Captain Atkinson, in his book “Curry and Rice,” published at the lime of the Indian Mutiny, depicted by pen and pencil individuals who in after years developed into Ali Baba’s subjects. Illustrations which may now surely be regarded as valuable records of past Anglo-Indian life and character.
THE TRAVELLING M.P. AND ALI BABA ALONE
“The Travelling M.P.” requires no elucidation. He is still with us and has developed greatly during the course of years, in fact, increased facilities of communication between England and India have much increased the species. Happily there are correctives in the shape of adverse votes by constituents which, in some notorious instances at the last Parliamentary elections, have relieved the situation.
As to “Ali Baba Alone,” nothing could add to the perfect picture which, among other things, good-naturedly alludes to many surmises and rumours current at the time as to the identity of the Author, leading in some cases to public disclaimers by various highly placed officials and others.
“SOCIAL DISSECTION” and “THE ORPHAN’S GOOD RESOLUTIONS”
These papers when first published in The Bombay Gazette aroused keen speculation as to their authorship. They are as applicable to Society everywhere as to that of Anglo-India. Greatly appreciated all over India, they were, with the others of the series, reprinted in book form and published shortly before the Author’s death in a volume, entitled “Serious Reflections by a Political Orphan,” which has long been out of print.
“THE GRYPHON’S ANABASIS”
The amiable and other idiosyncracies—–personal and official—of the late Sir Lepel Griffin, K.C.S.I., who, born in 1840, died on March 9, 1908, having retired in 1889 from the Bengal Civil Service, which he entered’in 1860 by open competition, and of which he was a distinguished ornament, are very well pourtrayed in this article. An article of very tragic interest, because its publication was the indirect cause, in all human probability, of the death of its Author.
This is not the place to recount Sir Lepel Griffin’s career in many high places of Indian administration and diplomacy, latterly more particularly in the Punjab and Afghanistan.
Suffice it here to say that in 1880, when Chief Secretary of the Punjab, a post he had then held for upwards of nine years—earning the reputation of being the best occupant of that very important and responsible appointment ever known—Mr. (as he then was) Lepel Griffin was selected by the Viceroy—Lord Lytton—to proceed to Kabul, and arrange for its Government as a prelude to the termination of the British occupation of Afghanistan.
Under the Viceroyalty of Lord Lytton’s successor, the Marquess of Ripon, and after anxious negotiations, Abdur Rahman was proclaimed Amir of Afghanistan, July 22, 1880. In a spirit of thoroughly good-natured banter the Gryphon’s veritable “Expedition” from Lahore to the seat of Government to receive the Viceroy’s instructions, and thereafter Afghanistan-ward to carry them out—made under very different conditions from that one by Cyrus the younger—is amusingly pourtrayed.