Himalayan Journal vol.01
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.01

Publication year:
1929

Editor:
Kenneth Mason
Index
  1. THE FOUNDING OF THE HIMALAYAN CLUB
    (G. L. Corbett)
  2. THE SHYOK DAM IN 1928
    (F. Ludlow)
  3. INDUS FLOODS AND SHYOK GLACIERS
    (MAJOR KENNETH MASON)
  4. SOME ASPECTS OF BIRD-LIFE IN KASHMIR
    (HUGH WHISTLER)
  5. BOTANICAL EXPLORATION IN THE MISHMI HILLS
    (F. KINGDON WARD.)
  6. THE ATTRACTION OF THE HIMALAYA
    (Dr. J. de GRAAFF HUNTER)
  7. THE URTA SARYK VALLEY
    (LIEUT.-COL. REGINALD SCHOMBERG)
  8. THE WAY TO THE BASPA
    (MAJOR D. G. P. M. SHEWEN)
  9. TWO EASY PASSES IN KANAWAR
    (R. MACLAGAN GORRIE)
  10. A JOURNEY THROUGH SPITI AND RUPSHU
    (MRS. K. G. LETHBRIDGE.)
  11. TRAILL'S PASS, 1925
    (HUGH RUTTLEDGE)
  12. THE WORD HIMALAYA
    (SIR GEOFFREY CORBETT.)
  13. Himalayan Expeditions
  14. IN MEMORIAM
  15. HIMALAYAN NOTES
  16. REVIEWS
  17. CORRESPONDENCE
  18. CLUB PROCEEDINGS
  19. CLUB NOTICES
  20. LIBRARY NOTICES

REVIEWS

SPORT AND TRAVEL IN THE HIGHLANDS OF TIBET.-By Sir Henry Hayden and Cesar Cosson. London: R. Cobden- Sanderson, 1927. 9x6 inches; xvi -f 262 pages; illustrations and a map. 21 s.

THIS BOOK describes a journey from Sikkim across Tibet through Lhasa into the practically unknown region of the Great Lakes, and a shorter visit to the equally unknown area of Thak Po, southeast of Lhasa. The purpose of the expedition was scientific, and Sir Henry Hayden intended to publish the results of his geological investigations in the area visited in the Records or Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India. Most unfortunately, the two travellers were killed in Switzerland before it was possible to write up this valuable scientific work. Some fossils which were brought back and have been described by Dr. Cowper Reed of Cambridge in the Records of the Geological Survey of India, and an old note-book in which the writing has, on many of the leaves, been obliterated by the storms which seem to have been a daily experience during the journey, are the only scientific legacies of a remarkable feat. An attempt is being made to piece together these notes to form some sort of connected account of the geological conditions of an area never before described.

Hayden had a horror of anything which might, in any way, give the impression of self-advertisement, and the present book would never have been written but for two things. In the first place, he hoped to make a little money for his Guide, Cosson, for whom also he was endeavouring to obtain the Italian title of " Cavaliere and secondly, he could not deny the necessity put before him by his friends that his journeys should be at least recorded. The chaff he experienced regarding his literary splash in the public eye was limited by the fear that any further leg-pulling might result in the cancellation of the book ! One can imagine the concern he would have evinced at finding the excellent portrait of himself which so rightly adorns the first page !

It is almost ironical that a book written by a man so modest and self-effacing should bring its writer so constantly before the reader at every page. The principal charm of the book is in fact its author's personality. Tibet, its country and people, are described in a simple attractive style, but it is not so much Tibet that we see, but Hayden pushing on in double marches with that Irish impetuosity of his which led him along at a reckless speed and sometimes got him into trouble. The excellent photographs do more than the text to bring before us that wild inaccessible country of mystery, but through it all we see Hayden and Cosson struggling through Minding blizzards, stumbling down boulder-strewn stream-beds, their mules laden with vast stores of copper money, starving on cocoa and biscuits, attending Gargantuan feasts of stewed pork, fowls9 livers, meat dumplings, and stewed fruit washed down by sticky draughts of creme de menthe, dodging savage Tibetan watch-dogs, making presents of Homburg hats, Epsom salts and tins of jam, or Cosson shooting three gazelle with one bullet. Whatever it was they did, they did it with a courtesy and friendliness which explain the unique fact of Hayden's invitation to Tibet, The humour of it must have been overpowering at times and yet one feels that not even the vision of the Dzongpon of Shen-tsa in an English lady's untrimmed straw hat shook the stolidity of their good manners. It is probably correct to say that no other European has ever been actually invited and welcomed to this inaccessible country.

Hayden was quick to appreciate character and singles out in his book one who, in the midst of a superstitious and somewhat timid folk, showed a forceful and progressive mind. The Tsarong Shape, of whom two photographs appear in the book, visited Calcutta a few years back with Colonel (then Major) F. M. Bailey, and brought some promising samples of mica into the Geological Survey offices for opinion. Incidentally he was ushered into the writer's room and introduced by an Indian clerk ignorant of the use of acute accents as " The Wrong Shape " ! Hayden's remarks regarding him and " the ultimate fate that overtakes most high officials of oriental courts " were prophetic, for only a short while ago he ended his life under the executioner's knife in the same way as his predecessor-the former husband of one of his wives.

It was always a matter of great satisfaction to Hayden that he left things easy for any traveller going after him. This idea took a very strong hold on him early in his service, and to follow in his footsteps invariably meant a ready welcome, generous hospitality and loyal assistance. It was not his first visit to Tibet for he had accompanied the Frontier Commission in 1903-04, and the country seems to have put a spell upon him which he never lost.

Those who knew Hayden would readily expect that any account by him of his travels would fall far short of the actual achievement. The book is one for travellers, pioneers and wanderers in unknown places, who can read between the lines and fill in the gaps. It is not a learned discourse, but a book for the fire-side. There is no fulsome magniloquence and a cursory reader might miss the glamour and the thrill of what will truly be an outstanding exploit among the journeys of the 20th century ; the book may allow him occasionally to forget that he is in Tibet and not climbing an Alpine col to a good dinner in a comfortable hotel. Those who have worked at altitudes of 15,000 feet and over will know what the crossing of the Goring La at 19,000 feet in a 22-mile march meant. The note-book remarks : £t very bad road up to glacier over granite boulders all the way " ; they did the 22 miles in 8 hours. The Weather in Tibet-the least one can do is to spell it with a capital " W "-seems to be its most prominent feature. Judging from the continuous succession of storms encountered the country must be the lightning-conductor as well as the roof of the world. The strain of the daily weather straf was the principal cause of the hollow cheeks, hollow eyes and loose waist-bands, which both travellers showed for days after their return to Calcutta. The most interesting section of the book is naturally that dealing with the house-less region of the Great Lakes and its nomad population.

Cosson was a simple mountain Guide and one has already said much in saying that. But there was an innate nobility about him which raised him higher even than his high calling and made him a fit companion for Hayden ; it carried him almost unconsciously through the ordeal of wearing dinner clothes for the first time in his life, which he did in Calcutta. Much he must have absorbed from Hayden who combined the fine manners of an Irishman with that big-minded- ness and loyal sympathy which made friendship with Hayden a bond between his friends. Nobilitas sola est atque uniqua virtus.

Edwin Pascoe.

THE RIDDLE OF THE TSANGPO GORGES.-By Captain F.

Kingdon Ward. London: Edward Arnold & Go. 1926.

9x5 ½ inches. xv+32S pages. 21 s.

As Sir Francis Younghusband aptly remarks in his introduction to this book, Captain Kingdon Ward is happy in his vocation, and happier still in his choice of the field in which to fulfil it. We would add that on the present occasion the author was also happy in the date (1924) which he selected for the journey so delightfully described in the volume under review. Captain Kingdon Ward's departure for the Tsangpo Gorges synchronized with that of the third (and last) expedition to Mount Everest; these have, in fact, been the last two expeditions to cross the Indo-Tibetan frontier with the goodwill and approval of the Tibetan Government. Since the year 1924, the Dalai Lama and his advisers have reverted to the national policy of rigid seclusion which has been traditional with them since the days of Warren Hastings, and the immediate prospects of any further European adventure in the Forbidden Land are far from rosy.

In addition to the lure of geographical discovery, Captain King- don Ward's object was to collect plants in a region which he justly describes as an even greater mystery from the botanist's point of view than , from the geographer's. His interests have long centred on the 200-mile fourfold gap in the mountain-barriers of south-eastern Tibet-between the Yunnan plateau on the east and the easternmost sentinel of the Himalayan Range, Namcha Barwa, on the west-where the ramparts are breached by the big four rivers of Southern Asia, the Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Tsangpo. On previous occasions, approaching this gap via the Yunnan plateau, he had succeeded in penetrating the gorges of the three first-named rivers. ' The Tsangpo gorge, however, remained remote and impenetrable whether from the east or by direct approach from the south ; only by crossing the Sikkim Himalaya and travelling eastwards across the plateau of southeastern Tibet was it possible to reach the western edge of the great gap, at the point where the Tsangpo bursts round the broken end of the Assam Himalaya.

The story of this expedition, which occupied nearly a year-from March 1924 to February 1925-is written in the light and pleasant style which one expects from Captain Kingdon Ward. Botanical interests predominate, but the volume is full of descriptive matter of geographical and general appeal Earl Cawdor, who accompanied the author throughout, contributes two final chapters on the ethnography and social conditions of the area visited, as well as a number of the excellent photographs which illustrate the volume. New geographical work is summarized in a map on the scale of 1/1,000,000 based on planetable an.d compass traverses by the authors. The spelling of names is not always consistent on the map and in the text, and a few more of the place-names mentioned in the text might well have been included in the compiled portion of the map. There are also several instances in which the heights of passes, etc., mentioned in the text differ by 200 feet from the values given (in metres) on the map.

Travelling via Gyangtse, Tsetung and Tsela, the party established their headquarters at the little hamlet of Tumbatse in the Rong valley, at the far south-west corner of the Kongbo Province. From this centre two botanical excursions were made, in June and October, across the Tsangpo to the Doshong La, a pass on the main Himalayan Range which had been previously visited from the south by Captains Trenchard and Pemberton at the time of the Abor Survey in 1913. Another journey of great geographical interest was made, during August and September, to the previously unknown portion of the Tsangpo-Sal ween divide north of latitude 30° ; after effecting a junction with General Pereira's route on the Gyalam or Lhasa-China Road, the return to Tumbatse was accomplished via the Gyamda river, whose course had never previously been mapped. The most thrilling chapters in the book are those in which the author relates his successful exploration of the gorges at the great bend of the Tsangpo. Colonel F. M. Bailey and the present reviewer had tackled these gorges both from downstream and from upstream in the summer of 1913, but owing to a combination of diplomatic and climatic difficulties a stretch of river some 40 miles in length then had perforce to remain unvisited. Unhampered by diplomatic restrictions, and choosing a time of year when the great river was at its lowest and the rope-bridges passable, Captain Kingdon Ward and his companion have now most ably and successfully completed the task-thereby finally and completely dispelling any last remaining grounds for belief in the existence of the mysterious " Falls of the Brahmaputra."

One regrets that the inset map of the Tsangpo Bend should have been drawn on so small a scale as to preclude the insertion of all the place-names referred to in the text ; this, it is to be feared, may somewhat mar the clarity of author's otherwise most attractive narrative, except for the few who are familiar with this very unfrequented corner of Asia.

One interesting problem still awaits solution : what becomes of the Great Himalayan Range after its eastern culmination in the peak of Namcha Barwa (25,445 ft.) ? Between Pemakochung and Gompo Ne, the Tsangpo river traverses one of the most terrific gorges on the face of the earth, implying undoubtedly that it here cuts through a great mountain-axis. Does the Great Himalayan Range itself turn suddenly northwards through Gyala Peri and Makandro, or on the other hand does it maintain its easterly direction with diminishing elevation through the satellite peak of Sanglung (23,018ft.) subsequently perhaps resuming its existence in the unexplored regions of Poyul ? The topographical evidence is, as Captain Kingdon Ward remarks, incomplete ; the problem is one which demands geological as well as further geographical investigation. Let us hope that the opportunity may not be too long delayed !

H. T. Morshead.

NEPAL.-By Perceval Landon. London: Constable, 1928. Two Vols. 10 ¼ x7 ½ inches. Vol xxiii+358 pages. Vol II., m+363 pages. Illustrations and Maps. 63$.

It is probably no exaggeration to state that of all Eastern countries Nepal is easily the least known. That this is so is all the more remarkable when one realizes that it is by no means inaccessible, for its frontiers on east, west, and south are bounded by provinces of British India. A policy of strict seclusion, however, has closed the country to foreigners, and beyond those favoured few-as Mr. Landon points out, fewer in number even than those who have visited Lhasa-who have been permitted, from time to time, to visit the capital at Katmandu, practically no European has been allowed to travel in the country since Dr. Hooker visited Eastern Nepal in 1848.

Apart from the attraction which is inevitably associated with a forbidden land, the antiquarian remains in Nepal are such as to constitute the country one of the most important fields for historical research on the whole continent of India. Greatly as the policy of seclusion is to be regretted from many points of view, it must not be forgotten that this very policy is, indirectly, responsible for the present fine state of preservation in which we find many of the wonderful old buildings and historic remains. His Highness the Maharaja fully realizes the importance of these treasures, and it is gratifying to note that he has agreed that such further excavations and examinations as may be necessary shall be carried out with the assistance of the highest antiquarian authorities in India.

The first volume of the work under review opens with a sketch of early Buddhism, and Mr. Landon gives us a detailed account of the sacred remains at Rummindei, and the visit of Asoka to Nepal Succeeding chapters deal with the early history of the country, which, to anyone not well acquainted with early Indian history, are exceedingly difficult to follow. The author cannot be blamed for this, however, for the only available record, the Vamshavali, or chronicle of the country, contains so much apocryphal matter that it is almost impossible to distinguish between fact and fiction.

With the rise to power of Maharaja Jang Bahadur, Mr. Landon is on surer ground, and he gives us an interesting and accurate picture of Nepalese history from 1845 onwards. His chapters dealing with this and subsequent periods do not, perhaps, add greatly to our knowledge of the facts ; but it should be remembered that with the exception of Professor Sylvain Levi-whose monumental treatise on the antiquities of the country will always remain the chief authority for scholars-nearly, if not quite, all previous writers on Nepal have been servants of the Government of India, and as such their work has often been subject to heavy censorship. In this respect Oldfield may be instanced. Although employed as Residency surgeon during the time of Jang Bahadur, he omits all reference to that Prime Minister's visit to England, and is also silent on the subject of the Anglo-Nepalese Campaign of 1814-16. As Mr. Landon notes, " he seems to enter a protest by a line of asterisks."

The author had at his disposal all the available records dealing with past events in Nepal, and, being under no obligation to submit his work to the censor, we get for the first time a complete and unbiased account of the political history of Nepal and her rise as an independent sovereign state. It is for this reason that Mr. Landon's work is especially valuable.

The first volume is brought to a close with a detailed and scholarly account of the many historical places and antiquarian remains in the Valley of Nepal-that curious elevated plain, surrounded by hills, which was once a lake-in which the capital, Katmandu, is situated.

The opening chapters of Vol. II are devoted to a brief description of the towns and routes in outer Nepal, which, taking into consideration the fact that they had of necessity to be compiled from the oral accounts of native travellers, give a good general, if not intimate, account of the country outside the main valley.

The remainder of the second volume deals with the state of the country since the rise to power of the present Maharaja, Sir Chandra Sham Sher, undoubtedly one of the greatest administrators and reformers the East has known.

These last four chapters are the best in the book, and we are given an intimate and accurate account of the history of Nepal from 1901 to the present day. Sir Chandra Sham Sher occupies the centre of the stage, and occupies it rightly, for surely no one man has done more for his country than has this able statesman. When Sir Chandra first assumed office in 1901 his country had barely emerged from a state of mediaevalism ; but we now find such modern benefits as electric light, piped water-supplies, hospitals, and modern schools and colleges, and, most remarkable reform of all, the abolition of slavery. The list might be extended indefinitely, and it is no exaggeration to state that all these improvements are due to the determination and ability of this one man. It should be added that all this has been brought about without intervention, or even help, from the outside world, an additional tribute to the Maharaja's skill as an administrator.

But in spite of all that Sir Chandra has done for his country, it is in connexion with the help he rendered to the Empire during the dark days of the Great War that his name will be remembered best. Mr. Landon gives us the bare facts; and he is wise thus to confine himself, for it would indeed be difficult adequately to praise this unique war effort.

A few words must now be added in criticism.

Mr. Landon commences his book with a long preface and some preliminary notes on early Buddhism. These are followed by chapters on history, the continuity of which is somewhat broken by chapters of purely geographical description. The book gives one the impression of having been written as a series of independent essays, and would have been improved by more careful arrangement. A brief geographical description of the country and its situation might with advantage have been inserted in Chapter I. As it is, a reader not well acquainted with the geography of India might well be in some doubt as to the exact position of the country until he had read some considerable part of the book.

The author has adopted a curious system of his own for the transliteration of vernacular words and place-names. The present writer had considerable difficulty in recognizing some of the words and places referred to in the text, and in a scholarly work of this description some recognized system of transliteration, such as that advocated by the Boyal Asiatic Society, or the Royal Geographical Society, should have been adopted.

The general reader will perhaps be somewhat disappointed that, in this history of a country whose fame, to the outside world at all events, rests largely on the fact that it is the home of the Gurkhas, but eight pages of Appendix XVII are devoted to a description of the people. This is the weakest part of the book, for Mr. Landon's details are inaccurate and based on out-of-date material. It is particularly to be regretted that he refers to the Chetri tribe as the Khas, and to the lingua franca of the country as Khaskura, rather than as Nepali. The present Maharaja has made strenuous efforts to eliminate this use of the word Khas, with its implied significance of degradation, which, as the recent researches of Professor E. L. Turner have proved, was probably an invention on the part of the Brahmans and is without foundation.

In a book so lavishly provided with appendices, a full and accurate bibliography should have been added. Mr. Landon mentions but few of the better known works dealing with the country.

The book is provided with four beautifully reproduced maps. In that of Eastern Nepal, however, the writer has detected several errors in the north-east corner of the map, a part of the country with which he happens to be familiar. This leads one to suppose that the remaining maps may not be free from errors, but it is only just to add that they more than fulfil the requirements of the general reader.

In his closing pages Mr. Landon writes : "It has been my hope that a hitherto almost unknown territory and almost unrecorded history should be illustrated ; that a gallant race which has long assumed kinship of blood-brotherhood with ourselves on a score of fields of war should become better understood and better appreciated wherever the English language is spoken ; and that our debt to the master-mind of Nepal should be paid before an already lengthy term of service and responsibility yields, as all things must yield, to the march of time."

In this he has been entirely successful, and it is melancholy to think that he did not live to see his work in its final form. I would wish it to be understood that what I have written in criticism is in no way meant to detract from this really admirable and scholarly account of a very gallant kingdom. This book, which is Mr. Landon's most important contribution to the literature of the East, will now take its place as the standard authority on the history of Nepal, for it replaces everything that has previously been written on the subject. It remains only to add that the book is beautifully produced and, even in these days of almost universally good photographs, magnificently illustrated.

C. J. Morris.

EXPLORATION OF THE SHAKSGAM VALLEY AND AGHIL RANGES.-By Major Kenneth Mason. (Records of the Survey of India, Vol. XXII.) Dehra Dun: Geodetic Branch Press, 1928. 10x7 inches, cm+182 pages. Illustrations and Map. Rs. 3 or 5s. 3d.

The Himalayan Club starts with the advantage of having in this publication a kind of guide book to perhaps the most interesting and least explored part of the whole Himalaya.

Major Kenneth Mason for years had the ambition of exploring that most remote and wonderful region lying north of the glittering constellation of peaks which culminate in K2. In 1926 he was at last able to fulfil that ambition. And now in commendably compendious form he presents us with the results of his labours ; and all future Himalayan travellers will owe him a debt of gratitude, for they will be able to carry with them a map presenting with accuracy the main features of the region leaving to them only the details to fill in, and a book recording Major Mason's personal experiences and showing precisely what has now been done and what remains to be accomplished.

And let it be said at once that what remains to be done is without limit. How could we ever know enough of those glorious mountains- exceeded in height only by Mount Everest ! Do we yet know enough even of the Alps, though thousands visit them every year ! Who will be the first to stand on those ridges on the north side of the Shaksgam river just facing K2 and the Gasherbrum Peaks and tell us what it feels like to look down into the Shaksgam trough and then up to those mighty peaks towering immediately over it ? Who will have the daring to paint that picture ? Who will be the first to ascend the Gasherbrum glacier and get right in under the Gasherbrum Peaks ! And who will be the first to ascend the glacier at the foot of the Savoia Pass on the west of K2 and see that monarch in his stateliest grandeur?

For painters, photographers, descriptive writers-for artists of every kind-Mason has prepared the way. And for such the Shaksgam is a veritable paradise-bleak and stern perhaps, but a paradise for all that ; and one which invigorates and purifies and ennobles and leaves no room for the fatty degeneration of the heart.

And may I add that for this region a big expedition is not a necessity. It is a positive disadvantage. The first white man to enter it had no other white man with him. He had only a scratch lot of Baltis and Ladakhis got together at Yarkand. He used no tent. Moreover, he was only twenty-four, and had not passed the Higher Standard in Hindustani-and has not yet ! Unto a young subaltern all things are possible-especially now that he can have Major Mason's book in his pocket and the advice and guidance of the Himalayan Club, and I hope some decent boots, an ice-axe and a good rope.

Francis Younghusband.

QUER DURCH AFGHANISTAN NACH INDIEN.-By Emil

Trinkler, Kurt Vowinchel, 1925 ; 8 X 5 ½ inches; 234 pages;

map and illustrations.

An English translation, under the title of Through the Heart of Afghanistan by B. K, Featherstone (Faher and Gwyer, London, 1928), is also available, which excludes a few photographs not taken by the author, as well as two coloured plates, which appear in the German edition.

Recent events in Afghanistan have created a world-wide interest in that country. Modern literature dealing with it is somewhat scanty? chiefly owing to the fact that, until recently, the country has been difficult of access to Europeans. The author made this journey in 1923-24 in the capacity of geologist to a newly-founded Afghan trading company and in his book he narrates his adventurous journey across Afghanistan in a matter-of-fact manner, and gives a faithful account of his impressions of the people and the country without exaggeration- The book is well illustrated and should prove a welcome addition to the bibliography of the subject. The scientific results of his journeys have been published separately [1]. The book opens with the author's start from Riga via Moscow, Tashkent, Samarkand. Merv to Kushk, from which point, owing to loss of a wallet containing his passport en route, he had to return to Tashkent no less than twice, which resulted in a delay of seven weeks before he could proceed.

He eventually got away from Kushk and crossed the lofty Ardewan pass to Herat. Herat is depicted as a dream city of the past with many ruined palaces and mosques. After a halt at Herat to prepare for his onward march, he proceeded by the unfrequented Hari Rud, the Kotal-i-Ahengaran, the Scharak Kushta and Unai passes to Kabul. He succeeded in traversing the passes just before progress was barred by the winter snow. Kabul, in contrast with Herat, is described as a city of mud houses with few buildings in European style, but with a cosmopolitan bazar. It possesses a few wide streets and many gloomy, dark, narrow and dirty lanes. In 1924 Dr. Trinkler met several of his countrymen in Kabul, who were working as doctors, architects and engineers employed on the construction work of the new town and a. palace of Darulaman, as well as some Italians. When he was In Kabul the author was requested by the King to prospect for coal and iron in the western portion of the Hindu Kush. He accordingly had exceptional opportunities for seeing the country. Both in his letterpress and illustrations he conveys a vivid impression of the broken, desolate and mountainous nature of the country. On returning to Kabul, he went through several days' excitement, as tribal rioting was in progress. There was also a certain amount of Russian Intrigue. Leaving Kabul he proceeded by car through Jalalabad, Dakka and the Khyber to Peshawar, where he was much impressed by the peace and good order, as well as the comparative cleanliness in the conditions of life in India, as contrasted with those prevailing in Afghanistan. The book concludes with a rather prosaic record of a flying visit to some of the famous cities of India, Peshawar, Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Benares, Calcutta, and an account of his journey back home via Ceylon, Aden, the Suez Canal, Messina and Marseilles.

C. M. Thompson.

WETTERLEUCHTEN IM OSTEN.-By Wilhelm Filchner. Berlin-Schoeneberg: Peter J. Oestergaard Verlag 1928. 8x5½ inches; 300 pages; 4 maps, 2 plans, 6 sketches and 10 photographs.

This is a revised edition of Dr. Filchner's Sturm uher Asien of 1924, and is a work of both geographical and historical interest. It deals in a small compass with the trend of events in Central Asia between 1899 and 1923, more especially with reference to Mongolia and Tibet, which the author describes as the " witches' cauldron of the east." The book takes the form of novel in which the efforts of Russia to undermine British influence in the East, and the parts played by China, Japan and other neighbouring countries in the Central Asian problem, are set forth in a series of episodes out of the life of Zerempil, a Buriat subject of Russia.

The characters in the plot are in many cases obviously fictitious, but on the other hand actual characters such as Dorjiev, Col. Orlov, the Dalai Lama, Pandits Nain Singh and A.K., the Amir Amanullah, General Macdonald, Sir Francis Younghusband, Col Kozlov, Baron Ungern Sternberg, General Pereira, Trotzky, Cols. Koltschak and Denikin are introduced, all of whom played important roles in the extraordinary tangle of events affecting the destiny of Central Asia during the period of the story.

Zerempil was born in 1870 in Urga and, entering the Buddhist monastery there, came in contact with Aguan Dorji (Dorjiev), under whose influence he was educated and trained as a secret service agent in St. Petersburg. He then took part in various expeditions and intrigues on behalf of Russia, for which country and the country of his birth he showed an unbounded devotion throughout. The first of these expeditions took him to Peshawar. In the next he is depicted as carrying war material, etc., to Tibet, just before the despatch of the British expedition to Lhasa in 1903, which resulted in the flight of the Dalai Lama to Urga. The success of the British expedition to Lhasa and the defeat of the Russians by the Japanese in 1904 caused Russian prestige to decline in Tibet. The main theme of the book next centres round Kumbum, where Zerempil has established himself in the Buddhist ''monastery of a Thousand Pictures." An account of his life in the monastery and of the religous observances of the priests is given. The story then turns to the Tibetan struggle for independence from China and the author describes the alternate gruesome massacres of Chinese by Tibetans and vice versa, one of the most vivid pictures of these being given in an account of the siege and fall of the monastery of Sing-pi-ling before the Chinese troops under General Tschao. We next have the Chinese taking possession of Lhasa and the flight of the Dalai Lama to India in 1910, the Chinese revolution and reinstatement of the Dalai Lama in 1913. The Great War, beginning in 1914, causes the Russian collapse, and leads up to the establishment of the Soviet Government in Russia. Zerempil then joins the White Army under Koltschak and after being taken prisoner by the Reds, is released on condition that he transfers his allegiance to the Soviet. He finally returns to his beloved Tibet where he finds British influence reigning. Finding the Soviet propaganda contrary to all his religious views, the disillusioned Russophile, Zerempil, finally retires to a quiet monastery in Mongolia, where he intends to devote himself to the service of religion to the end of his days.

C. M. Thompson.

MAGIC LADAKH,-By Major M. L. A. Gompertz (" Ganpat ")

London: Seeley, Service & Co. 1928. 9x5 inches ; 292 pages ;

illustrations and sketch-map. 21s.

The work of " Ganpat " needs no introduction to the readers of this Journal, and many of them will also be familiar with the land of which he writes in this volume. Major Gompertz, like so many of us, has been fascinated by " the High Snows in general and Ladakh in particular," and here he attempts, very successfully, to impart something of the magic which that region of the earth exercises upon him to the less fortunate public who know nothing of it. He is over- modest in his claim ; it was Ms lot, he tells us, to pass over six months in 1928 wandering in Ladakh with a camera and a typewriter,-he did not shoot,-seeking to make pictures in words or by plate and film of all he saw ; and he would have us believe that the " letterpress " as he calls it. Is but subsidiary to the pictures. That is, of course, merely a tribute to Nemesis ; in fact, the pictures are good, though not exceptional, while the verbal description is admirably adapted to its purpose. That is to say, the writer takes you along with him on the road to Leh and Hemis, over the Khardong to Nubra and the Saser, and then to the Pangkong Lake, chatting pleasantly the while on the country and its people, their history and their customs, and revealing the reactions of his own temperament to the changing scene. There is no overloading with detail, or parade of learning, no exaggeration of dangers or difficulties, no ecstatic fine " writing up " of beauties, grandeurs, and sublimities. It is all on the quiet conversational plane, yet adequate and accurate. Occasionally, indeed, he seems to miss an opportunity ; anyone who has seen the play at Hemis, for example, will feel that more might havfe been made of it by the writer. However, that is really an irrelevant grumble ; the plan of the book evidently precludes " making more " of any particular scene or incident. And for this we should be thankful; there has been something too much of writing for effect among those who have crossed the Zoji La.

For the special purposes of this Club, the fourteenth chapter (Nubra and the Saser Pass) will be of most interest. It is tantalizing to read of Skyangpo-chhe which the author recommends to " anyone who is interested in high mountains and glaciers, since they will have a fair three-to-one chance of being able to say that each new peak they set foot on is virgin snow or rock or ice. The Vissers worked the south side-the glaciers mostly ; Dx. Arthur Neve and Oliver went up the Mamosthong glacier and climbed the col at its head, and I have scrambled about some of the glaciers and the lesser peaks both north and south. Otherwise, the Shyok-Nubra divide is virgin ground and crammed with stately peaks of anything from 21,000 ft. upwards."

That sounds attractive. Ganpat had the good fortune to reach this region with the Shaksgam expedition,which crossed the Khardong on 13th June 1926 ; his month of exploration about Skyangpo-chhe was September. It should be easy to plan a satisfying programme and carry it out within the period of a reasonable leave. Our thanks for the tip to Ganpat !

S. G. D.

POPULAR HANDBOOK OF INDIAN BIRDS.™By Hugh Whistler, f.l.s., f.z.s. London : Gurney and Jackson, 1928. 9x6 inches ; xxiv+438 pages; numerous figures and plates from drawings by H. Gronvold. 15s.

Those who read Mr. Whistler's contribution to the present number of this Journal, will doubtless thirst for more information, dealing with the birds that live in other parts of India. Mr. Whistler's name alone is sufficient guarantee of the accuracy of his observations, and of the charm with which he sets them down. During his service in India he was well-known throughout the country as a highly skilled and scientific ornithologist, and the writer can clearly recollect his almost uncanny instinct which foretold the presence of a particular bird on a particular tree. Yet Mr. Whistler had no assignation with his bird-friends, and his expectation was the direct result of training.

In the first few lines of his Introduction, Mr. Whistler has defined the purpose of his book " to provide a popular and scientific, but not too technical account of the Common Birds of India." Underlying this purpose is the hope that the seed he sows may fall on fertile soil. The purpose has been admirably fulfilled, and many of us will feel a greater friendship for the birds about our gardens, now that we know their names.

Two hundred and fifty species of sixty families have been carefully described, fully and accurately. Special features which attract the eye or ear are given to assist identification in the field ; then follows the known distribution, and a description of the particular races that occur in India. If Mr. Whistler has concentrated unconsciously on the birds of the North in preference to those of the South, we must remember that India is a vast country ; and as Himalayans we may perhaps be grateful to him for his choice.

A most interesting feature of the book is the fascinating and often naive account of the habits, sociability and domesticity of each bird. Take for instance the cheeky little bulbul of Kashmir-" they keep on uttering their cheery call Quick ! a drink with you.........a sentiment that aptly fits the jovial roysterer that utters it."

Care has been taken to point out the differences in habit and distribution between the various races of a species. Nests, nesting places and eggs are all described with the same thoroughness.

The book is copiously and beautifully illustrated by Mr, Gronvold, a master of his art, the four coloured plates being particularly fine, For the Inclusion of so many plates and sketches we have to acknowledge the generosity of Mr, F. Mitchell, Sir George Lowndes and Mr. W. S. Millard. Without their aid, it would have been impossible to place this valuable book in the hands of the public for which it is intended, at so modest a price.

K. M.

INDIAN BIRDS’ NESTS. -By Douglas Dewar. Calcutta: Messrs. Thacker. Spink & Co1929. 7 X 5 inches. 189 pages. Rs. 5.

Mr. Dewar's writings as an ornithologist entitle him to consideration far above that of a mere compiler of handbooks. His present work is unpretentious ; its purpose Is to give within a small compass an epitome of our present knowledge of the nesting habits of the commonest species of the birds of the Indian plains.

The most obvious difficulty in a book of this scope Is to discriminate between the species which are common enough to merit Inclusion and those which are too rare to find a justifiable place. Mr. Dewar's choice in this respect appears admirable ; it would be hard to suggest the names of species which have been unnecessarily Included and very few of the common species appear to have been omitted. Perhaps the most noteworthy omission is the Black-winged Kite (Elanus cceruleus), an interesting bird which breeds freely in many localities throughout India.

In the case of most species Mr. Dewar indicates the nesting season, the usual situation and construction of the nest, details of number and colouration of eggs, and such facts as are known about the incubation and about the tending of the young. It would have been helpful if he could have given also the breeding range of the species ; to scientists this is important, and it also serves to guide the less experienced In their efforts at Identification. Every means which helps to obviate the necessity of shooting a bird in order to identify it is so much to the good.

In view of the importance attached by some classifiers to the distinction between nidifugous birds-or those which leave the nests as soon as they are hatched-and nidicolous birds-or those which are tended in the nest for some period-the addition of this information in the case of each species would have been of interest; perhaps space will be found for it in a subsequent edition.

The facts given by Mr. Dewar are characterized by his usual accuracy. One of the few statements which are open to exception is that the Sirkeer Cuckoo (Taccocua leschenaulti) is fairly abundant in Bengal: it may occur, but it certainly is extremely rare in most parts of that province. The different types of eggs of the Indian Wren Warbler (Prinia inornata) have not been very clearly distinguished. There are three distinct types, viz., (i) blue with red blotches and streaks, (ii) white with similar markings, and (Hi) plain blue. This is hardly indicated by the description on page 53.

In certain species (e.g., Turnicidce) Mr. Dewar has drawn attention to the fact that the male alone performs the duty of incubation ; this is fringing upon a curious biological problem of sexual inversion and it would have been of value had Mr. Dewar indicated other factors of this problem such as the fights of the females of these species for the favour of the males, and, where the colouration of the two sexes (as in the Painted Snipe-Rostratula capensis) is distinct, the unusual tendency of the young females to resemble adult males. Perhaps the omission is deliberate, for we are here upon the borderline of theory. The book is essentially a book of facts,whose convenient form, accuracy and moderate price will commend it to all who are interested in the birds of India.

L. R. F.

WILD FLOWERS OF KASHMIR.-By B. 0. Coventry. London;

Raithby, Lawrence & Co. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co. 1927.

7 ½ x 5 inches. 2 Vols. Coloured Illustrations. Vol I, Rs. 16.

Vol. II, Rs. 12.

Only those who have wrestled with Hooker's Flora of British India and such-like complete and very technical works, can appreciate the splendid simplicity of Mr. Coventry's " Wild Flowers of Kashmir". Most flower-lovers who visit Kashmir are not botanists, but people who, overjoyed to find themselves in such a paradise of flowers, like at least to know their names, habits and uses. " Wild Flowers of Kashmir, " without having the least flavour of the amateur, is yet understandable to all Mr. Coventry has chosen a hundred of the more striking and attractive flowers of the country, and has so described and figured them that anyone finding them may identify them easily and with certainty. He wisely uses botanical terms, without which it is not possible Io describe plants adequately ; and in an introduction, which has a value of its own, he defines clearly and concisely the names of the different parts of a flowering plant, explains the botanical terms used, and gives a brief account of the systematic classification of plants. For each plant there are two pages of description and one full-page coloured illustration. The description is full, clear and methodical. The plant's name is given with interesting notes on derivation; then follow its description, general and in botanical detail, its flowering season, locality, distribution and uses. The illustrations are reproduced from photographs in natural colour taken by the author, and are admirable for purposes of identification, being far more real than the ultra-fine specimens that most illustrators Indulge in. If there is a case for adverse criticism, it is that the colours seem sometimes a trifle dull and cold. For instance, Gentiana Kurroo does not really take me back to the last time I saw its clear blue loveliness covering an arid slope, nor has Androsace mierophylla its true warm rosiness. It Is sincerely to be hoped that Mr. Coventry will finish his series, for the books are sure of a warm welcome.

R. A. Y.

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS BIG GAME HUNTING.-By Brigadier-

General R. Pigot. London: Chatto & Windus. 1928. Rs. 18-6.

This is a charming book, charmingly illustrated ; it will gladden the hearts of the many who, however humbly, try to follow in the author's footsteps in hills and jungle. For, quite apart from extended opportunities vouchsafed to few, Brigadier-General Pigot is obviously a hard man to follow.

There are opening chapters on transport, clothing and camp kit, on rifles and taxidermy. These are all packed with useful information -especially the first--which contains many hints on wind-proof clothing and the like, probably new even to many with considerable experience of shooting in cold climates. But it is to the chapters on Indian shooting that the average reader in this country will turn first. And here, in one respect at least, the author's experiences have coincided with the reviewer's ; General Pigot holds a strong brief for those often much-maligned officials, the forest and district officers. If, having first found out where he wants to shoot and to whom to apply, the intending sportsman takes the trouble to conform to the rules of application and to write with ordinary civility, he will almost invariably receive not only courtesy and consideration in return but often also entirely gratuitous help and hospitality.

Shooting in the Terai and in Burma is dealt with fairly fully, but the Central Provinces are barely mentioned. And there is a somewhat tantalizing account of shooting in the Sundarbans ; one could wish that here the author had been more definite as to details of locality and bandobast. But quite possibly, such information, if given, would now be out of date. To judge by the account of an abortive trip in Siam, that would appear to be a country to avoid unless one is possessed of unlimited time and patience. Shooting in Kashmir and other parts of " the hills " is delightfully described. But it is to shooting in Mongolia, Siberia, the Tien Shan and Turkistan generally that the author devotes most space. And it is here that his heart obviously lies. It is satisfactory to read that he differs from other recent authorities in his opinion that the ibex, wapiti, roe, and sheep of the Tien Shan are safe from destruction for many years to come. But-and here he is in agreement with his predecessors-he entirely failed to find any big poli on the Chinese Pamir ; though there is every reason to suppose that big heads are still plentiful on the Russian Pamirs and at certain seasons in Wakhan.

H. G. M.


[1] Afghanistan; Eine Landeskundlicho Studie. By Emil Trinkler (Ergan- zungsheft Nr. 196 Zu Petermann's Mitteilungeri) Ootha : Justus Perthes 1928. An excellent, comprehensive and well-arranged geographical description of the country.-Ed.