Winston Churchill



Winston Churchill (1874 –1965) estadista británico fue Primer Ministro de Gran Bretaña. Churchill también fue oficial de la armada, historiador y escritor. Ganó el premio Nobel de literatura en 1953. Aquí unos párrafos de su libro The Story of the Malakand Field Force

… The town and cantonment of Nowshera was the base from which all the operations of the Malakand Field Force were conducted. It is situated on the India side of the Cabul River and is six hours by rail from Rawal Pindi. In times of peace its garrison consists of one native cavalry regiment, one British, and one native infantry battalion. During the war these troops were employed at the front. The barracks became great hospitals. The whole place was crowded with transport and military stores; and only a slender force remained under the orders of Colonel Schalch, the Base Commandant…
The small area of the camp on the Kotal necessitated the formation of a second encampment in the plain of Khar. This was close under the north outer edge of the cup. It was called for political reasons North Malakand. As a military position it, also, was radically bad. It was everywhere commanded, and surrounded by ravines and nullahs, which made it easy for an enemy to get in, and difficult for troops to get out. It was, of course, of no strategic value, and was merely used as a habitation for the troops intended to hold Malakand, for whom there was no room in the crater and fort. The north camp has now been definitely abandoned.

Nobody, however—least of all those who selected the site—would seem to have contemplated the possibility of an attack. Indeed the whole situation was regarded as purely temporary. The vacillation, caused by the change of parties and policies in England, led to the Malakand garrison remaining for two years in a position which could not be well defended either on paper or in reality. At first, after the Chitral campaign of 1895, it was thought that the retention of the brigade in this advanced post, was only a matter of a few weeks. But as the months passed by the camp began, in spite of the uncertainty, to assume an appearance of permanency. The officers built themselves huts and mess rooms. A good polo ground was discovered near Khar, and under careful management rapidly improved. A race-course was projected. Many officers who were married brought their wives and families to the camp among the mountains, and the whole place was rapidly becoming a regular cantonment. No cases of Ghazi outrage broke the tranquillity. The revolvers, which all persons leaving camp were by regulations obliged to take, were either unloaded or carried by a native groom. Shooting parties were organised to the hills. A well-contested polo tournament was held in Christmas week. Distinguished travellers—even a member of Parliament—visited this outpost of empire, and observed with interest the swiftness and ease with which the Anglo-Saxon adapts every situation to his sports and habits.
Troops at Malakand
Troops at Malakand
At the same time the station of the Malakand Brigade was far from being a comfortable one. For two years they lived under canvas or in rude huts. They were exposed to extremes of climate. They were without punkahs or ice in the hot weather. They were nearly fifty miles from the railway, and in respect of companionship and amusements were thrown entirely on their own resources. When the British cavalry officer succeeds, in spite of official opposition, expense and discouragement, in getting on service across the frontier, he is apt to look with envious eyes at the officers of the Frontier Force, who are taken as a matter of course and compelled to do by command, what he would solicit as a favour. But he must remember that this is their compensation for long months of discomfort and monotony in lonely and out-of-the-way stations, and for undergoing hardships which, though honourable and welcome in the face of the enemy, become obnoxious (unbearable) in times of peace…
The reputation which its present inhabitants enjoy is evil. Their treacherous character has distinguished them even among peoples notoriously faithless and cruel. Among Pathans it is a common saying: "Swat is heaven, but the Swatis are hell-fiends." For many years they had lain under the stigma of cowardice, and were despised as well as distrusted by the tribes of the border; but their conduct in the recent fighting has cleared them at least from this imputation.
Several minor chieftains now divide authority in the Swat Valley, but till 1870 it was governed by a single ruler. The Ahkund of Swat was by origin a cowherd, an office considered most honourable in India. The cow is a sacred beast. His service is acceptable to the Gods and men. Princes glory in the name—though they do not usually carry their enthusiasm further. "Guicowar" translated literally means "cowherd." From such employment the future Ahkund received his inspiration. He sat for many years by the banks of the Indus, and meditated. Thus he became a saint. The longer his riparian reflections were continued, the greater his sanctity became… (The Story of the Malakand Field Force, by Winston Churchill)

Vocabulario
Riparian: relating to dwealling in the bank of a river.

Para saber
El sitio de Malakand sucedió en 1897, cuando la guarnición británica en la región de Malakand, India Británica, se enfrentó a tribus Pashtun.

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