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Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier A Record of Sixteen Years' Close Intercourse with the Natives of the Indian Marches   By: (1867-1912)

Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier A Record of Sixteen Years' Close Intercourse with the Natives of the Indian Marches by Theodore L. Pennell

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Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier

A Record of Sixteen Years' Close Intercourse with the Natives of the Indian Marches


T. L. Pennell, M.D., B.Sc., F.R.C.S.

With an introduction by

Field Marshal Earl Roberts, V.C., K.G.

And with 37 Illustrations & 2 Maps

Second Edition

London Seeley & Co. Limited 38 Great Russell Street 1909



This book is a valuable record of sixteen years' good work by an officer a medical missionary in charge of a medical mission station at Bannu, on the North West Frontier of India.

Although many accounts have been written descriptive of the wild tribes on this border, there was still plenty of room for Dr. Pennell's modestly related narrative. Previous writers e.g., Paget and Mason, Holdich, Oliver, Warburton, Elsmie, and many others have dealt with the expeditions that have taken place from time to time against the turbulent occupants of the trans Indus mountains, and with the military problems and possibilities of the difficult regions which they inhabit. But Dr. Pennell's story is not concerned with the clash of arms. His mission has been to preach, to heal, and to save; and in his long and intimate intercourse with the tribesmen, as recounted in these pages, he throws many new and interesting sidelights on the domestic and social, as well as on the moral and religious, aspects of their lives and characters.

During a long career in India I myself have seen and heard a good deal about these medical missions, and I can testify to their doing excellent and useful work, and that they are valuable and humanizing factors and moral aids well worthy of all encouragement and support.

No one can read Dr. Pennell's experiences without feeling that the man who is a physician and able to heal the body, in addition to being a preacher who can "minister to a mind diseased" as well as to spiritual needs, wields an influence which is not possessed by him who is a missionary only.

As the author himself writes: "The doctor finds his sphere everywhere, and his hands are full of work as soon as he arrives (at his station). He is able to overcome suspicion and prejudice, and his kindly aid and sympathetic treatment disarm opposition, while his life is a better setting forth of Christianity than his words. There is a door everywhere which can be opened by love and sympathy and practical service, and no one is more in a position to have a key for every door than a doctor."

These few words fairly sum up the situation, and I fully agree with the view they express.

On such a wild frontier as that on the North West Border of India the life of a doctor missionary is beset with many perils. A perusal of Dr. Pennell's most interesting story shows that he has had his share of them, and that in the earnest and zealous discharge of his duties he has faced them bravely and cheerfully. I cordially recommend his book to all readers, and my earnest hope is that medical missions will continue to flourish.


December 19, 1908.


After sixteen years of close contact with the Afghans and Pathans of our North West Frontier in India, I was asked to commit some of my experiences to paper. The present book is the result. I have used the Government system of transliteration in vernacular names and expressions, and I beg the reader to bestow a few minutes' consideration on the table of corresponding sounds and letters given on p... Continue reading book >>

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