Imatges de pÓgina

that would have to be added to the Anglo-Indian army should the views of Jacob and Green ever prevail over those of which they themselves were the champions.' ("India's Scientific Frontier,' p. 54.)

That increase of the native army and of the large proportion of the European necessarily left at these distant points involves another very serious consideration, viz. the proportions of the native army to the European left throughout the great extent of India, and this is again incalculably affected by another consideration.

Owing to the abnormally unhealthy state of the English troops in India, not less than 40 per cent. being on the sick list and useless for war, the proper proportion between European and native soldiery has quite disappeared ; thus, in the Chitral campaign it was found necessary to alter the ordinary constitution of our Anglo-Indian division mobilised for field service, and draft into each of its brigades an additional British regiment. The “Broad Arrow" of September 19 last says that there are only some 45,000 fit for service out of a nominal 70,000 men in India. Amongst other causes, to which I need not here refer, a severe epidemic of typhoid in a most virulent form has attacked the British garrison of India.' ('Backwards or Forwards,' p. 73.)

Furthermore, in all questions of the defence of India there is another matter that has to be taken into account. We cannot, for the reasons quoted in the absolutely accurate statement of Colonel Hanna as to the poverty of India, go on piling annas on the salt-tax, and it is difficult to know where other money is to be found. Yet, far more important than any money spent on fortifications, is this one consideration, in which we believe that every soldier, Indian or other, will agree to swear in the words of Sir Henry Brackenbury :-

* The greatest want, in my opinion, and, I know, in the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief is an increase to the number of British officers in the Indian army. We have endeavoured to meet this by establishing reserve of officers, but the attempt has been a failure. . . . Yet upon the outbreak of war we ought to increase the number of European officers with every unit of the native army, and we should require some hundreds of officers for transport duties and various staff appointments in the field. Where to lay hands upon these officers is a problem that has not been solved. Should the finances of India improve, I earnestly hope that this question will not be lost sight of.'

Nevertheless, looking back now over this indictment, we return to the old point. Colonel Hanna's real question is Backwards or Forwards'? We answer that Backwards'

is impossible; we agree

agres entirely with him when he says:

• What is a scientific frontier ? Surely one which it is easy and cheap to defend, and difficult and costly to attack; and no frontier in the world fulfils that definition more thoroughly than the frontier which satisfied Lawrence and Mansfield, Norman and Durand.' ('India's Scientific Frontier,' p. 91.)

We agree at least as a half-truth, about as true as most "scissors' arguments are, that

• It is not on the sword that our Empire in India really rests, but upon our administration, which, on the whole, keeps the bulk of the inhabitants passively content, and so we can afford to guard it by men taken from their midst--a due proportion between the number of British and native troops being carefully observed.' (' India's Scientific Frontier,' p. 84.)

We agree that to look forward with joy, as Colonel Bell did in 1890, to the extension of our empire to the further side of Afghanistan is almost insane.

6" When the administrative limits of India are stretched to their natural and geographical limits, the Hindu Kush,” so wrote Colonel Mark Bell, in 1890, in the “ Journal of the Royal United Service Institution," "an active army of 135,000" (posted in Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, Balkh, &c.) “will be required for the defence of her scientific frontier ..." and "a large portion of the Indian garrison ” (which is to consist nominally of 100,000 men) “would naturally be stationed in the Indus camps and in Pishin, and the flower of the armies of the native princes would be actively employed out of India."

We agree with him that Russia is weak in Central Asia and that her difficulties in attempting to invade India would be enormous. So also did Lord Lytton, whose argument, , drawn from Lord Lawrence's own words, was that, when her weakness pressed her forward in order to shorten the line of her communications, she would have no difficulty in offering a bribe in the plains of India to all Afghans and other tribes such as we have not to offer them in Central Asia.

There is however another side of the question, and we do not know that it is anywhere better or more graphically put than it is in Colonel Durand's volume on the Making of a • Frontier.' Kashmir, be it remembered, is behind the Indus.

*No man in his senses ever believed that a Russian army would cross the Pamirs and attack India by the passes of Huntza and Chitral, but we could not overlook the fact that in 1885, when war hung in the balance, some thousands of her troops were moved down towards the Pamirs. What was this for ? Hardly for change of air, or to shoot big VOL. CXCI. NO. CCCXCI.


game, as the British public were asked to believe later, when similar moves were made. The object was to get a footing on the south side of the Hindu Kush, and to paralyse numbers of our troops who would have to be kept in observation of possible Russian lines of advance. Further, I have no hesitation in saying, and I know every inch of the country, and every important man in it, that at the time of which I am now writing, had war broken out between us, there was absolutely nothing to prevent a Russian officer, with a thousand Cossacks, from reaching Astoz in ten days after crossing the passes of the Hindu Kush, and from watering his horses in the Woolar Lake four days later. The Kashmir troops, usually kept on the frontier, would have gone like chaff before the wind, and there would have been no local opposition; far from it, an invader promising the loot of Kashmir would have been welcomed; we should have been treated in India to a bolt from the blue.

'Let people consider for a moment what a born leader like Skobeleff would have made of a chance like this, and they will, I think, agree that, expensive as the Gilgit game may have been, it was worth the candle.

• The alarmist within the country is a worse enemy than the foe at the gates.'

That, it is to be observed, is written by a man who distinctly appreciates the value of the policy of saving every possible man that can be spared from the defence of India, who realises the danger from the alarmist within the 'gates,' and therefore on close investigation found this step necessary-'this step' being the most distant extension yet given to our frontier. It is necessary, however, to let the whole effect of Colonel Durand's experiences along that frontier, the cruel oppression exercised by the local chiefs and by our own feudatory of Kashmir, soak into the mind in order to realise how important a bearing this has upon the whole question of Forwards or Backwards' as it stands to-day. We may throw back vain regrets. We cannot alter the fact that we have been pushed on by a force other than ourselves or our own wishes.

Are we to leave unredressed a condition of things under which

* The last few marches showed miles of terraced land out of cultivation, the result of the incursions of the murderous Chilusis who raided from the Indus Valley. In a country where every foot of cultivation has to be won with heavy toil from Nature, nothing appeals so much to your heart as the sight of deserted land and ruined homesteads, while the people reserved for their Kashmir rulers the hatred, fear, and contempt begotten of oppression'?

Is it safe to leave the great frontier State behind the Indus to be protected by a Durbar which

• was quite ignorant of the fact that the army was without the very rudiments of organisation, that it was merely an unwieldy agglomeration of units, and that its leaders, men for the most part of good family and of fighting instincts, were one and all as innocent as the babe unborn of the art of war'?

'Forty men of the original band of labourers working behind the arıny were said to have died, the remainder were being slowly worked to death, and were then being taken to Bunfi to bring up grain to Gilgit for the troops. One poor wretch had a hole in his back where his load had worn away the flesh. The whole thing was sickening. War is bad enough at any time, but mismanaged war is “hell." }

• The senior officers never visited their men. Not once were the troops under arms during my stay, and I do not think they had ever been properly fallen in since they had left Kashmir.' (P. 38.)

• A Kashmir officer thoughtfully remarked : “ The boat is very dangerous; we will not go in it ourselves, but send the coolies and guard.”' (P. 20.)

Some of the officers were keen, but peculation and corruption were rampant; the honest men, if they existed, had no chance, and the condition of the force was deplorable.' (P. 39.)

* The Durbar was robbed by every official from the highest to the lowest ; granaries that should have been full of good grain were empty, or full of rubbish substituted for consideration; bribery and corruption ruled the land, disloyalty and treachery were in its high places.' (P. 39.)

Or is it better that, at some risk and cost, we should secure these two results? First, this :

"The Durbar made nothing by the transaction when coolies were impressed ; it was duly charged for their hire, but the money sticks in the hands of those drawing it. A new era has now opened, owing to the revenue settlement carried out by my friend, Mr. Walter Lawrence, a distinguished member of the Indian Civil Service, whose services were lent to the Durbar for this purpose by Government. The villagers are no longer liable to be dragged out for forced labour if they do not satisfy the extortionate demands of tax collectors and plundering officials.

And, secondly, this :

* The changes five years had wrought were great; the Kashmir troops on the frontier, instead of an ill-paid, undisciplined, and ill-armed rabble, were an efficient body of troops regularly paid and well fed, who had given their proofs in severe fighting; good roads existed in the place or tracks torturing alike to baggage animals and laden men using them, and the rivers were bridged; extensive irrigation schemes, which were to prove of inestimable value to the people, were in hand; the authority of the Kashmir Government was firmly established on its frontier, and the influence of the British Government was paramount in the tract of country immediately south of the Hindu Kush.' (Colonel Durand's Making of a Frontier,' pp. 290, 291.)

We wish we could afford more space for extracts from this deeply interesting volume, but enough has been said to bring out the point we want to make. Not the fullest agreement with the military advantages of the Indus frontier alters our conviction that, apart altogether from the question which Colonel Hanna so earnestly raises, whether the dread of abandoning a position once taken up would be such a loss to our prestige as it is often assumed that it would necessarily be, there seems to us another much more decisive one. We may agree with him in thinking that the whole frontier defence now created is scarcely worth an anna on the salttax, but the costly railways to Quetta have been made, and two of them are in working order, Earthquakes no doubt, as he urges, overtake them. We must meet them as best we can; but no government will venture to restore Beluchistan or Chitral or the army of Kashmir to the condition it was a few years ago.

Now not in detail, but in principle, this view of the question underlay much of Lord Lytton's policy. One at least of the strongest reasons why Sher Ali would allow no British officers to reside in Afghanistan was that he knew how different his ways were from our ways, as he had experienced in the case of Lord Northbrook's protest against the treatment of his son. The Russians would have been much less thin-skinned. A picture of the kind of morals and manners with which our officers have to become familiar on the frontier, though it does not directly apply to Afghanistan, is so significant of the whole border region and of Kabul itself that we must borrow this final extract from Colonel Durand :

· On the frontier you must deal with men as you find them: balt my most intimate friends were murderers, and the standard to judge them by is not ours.' (P. 55.)

• The Mehtar was steeped to the lips in treachery, his hands were crimson with the blood of his nearest relations; two out of his three brothers he had murdered; the third was in exile in Kabul. His Kushwakt cousins had equal cause to rue his name.' (P. 75.)

• At the same time he had many good points. He was deeply religious according to his lights, yet he was no bigot.” (P. 76.)

We parted after an exchange of many civil speeches, and promises of eternal friendship, with genuine regret on my side, for I had got to like the old man very much, and to admire his strength of character and undoubted powers.' (P. 94.)

Now it is only fair to realise that when Lord Lytton assumes perpetually that the territory between us and

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