THE BRITISH RAJ IN INDIA
EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNTS AT THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
If you read E.F. Benson’s hilarious social comedy of the early 1930s, Mapp and Lucia (one of my favourite books—there’s also a DVD of a very good TV series of it), you’ll discover Major Benjy:
“He served for many years in India. Hindustanee is quite a second language to him. Calls ‘quai-hai’ when he wants his breakfast. Volumes of wonderful diaries, which we all hope to see published one day.”
Benson, E.F. Mapp and Lucia. London, Black Swan, 1984, p. 33
When Lucia meets him, we learn that his hobbies are golf and knocking back the whisky. He is, of course, a caricature of the retired Anglo-Indian officer living off his pension, with time on his hands. Nevertheless it’s a pretty true-to-life picture, and the RGSSA Library’s got the books to prove it. Volumes of them. Officers of the Indian Army seem to have started publishing screeds in the middle of the 19th century—publishing was of course flourishing, with the growth of the prosperous British middle class. The craze—it amounts to that—seems to have kicked off with the Indian Mutiny (the Sepoy Rebellion) of 1857-1858. Everyone who survived it seems to have written their account of it. Some of them weren’t even there, but elsewhere in India at the time, but they wrote their accounts, too!
Then the industry really got going. Tales of life in India and hunting in India joined the accounts of military campaigns, travel books set in India flourished... During the latter part of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th the success of Kipling’s short stories and his Kim were a factor in greatly increasing the popularity of these exotic, exciting tales of derring-do upon the backs of elephants, through the Himalayas, and along the Grand Trunk Road... Or, as written by the likes of Major Benjy, tales that were intensely long-winded, and peripatetic figuratively as well as literally! But however formal, indeed pompous, we may find the style of many of the amateur authors, their accounts nevertheless bear fascinating witness to a way of life that has vanished forever. Chota hazri in the early morning brought by a salaaming bhai, sweating English persons clad all in white at their all-White tennis clubs, parades on the Maidan, box-wallahs at their desks in their suits, lonely Controllers of John Company up the country in their Districts, tiger hunts from the backs of elephants, grand balls and burra khana at the Governor’s mansion while the punkah-wallahs drove the fans by human leg-power from the verandahs, endless journeys by horse or foot through the jungles, across the plains, along the great rivers, and up—and up—the mountains.
Kipling gives us the flavour of the times, and we get the colour from the modern TV travel documentaries, not to say those endless series of “cooking-your-way-badly-through-the subcontinent” while the locals eye the mad-dogs-and-Englishmen carry-on tolerantly. But the people who were there, who sweated it out for years on end with no air-conditioned hotel to escape to when filming was over, who worked like blazes and risked their lives in the service of the Queen Empress, tell it how it really was.
Make allowances for the style, understand that there were things one did just not write about, that these are the products of an ultra-respectable middle class, and you may be surprised at what you discover. The Royal Geographical Society of South Australia has a large collection of books written by those who lived through the British Raj in its heyday.
Online catalogue: http://rgssa.slimlib.com.au:81/vufind/
Society’s web page: http://www.rgssa.org.au/
SOME OF THE BOOKS
LIFE UNDER THE RAJ
|The British Indian Empire, 1909|
Blackham, Robert James, 1868- Scalpel, sword and stretcher : forty years of work and play / by Colonel Robert J. Blackham ... formerly Hon. Surgeon to the Viceroy of India, and D.D.M.S. Ninth Army Corps in France. London : S. Low, Marston, 
Grant, Colesworthey, 1813-1880. Rural life in Bengal : illustrative of Anglo-Indian suburban life ... letters from an artist in India to his sisters in England. London : W. Thacker, 1860
Robinson, Phil. Under the punkah. London : Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1881.
Sleeman, William Henry, Sir. Rambles and recollections of an Indian official / by Major-General Sir W. H. Sleeman. New ed. Westminster : Archibald Constable, 1893.
Smith, J. (pseud.). Sketches in Indian ink / by J. Smith ; edited by H.G. Keene. 2nd. ed. London : Macmillan 1891.
Satirical sketches of Anglo-Indian society and some of its foibles. In the words of the author: “These pictures are intended for people in England who may wish to know how Indian exile acts upon English men and women.”
The J. Smith given as the author appears to have been a pseudonym for H.G. Keene, the ostensible editor: that is, Henry George Keene, 1825-1915. Most catalogues and bibliographies list Keene as the author or indicate that J. Smith was pseudonymous: for example, the list of British colonial authors on www.anglo-indians.com gives the first edition as: Smith, J. (Pseud.); Keene, H.G. Sketches in Indian Ink. English Office, Calcutta, 1880.
Wikisource tells us that the orientalist Henry George Keene, C.I.E., was a Fellow of the University of Calcutta. He wrote many books, including several scholarly works, and numerous articles for the Dictionary of National Biography. His obituary, which is given in full in Wikisource, most certainly indicates that he had the sort of sense of humour that would have prompted him to write, not merely edit, Sketches in Indian Ink: “Mr. Henry George Keene, C.I.E., died at his residence at Westward Ho! on Friday, in his 90th year. ... Educated at Rugby, under Arnold, and at Wadham College, Oxford, Keene went out to the North-Western Provinces in the East India Company's service in 1847. When the Mutiny broke out 10 years later he was Superintendent of the Dehra Doon. [Dehradun, presumably]. In his subsequent service Keene was in frequent disagreement with his superiors, and he confessed that a certain ‘unfortunate habit of levity and not always seasonable joking’ hindered promotion. A wit and raconteur, he failed to do himself justice as an official. He often had good practical ideas, but was too changeable and too little master of detail to give them effect. So when he reached the 35 years' limit he had not got beyond the grade of a district and sessions Judge. But he retired with the decoration of C.I.E., and with a literary reputation which he was able to turn to account in providing for the needs of a large family....” (Obituaries. The Times, Monday, Mar 29, 1915; pg. 5; Issue 40814; Col. B: Mr. H. G. Keene)
His books include: The Fall of the Moghul Empire of Hindustan; Fifty-Seven; Some Account of the Administration in Indian Districts During the Revolt of the Bengal Army; Here and There: Memories, Indian and Other Hindustan Under Free Lances, 1770-1820; Madhava Rao Sindhia and the Hindú Reconquest of India; Peepul Leaves; Turks in India. (Sources: Online search 7/12/11: www.Anglo-Indians.com ; Library of Congress Authorities; WorldCat; Wikisource)
Thornhill, Mark. Haunts and hobbies of an Indian official. London : J. Murray, 1899.
Yeats-Brown, Francis, 1886-1944. Lancer at large. London : V. Gollancz, 1936.
THE HIGH HIMALAYAS
Cooper, T. T. (Thomas Thornville), 1839-1878. The Mishmee Hills : an account of a journey made in an attempt to penetrate Thibet from Assam to open new routes for commerce. London : H.S. King & Co., 1873.
Freshfield, Douglas William, 1845-1934. Round Kangchenjunga : a narrative of mountain travel and exploration. London : E. Arnold, 1903.
Knight, W. H. (William Henry) Diary of a pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet / by Captain Knight. London : R. Bentley, 1863.
Mumm, A. L. (Arnold Louis) Five months in the Himalaya : a record of mountain travel in Garhwal and Kashmir. London : Edward Arnold, 1909.
Whistler, Hugh, 1889-1943. In the high Himalayas : sport and travel in the Rhotang and Baralacha, with some notes on the natural history ... with thirty-one illustrations from the author's photographs London : H. F. & G. Witherby, 1924.
LADIES ABROAD: FROM GRASS WIDOWS TO MOUNTAINEERS
Burton, Isabel, Lady, 1831-1896. Arabia, Egypt, India : a narrative of travel. London ; Belfast : W. Mullan, 1879.
|Isabel, Lady Burton|
Isabel Burton is remembered today as the wife of Richard Burton. (Not him! Sir Richard Burton, a 19th-century English explorer, adventurer and Arabic scholar, famous for his translation of the Arabian Nights.) Isabel herself travelled extensively and wrote several travel books. Her story is like something out of Brideshead Revisited, but more exciting—she was obviously a woman of drive and determination, and accomplished a lot. She was the daughter of an aristocratic Catholic family. The stiflingly restrictive life expected of an upper-class girl in the 19th century always chafed her, and when she met the glamorous and excitingly different Captain Richard Burton it was all over bar the shouting—and there was plenty of that. (Not only, one gathers, from her family: the Microsoft Encarta describes it as “a certain amount of prevaricating on both sides.” Help!) It was 11 years before they were finally married. He had a series of consular jobs (it was a lot easier being a roving scholar in the 19th century if you were from the upper crust, and Isabel used her family connections to help get him jobs). They went to West Africa, Brazil and the Middle East, eventually staying in Trieste for 18 years. Isabel worked tirelessly, not only writing her own books but helping to get Richard’s published. Her first travel book, The Inner Life of Syria, Palestine, and the Holy Land (1875), described their stay in Damascus and was an immediate success. The first edition of this work on Arabia, Egypt and India was next, in 1879, under the title A.E.I. (Arabia, Egypt, India). Feminists will rejoice to hear that her books began to outsell Richard’s! She even produced a bowdlerized version of his translation of the Arabian Nights. That was in 1887 and he died in 1890, but I don’t think there was any direct connection.
Isabel’s name is anathema in English academic circles (well, in the ivory towers), because at his death she burnt all Richard’s papers and unfinished manuscripts, plus the MS of his Arabian Nights. We will never know exactly why, but reading between the lines the assumption seems to be because they might have had naughty bits in them. Perhaps those who have suffered grief or loss would put a different interpretation on her behaviour—though there is no doubt that she would also have been influenced by the Victorian mores and the Catholic moral code with which she grew up. Let’s not be prejudiced. She was an energetic, talented and adventurous woman who accomplished a terrific lot, not excluding getting the hubby’s work published. And in a time when women of her class were expected to stay home, wear their corsets and supervise the household, she was outstanding. Good on you, Isabel!
Some biographies of Lady Burton:
Blanch, Lesley. The wilder shores of love / Lesley Blanch ; [foreword by Naomi Wolf]. 1st trade pbk. ed. New York : Simon & Schuster, 2010
Burton, Isabel, Lady, 1831-1896. The romance of Isabel lady Burton; the story of her life, told in part by herself and in part by W.H. Wilkins. New York, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1897.
Burton, Jean, 1905-1952. Sir Richard Burton's wife. 1st ed. New York : Knopf, 1941.
Lovell, Mary S. A rage to live : a biography of Richard and Isabel Burton. 1st American ed. New York : W.W. Norton, 1998.
Isabel Burton. Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabel_Burton
Isabel Burton, 1831-1896 http://burtoniana.org/isabel/index.html
Gordon Cumming, C. F. (Constance Frederica), 1837-1924. In the Himalayas and on the Indian plains. London : Chatto and Windus, 1884.
One of the most interesting of the 19th-century lady travellers amongst the RGSSA's extensive collection, Constance Frederica Gordon Cumming was an intrepid woman who, unlike many of our women travellers and explorers, did not travel in a husband's train. For her first trip, in the 1860s, she went on a tour of India with her sister and brother-in-law, but "as an unmarried daughter, she was left with no fixed abode and increasingly wandered." In fact much of her life was spent on the move. As well as India she visited Ceylon, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, the west coast of America, Egypt, Japan and China, and India again, this visit resulting in her In the Himalayas and on the Indian plains (1884). She was a prolific writer, her travel books held by RGSSA Library including: At home in Fiji (1881), A lady's cruise in a French man-of-war (1882), Via Cornwall to Egypt (1885), Two happy years in Ceylon (1893), and two books on the romantic isles of Scotland. "An accomplished watercolourist, she executed several hundred paintings which were exhibited throughout Britain. She was particularly concerned with missions to the blind in China."
(Source: Birkett, Dea. Spinsters abroad, Oxford : Blackwell, 1989)
Handley, M. A., Mrs. Roughing it in southern India. London : E. Arnold, 1911.
Maitland, Julia Charlotte, d. 1864. Letters from Madras during the years 1836-1839 / by a lady. New ed. London : John Murray, 1861.
Morison, Margaret Cotter. A lonely summer in Kashmir. London : Duckworth, 1904.
Workman, Fanny Bullock, 1859-1925. Ice-bound heights of the Mustagh : an account of two seasons of pioneer exploration and high climbing in the Baltistan Himálaya. London : Constable 1908.
|Fanny Bullock Workman with her Exploring Hat on|
The American explorer Fanny Bullock Workman travelled with her husband, Dr. William Hunter Workman, through Spain, Morocco, Algeria, India, Burma and Java in the 1880s and 1890s. She set mountain-climbing altitude records for women during expeditions to Central Asia, notably the Himalayas, in the early 1900s. She was one of the claimants at that period of the women's altitude record, disputing the claim of Annie Peck. In addition to writing several books together, the Workmans provided geographical data for Britain’s Great Trigonometrical Survey of India. RGSSA holds several of their books.
TIGERLAND: HUNTIN’, SHOOTIN’ & FISHIN’
Baden-Powell of Gilwell, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, Baron, 1857-1941. Sport in war. London : William Heinemann 1900.
This is the Baden-Powell of scouting fame. Long before he founded the Scouts he was a British officer, joining the 13th Hussars regiment in India in 1876. From 1888 to 1895 he was stationed in India, Afghanistan, Zululand, and Ashanti. He served during the Boer War in South Africa, becoming colonel of Irregular Horse, South Africa, and lieutenant colonel of the 5th Dragoon Guards. Towards the end of the war he organized the South African Constabulary. He was knighted in 1909, and then retired from the army. It was in 1907 that he founded the Boy Scout movement (now the Scouting Association). His outback survival skills, said to be picked up from his Indian and African scouts, were the basis of his training of boys. Scouting was notable for its emphasis on self-reliance and its code of moral conduct. Three years later Baden-Powell helped his sister Agnes to found the Girl Guides. During World War I he served in British Intelligence. He was a prolific writer—obviously a man of great energy. Besides his many books on scouting he wrote several on his experiences as an Army officer in India, including this one and Indian memories : recollections of soldiering, sport, etc. (London, Jenkins, 1915)—also in the RGSSA collection, with several others.
Fletcher, F. W. F. Sport on the Nilgiris and in Wynaad. London : Macmillan, 1911.
Hornaday, William T. (William Temple), 1854-1937. Two years in the jungle : the experiences of a hunter and naturalist in India, Ceylon, the Malay peninsula and Borneo. London : Kegan Paul, Trench, 1885.
Inglis, James, 1845-1908. Tent life in Tigerland : with which is incorporated, Sport and work on the Nepaul frontier : being twelve years’ sporting reminiscences of a pioneer planter in an Indian frontier district. Sydney : Hutchinson, 1888.
Stebbing, Edward Percy, 1870-1960. The diary of a sportsman naturalist in India ... with illustrations from photographs and sketches by the author and others. London : John Lane, Bodley Head, 1920.
GETTING SLIGHTLY PHILOSOPHICAL
Thangka painting of Vajradhatu Mandala
(Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandala )
Candler, Edmund, 1874-1926. Youth and the East : an unconventional autobiography. Edinburgh and London : W. Blackwood. 1924.
Birdwood, George C. M. (George Christopher Molesworth), Sir, 1832-1917. Sva. London : P. L. Warner, 1915.
This title may be translated as "Myself" or "Himself": "sva" is Sanskrit for "self", "own", "his/her/their own" (http://vedabase.net/s/sva ). As the use of the Sanskrit indicates, the author was very far from being a Major Benjy! He was a highly intelligent and educated man with eclectic interests—as the contents of this book indicate:
The south-west monsoon; A sunset on Matheran; The Mahratta plough; Sett Premchund Roychund; The Rajputs in the history of Hindustan; Aryan flora and fauna; The Muharram in Bombay; Leper in India; The empire of the Hittites in the history of art; Oriental carpets; Indian unrest; The Christmas tree.
Sir George Birdwood KCIE, MD (1832–1917) was a true Anglo-Indian, born in the Bombay (Mumbai) area. After being sent "home" for his education, he gained a medical degree, but became more than a doctor: he was an accomplished naturalist, an expert on the arts of India, and a prolific writer on many topics. When he qualified, at 22, he went into the Bombay Medical Service. After service in the Persian War of 1856-57 he became professor at the Grant Medical College, registrar of the university, curator of the museum, and sheriff at Bombay. His major publication, reissued many times, was "Economic Vegetable Products of the Bombay Presidency". This sounds a bit dry, though there is no doubt it was very useful in its time, "economic botany," as the study of plants that might be exploited for food and fodder is euphemistically called, being of great interest to the pragmatic Victorians of the Empire. As we can see from the contents of "Sva", botany was an abiding interest, and, indeed, the standard author abbreviation Birdw. is used to indicate Birdwood in botanical citations. His intensive and detailed research on incense, covering both botany and history, published in the Transactions of the Linnaean Society in 1871, was the authoritative work on the subject.
Birdwood had taken an active part in the municipal life of Bombay—he was a popular man who wielded a lot of influence—but poor health meant he went to England in 1868. He didn't retire to a small town to drink whisky and threaten to publish his memoirs: far from it. He plunged into work, joining the revenue and statistics department of the India Office in 1871 and working there until 1902. He became known as an expert on India, publishing significant works on the subcontinent's industrial arts, the ancient records of the India Office, and the first letter-book of the East India Company. His attitudes were far from uncritical, however: in spite of his keen interest in Indian art, at the Royal Society of Arts in 1910 he stated there was no fine art in India! He was challenged, the challenger citing a statue of the Buddha as his proof, but Birdwood condemned the piece as a "senseless similitude" and "nothing more than an uninspired brazen image" and, unbelievably, added that "A boiled suet pudding would serve equally well as a symbol of passionless purity and serenity of soul"!*
Journalism was another fervent interest all his life. In India he helped to convert the Standard into The Times of India, India's greatest newspaper, and himself edited the Bombay Saturday Review. Back in England he wrote for many publications, including Pall Mall and The Times. "He kept up his connection with India by constant contributions to the Indian press; and his long friendships with Indian princes and the leading educated native Indians made his intimate knowledge of the country of peculiar value in the handling of the problems of the Indian empire." (Wikipedia). He was knighted in 1887.
*Sedgwick, Mark. Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century, OUP, 2004, p. 52, cited in "George Christopher Molesworth Birdwood", Wikipedia
Monier-Williams, Monier, Sir, 1819-1899. Religious thought and life in India : an account of the religions of the Indian peoples ; based on a life's study of their literature and on personal investigations in their own country. London : Murray, 1883. xii, 520 p.
Oman, John Campbell. The mystics, ascetics, and saints of India : a study of Sadhuism, with an account of the Yogis, Sanyasis, Bairagis and other strange Hindu sectarians. London : T.F. Unwin, 1905
TEA FOR TWO THOUSAND
Tea was already drunk in England during the 18th century but, as Jane Grigson writes in her English Food (Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1977, p. 241-243), “the afternoon tea habit became universal in the upper and middle classes after the discovery of the Indian tea plant in Assam in the 1820s (Chinese varieties not having succeeded in India).” The tea trade, of course, became a huge one in the 19th century, with the big tea clippers competing to bring back their cargos to the English ports. A nice sidelight on the importance tea had already attained in daily life in the 18th century, which goes some way towards explaining the struggles to grow it in India and stop relying on the Chinese tea trade, is thrown by Jane Grigson in the same book, where she quotes Parson Woodforde’s diary for March 29 1777: “Andrews the Smuggler brought me this night about 11 o'clock a bagg of Hyson Tea 6 Pd weight. He frightened us a little by whistling under the Parlour Window just as we were going to bed. I gave him some Geneva [gin] and paid him for the tea at 10/6 per Pd.” She adds: “Incidentally, the widely tolerated custom of buying smuggled tea came to an end not long afterwards in 1784, when the high customs duties on tea were repealed. It also put an end to the habit of adulterating tea—elder buds were dried and added to green tea—which had given a profitable employment to a number of small villages. According to Gervas Huxley in Talking of Tea (Thames & Hudson, 1956), one village produced twenty tons a year of ‘tea’—or ‘smouch’—which was made ‘from the leaf of ash trees, steeped or boiled in copperas and sheep’s dung’.” (Ibid., p.225) Ten shillings and sixpence (just over half an English pound or sovereign) was a very great deal to pay for 450 grammes of tea: no wonder the English antiques world is bursting with 18th-century tea caddies, beautifully crafted, well lined, and often fastened with a key. You would not have wanted the servants to nick it, at those prices!
Barker, George M. A tea planter's life in Assam ... With seventy-five illustrations by the author. Calcutta ; London : Thacker, Spink, 1884.
Fortune, Robert, 1813-1880. A journey to the tea countries of China : including Sung-Lo and the Bohea Hills : with a short notice of the East India Company's tea plantations in the Himalaya Mountains. London : J. Murray, 1852.
THE ARTIST ABROAD
Crane, Walter, 1845-1915. India impressions : with some notes of Ceylon during a winter tour, 1906-7 / by Walter Crane, R.W.S. With a frontispiece in colour and numerous other illustrations from sketches by the author. Colonial ed. London : Methuen, 1907.
A fascinating look at life and customs in India from an artist’s point of view, illustrated with black & white reproductions of sketches by the author as well as in-text drawings and a map. Walter Crane was an English artist, best known today for his illustrations of children’s books, though in his time he was also known as Britain’s leading socialist artist. His style is Pre-Raphaelite in tendency and was also influenced by the Japanese prints which became immensely popular during the later part of the 19th century. Alongside William Morris he was a leader in the Arts and Crafts Movement and its reformation of the decorative arts.
|An Example of Walter Crane's illustrative work (a tiger lily)|
India Impressions records a journey by Crane and his wife to India in the winter of 1906-7. They had been inspired to make the trip after making the acquaintance of several young Indian men in London. Crane was a strong critic of the British Empire and in the wake of some time spent with Annie Besant in India, his book included severe criticisms of the way that the country was being ruled by the British.
Walter Crane’s best-known illustrated books include a version of The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser, The Frog Prince, & a version of the Brothers Grimm’s fairytales.
You might like to look up:
India Impressions (1907): [extracts], IRFCA, The Indian Railways Fan Club, http://www.irfca.org/docs/history/crane-india-impressions.html
The Illustrators Project: Walter Crane (1845-1915), Elizabeth Nesbitt Room, http://www.library.pitt.edu/libraries/is/enroom/illustrators/crane.htm (Includes an excellent bibliography)
Walter Crane, Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Crane
Penny, F. E. (Fanny Emily), d. 1939 and Lawley, Annie Allen, Lady. Southern India / painted by Lady Lawley, described by F.E. Penny. London : Black, 1914
Viceroy on Elephant
Denison, William, Sir, 1804-1871. Varieties of vice-regal life. London : Longmans, Green and Co., 1870.
“Sir William Thomas Denison, KCB (3 May 1804 - 19 January 1871) was Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land from 1847 to 1855, Governor of New South Wales from 20 January 1855 to 22 January 1861, and Governor of Madras from 1861 to 1866. ... In November 1863, when Lord Elgin died, Denison for two months became Governor-General of India. In March 1866 he returned to England and prepared his 'Varieties of Vice-Regal Life', which appeared in two volumes in 1870.”
Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Denison
A detailed biographical essay which includes a full account of Denison’s harsh treatment of the convicts in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) is available online from the Australian Dictionary of Biography: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/denison-sir-william-thomas-3394
Knighton, William, d. 1900. The private life of an eastern king / by a member of the household of His late Majesty, Nussir-u-Deen, King of Oude. 2nd ed. London : Hope and Co., 1855.
THE LADY AT THE TOP
Dufferin and Ava, Harriot Georgina Blackwood, Marchioness of, 1843?-1936. Our viceregal life in India : selections from my journal, 1884-1888. London : John Murray, 1889.
The English peeress, Harriot (sometimes “Hariot”) Georgina Hamilton Temple Blackwood, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava , was famous in English high society of the 19th century as a successful hostess. More significant and more relevant today was her rôle in greatly improving medical care for women in British India. In 1884 her husband, Lord Dufferin, was appointed Viceroy of India, after what was already a distinguished diplomatic career. Lady Dufferin set up the Countess of Dufferin Fund, as it was called, more properly the National Association for supplying Female Medical Aid to the Women of India. The association recruited and trained women doctors, midwives and nurses to improve services to Indian women. Many Lady Dufferin hospitals and clinics were established, some of which still bear her name today, and there are Indian medical colleges and midwifery schools named after her. This zenana work, as it became known in India (“zenana” is a word for the women’s quarters) is said to have been the inspiration for Kipling’s poem Song of the Women: here’s an extract:
If she have sent her servants in our pain
If she have fought with Death and dulled his sword;
If she have given back our sick again.
And to the breast the wakling lips restored,
Is it a little thing that she has wrought?
Then Life and Death and Motherhood be nought.
Lady Dufferin was awarded the Crown of India in 1884 and the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert in 1889. The Dufferins left India in 1888 and moved on to posts in Italy and France. The RGSSA’s Our Viceregal Life in India is one of the first edition of 1889. The following year she published My Canadian Journal. Some years after her husband’s death she published My Russian and Turkish Journals (1916).
You might like to look up:
Hariot Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hariot_Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood,_Marchioness_of_Dufferin_and_Ava
Kipling, Rudyard. Song of the Women. http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/song_of_women.html
Roberts, Daniel Sanjiv. Merely Birds of Passage: Lady Hariot Dufferin’s travel writings and medical work in India, 1884–1888, in Women's History Review (July 2006)
BOTANISING: NATURALISTS ON THE PROWL
Adams, Andrew Leith, d. 1882. Wanderings of a naturalist in India : the western Himalayas, and Cashmere. Edinburgh : Edmonston and Douglas, 1867.
Hingston, R. W. G. (Richard William George), 1887- A naturalist in Hindustan. London : H.F. & G. Witherby, 1923.
Hooker, Joseph Dalton, Sir, 1817-1911. Himalayan journals, or, Notes of a naturalist in Bengal, the Sikkim and Nepal Himalayas, the Khasia mountains, &c. London : J. Murray, 1854.
Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) was an eminent British botanist and Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, who “took part in an Antarctic expedition and conducted scientific studies in New Zealand, the Himalaya, North Africa, and the Rocky Mountains.” His father was “the famed British botanist Sir William Jackson Hooker.” Like his father, he developed a keen interest in the study of plants. He also studied medicine, and in 1839 was able to join the Antarctic expedition led by James Clark Ross as botanist and assistant medical officer. During their stops in the Kerguelen Islands, New Zealand, and Tasmania, “Hooker undertook comprehensive botanical studies and collected thousands of plant specimens, many of them new to science”. The results of his scientific research were published in his great multi-volume work, Flora Antarctica (1844-1847). (RGSSA Library holds this work: it is part of Hooker’s The botany of the Antarctic voyage of H.M. discovery ships Erebus and Terror in the years 1839-1843 : under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross. London ; Reeve, 1844-1860, 6.v.)
During the 1840s Joseph Hooker served as botanist with the Geological Survey of Great Britain and went on expeditions to the Himalayas and eastern India (modern Bangladesh).
Illustration from Hooker’s The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya
“In 1865, Hooker succeeded his father as Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, ... [for which] he undertook scientific expeditions to the Middle East, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the Rocky Mountains of the western United States.” He was a friend of Charles Darwin’s, and “drew upon his worldwide scientific studies to support Darwin’s still-controversial theories about evolution and the origins of life on earth.” His major works include the 3-volume Genera Plantarum (1862-1883) and the 7-volume Flora of British India (1872-1897).The RGSSA owns numerous works by Hooker, amongst them his beautiful The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya (1849).
Source: Microsoft Encarta 2006. A biography of Hooker with extensive references is available on Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Dalton_Hooker
UP THE COUNTRY
Butterworth, Alan, 1864-1937 The southlands of Siva : some reminiscences of life in southern India. London : Lane 1923.
Clay, Arthur Lloyd. Leaves from a diary in lower Bengal / by C. S. London : Macmillan, 1896.
Forsyth, J. (James), 1838-1871. The highlands of Central India : notes on their forests and wild tribes, natural history, and sports / by Captain J. Forsyth, Bengal Staff Corps. New ed. London : Chapman and Hall, 1889.
Sterndale, Robert Armitage, 1839-1902. Seonee, or, Camp life on the Satpura Range : a tale of Indian adventure ... with a map and an appendix containing a brief topographical and historical account of the district of Seonee in the Central Provinces of India. London : S. Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington. 1877.
View of the Indian Foothills
It’s amazing, isn’t it? All that energy, effort and hard work preserved in our dusty old volumes!
Those interested in the British Raj and Anglo-India will find a useful reference tool at http://www.anglo-indians.com
--This post was researched and created by Kathy Boyes