Amritsar, India

Tuesday, June 11, 1929

Back to the oven again. At five we were off again and soon started a 22-mile climb that ended in Murree, a mile above our last night’s stopping place. It must be a summer resort and sanitarium for British soldiers. But it’s cool, bracing air faded slowly out as we dropped down out of Kashmir and the green Himalayas to baked, wasted plains of India, and dry rivers.

Pindi is a good sized place, 101,000, but has nothing of especial interest unless it be the largest cantonment of British troops in India, 5 miles from town. So we didn’t waste any time there, but took the 1:30PM train for Delhi via Lahore and Amritsar after a darned hot three-hour wait in the station. What a trip! Thought I would pass out it was so hot on the train. Yet it couldn’t have been so terribly hot for a thin dust was all filtered through the air making it impossible to see distinctly at a greater distance than a half mile.

There is a rather peculiar country after leaving Rawal Pindi. On both sides of the tracks are uniquely formed serrated mud cliffs, ravines, gullies, and ridges. The yearly rains have made a most frequish [freakish?] place here—wild and open. Interspersed between flat, dry, ploughed fields were large tracks of barren, parched, sandy desert land, supporting only scrubby bushes and dwarfed trees.

Arriving at Lahore at 8:30PM, we decided to get a bite to eat at the 2nd class restaurant before our train left at ten for Amritsar. While stopped at the book-stand, a policeman came up and began talking to us. It turned out he was an American from Seattle. Fought in the British army during the war, then knocked about the world a bit—Japan, China, Java, India, Mesopotamia, Europe, Central America, and the East Indies. Must have a fair job with the Punjab police. At any rate he took us in the second-class filling station and gave us a dinner baksheesh. He probably got the whole affair baksheesh himself.

For the second time that day the true cause of the death of Lajpat Rai, author of Unhappy India, was brought up. A young man named Saunders joined the Punjab Police some months ago. He was anxious to make a name for himself and the occasion was not long in presenting itself. Lajpat Rai is a big agitator against British rule in the Punjab. A delegation came to Lahore to whitewash the British rule and praise it up. Lajpat Rai and a committee met this delegation at the station and told them they were not wanted in Lahore. A brawl resulted in which Saunders distinguished himself by severely beating the old author. As a result of injuries, he died 16 days later, though this is not generally known. Some days later Saunders was shot and killed. It was done very cleverly and although they caught the man, the evidence was insufficient to hold him. This happened some five months ago and it is still a head-liner.

Soldiers and police are not allowed to go into this section of the city unless accompanied by an escort.

Leaving our friend, we got good seats on the train to Amritsar, and Mort and I had a discussion that made the hour and a half very short. Deposited at 11:30, we set out to find the DB our Murrey’s Guide described as being a quarter mile from the station. Nobody seemed to know where the darned thing was, so we entrusted our fate to a tonga driver who got us all twisted up, finally winding up at some small club where two Englishmen directed us to the Amritsar Hotel nearby. Getting the servants up, we finally got located in a room which was plenty dusty and in which the hotel dog had been careless. We slept outside on our blankets.

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