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Art. X.-INDIA UNDER LORD CURZON. 1. Speeches of Lord Curzon of Kedleston, 1898-1901. Cal
cutta : Government Printing Office, 1901. 2. The India of the Queen; and other Essays. By the late
Sir W. W. Hunter, K.C.S.I. London: Longmans, 1903. 3. The Middle Eastern Question. By Valentine Chirol.
London : Murray, 1903. 4. The Life of the Marquis of Dalhousie. By Sir W. Lee
Warner, K.C.S.I. Two vols. London: Macmillan, 1904. 5. Report of the Indian Universities Commission. Simla :
Government Printing Office, 1902. 6. Parliamentary Papers relating to Tibet, 1904. (Ca. 1920.) 7. The Supplements to · The Gazette of India. Calcutta :
Government Printing Office, 1899–1904. THE pause in Lord Curzon's administration made by his visit to England suggests reflection on some points in the record of his work in India. No general survey of that large field can be attempted here, but attention may be called to a few striking achievements in a period of great and general activity in all branches of Indian government.
In no sphere of policy has Lord Curzon done more than in matters relating to the control and defence of the Indian frontier, especially that on the north-west. The Viceroy came to India an acknowledged expert in this branch of Indian politics. He had exhaustively studied Persia, he had travelled in Central Asia, he had visited Abdurrahman at Kabul, and had made himself acquainted with the frontier tribes. With the advantage of this large experience he had formed clear and decided views on frontier questions, in striking contrast to the weakness, rashness, and vacillation which had characterised so much of the Indian and home Government's frontier policy during the previous decade. There was need for a strong man to reorganise our position on the Indian frontier. The forward policy, as, practised by the Governments of India during the last ten years of the nineteenth century, had erred not so much in its aims as in its methods; not in desiring extension of control, but in imagining that this could best be effected by delimitation of boundaries which could not be protected, by costly punitive expeditions followed by ruinous with drawals, and by exercising the authority of the supreme Government through the circuitous and encumbered channel of the provincial administration at Lahore. In fifty years there had been forty frontier expeditions, ending, in 1897, in the biggest frontier war which had ever been seen. The rising which led to this war might easily have been crushed at the outset but for the weakness of the supreme and the Punjab Governments in August 1897, when they abandoned the forts and garrisons in the Khyber to their fate.
From the first Lord Curzon determined to effect radical alterations in the system which was mainly responsible for this state of things. He began by largely increasing the number of tribal militias, and adopted the policy of gradually withdrawing regular troops from all advanced positions and concentrating them in cantonments in the plains. The trans-frontier posts were, and are being, one by one, taken over by the local levies under British officers; and measures were adopted to strengthen these positions by constructing light railways, running up to and skirting the base of the frontier hills. Finally the British districts beyond the Indus were severed from the Punjab, and united with the transfrontier charges in a chief commissionership directly under the control of the central Government. The latter of these changes was carried through by the Viceroy, with the consent of his Majesty's Government, but not without the strenuous opposition of the LieutenantGovernor of the Punjab, Şir W. Mackworth Young, who is understood not only to have dissented from the policy, but also to have protested against its adoption without official consultation with the local Government. The Viceroy, however, who recommended, and the British Government which authorised the procedure were not anxious to admit a further element of discussion and delay. With regard to the substantive measure, expert opinion has now rallied entirely to the side of the Viceroy; and all these changes are working smoothly and well.
So far as the dealings with the tribes are concerned, Lord Curzon's frontier policy has been an unmixed success; there has been only one operation of any magnitude, caused by difficulties bequeathed to the Viceroy by his predecessors in the region of Waziristan ; and to deal with these Lord Curzon had recourse, not to an expedition, but to one of the oldest forms of frontier coercion-a blockade. Tavernier describes the success of this operation when employed two hundred and fifty years ago by the Mogul against the King of Kashmir; and in its latest form, varied with sallies and reprisals very gallantly executed, it proved no less effective in the twentieth century, and produced important results at a small cost. If to this we add a very small movement against the Kabul Khel Waziris, and some petty operations in Mekran, we have the total of north-west frontier war during the last six years; a total much smaller, and very much cheaper, than that of any corresponding period during the past fifty years. The conclusion is irresistible that this better state of frontier relations is due to the adoption of a better frontier policy; that the new administration and the new militias are doing more to pacify the tribesmen than half a century of expeditions and all the efforts of viceroys and commanders-in-chief; in short, that the new policy has tamed
Quos neque Tydides nec Larissæus Achilles,
Unfortunately the tribes are but a part, and a small part, of the Indian frontier problem. Of far greater importance is the course of our relations with the ruler of Kabul; and of these it is unfortunately not possible to give a satisfactory account. Here are two countries bound to each other by solemn agreements, one of which could not maintain its independence or even its existence without the support of the other, while the defence of that other against a foreign aggressor is materially facilitated by securing its neighbour in strength and independence, and, above all, by binding it in bonds of friendship to itself. To this end were treaties negotiated, to this end was a large subsidy assigned, to this end have armaments been allowed to be imported through India on a gigantic scale. After this series of unwearying efforts on our part to promote a friendly connexion, with these overpowering motives of self-interest urging the Afghans in the same direction, they remain, ruler and people, only less unfriendly to, and suspicious of, England than they are of Russia and the rest of the non-Afghan world. Not only is it impossible to discern any improvement of late years in Anglo-Afghan relations, but in some respects a distinct deterioration has taken place. In 1894 an English traveller (Mr Curzon, as he then was) could visit Kabul with the cordial welcome of its ruler; in 1903 a British officer, straying a few hundred yards across the border in search of sport, was actually seized by Afghan soldiers and detained for three weeks in custody, within sight of British cantonments, until the indignant remonstrances of the Viceroy procured tardy orders for the release of the prisoner and the punishment of the authors of the offence. In 1891–2 the total trade between India and Afghanistan amounted to 1,446,0001. ; in 1900 it had fallen to some 900,0001., a decrease of more than 37 per cent. Although the British communications have been greatly improved on almost every section of the frontier, nothing whatever has been done to facilitate intercourse on the Afghan side. The present ruler even continues to this day his father's orders prohibiting Afghan merchants from using the trans-Khojak section of the Chaman railway line.
Probably the chief cause of the evil must be sought in the proud and difficult character of the Afghan rulers themselves. The last years of Abdurrahman were years of ever increasing severity of government and inveterate suspicion of all foreign influence; the first years of Habibullah have served to reveal a nature which conforms to the familiar Afghan type. Habibullah took a false step at the outset by raising the pay of his army; he went on to exhibit an imperfect sense of loyalty to the British Government by attempting to recruit Afridi sepoys from beyond the Indian side of the Durand boundary line. His devotion to the memory of his father, in itself a praiseworthy feature of his character, impels him to set his face against the slightest alteration in the arrangements made by his father with the Indian Government, and to forbid all forms of dealing with the foreigner which were not sanctioned by the practice of the late Amir. The Government of India is naturally anxious to improve the state of our relations; but, although nearly three years have elapsed since his accession, the young ruler of Kabul has not yet brought himself to accept the Viceroy's invitation to a meeting in the plains. Meanwhile, as though to mark their disapproval of his attitude, the Government has for some time detained at Peshawar a large consignment of ordnance imported from Europe by the Amir.
The one satisfactory element in the situation is that Habibullah is believed throughout to have exhibited that negative but important form of loyalty to the British Government which consists in taking up a still more unfriendly attitude towards Russia than he does to ourselves. It is believed that as yet, in spite of great temptation, he has done nothing to assist or encourage the dangerous Russian intention of opening up relations with Kabul; and this is, after all, by far the most important point of Afghan policy on which we have a right to be reassured. And yet, though this be so, no government of India ought to be satisfied with such a measure of support; no government of India but ought to work without intermission for that much firmer and more substantial connexion which Mr Curzon, writing at the time of his visit, believed that he foresaw.
There is no doubt that, with a firm policy, that forecast may still be realised. No one who has noted the immense annual influx of Afghan traders into India, who has marked the countless journeyings of the men of Ghazni as they scatter themselves into the farthest parts of India and wander even into the remotest corners of the Australian bush, who has watched this amazing exhibition of enterprise, of self-reliance, of aptitude for scientific commerce, unsurpassed by any class of Orientals in any quarter of the eastern globe—no one who has seen all this can doubt that there exists in the Afghan people a capacity for development, for civilisation, and for fruitful alliance with the British power which is repressed only by the political system prevailing in Afghanistan to-day. The strength of India against foreign aggression would be enhanced by nothing so much as by a strong, prosperous, and contented Afghanistan. At the present day, and through the policy of her rulers, which English critics have visited with such exaggerated praise, Afghanistan is neither contented, nor prosperous, nor strong. She is governed by a military tyranny; and the