Soldier Sahibs


Book Reviewer
I've just finished reading 'Soldier Sahibs' by Charles Allen which my library obtained on loan from the Hampshire County Council Military Collection in Aldershot. It deals in great detail with the history of our conquest of the Punjab, the two Sikh wars, and the reconquest of Delhi after the Mutiny, and with our relations with the Afghans during this period. In between the author, using quotes from the top Brits at the time (Lawrence, Nicholson etc), explains the culture, psychology and attitude of the Sikhs and the Afghans. From my armchair I would say it ought to be required reading for anyone about to be sent out to Afghanistan, particularly senior people, and anyone directing our efforts there from a desk in Whitehall. Yanks should read it too but some of the words are more than two syllables long.
I will overlook your last sentence, and share with you, this from 1885

1. In publishing this work, my chief object is to remove the general and erroneous impression from the minds of European and Christian writers regarding Islam, that Mohammad waged wars of conquest, extirpation, as well as of proselytizing against the Koreish, other Arab tribes, the Jews, and Christians;[1] that he held the Koran in one hand and the scimitar in the other, and compelled people to believe in his mission. I have endeavoured in this book, I believe on sufficient grounds, to show that neither the wars of Mohammad were offensive, nor did he in any way use force or compulsion in the matter of belief.

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