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  • “Look here, Dilāwur!”

    Posted by Lexington Green on February 7th, 2013 (All posts by )

    From, The Story of the Guides, by Col. G. J. Younghusband, C.B., Queens Own Corps of Guides (1908):

    At this time it so happened that the most notorious highwayman and
    outlaw in the whole of Yusafzai was one Dilāwur Khan, a Khuttuk of
    good family belonging to the village of Jehangira, on the Kabul River
    near its junction with the Indus. Brought up to the priesthood, his
    wild and impetuous nature and love of adventure could not brook a life
    of sedentary ease, and therefore, like many a spirited young blood,
    both before and since, he “took to the road.” In his case the step was
    taken, if not actually with the sanction and blessing of his Church,
    at any rate with its unofficial consent. In those days the Sikhs held
    by force the country of the Faithful, and Hindus fattened on its
    trade. It was no great sin therefore, indeed, an active merit, that
    the sons of the Prophet, sword in hand, should spoil the Egyptian, by
    night or by day, as provided for by Allah.

    To recount all the adventures of Dilāwur would fill a book, and
    require a Munchausen to write it; but there was about them all a touch
    of humour, and sometimes of almost boyish fun, accompanied often by
    the rough courtesies of the gentlemen of the road, which reminds one
    of Dick Turpin and other famous exponents of the profession on the
    highways of England.

    Now it so happened that it was at this time one of Lumsden‘s duties to
    hunt down and capture Dilāwur, who for just and sufficient cause was
    now an outlaw, with a price on his head of no less than two thousand
    rupees. Many a time and oft did Lumsden and his men plan and strive,
    and ride and hide, but no nearer could they get to the capture of
    Sitting one evening outside his tent, after yet another unsuccessful
    attempt, it suddenly occurred to Lumsden that Dilāwur must have an
    astonishingly intimate knowledge of every path, nullah, and pass in
    the district to thus evade capture, as well as a remarkably efficient
    intelligence department, to give him timely warning. “Just the man for
    the Guides,” exclaimed Lumsden. “I’ll send for him.” A polite note was
    accordingly written inviting Dilāwur Khan to come into the Guides’
    camp, at any time and place that fitted in with his other, and
    doubtless more important, engagements, “to talk matters over.” At the
    same time a free passport was sent which would allow of his reaching
    the camp unmolested. It speaks volumes for the high estimate which
    British integrity had already earned amongst these rough borderland
    people, that a man with two thousand rupees on his head could accept
    such an invitation. For the same man to have accepted a similar
    invitation from the Sikhs, or even from his own countrymen, would have
    been an act of culpable and aimless suicide.
    One fine day, therefore, Dilāwur strolled into camp, and he and
    Lumsden began “to talk matters over.” After compliments, as the
    Eastern saying is, Lumsden with much heartiness, and in that free and
    easy manner which was his own, took Dilāwur with the utmost candour
    into his confidence.
    “Look here, Dilāwur,” said he; “you are a fine fellow, and are living
    a fine free life of adventure, and I daresay are making a fairly good
    thing out of it. So far, although I have done my best, I have failed
    to catch you, but catch you I assuredly shall some day. And what do
    you suppose I shall do with you when I do catch you? Why, hang you as
    high as Haman,—a gentleman whose history appears in our Good Book.
    Now, that’s a poor ending for a fine soldier like you, and I’ll make
    you an offer, take it or leave it. I’ll enlist you, and as many of
    your men as come up to my standard, in the Guides, and with decent
    luck you will soon be a native officer, with good fixed pay, and a
    pension for your old age, and, meanwhile, as much fighting as the
    greatest glutton can wish for. Well, what do you say?”

    You will have to read the book to find out what happens next.


    5 Responses to ““Look here, Dilāwur!””

    1. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I peeked … what a fantastic tale! I’ve saved the book to my computer for a liesurely read later.

    2. Gringo Says:

      I am also going to download the book. I will put it on my e-reader.

    3. James the lesser Says:

      East is east and west is west… did the poem come after this?

    4. Kirk Parker Says:

      Thank you, for pointing me to this most interesting volume.

      Curse you, for pointing me to this most interesting volume!


    5. Lexington Green Says:

      The Ballad of East and West.

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