Indian Army study of Persian in 20th c.

Harshavardhan Vedak vedak at GLOBALNET.CO.UK
Mon May 18 17:28:32 UTC 1998

Welsh Fusiliers ([N.Y.] : Harrison Smith and Robert Haas Inc., c 1986), the
>autobiography of a Welsh miner who served as a private in the British Army
>in India from 1900 to 1909.  Several times in the course of the book he

> The encouragement of Persian skills along with Hindustani skills was
> typical of the 19th century. Could this have been some bureaucratic
> - a clause in the jobscope for privates that was just kept on the books
> past its expiration date (possibly with an eye on events in Afghanistan)?

The main preoccupation of the Indian army during this period was the
Notheh-West Frontier (now NW Frontier state of Pakistan) where the Army
foruht Pathan tribesman from Afghanistan. Also around this time, the
British Indian army had border skirmishes with Persia. It may be that, for
the forces along that border, it would be an obvious tool. I know that the
officers Scinde Horse and various other forces along that border had to
know Hindustani/Urdu and perhaps Persian. But I don't believe that the
Bombay and Madras armies in the south needed to know Persian so perhaps
that Welsh miner was in one of the (few) totally European regiments in the
NW frontier.

-Harshavardhan Vedak

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