An Unlikely Hero: George Scott Robertson

By Dorothy Anderson

Starting his occupation as a British healthcare professional significant in Afghanistan, George Scott Robertson came across himself protecting Chitral castle in 1895 opposed to a besieging strength of millions of tribesmen. He was once celebrated as a hero, yet this used to be just one bankruptcy in what used to be a rare existence. vacationing in India, Canada and Kafiristan, he took half in several army expeditions at the Frontier, wrote a well known ethnography, 'The Kafirs of the Hindu Kush', and in later lifestyles turned a vociferous MP representing imperative Bradford, whos radical Liberal perspectives either happy and stunned his elements. Elegantly written and good researched from fabrics supplied through the Robertson family members, 'An not likely Hero: George Scott Robertson' is the tale of an adventurer, ethnographer, soldier, general practitioner, businessman and flesh presser, as a way to be of curiosity to any pupil of the interval.

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Yet his go back used to be now not applicable to all of the villagers, and there has been rioting and violent discussions, calls for that he needs to make a wide check of cash; with the choice advice, that he be killed and his funds taken. The village simmered, and Robertson left back as ‘the simply approach to fending off bloodshed‘. there have been extra problems within the village the place he took shelter, yet chanced on little welcome: his tent used to be invaded, his firearms seized, and he was once advised he was once to be thrown out and carried again to Kamdesh on poles: For first and final time in Kafiristan i used to be in forthcoming threat of being topic to non-public ignominy.

15 regardless of the purposes, the implications for the garrison at Gairat and the British get together in Chitral will be destructive. * * * It additionally remained tough to evaluate the manoeuvres and interaction among the 2 chieftains. One view was once that Sher Afzul was once a pawn in Umra Khan’s strength, together with his goal to take over as soon as Sher Afzul used to be in Chitral. one other model observed the 2 as equivalent companions, making plans to divide the Chitral state among them, and good with a purpose to reaching this. there has been a 3rd ‘and certainly not ill-grounded opinion’, that the alliance of the 2 was once a part of a broader lengthy deliberate alliance, incorporating Chitral and different small autonomous buffer states alongside the frontier, to come back jointly and force the British out of the quarter.

All of those have been mirrored in Thomas James’s kinfolk, within the upbringing of his 8 teenagers, and the shut sibling relationships. From that historical past was once inherited independence, self reliance, self-discipline, a requirement for schooling; and in addition social dignity, a cognizance of private price. those strands, the inheritance of his Orkney historical past and the standard practicalities of trade and cautious husbandry, comprised the relatives historical past of George Scott Robertson, and have been to be with him all his lifestyles, serve him all through his profession.

They'd no longer been instructed what had occurred to them; yet they feared a bloodbath. Amur Ali suggested all of it to Robertson, who had suspected treachery, yet was once crushed by way of the informal cruelty in their seize. He advised the dismal tale to Townshend, and either have been devastated: ‘We might rarely convey ourselves to think the tale, it used to be so excellent’ (and Townshend’s use, during this diary access, of ‘we’ was once his first acknowledgement of a shared view). eleven the expectancies of aid coming quickly from Gilgit has to be set aside, and a clean research made up of any attainable additional defences with one other counting of provides.

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