PATHAN GANGS IN LAHORE IN 1907
STEALING GUNS IN BROAD DAY LIGHT
Strange criminal behaviour of thieves
Sir Henry Craik , who later became Governor General of Punjab, wrote impressions of Lahore in 1908. I find some of these impressions most bizarre. Here we note Craik’s observation of gun thefts in Lahore. He says:
“One official will tell you of the strange devices of the Pathans in search of firearms, which it is his business to detect. They have to be tracked across the jungle; and in little groups of five or six, meeting at some distant point during the night, and by day wandering singly about the towns disguised as pedlars, they pass far south of Lahore after this on quest– the impounding of guns, which fetch about pounds 100 apiece in their own country. Their boldness is marvelous. They have been known to enter an English barracks in the quiet of the early afternoon, when Tommy Atkins is resting after dinner, and to carry out stand of arms without detection.”
And how they do it:
Feigning the carrying of dead relative back to their country, they loaded a coffin on a railway train. The respected officer suspected their motives and got the coffin opened at the Railway Station and found out that there was a dead dog in it, long with goodly store of rifles. Great care is being taken by the authorities to curb the crime of various criminal gangs operating in the city.
The obsession of arms and ammunition with our brethren the Pathans is recognized from ages. A Pathan is not complete without a gun. Men of war, they have to get their hands on such a source, as to enrich themselves with fighting power. The British, the Russians and even the Americans came face to face wit the dilemma of modern age. But the Pathan is not living in this age at all, it seems. Centuries have not made as difference in their love and use of guns. That is why when the British outlawed gun manufacture of Lahore, the Lahori bandook sazs migrated to the border areas and resumed their business there. Lahore served their brethren Pathans in more ways than one.