some indulgence for his offences, or to serve as a proof of
his sanctity; but it certainly did not soften the heart of his captor,
the native officer, himself a Muhammadan and a Pathan; nor, I trow,
did it mitigate his subsequent punishment.

I was once travelling in the garb of a Mullah from Kohat to Peshawur. I
had walked through the Kohat Pass, and reached a village called
Mitanni, about sixteen miles from Peshawur. I was tired, and finding
here a tumtum about to start for Peshawur, I obtained a seat therein
for one rupee. Two other Peshawuris were fellow-passengers, but were
not present when I paid the driver my fare. On the road the driver
stopped at a village, and his place was taken by another man. The first
driver omitted to tell him that I had already paid my fare, so when
we got near Peshawur he demanded it. I told him I had already paid
the other driver, but he would not believe it. Unluckily the other
passengers were unable to corroborate my statement; an altercation
ensued in the bazaar at Peshawur, and he wanted to keep my bedding
in lieu of the fare. As a crowd was collecting, it was decided to
settle the case by driving me to the police-station. The driver began
volubly to tell the police inspector how "this Bannu Mullah has got
into the tumtum at Mitanni, and now refuses to pay his fare." The
inspector asked me a question or two, and took in the situation,
and then told the driver to take me to my destination, and the case
would be seen into, if necessary, when the other driver arrived. Before
alighting I told the driver who I was, and that I was sorry he seemed
to put so little faith in the word of a Mullah. "Ah, Sahib," said he,
"this is an evil age, and even if the Mullah swears on the Quran,
we can only believe what we see."

When travelling in native garb one often sees the reverse of the
picture, and is able to see common events in new lights. Officers of
the Government while on tour are often quite unconsciously a great
tax on the village where their camp is pitched. Their servants take
provisions from the people at merely nominal prices, or even without
payment at all. Many officers, knowing how villainously some native
underlings will extort when they get the opportunity, often insist on
all payments being made before them according to a fixed scale. Even
then the men find other ways of living in clover at the expense of the
villagers. This was brought home to me one night when I was stopping at
a village called Moach. The police officer of the district was in camp
there, but I arrived late, and went to the house of a native, where
an old patient of mine visited me, and, finding me hungry and tired,
went off to get me some milk. He sent it me by the hand of a young boy,
who had to pass by the camp of the police officer, where his cook was
preparing his dinner. By his side was a saucepan containing several
pints of milk which had been ordered for the great man's supper, each
house bringing its share according to a roster kept for the purpose
at the police-station. The cook saw the boy coming with the milk,
and said to him:

"Come along; pour it in here."

"But I have not brought this for the Police Sahib. I have brought
it for---"

"Nonsense! Who else here wants milk? All the milk has been ordered
for the Sahib. Pour it in, or I will send you to the lock-up."

I got no milk for my supper, and I do not suppose the officer had
more than would go into a custard-pudding and a cup of cocoa; but
his myrmidons--they knew how to look after themselves, and enjoyed
a good time.



CHAPTER XXII

CHIKKI, THE FREEBOOTER

    The mountains of Tirah--Work as a miller's labourer--Joins
    fortune with a thief--A night raid--The value of a disguise--The
    thief caught--The cattle "lifter"--Murder by proxy--The
    price of blood--Tribal factions--Becomes chieftain of the
    tribe--The zenith of power--Characteristics--Precautionary
    measures--Journey to Chinarak--A remarkable fort--A
    curious congregation--Punctiliousness in prayers--Changed
    attitude--Refrains from hostilities--Meets his death.


Between the Khaibar Pass on the north and the Kurram Valley on the
south lies a tangled mass of mountains and valleys called Tirah. Here
almost inaccessible escarpments, on which the wary goatherd leads
his surefooted flock, alternate with delightful little green glens,
where rivulets of clear water dance down to the rice-fields, and
hamlets nestle among the walnut and plane trees. In one of these
villages was a poor country lad called Muhammad Sarwar. His father
was too poor to own flocks, and, having no land of his own, Sarwar
took work with a miller. It was one of those picturesque little mills
which you see in the valleys of the Afridis, where a mountain-stream
comes dashing down the side of a hill, and is then trained aside to
where the simple building of stones and mud covers in the mill-stones,
while two or three mulberry-trees round give such delightful shade
that the mill becomes a rendezvous for the idle men and gossips of
the village to wile away the hot summer noons.

But Sarwar was of a restless disposition, and the pittance of flour
which, together with a kid and a new turban on the feast-days, was all
he got for his labours, did not satisfy his ambition. Then there was
his friend Abdul Asghar, who, though as poor as himself to start with,
now had four kanals of land of his own and a flock of some forty sheep
and goats browsing on the mountain-side. It would not do to inquire
too closely how Abdul Asghar came by this wealth, but he used to be
out a good deal of nights, and he was one of those who was "wanted"
at the Border Military Police-station at Thal for his part in several
recent cases of highway robbery with violence.

This kind of life was more to the taste of Sarwar than the drudgery of
mill-grinding, and before long he and Asghar had joined hands. Once,
indeed, they were fairly caught, though they escaped the penalty of
their misdeeds. They were on the prowl one dark night, when they saw a
shrouded figure creeping along by a farm wall. They had scarcely hid
behind a bush when the unknown man turned and came directly towards
them. Thinking they had been observed, Asghar called out: "Who are
you? Stand, or I fire." The figure halted, and said in a low tone:
"It is well; I am your own." The man then came up and suggested
that they should spend that night together and share their luck. He
told them, too, that there was a fine fat dumba in the farmyard hard
by that they might begin upon. Asghar slipped over the wall, while
Sarwar and the stranger kept guard, and soon returned with the sheep
across his shoulders, its head wrapped up in his chadar to stop its
cries. They took it off into the jungle, and as the stranger said he
wished to be home early that night, they decided to stay and divide
it there and then.

The stranger surprised them by saying that he would be content with
merely the head as his share, so the "Allahu akbar" was pronounced,
the throat cut, and the head given to the stranger, who went off
with their parting greeting, "May it be well before you," which he
returned by saying, "In the safety of God."

Next morning they were astonished by the sudden appearance of a posse
of the Border Military Police, who, before they were able to escape
or offer resistance, handcuffed them and led them off, vouchsafing
no more explanation than that the Chhota Sahib had ordered it. They
were much mystified, and could not think which of their enemies had
got up a case against them; but they could learn nothing from the
police, who either could or would tell nothing more. When, finally,
they were taken before the Sahib, and he started away with, "So, you
have been after your old game again, and stole a sheep last night from
the farm of Nuruddin" (the light of religion), it was with difficulty
they could conceal their astonishment and compose themselves quickly
enough to reply that they were honest men, had never stolen anything
all their lives, and could bring witnesses to prove that last night
they never stirred from the chauk of Fath Muhammad of Dilrogha village.

The Sahib had a twinkle in his eye as he led them on with further
questions to forswear themselves still more hopelessly, and then
finally turned to a Sepoy by his side and simply said, "Bring it
in." The Sepoy saluted, went out, and in a moment returned bringing
something wrapped up in a chadar, which he placed on the table before
him. The Sahib unrolled it, and exposed to their astonished gaze the
very sheep's head they had given to the stranger the night before. He
had been none other than the Sahib himself! They could no longer hide
their confusion, and could say nothing more than "La haula wala kowata
ilia bi 'llah" (There is no majesty or power but in God; He only is
great). They were treated to a very pointed lecture, and told that
none of their movements could remain concealed from the eyes of the
Sarkar, and that next time they were caught they would be lodged in
the hawalat (gaol).

Though Sarwar and his friend gained hereby a wholesome dread of the
ubiquity of their ruler, yet the lesson did not restrain them from
carrying on their depredations. Not long after Asghar was killed in a
cattle-lifting raid on a neighbouring tribe. The villagers were aroused
by the barking of the village dogs, started a chigah in pursuit,
and, though Sarwar escaped, a stray shot hit Asghar in the chest
and put an end to his career. Sarwar made such progress in the art,
and carried his depredations so far afield, that he became known on
all the hills round by the sobriquet of "Chikki," or the "Lifter."

One day a chance circumstance gave a fresh turn to his career. Mullah
Darweza, of Saman village, had a bitter grudge against a malik of the
village because he had enticed away one of his talibs, a beautiful
boy of thirteen, and now, instead of the boy spending his days over
the Quran and Sheikh Sadi, the Persian poet, he was walking about the
village with his eyebrows blackened with antimony and a gold-braided
turban on his head, and danced in the malik's chauk while the village
dum played a rebab. Mullah Darweza would dearly have liked the luxury
of stabbing the malik himself some dark night, but his profession
had to be considered, and what would become of his reputation for
sanctity if the story got about, let alone the danger of retaliation,
which would mean that he would be a prisoner in his house after dark,
and would not be able to go to the mosque to say the night prayers,
even if he had not to leave the village altogether?

The Mullah was leading prayers in the mosque that day when his eye
fell on Chikki among the worshippers, and as they were leaving the
mosque he whispered to him to come to his house that night after the
night prayers had been said. What passed there is known only to those
two, but Chikki bore away a bag of rupees, and a few nights later,
as the malik had gone down to a stream to perform his ablutions
before evening prayers, a shot rung out from no one knows where,
and the malik, without a cry, fell forward into the stream, and when
the villagers arrived and picked him up they found he had been shot
through the heart, and no one ever knew who had done it. This windfall
whetted Chikki's appetite, and he soon found this occupation even
more lucrative than that of cattle lifting.

As his fame increased, secret commissions came to him from many
quarters--from men who had life enemies, but who feared to risk their
own lives in ridding themselves of them. With success, however, came
danger. Chikki was a marked man, and had to take unusually strict
precautions for the preservation of his own life; his repeating rifle
was never out of his hand, and no one ever saw him off his guard. He
built himself a strong tower, and at night-time retired into this by
means of a rope ladder to the upper window (it had no lower windows),
then, drawing up the ladder after him, he secured the window. Then
came the opportunity of his life. There were two factions in the
tribe, the Gur and the Samil, and these had been on bad terms for a
long time, but hostilities had so far been confined to a few murders
and thefts. Then one day a prominent malik of the Gur faction was
shot while on a visit to a Samil village. This could not be atoned
for without war, and within twenty-four hours the tocsin of war was
beating in every Gur village all over the hills. The Samil replied by
burning a Gur village, and soon the whole mountain-side was in arms on
one side or the other; desultory warfare was carried on for some time,
and much blood had been shed on both sides, but the Samil party lacked
a leader. Then they bethought them of Chikki, and sent a deputation,
asking him to take their lead. He consented on condition of their
recognizing him as paramount chief of the Zaimukhts in the event of
success attending his arms. They agreed, and he, collecting together
some other soldiers of fortune who had thrown in their lot with him,
took the field against the Gur faction. The latter were defeated
in several engagements, and finally both sides tired of the fray,
and they were all the more ready to come to terms as the harvest was
ripe and would spoil if not rapidly gathered in.

Both sides agreed to call a jirgah, which met, drew up conditions
of peace acceptable to both sides, and smoked the pipe of peace. The
agreement was ratified by a big feast, in which twenty fat dumbas were
slain and cooked, with immeasurable quantities of ghi, and a dance,
in which the men of the two sides, which had so recently been moving
heaven and earth to shoot each other, danced together as though they
had never been anything but the greatest of friends all their lives.

Chikki was now at the zenith of his power. Eight thousand riflemen, all
armed with weapons of precision and all good shots, obeyed his call,
and he was able to build a strong fort at Chinarak, in the Zaimukht
Mountains, which he garrisoned with his bodyguard of outlaws, while
acres of rich land all round brought him supplies of grain and other
produce, which enabled him to offer to all who came that open-handed,
unstinting hospitality which is the surest path to popularity in
Afghanistan. Yet withal he maintained his simple mode of life and
plain hillman's costume; and once when he came down into Sadda, a
town in British territory, to meet the great Political Officer there,
he formed a marked contrast to the gay clothes and coloured shawls
and gold-banded turbans of the Sahib's satellites. He wore simply
shirt and trousers of plain homespun, and a black turban, ornamented
only by a fringe with a few beads on, and had on his feet a pair of
palm-leaf sandals, such as could be bought in any bazaar for the sum
of one anna. But his rifle was the best there, and the well-filled
cartridge-belt and the six-chambered revolver buckled on excited the
envy of many a man round him, while the firm tread and the thick-set
frame and the determined features displayed the commanding and reckless
character of the man. Yet in society that he cared for he would unbend
and display a boisterous good-humour, though of a kind which would make
a jest of acts of cruelty involving human suffering and even death.

As may be supposed, Chikki had many enemies who were seeking his life,
and he would not allow anyone not known to him to approach him at
night or even in the day, and rarely had his fingers off his revolver
or the trigger of his rifle. Once he was being shaved by his barber
when the foolish man said to him: "Muhammad Anim" (one of Chikki's
sworn enemies) "offered me five hundred rupees the other day if,
while I was shaving you, I should slip the razor and cut your throat;
but Ma'uzbillah! I seek refuge in God; I am your sacrifice, and refused
the son of a pig." Chikki said nothing then, but when the shaving was
over he whipped out his revolver, and said to the luckless barber:
"You refused this time, but next time the temptation may be too great
for you, so I had better be first in." The tongue of that barber wagged
no more, and Chikki got a new and probably more discreet practitioner.

It fell on a day that there was illness in Chikki's household, and
someone brought him word that the Bannu doctor was in camp not far
off at Thal; so it came about that while I was seeing patients by
my tent that afternoon four of Chikki's stalwarts, armed cap-à-pie,
appeared with a polite and urgent request that I would accompany them
back to his stronghold, Chinarak, and use my medical skill on the sick
ones. As soon as the day's work was over we started off. There was a
thunderstorm on the mountains above us, and a mountain-torrent had
to be crossed which would not be fordable in flood, so we urged on
to a point whence a view could be got of the river-bed. On reaching
it we saw the turbid waters of the flood sweeping down about a mile
higher up the valley from the place where we had to cross, while we
had considerably over a mile of rough ground to traverse before we
could reach the ford. All pressed forward, the footmen running at
the horses' stirrups, and we just managed to get through the rising
stream before the flood reached us, thus saving what would have been
some hours of waiting for the flood to subside.

Chinarak is a mud fort, with towers and an intricate maze of yards,
houses, and passages within; but its strength lies more in its
inaccessibility, for the narrow gorge, with high, overhanging cliffs,
by which we approached might easily be defended by a few marksmen. On
the north side, however, the approach to it is easier. After the
sick had been seen, Chikki informed me that, as he had heard that I
was a preacher of the Injil, he wished to hear me, so that he might
judge of the comparative merits of Christianity and Muhammadanism;
and to that purpose he had called his Mullah, and we two should sit
on either side and speak in turn, while he judged. His men collected
round us, truly a motley crew, nearly all of them men who had fled
across the border from British justice for some murder or other
crime, and had found congenial employment in his bodyguard. I had
just been visiting some of their houses professionally, and found
representatives of all the tribes down the frontier, and even a few
Hindustanis. There they were, with a devil-may-care look in their
truculent faces, which made you feel that they would take half a
dozen lives, to rob a cottage, with as little compunction as if
they were cutting sugar-cane. Perhaps Chikki thought I was eyeing
my congregation suspiciously, for he turned to me with a twinkle,
and said: "Do not alarm yourself about all these fellows round. They
may be all rascals, no doubt; but I have my Martini-Henry here, and if
anyone molests you, I will send a bullet through him." No doubt with
a good aim, too, for he was reputed the best marksman in the tribe,
a fact which I may illustrate by an anecdote.

Like most Afghans, he was very punctilious in the performance of the
prescribed Muhammadan prayers, and beyond the regular five times
used to indulge in those prayers of supererogation which Muhammad
appointed for the devout, or for those who had sins which might
be expiated by their performance. Chikki, too, appeared to believe
that he kept a credit and debit account of this kind, and that some
particularly unwarranted murder would be suitably balanced by the
repetition of a number of extra prayers. He had a little book of
Arabic prayers called the "Ganj-el-Arus" hung round his neck, and,
when at leisure from his more warlike pursuits, would employ himself
in the repletion of his credit account therefrom. He handed the book
to me, and showed me with some little pride a prayer in it which he
said he had composed himself, and which he said was always heard. It
was in his own vernacular Pashtu, for he did not know Arabic; and the
prayer was that, whenever he raised his rifle to his shoulder to shoot,
the bullet might not miss its mark.

Before I came away I left some Pashtu Testaments and other literature
with Chikki, and I have reason to believe that he studied them with
interest. He, at least, gave up some of his predatory and warlike
habits, and devoted himself to more peaceful avocations. When the
frontier war of 1897 broke out, not long after, and the tribes all
round him were flocking round the standards of jehad, and the tocsin
of war resounded from the valleys of Swat in the north to the Suliman
Mountains of Waziristan in the south, he resisted all the allurements
of the Mullahs to take part in the campaign against the Kafirs, the
English, and restrained the men of his own tribe from any participation
in the warfare. It can be seen by a reference to the map that this
abstention of the Zaimukht tribe, which numbers about eight thousand
fighting men, made a considerable difference to the troops acting
in the Miranzai and Kurram Valleys, in the angle between which their
territory is situate.

He pressed me to begin medical mission work in his own territory,
and promised me support, both material and influential, if I would do
so. It was a tempting field, and, no doubt, it would have exerted a
widespread influence for peace on the neighbourhood; but there were
insurmountable difficulties of another nature, and the project had
to be abandoned.

A few years ago I heard with regret that my old friend Chikki had
been ambuscaded by a section of the Khujjal Khel Wazirs, with whom
he had an old-standing quarrel. He and the men with him fell riddled
with bullets, and the victors exultingly cut out his heart and bore
it off in triumph, boasting that it weighed ten seers (twenty pounds).



CHAPTER XXIII

ROUGH DIAMONDS

    A novel inquirer--Attends the bazaar preaching--Attacked
    by his countrymen--In the police-station--Before the
    English magistrate--Declares he is a Christian--Arrival
    of his mother--Tied up in his village--Escape--Takes
    refuge in the hills--A murder case--Circumstantial
    evidence--Condemned--A last struggle for liberty--Qazi Abdul
    Karim--His origin--Eccentricities--Enthusiasm--Crosses the
    frontier--Captured--Confesses his faith--Torture--Martyrdom.


I will recount shortly in this chapter the stories of two Afghan
converts, to show what strange cases we have to deal with, and how
difficult it is to discover the motives at work, even if we ever do
discover them.

Seronai was one of the Marwat clan of Pathans, which inhabits the
southern part of the Bannu district.

One afternoon in the year 1899 I had been conducting the open-air
preaching in the Bannu bazaar, and was returning home, when I noticed
that I was being followed by a stalwart Afghan, over six feet high
and broad in proportion. I had noticed him among the crowd at the
preaching, as he was quite the biggest man there.

"What is it I can do for you?" I said to him.

"I am going to join your religion," was the reply.

I took him home, found that he was a farmer in a small way, possessed a
few acres of land in a very criminal village right at the base of the
frontier hills, could not read or write, and knew very little indeed
of the Muhammadan religion beyond the prayers. Yet when I asked him,
"Why do you wish to join our religion?" the only answer I could obtain
was, "Because it is my wish."

"But you do not know anything about either religion."

"You can teach me; I will learn."

So importunate a pupil it was impossible to refuse. He was willing
enough to learn, but proved very slow of comprehension. It is our
rule not to let inquirers idle away their time, but to give them
work, whereby they may at least prove that they do not intend to
become burdens on the mission. Seronai was willing enough to work,
and had the appetite of an ox; but, unless watched, his strength
was far in excess of his discrimination. Given a field to dig up,
and he dug up the flower-beds round, too. Given a tree to cut down,
and he brought it down quick enough, crashing through a verandah, till
finally we found that if we kept him at all it was most economical
not to let him do anything.

About his zeal there was no doubt. Not only did he attend all the
Christian services, but insisted on accompanying us to the bazaar
preaching, and letting all and sundry know that he intended to--in
fact, had already--become a Christian. This naturally roused the ire
of the people in the bazaar, and when one day there were some of his
fellow-countrymen in the audience, I could see that they meant ill,
though, from Seronai's great size and strength, they would no doubt
be careful in their tactics. The next day, the bazaar preaching
being over, Seronai returned towards the mission, while I stopped
behind a few moments conversing with a questioner in the crowd. I had
gone a little way up the street when I saw an excited mob and heard
much shouting, and out of the crowd burst Seronai, tearing himself
away from his captors with clothes torn, turban off, and his long
locks dishevelled about his face. He ran towards me, calling out,
"Save me from these men!"

It did not seem likely when he had been unable to save
himself. However, I did my best to enable him to escape, but we were at
once surrounded by the crowd, and though no violence was intentionally
done to me, Seronai was torn away and mercilessly beaten. Before long,
however, the police appeared and dispersed the crowd, and marched
off Seronai to the lock-up. As that seemed the safest place for the
time being, I told him to keep up his spirits, and that the next day
arrangements would be made for him.

The next day he was brought before the civil officer of the district,
who also called for the chief man of the section of the tribe which
had been creating the disturbance the day before. Seronai was then
asked whether he wished to be a Muhammadan or Christian.

"I wish to become a Christian and to remain with the Padre Sahib,"
he said decidedly.

"Very well, you shall," said the officer, and told the chief to
explain to his people that they must not resort to further violence.

The next week an old lady in a great state of excitement appeared
in the mission compound. With her was a lad of about fourteen
summers. They were Seronai's mother and younger brother. She had been
told that her son had become a Hindu. As to what a Christian was,
she had no idea. She had never heard of such a thing. All she knew was
that her son had disgraced her, and when Seronai came she wept on him,
and called him reproachful names, and caressed him, all in turns and
all together. Seronai was very quiet, and he was genuinely sorry for
the old lady's trouble, and came to me and said: "I must go back to my
village with my mother to comfort her, and then I will return to you."

It was about a week later. We were sitting in church at evening
service, when in came Seronai, looking very hot and dishevelled. He
said that the people in his village had seized him, and tied him down
to a bed, and set a guard over him night and day. It was impossible
to escape till one day a raiding party of Wazirs came down suddenly
on the village grazing grounds and carried off about twenty camels. A
chigah was sounded, and all the able-bodied men of the village started
off in pursuit. His mother came and untied him, and he had escaped to
us, doing the forty-five miles that lay between his village and the
mission without a stop. Seronai's condition pointed to the truth of
his story, which was, indeed, a very credible one. We heard afterwards
that the camel raid had taken place in the way he related.

Seronai went on now learning about the Christian religion, but making
very little visible progress. He was zealous, and did not for a moment
try to avoid persecution by hiding his light--in fact, he seemed to
delight in courting it. Some suggested that he was becoming a Christian
in order to spite some relation. This does occasionally happen; but
there were no grounds for supposing it to be the case here. Others
suggested that he had made a bet that he would become one, but this
would hardly account for his carrying the rôle so far at such great
personal suffering. In short, though his spiritual aspirations were
not, as far as we could see, sufficient to account for it, we were
quite at a loss to find any other satisfactory explanation.

About a month later he disappeared once again, and then I did not
hear of him for two years. At the end of that time, I was seated
one day in school teaching one of the classes, when I got a message
from the head of the gaol saying there was a prisoner who professed
to be a Christian, and desired to see me. On responding to the call,
imagine my surprise to find Seronai. He said that on leaving us he had
intended to work his land, but, owing to the enmity of the people,
had been obliged to seek refuge in the mountains, where a certain
malik had befriended him and given him shelter. He had remained there
till a few weeks back, when he wished to pay a visit to his mother and
his village. On arrival there, he found that a tragedy had just been
enacted. He had a sister there married to a farmer in the village;
this lady had accepted the advances of another swain from the next
village, and had prepared to elope with him. They had, however, been
frustrated in their intentions, for the corpses of the two had been
found--the woman shot through the head, her lover through the heart.

Suspicion would most naturally fall on the husband, but the arrival
of Seronai at this moment suggested an alternative: the people of
the village would be glad to get an apostate, such as they considered
him to be, into trouble; circumstantial evidence was not difficult to
arrange, and witnesses in support might be had for the asking. Besides,
by making a scapegoat of Seronai, the rest of the village would
escape the harrying of the police myrmidons, who might otherwise
settle on their village like a swarm of locusts, for no one knew how
long. Thus it came about that Seronai was in gaol on the charge of
double murder. It was not much that I could do for him beyond giving
him the consolations of religion; circumstantial evidence was very
black against him, and it was not a matter of surprise when the judge
found him guilty and awarded him the extreme penalty of hanging.

Two days yet remained to the carrying out of the sentence, when there
was a great uproar in the gaol. Seronai and another prisoner, also
under sentence of death, had broken loose from cells, but, unable to
scale the outer wall of the prison, had clambered on to the roof of
one of the buildings, from which they bade defiance to all who ventured
near. They tore up the cornice, and if anyone came near he ran the risk
of having his head smashed with a well-directed brick. This siege went
on for two and a half hours; the two defenders were so alert that if
a ladder was put up at one side while a feint was made at the other,
they ran from side to side, aiming bricks at anyone within reach. This
could not be allowed to go on, so the superintendent of police made the
guard fall in with loaded rifles, and then took out his watch, and,
addressing the two men, told them that if they did not surrender in
four minutes the guard would fire. There was breathless suspense among
the spectators, who by this time numbered several hundreds, as the
minutes passed and the men were still defiant. Half a minute remained
when the two men surrendered to the guard, and were marched back to
the cells. Two days later the extreme penalty of the law was enforced.

Qazi Abdul Karim was altogether a different type of man to Seronai;
he came of a good Afghan family and was a very learned man, being,
as his name denotes, a Qazi, or one entitled to adjudicate Muhammadan
law. He was well versed in the Quran, the Hadis, and Muhammadan
theology and literature, and held a position of honour in the towns
of Quetta and Kandahar. He was a man of property, too, so that no
one could taunt him with having become a Christian for the sake
of bread. He was converted many years ago at Quetta, where he was
baptized by the medical missionary, Dr. Sutton; he passed through
many dangers and privations, but I go on at once to speak of my first
acquaintance with him at Bannu. He had worked for a time at most of
the frontier mission stations, but did not seem able to settle down
anywhere. The Missionary Society requires those who desire to become
its recognized agents to pass certain examinations, and examinations
were not in his line, and he would not present himself for one; thus
he never became a recognized agent of the Society. He had a repugnance
to doing work in the hospital wards, so it was difficult to know how
he was to gain his support. His habits, too, were rather expensive,
as he had been accustomed to entertain freely in his Muhammadan days,
and could not realize that he must not ask all and any into meals when
he had not the wherewithal to pay for them. He had given up almost
everything to become a Christian, and he could not understand why
the Society would not support him to work on his own lines, without
the trammels of rules and regulations.

He was very sensitive in his nature, and ready to think that he was
being slighted or not wanted, so he seldom stopped long in any one
station. He did not get on well, as a rule, with the other native
Christians, and often imagined that schemes were being laid for
poisoning his food. This led to bickerings, which the missionary
often had trouble in allaying. Thus, notwithstanding his great gifts,
Abdul Karim was not a persona grata in any of the missions, and the
missionary was often glad when he realized that he had outstayed
his welcome and passed on to another station. Yet, though certainly
not popular with the native Christians, they all admired him for
the troubles he had undergone for the sake of Christ, and for his
pluck in confessing his faith before all audiences, and regardless of
consequences. The last time he visited Bannu he had been undergoing
great hardships in a voluntary tramp through the country, literally
"despised and rejected of men," because of his uncompromising advocacy
of Christianity. He was worn quite thin, and looked so haggard that
I did not at first recognize him, and his clothes were reduced to
a few rags. We fed him up and got him some new clothes; but even
then he could not rid himself of the idea that some people were
trying to poison him. This gave rise to the report that he was mad,
and certainly his eccentricity in this respect was sufficient to give
colour to the report. I feel sure, however--and I knew him well--that
his devotion to Christ was very real, and amounted to a real passion
to suffer for His sake.

In the summer of 1907 he was taken with an intense desire to enter
Afghanistan, and preach the Gospel there. He crossed over the
frontier at Chaman, and was seized by some Afghan soldiers. These
finally brought him before the Governor of Kandahar. He was offered
rewards and honours if he would recant and accept Muhammadanism, and,
when he refused, he was cast into prison loaded with eighty pounds
of chains. He was examined by H. M. the Amir and the Amir's brother,
Nasirullah, but remained firm in his confession of Christianity.

Finally, he was marched off to Kabul under very painful conditions. As
far as could be gathered from the reports that filtered down to
India, he had to walk loaded with chains and with a bit and bridle
in his mouth from Kandahar to Kabul, while any Muhammadan who met
him on the way was to smite him on the cheek and pull a hair from
his beard. After reaching Kabul, it was reported that he died in
prison there; but another report, which purported to be that of an
eyewitness, and seemed worthy of credence, related that he had been
set at liberty in Kabul, and had set out alone for India.

On the way the people in a village where he was resting found out who
he was--probably one of them had heard him preaching in India--and
they carried him off to their mosque to force him to repeat the
Muhammadan Kalimah, "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the
Prophet of God." This is the accepted formula of accepting Islam,
and if a convert can be persuaded to say this publicly, it is regarded
as his recantation.

Abdul Karim refused. A sword was then produced, and his right arm cut
off, and he was again ordered to repeat it, but again refused. The left
arm was then severed in the same way, and, on his refusing the third
time, his throat was cut. There is no doubt that, whatever the details
of his martyrdom may be, Abdul Karim witnessed faithfully up to the
last for his Saviour Christ, and died because he would not deny Him.

There are many secret disciples in Afghanistan who honour Christ
as we do, and make His teachings their daily guide, but are not yet
prepared to follow Him even to the death; and there is no doubt that,
at the present time, a public acknowledgment of Christianity would
mean death, and probably a cruel death. At the same time, I believe
that the Church in Afghanistan will not be established till there have
been many such martyrs, who will seal their faith with their blood.

When the news of the death of Abdul Karim reached Bannu, more than
one of our Afghan Christians offered to go over into Afghanistan and
take his place as herald of the Cross, and bear the consequences,
but I pointed out to them that the time was not yet.



CHAPTER XXIV

DEDUCTIONS

    Number of converts not a reliable estimate of mission
    work--Spurious converts versus Indigenous Christianity--Latitude
    should be allowed to the Indian Church--We should introduce Christ
    to India rather than Occidental Christianity--Christianizing sects
    among Hindus and Muhammadans--Missionary work not restricted
    to missionaries--Influence of the best of Hindu and Muhammadan
    thought should be welcomed--The conversion of the nation requires
    our attention more than that of the individual--Christian Friars
    adapted to modern missions--A true representation of Christ to
    India--Misconceptions that must be removed.


I have completed these sketches of mission work, and I wish to
summarize in this chapter some of the conclusions that I have been led
to draw from the experiences of the last sixteen years, and then in a
concluding chapter to point out what I think to be the most promising
lines of advance.

It has too long been the habit to gauge the results of mission work
by the number of converts or baptisms, but this is wrong both by
omission and by commission: by omission, because it takes no count of
what is the larger portion of mission work--the gradual permeation of
the country with the teachings and example of Christ; by commission,
because it encourages missionaries to baptize and register numbers,
chiefly of the lower classes, who have no right to it, because they
come from egregiously unworthy motives. Such converts not only are a
dead weight on the mission to which they are attached, but too often
utterly discredit Christianity in the eyes of the non-Christians
around them by their greed and unworthy conduct. It is well that we
should sometimes stop and think what it is that we are desirous of
doing, and then face the question: "Are we really accomplishing that,
or doing something altogether different?"

Are we desirous of planting in India a Christian Church on the lines
which we see developed in England or America? If so, I sincerely hope
that we shall never succeed. Are we desirous of binding on Eastern
converts the same burden of dogmas which has disrupted and still
distresses the Western Church? Again, I sincerely hope not. Are we
desirous of giving India the life and teaching of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and of living Him before the people? There we have a worthy
object--to compass which no sacrifice is too great--worthy of the
best and most devoted of our men and women, and claiming the spiritual
and material support of the whole Western Church.

Now, it is quite possible--in fact, we have seen it enacted before
our eyes--that, having given India Christ and the Bible, India's sons
and sages may not interpret everything as we have done, but may do
so in their own mystical and transcendental way. We may not always
be able to admit such by baptism into the fold of the Christian
Church--they may not themselves desire it--but are we to say that
our mission has not been accomplished? Accomplished it assuredly has
been, but perhaps not on the lines which we desired or imagined. If,
again, after studying the life and words of Christ, and comparing
them with the Christianity which they see practised in the West,
or in the Westerns who reside among them, they are not drawn to
Western Christianity while yet having a devotion to Christ; if they
do not feel they can consistently join any of our Western Churches;
and if they form a Church of India, are we then to be disappointed
and think we have failed of our mission? A thousand times, no! Let
us rather praise God that, instead of a number of hothouse plants
requiring careful watering and tending lest they sicken and wither,
we have a harvest of indigenous growth nurtured on the native soil of
India, and ripening to a fruitful maturity under its own sun, and fed
by the natural showers of heaven without the aid of the missionaries
of a foreign clime.

We see, therefore, that the gathering in of converts is not the first
or most important work of the missionary. His work is rather, first,
to live Christ before the people of the country; secondly, to give
them the teachings of Christ by giving them the Scriptures in their
own tongue, and preaching and explaining the same to them. We often
find in practice that when some Indian has been captivated by the
Gospel, he is hurried on to baptism, and thereby cut off prematurely
from his old stock and grafted on the new--prematurely because he is
often insufficiently grounded in the Christian faith to withstand the
torrent of persecution which is his lot the moment he is baptized, and
because the leavening influence which he would otherwise be exerting on
a wide circle of his relations and acquaintances is at once destroyed.

Christians at home encourage the missionary to think that nothing
has been accomplished till the inquirer is baptized, and that, once
baptized and recorded in the church register and the mission report,
the work, as far as that individual is concerned, is completed,
and the missionary may leave him and turn his attention to someone
else. Fatal mistake! Injurious to the convert because, left only half
grounded in the faith, he falls into worldly and covetous habits, or
may even apostatize outright; injurious to the unevangelized remainder
because, instead of being attracted for a time longer to the study of
Christianity by the influence of the inquirer, they are thrown into
a position of violent antagonism by the secession of the convert, and
are no longer willing to give the claims of Christ any hearing at all.

Herein lies the inestimable value of the much-maligned mission schools
and colleges. They do not produce a great crop of immediate baptisms,
and so are belittled by some as barren agencies; but nothing else is
more surely permeating the great mass of Muhammadan and Hindu thought
with Christian thoughts, Christian ideals, and Christian aspirations.

We see all around us in present-day India attempts to reclothe Islam
and Hinduism in Christian habiliments, or else ardent reformers,
hopeless of that Augean task, creating new little sects and offshoots,
in which Christian ideas are served up for Muhammadan and Hindu
consumers thinly disguised in a dressing of their own religions. These
sects sometimes affect a display of hostility to Christianity,
lest those whom they wish to draw should mistake them for being only
missionary ruses for catching them with guile; but, all the same, they
are steps, and I think inevitable steps, in the gradual permeation of
the country with the religion of Christ. India has been surfeited with
philosophies and dogmas and rites and ceremonies from the hoary Vedic
ages down, but she is hungering and thirsting for a living power to
draw her God-ward, and such a power is Christ. She cannot have too
much of Him, whether this life be set forth in the devoted service
of Christian men and women, in hospitals, and schools, and zenanas,
and plague camps, and leper asylums, or in the daily preaching and
teaching of Him in town and village, in the crowded bazaars, or in
the hermitages of the sadhus and faqirs.

This is not a work restricted to those who have been set apart
as missionaries, but one which claims every professed Christian
in the land. Every European Christian, be he in civil or military
service, in trade or profession, or merely a temporary visitant for
pleasure-seeking, can and should be doing this essentially Christian
missionary work if he is living honestly and purely up to the tenets
of his religion; and many of the best converts in the land have been
first drawn to Christ by watching the consistent private and public
Christian life of some such unobtrusive Englishman or Englishwoman, who
never was or tried to be a missionary in the usual sense of the term.

On the other hand, the Christianizing of the country has been made
all the more remote and difficult by those Englishmen who contemn
or discredit the religion they profess, or live lives openly and
flagrantly at variance with its ethics.

We do not gain anything from a missionary point of view, and we
dishonour God, when we speak of everything in Islam or Hinduism as
evil. The Mussulman has given a witness to the Unity of God and the
folly of idolatry which has been unsurpassed in the religious history
of the world, and he has qualities of devotion and self-abnegation
which the Christian Church may well desire to enlist in her service
rather than to ignore or decry. The Hindu has evolved philosophies
on the enigmas of life, and sin, and pain, and death, which have for
ages been the solace and guide of the myriad inhabitants of India,
and he has attained heights of self-abnegation and austerity in the
pursuit of his religious ideals which would have made the Christian
ascetics of the early centuries of our era envious. Religion has been
to them a pervading force which has coloured the most commonplace acts
of daily life. Here we have qualities which have prepared the soil
for the implanting of the Christian faith, and which, when imbued
and enlightened with the love of Christ, will reach a luxuriance
of Christian energy worthy of the religious East, in which so many
of the religions of the world have had their birth. India, indeed,
wants Christ, but the future Christianity of India will not be that
Occidental form which we have been accustomed to, but something that
will have incorporated all the best God-given qualities and capacities
and thoughts of the Muhammadans and Hindus.

It is a great pity that missionary energy is still largely
destructive rather than constructive. In the earlier days of mission
work it was popularly supposed that missionaries were to attack the
citadels of Islam and Hinduism, which were considered to be the great
obstacles to the acceptance of Christianity by the people of India,
and it was thought that, those once overthrown, we should find a
Christian country. Much more probably we should find an atheistic and
materialistic India, in which Mammon, Wealth, Industrial Success,
and Worldliness had become the new gods. The real and most deadly
enemies with which the missionary has to contend are infidelity and
mammon worship. We may well try to enlist the religious spirit of all
the Indian creeds in the struggle against these, the common enemies
of all faiths, or we may find, when too late, that we have destroyed
the fabric of faith, and set up nothing in its place. The old Islam,
the old Hinduism, are already doomed, not by the efforts of the
missionaries, but by the contact with the West, by the growth of
commerce, by the spread of education, by the thirst for wealth and
luxury which the West has implanted in the East. All the power of
Christianity is required to give India a new and living and robust
faith, which shall be able to withstand these disrupting forces.

Some of the Christian attacks on Eastern religions are painful to read,
because one cannot help seeing that the same weapons have been used
in the West, and often with success, against belief in the Christian
Scriptures, and the missionaries are only preparing tools which will
one day be used against themselves. They may for the moment win a
Pyrrhic victory against the forces of Islam and Hinduism, but they are
at the same time undermining the religious spirit, the ardent faith,
the unquestioning devotion, which have been the crown and glory of
India for ages. Let it rather be their endeavour to present a real,
living, pulsating Christianity, capable of enlisting all these divine
forces in its own service without weakening or destroying one of them,
and all that is best in Islam and Hinduism will be drawn into it. The
product will be nearer to the mind of Christ than much that passes by
the name of Christianity in the West, yet has lost the power of the
living Christ. Do not destroy, but give something worthy of acceptance,
and be careful of the type.

Converts will come right enough when we work on these lines, but they
will not so often be the man-made converts which have been drawn by
the outward attractions which missions sometimes offer. They will
more often be those who have been drawn of the Spirit, and become
converts in spite of us and our little faith. And they will inherit
the blessing of Isaac as assuredly as the first class partake of the
waywardness of Ishmael.

The East has long possessed and developed in a myriad different ways
the idea of sacrifice, while the more practical West has been tending
more and more towards a philanthropic Christianity which makes a life
of service its ideal. The best will be when we bring about a union
of the religious devotion of the East with the altruism of the West.

So far the asceticism and devotion of the Orient has been rendered
nugatory and disappointing by its uselessness--by, if we may use a
paradoxical expression, its very selfishness--for it was directed to
the emancipation of the individual soul rather than to the salvation
of the race. But when the sacrifice of the Orient and the service
of the Occident join hands and go forth in the name of Christ to
mitigate and remove the ills and sorrows of this sad, sad world,
then indeed will the spirit of Christ be fulfilled in His Church.

A recent writer, whose missionary enthusiasm had caught a spark from
the mystic fires of the East, writes: "The thing which is lacking (in
mission work) I believe to be the vision of the homeless, suffering,
serving Jesus--the Jesus who came to serve, and laid down His life for
the sheep." [3] He then goes on to enunciate the need for Christian
Friars, who may bring a knowledge of Christ to India in the only way
to which her people have ever been accustomed. From time immemorial
all the religions that have occupied the arena of the Indian stage,
and compelled the adherence and devotion of her people, have been
promulgated by peripatetic ascetics, who have shown by their devotion
to their ideals the intensity of their convictions, and have not
wearied of journeying from end to end of the land, through heat and
through cold, through privations and hunger and nakedness, that they
might make known to the people how they were to obtain salvation.

The Friars suggested by the above writer would therefore be such as
India is already familiar with, and would work on a prepared soil. He
writes: "The part of the Friars is to live Christ so literally before
the Church and the world, that both may become conscious of Him. The
Church is lacking in ideal and devotion; the Friars must, therefore,
lead lives of such heroism and devoted service in the face of every
danger that the Church may be fired by their example.... If such a
body of men were to act in this way, none would be so quick to cast
themselves at the Master's feet as the people of India, and the high
castes would lead the way."

But it must be clearly understood that these Friars are not to
replace or render unnecessary any section of the existing missionary
body. Every one of the various activities of the present mission work
is wanted, urgently wanted. They will, however, fire their energies,
enlarge their scope, and increase their usefulness. Two misconceptions
require to be removed from the Indian mind. One is, that missionary
activity is a political activity, a department of the Government
artfully disguised. The other is, that the English are, after all,
only lukewarm about their religion, and do not hesitate to disregard
it if it clashes with their comfort or interest. To combat these
ideas it is the lives of the missionaries that are of more importance
than the organization, and the more Christ is lived and exemplified,
the more spiritual and lasting will be the result.



CHAPTER XXV

A FORWARD POLICY

    Frontier medical missions--Their value as outposts--Ancient
    Christianity in Central Asia--Kafiristan: a lost opportunity of
    the Christian Church--Forcible conversion to Islam--Fields for
    missionary enterprise beyond the North-West Frontier--The first
    missionaries should be medical men--An example of the power of
    a medical mission to overcome opposition--The need for branch
    dispensaries--Scheme of advance--Needs.


Down the North-West Frontier is the long line of mission outposts:
Srinagar, Mardan, Peshawur, Karak, and Thal, in the Kohat district;
Bannu, Tank, Dera Ismaïl Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Quetta. All of these
comprise medical mission work as part of their activities. Several
have educational work as well. Yet we regard them as something more
than outposts: they are bases. The strength of the British military
stations on that frontier is far in excess of the requirements of
their immediate surroundings, because under conceivable conditions they
have to act as the bases of an army acting beyond them, or they might
have to stem the advance of an invading force. In a precisely similar
way we must regard our frontier missions, not merely in relation to
their environments, but as the means whereby we shall be able to go
forward and evangelize the yet unoccupied lands to the west and the
north. They should be sufficiently well equipped in both personnel
and material, so that when need arises they might be able to supply
the men and means for occupying mission stations farther on.

The countries of Central Asia to the west and north of India are a
challenge and a reproach to the Christian Church--a reproach because
in the early centuries of the Christian era the zeal of the first
missionaries carried the Gospel right across Turkestan and Tibet
to China, and Christian Churches flourished from Asia Minor to
Mongolia. Dr. Stein, in his recent work, "Buried Cities of Khotan,"
tells us how in those days there were fair towns and running streams
and orchards, where now is only a sandy, waterless waste. The rains
ceased, the water channels dried up, the people had to leave their
towns and villages, and the sand was blown in and covered houses and
trees and everything deep in its drifting dunes, where they have been
unvisited and forgotten till the present traveller unearthed them. A
similar spiritual drought seems to have fallen on the Armenian and
Nestorian Churches of those parts, and, deadened and retrograde,
they were unable to withstand the great Muhammadan invasions of the
sixth and succeeding centuries, which swept like tornadoes right
across Asia into China.

In again proclaiming the Gospel in Turkestan the Christian Church will
only be reoccupying her lost territories, where at one time Christian
congregations gathered in their churches, but for centuries only the
Muhammadan call to prayer has been permitted to be heard.

It is a reproach, again, because on our North-West Frontier, only
separated from Chitral by a range of mountains, is the interesting land
known as Kafiristan. There is reason to believe that the inhabitants
of this land, known as the Kafirs, are the descendants of some of
the Greeks whom Alexander of Macedon brought over in his train three
hundred years before Christ. Two stories are current among the Kafirs
regarding their origin, but both point to their arrival about the third
century before Christ. One is that a number of Greeks, expelled from
the lowlands by the advance of surrounding and more powerful tribes,
took refuge in these mountain fastnesses; and the other is that they
are the descendants of wounded soldiers left by Alexander the Great
in the neighbouring region of Bajour. They still practised till a
few years ago pagan idolatrous rites, which had probably changed
little for two thousand years, and they resisted the inroads of the
Muhammadans, who were obliged to recoil before their inaccessible
mountain fastnesses. They welcomed some Christian missionaries
who visited their valleys at different times in the last century,
and there is every reason to believe that, had the Christian Church
accepted the task, the whole of that nation would have adopted the
Christian religion. But though these travellers urged on the Church
her opportunity and her responsibility, no step was taken.

Colonel Wingate, a retired frontier officer, writes: [4] "I had gone
for a stroll one day in the summer of 1895 with another officer for
a short distance outside the military camp. Though we were wearing
the uniform of officers, we were without arms, when suddenly we saw
a party of natives approaching. They were travelling at a rapid rate,
and as they drew near we observed that they were armed with bows and
arrows and spears, each carrying a coloured blanket in a roll over
the shoulder, their food of dried meat and rice tied on to their
girdles. The whole party were warriors, as indicated by the rows of
shells sewn on to the kilts worn round their waists. They proved to be
an influential deputation from Kafiristan to the headquarters camp to
obtain the assurance of the British nation that they would still enjoy
their protection. From time to time, commencing with the mission of
Major Biddulph, interviews between headmen of the Kafiri tribes and
officers of the British Government had taken place, resulting in the
belief that the independence of Kafiristan would be preserved. But
the unexpected and ominous answer came over the field telegraph wires:
'Tell them they are now the subjects of the Amir.' While waiting for
the answer I had some conversation with them. They were wonderfully
bright and generous-hearted, and fond of a joke. When I asked them
if they were ready to embrace the Christian religion, they replied:
'We do not want to change the religion of our fathers; but if we must
change, then we would far rather become Christians than Muhammadans,
because we should still be Kafirs,' alluding to the common application
of this word by Muhammadans to all unbelievers.... The unsparing
proselytism of Muhammadan conquest has done its worst. Hearths and
homes in their mountain fastnesses, which had been preserved inviolate
for one thousand years against the hated Mussulman foe, have been
ruthlessly invaded and spoiled. The bravest of their defenders have
been forcibly made into Muhammadans, and the fairest of their daughters
have been torn from the arms of their natural protectors and carried
off as new supplies for the harims of their conquerors." Another lost
opportunity to add to the account of the Christian Church!

But there are lands now in that historic region "where three empires
meet" which may yet be occupied by the messengers of "peace and
goodwill towards men." Is the Church going to rise to the present
opportunities or let them, too, slip by?

Swat, Chitral, Baltistan, Hunza, Astor, Chilas, are each of them
the home of a nation. Then the great historic cities of Bukhara,
Samarcand, Tashkend, Merv, Kokan, Kashgar, have some of them been in
their time the capitals of great kingdoms.

In some of these places there are already missionaries at work, most
of them belonging to Swedish and German societies; but how utterly
inadequate these few scattered workers are to the great problem
which they have to face! What is needed at the present are medical
missions. A medical man would be welcomed by the people in all these
places. The time for the preacher has yet to come. It would not be
wise, even were it possible, to send up clerical missionaries and
evangelists into these parts at present. But the doctor will find
his sphere everywhere, and will find his hands full of work as soon
as he arrives. He will be able to overcome suspicion and prejudice,
and his timely aid and sympathetic treatment will disarm opposition,
and his life will be a better setting forth of Christianity than
his words. There is a door everywhere that can be opened by love and
sympathy and practical service, and no one is more in a position to
have a key for every door than the doctor.

I have already said much to show how powerful an agency medical
work is for overcoming prejudice, but I will cite one instance
more, where the doctor was the son of a convert of the very place
where he was working, and had succeeded by his loving and skilful
attentions in overcoming the opposition and much of the prejudice of
the people. The first branch dispensary in connection with the Bannu
Medical Mission was opened at Shekh Mahmud in 1895. This is a large
village near the Tahsil town of Isa Khel, on the right bank of the
Indus River. About thirty-five years ago a landowner of this place was
converted to Christianity, and, together with his family, received into
the Christian Church. At first he passed through great vicissitudes:
his house was burnt over his head by his fellow-villagers, and he and
his family barely escaped with their lives. His enemies then tried
to expatriate him by erasing his name from the village registers, and
swearing in court that he was a stranger to the district. Eventually,
however, their perjury was found out, and the court restored him
his lands and had a new house built for him in the place of the one
that had been burnt down. This man passed to his rest trusting in
our Lord Jesus Christ, leaving three sons, who were all following
in their father's footsteps, and have been privileged to see many of
their former enemies brought to Christ themselves. The eldest son has
also died, but leaving two sons, of whom the elder has obtained the
Government qualification of doctor, and is destined to take charge
of the branch dispensary which we are about to open at Thal. The
second and third sons have received a medical training in the mission
hospital, and are both engaged in medical mission work--the second at
the Bannu Headquarters Hospital, and the youngest is in charge of a
branch dispensary built on the very land that his Muhammadan countrymen
tried to wrest from his father. On the last occasion of my visiting
this branch, just before leaving India for my visit to England in 1908,
this young doctor--Fazl Khan by name--had made a dinner for the poor
of the village, and nearly two hundred must have come to partake of
his hospitality. This custom of feeding the poor is often done in
India by those undertaking a long journey or some other enterprise,
so that the prayers of the poor may be a blessing on the work.

Well, after all the guests had partaken, the Christian doctor offered
prayers for my safe journey to England, and for the medical mission
work at Bannu and at Sheikh Mahmud, and after each petition all present
raised the cry of "Allah," being their way of saying "Amen." Now,
these were the sons and relatives of the very men who had burnt the
house of the Christian doctor's father, and tried to oust him from his
lands. This is an example of what may be accomplished in a fanatical
frontier district through the agency of medical mission work carried
on by an Indian Christian.

I am constantly getting requests from maliks (chiefs) of these
trans-frontier tribes to visit them in their mountain homes, and
when I have accepted I have received a cordial welcome, and been well
treated, while I have had abundant opportunities of medical mission
work. There is great scope for the itinerant medical missionary among
them, but he requires a base to which he can send cases requiring
severe operations or ward treatment. Small branch dispensaries in
charge of Indian hospital assistants are of the greatest value, and
there are many suitable places for such along our Indian frontier. The
advantages of such dispensaries I believe to be as follows; (1) They
exert an extraordinary Christianizing, civilizing, and pacifying
influence on the tribes in their immediate vicinity. (2) They form
subsidiary bases for the medical missionary, not only enabling him
to work up that particular district, but relieving the pressure on
the headquarters hospital. The assistant-in-charge sifts the cases
that come to him, tells some that their disease is irremediable,
thereby saving them the expense and weariness of a long journey,
and recommending others to go up to headquarters for operations. (3)
They form training-schools for our Indian helpers, whereby they are
prepared for taking posts of even greater responsibility. This matter
of efficient training of our Indian helpers is, I believe, a matter
of paramount importance.

My hope is, then, in the near future to see a number of new centres
of medical mission work opened in these hitherto almost untouched
lands of Central Asia, and, associated with these centres, a number
of village dispensaries for the more remote tracks. The central
missions would have a staff of at least two European medical men,
and the branches would be in the charge of Indian assistants. There
is no reason, however, why an Indian of sufficient qualifications
and experience should not take the place of one of the European
staff when circumstances admit of it. The central hospital should
be well equipped in both out- and in-patient departments, and have
sanitary wards accommodating from thirty to eighty in-patients. The
branches should also be able to take in from six to ten in-patients,
as not only will the assistant in charge often get cases of urgency,
which require immediate indoor treatment, and cannot be forwarded
to the base hospital, but when the head medical missionary visits
these out-stations he will be glad to be able to accommodate a few
operation cases which may be waiting for him there.

This scheme would not clash with Government medical aid, because in
most of these regions there are very few, if any, Government hospitals
or dispensaries, and those places which already have sufficient
Government medical aid might well be passed over in favour of the
numberless places that have none.

Here is a grand field for young medical men who are anxious to
consecrate their abilities to the service of God and man. They are
not offered tempting salaries or honours, but they will have the
satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to lighten the burden of
mankind where that burden was weighing most heavily, and to bring the
light and love of Christ into some of the darkest abodes of cruelty
and superstition to be met with on the face of God's earth.

Those who help this work with the gifts in money or kind, without
which it would be impossible of execution can have the satisfaction of
knowing that they are not only relieving bodily suffering which would
otherwise be unrelieved, and carrying the Evangel to those who have
never heard of it, but they are drawing nations together in bonds of
service and sympathy, and diminishing the danger of racial conflict
and devastating war.



GLOSSARY OF WORDS NOT GENERALLY USED OUTSIDE INDIA


A.

Ahl-el-kitáb = the people of the Book: a term applied by Muhammadans to
Jews, and Christians whose Scriptures they accept as the Word of God.


B.

Banaprastha = the third stage of the life of a devout Hindu, when he
retires from trade or office, and lives in some forest or jungle.

Ber = a tree, very common in Afghanistán--Zisyphus jujuba and
Z. vulgaris. Its fruit is largely eaten by the people.

Bhagti = devotion, faith. The Hindus contrast salvation by bhagti
to that by karma, or works. Chaitanza and others were the apostles
of bhagti.

Bhásha = the script in which the Hindi language is usually written;
the language itself.

Brahmachári = the first stage of the life of a devout Hindu, when he
is a celibate student under some teacher or guru.


C.

Chádar = a cotton or woollen shawl, used as a wrap in the day and a
sheet by night.

Chapáti = flat cakes of unleavened bread, cooked over a tauwa, or
flat piece of iron.

Chárpár = "the four-legged," the plain native wooden bedstead.

Chauk = the room which the headman of a village sets apart for the
use of the public. Village business and gossip is carried on here,
and travellers accommodated.

Chigah = an alarm, sounded by beating a drum in a village, for the
arm-bearing population to come out in pursuit of raiders or robbers.

Chilam = the Afghán term for the Indian hookah, or hubble-bubble
pipe. The kind used in Afghanistán is simpler in construction, and
has a shorter tube.


D.

Dáktar = the native corruption of "doctor."

Dharmsála = a Hindu temple and rest-house for travellers, these two
institutions being almost invariably combined.

Dilaq = the patchwork cloak which is characteristic of the Muhammadan
faqir.

Dúm = the village barber and musician, these two offices being usually
combined; he also does most of the minor surgery of the village.

Dúmba = the fat-tailed Afghán sheep.


F.

Fatwá = a religious decree, promulgated by a court of Mullahs, or by
one Mullah of authority.

Feringi = the name universally accorded in Afghanistán to Europeans
(the Franks). In British India it has a prejudicial signification,
but not so in Afghanistán.


G.

Ghazá = a religious murder, when a Muhammadan fanatic kills a Christian
or Hindu for the sake of religion.

Gházi = the fanatic who commits ghazá.

Grihasta = the second stage in the life of a devout Hindu, when
he marries a wife, begets children, and carries on his profession
or trade.

Guru = a religious preceptor or guide among Hindus or Sikhs.


H.

Hákim = a ruler, an executive officer.

Hakím = a native doctor, who practises on Western or Hippocratic lines.

Halwa = a kind of sweet pudding, very popular with the Afgháns.

Hazrat 'Esa = the Muhammadan appellation for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hujra = a guest-house, where travellers are accommodated in Afghán
villages. It differs from chauk in that it is more specialized for
the use of travellers, while the latter is more for the use of the
village folk.


I.

'Íd = a Muhammadan feast-day. There are two chief feasts--the
"'Id-el-fitr," or day following the fast-month of Ramazán, and the
"'Id-el-zoha" or "'Id-el-bakr," which is the Feast of Sacrifice,
in memory of Abraham's would-be sacrifice of his son.

Izzat = honour: a word constantly in an Afghán's thoughts and
conversation, but which even he is not always able to define.


J.

Jirgah = a council of the tribal elders. This may be appointed by
the tribesmen themselves to settle some dispute, or in British India
it may be appointed by the civil officer to help in deciding some
judicial case.


K.

Káfir = an infidel. Strictly, only one who does not believe in God
and the prophets, but loosely applied to all non-Muslims.

Kalámulláh = the Word of God. Comprises, according to Muhammadan
teaching, four books--the Law (Tauret), the Psalms (Zabúr), the Gospel
(Injil), and the Qurán.

Kalima = the Muhammadan creed: "There is no God but God, and Muhammad
is the prophet of God." The recitation of this is the recognized way
of declaring one's self a Muhammadan.

Kanal = a measure of land--one-eighth of an acre.

Karmá = works. According to Hindu philosophy, a man's reincarnation
depends on the character and amount of his karmá.

Karnal = the Afghán corruption of "colonel."

Khán = a lord, a chief; an honorific title in Afghanistán, or merely
part of a man's name.


L.

Lashkar = an army; often applied in Afghanistán to a small body of
men going out from a tribe for warlike purposes, but they may be
going for peaceful purposes--hence the English "lascar."


M.

Málik = in Afghanistán the headman of a village or tribe.

Má'uzbílláh = a Muhammadan exclamation on hearing bad news or a
calamity: "May God protect us!"

Muharram = a yearly Muhammadan feast held on the 10th of the month
of Muharram.

Mullah = a Muhammadan preacher.

Munshi = a clerk or preceptor.


P.

Pagari = the Eastern head-dress or turban.

Patwári = a village bailiff, who keeps the accounts of the village
lands.

Patwarkhána = the office of the bailiff.

Parda = the Eastern custom of secluding women from the public gaze.

Puláo = a popular dish in Afghanistán, consisting of meat cooked with
rice, with spices, nuts, raisins, and sweetenings.


Q.

Qurbán = lit., sacrifice; also used as an expression of devotion by
an inferior to a superior.

Qismet = fate, destiny; an ever-present idea in the Muhammadan mind.


R.

Rebáb = an Afghán stringed instrument, resembling a guitar.


S.

Sáhib = lit., gentleman; the term of respect usually applied to
Englishmen.

Samádh = the posture assumed by an ascetic for contemplation of the
Deity. There are a great variety of these, each possessing its own
peculiar merit.

Sangar = an entrenchment. In the mountain warfare of Afghanistán
these are made of short walls of stones on the hillside.

Sanyási = the fourth stage in the life of a devout Hindu, when he
retires from the world, and gives himself up entirely to religious
meditation.

Sardár = a chief, an Afghán nobleman.

Sarkár = the usual term for the British Government.

Sharm = shame. The Afghán idea underlying this word is a complex,
in which shame, public disgrace, modesty, delicacy, sense of honour,
all share in varying degree. He is always talking of it.

Sháster = a religious book of the Hindus.

Shesham = a common tree on the frontier that yields an excellent hard
wood for various articles of household use--Dalbergia sisso.

Sowár = a horseman.

Sura = a chapter of the Qurán.


T.

Tahsíl = the subdivision of an administrative district; the centre
for the collection of the revenue.

Tálib = a Muhammadan religious student; a pupil in a mosque.

Tap-jap = a recitation of religious formulæ by a Hindu.

Tauba = lit., repentance; an exclamation denoting abhorrence or
contrition.


U.

Ustád = a master or preceptor; a religious teacher (among Muhammadans).


W.

Wiláyati = belonging to Europe; especially applied to merchandise of
European origin.


Y.

Yogsadhan = a system of contemplation, combined with religious
exercises, whereby occult power is acquired.

Yunáni = pertaining to Greece. This is the word usually applied to
that system of native medicine which was derived from the Greeks; in
Europe it is spoken of in connection with the name of Hippocrates,
who formulated it. The other, or Hindu system, is the Vedic; those
who practise the former are called hakíms, the latter baids.


Z.

Zamindár = a farmer, a landowner.

Zyárat = a shrine; the grave of a holy man; a place of pilgrimage.



NOTES


[1] More probably from the Greek kofinos.--J. C.

[2] In a booklet published by the Church Missionary Society, entitled
"Delawar Khan."

[3] S. E. Stokes in The East and the West for April, 1908.

[4] "Across our Indian Frontier," by Colonel G. Wingate, C.I.E.





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