Indian Unrest

Author :Sir Valentine Chirol

Category : Home

ISBN No :

Language :English

Formats: ePub



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The volume into which Mr. Valentine Chirol has collected and republished his valuable series of articles in The Times upon Indian unrest is an important and very instructive contribution to the study of what is probably the most arduous problem in the politics of our far-reaching Empire. His comprehensive survey of the whole situation, the arrangement of evidence and array of facts, are not unlike what might have been found in the Report of a Commission appointed to investigate the causes and the state of affairs to which the troubles that have arisen in India may be ascribed.

At different times in the world's history the nations foremost in civilization have undertaken the enterprise of founding a great European dominion in Asia, and have accomplished it with signal success. The Macedonian Greeks led the way; they were followed by the Romans; and in both instances their military superiority and organizing genius enabled them to subdue and govern for centuries vast populations in Western Asia. European science and literature flourished in the great cities of the East, where the educated classes willingly accepted and supported foreign ruler-ship as their barrier against a relapse into barbarism; nor have we reason for believing that it excited unusual discontent or disaffection among the Asiatic peoples. But the Greek and Roman Empires in Asia have disappeared long ago, leaving very little beyond scattered ruins; and in modern times it is the British dominion in India that has revived and is pursuing the enterprise of ruling and civilizing a great Asiatic population, of developing the political intelligence and transforming the ideas of an antique and, in some respects, a primitive society.

He was the son of the Rev. Alexander Chirol and Harriet Chirol (née Ashburnham). His education was mostly in France and Germany. Growing up in France with his parents, Chirol lived in Versailles where he also graduated high school.

In 1869, the young Chirol, already bilingual, moved to Germany, residing in a small town near Frankfurt am Main. By 1870, the Franco-Prussian war had broken out which Chirol experienced from both sides. He returned to Paris in 1871 just in time to see the Germans enter Paris. Thanks to his good French and German, he was able to come and go easily passing for a citizen of either side and it was here that he began to acquire his taste for adventure and politics.

Given the chaos in France, the Chirols returned to their family home in Hove. In April 1872, Chirol joined the Foreign Office where he worked for until spring 1876. Unsatisfied with the slow pace of life in the Foreign Office, Chirol returned to travelling where things moved much quicker.

Having begun to learn Arabic before leaving England, he set off to Egypt arriving in Cairo where he took up residence. In 1879, he set off for Beirut not long after the British had taken control of Cyprus. From there, the travelled inland through Syria with Laurence Oliphant and from whom he'd later learn to draw. But it was here in the Middle East where he took up journalism for the first time writing for the Levant Herald, then the leading newspaper in the Near East.

From there, Chirol moved on travelling to Istanbul and later throughout the Balkans. From these travels came his first book, Twixt Greek and Turk.

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