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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
India ยป Lahore

31.5203696, 74.3587473

Tues 20 [20 January 1903] The Russells are full of stories of a thief
tribe called the Doms, of how a man lay awake in front of his tent all
night watching his hens and in the morning found them gone and
another stayed in his tent with a guard walking round all night and at
dawn everything was gone and his dressing case cut open with a
sharp knife and emptied. They say they push in one of their men feet
first under the bed - the tent side and if he is discovered the man
outside cuts off his head so that he mayn't be recognised and the
whole band disappears. They also say that when they got to
Umballa [Ambala] they found all the carriages returning from Delhi
quarantined for plague which it seems was raging there. Spent all the
morning in the Museum and the School of Art over which I was shown
by Mr Brand. He says it has all gone down since L.K. [John
Lockwood Kipling]'s time - they are trying to make it into South[?] K.
instead of an industrial school. L.K.'s pupils are now masters, but no
boys now wd be capable of becoming masters. When he wanted to
finish the carved room at the Exhibition (which the Nizam bought for
20000 rupees he had to get outside help. Saw all L.K.'s wonderful
castes and models and drawings and was greatly impressed by the
spirit and mastery of them and the excellence of his pupils' work.
Designs for stamped cottons carving etc all really Indian and many
adaptations of the best things in the Museum. Sher Muhammad
showed me his pen and ink drawings and is going to do me a
bookplate. Lunched at 1 with H [Hugo] and the Russells who set off
for Peshawar. Drove to the Punjab Chiefs' College, a fine place.
Hindus and Sikhs lodge together each having his own kitchen, and
Muhammadans together, L.K. did much of the decoration. They hope
to get Patiala here. The boys know a little Persian and a little English,
no Sanscrit or Arabic. Then to the Museum to see pictures bought by
Bahadur Shah and drove with him and Basant Ram to his shop near
the Mochi Gate where we sat in an old bow window and looked over
MSS and pictures. Finally bought 3, 2 very good for 50 rupees and a
large use of L.K.'s name. Basant Ram took me through the town and
showed me a Sikh tank near which is a shrine where a Guru reads the
Granth and some very lovely old woodwork. He is a Vedantist - we
discussed creeds. Off at 8.45 for Mankyala. [Written at top of second
page of entry:] Basant R. is a Vedantist. He wants to go to England - I
asked if he kept the caste rules strictly. Yes. What wd happen in
England about food? He wd have to eat what he cd get. Wdn't there
be purification to be done after and of what sort? Some bathe in the
Ganges [Ganga], but that is no real purification, but (very gravely)
there is one way of becoming pure: fasting. I shd fast.)

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