The English explorer and author Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821–90) began his long and adventurous career in India, where he arrived in 1842 to join the 18th regiment of Bombay infantry as a young commissioned officer. In 1844 Burton’s regiment was posted to Sind, the province located in present-day southeastern Pakistan, at that time only recently annexed by the British. Burton lived in Sind for a number of years and published three early books based on his experiences and observations: Scinde, or, The Unhappy Valley (two volumes, 1851), Sindh, and the Races that Inhabit the Valley of the Indus (1851), and Falconry in the Valley of the Indus (1852). The “unhappy valley” of the title of his first book refers to the valley of the Indus, which, along with the Indus River delta, largely defines the geography of Sind. More than two decades later, in 1875‒76, Burton and his wife Isabel made a return visit to the province. Sind Revisited, published in London in 1877, is a result of this later journey. The book contains Burton’s observations on the cities of Karachi and Hyderabad; the state of the Anglo-Indian army; relations among Muslims and Hindus and, in particular, the relentless pressure on the Hindus to convert to Islam; Sindi men and women; the Indus Valley Railway; and many other topics. Throughout, Burton uses the literary device of a fictitious traveling companion, “Mr. John Bull,” to whom he addresses comments and asides. He also includes translations of poems and summaries of colorful local tales and legends, for example, that of “the seven headless prophets.” In concluding remarks, Burton judges British rule to have had a positive influence, by bringing improvements in health and access to education for the Sindi people. The book is indexed but has no maps or illustrations.
R. Bentley and Son, London
Title in Original Language
Sind revisited: with notices of the Anglo-Indian army; railroads; part, present, and future, etc
Type of Item
2 volumes ; 21 centimeters
- Jason Thompson, “Burton, Sir Richard Francis (1821‒1890),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Last updated: August 17, 2016