ROBERTSON, George Scott

ROBERTSON, George Scott. Southwark, London 22.10.1852 — London 2.1.1916. Sir. British (Scottish) Physician in India. Surgeon Major. Served and travelled in the North-West. Son of Thomas James R. of Orkney and Robina Corston Scott. “Educated at Westminster Hospital. Entered the Indian medical service, 1878, served in Afghan campaign, 1879-80. Employed under the Indian Foreign Office from June, 1888. British Agent at Gilgit, travelled in Kafiristan, 1890-1. Chief Political Officer of the Hunza-Nagar expedition, 1891-2, Political Mission to Chitral, 1893. Besieged and severely wounded at Chitral, 1895. Administrator of Chitral, 1895. C.S.I. 1892, K.C.S.I. 1895.” Retired in 1899, returned and entered politics. M.P. (Liberal) for Central Bradford from 1906 to death. Married 1882 Catherine Birch (d. 1886, one daughter) and 1894 Mary Bird Lawrence.

His exploration of Kafiristan and the 1896 book about it made Robertson famous. Although the book often reveals colonial attitudes and prejudices of time, it is valuable as the only detailed testimony of Kafirs (Nuristanis) from this period.

Publications: Káfiristán and its People. 104 p. L. 1895

– The Kafirs of the Hindu Kush. 658 p. L. 1896, Russian transl. 1909.

Chitrál: The Story of a Minor Siege. 368 p. L. 1898.

– “Kafiristan and its People”, JRAnthrInst 27, 1898, 75-89.

Sources: *D. Anderson, The Unlikely Hero: George Scott Robertson. 2008; Buckland, Dictionary;; Wikipedia with photo.

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