New Year’s Day, 1st January, 1936
Chota hazri brought to my room at 5.30 am and as I got out of bed I realised that in Newcastle the New Year would just be coming in. We were 5 1/2 hours in advance of Greenwich time. At about 6.15am we were on the Ganges, passing the bathing and the burning Ghats and seeing the various temples from a distance. Although the air was chilly there were hundreds of men and women of all ages bathing, washing clothes, meditating and sipping the river water – we had just seen a dead baby taken well into mid-stream and dropped over-board weighted with a large stone. They don’t burn dead babies – they just drop them into the river. Although there was no burning taking place we saw natives building a fire for a body which we saw being prepared further down the river and later on we saw a body being carried on bamboos through the streets amongst large crowds to the ghats. Left Benares at 9am and arrived at Lucknow at 2pm to a good hotel – the Royal. Drove in motor car to Kaisar Bagh and the Residency, where the Union Jack flies day and night in the memory of the siege and relief of Lucknow. In the mutiny of 1857 it was in the Residency that 2,000 British subjects and 1,000 loyal native troops held out for more than 6 months against 80,000 mutineers. Spent a considerable time covering the grounds and buildings – saw the room where Sir Henry Lawrence was mortally wounded on July 2nd 1857 and the room in the Doctor’s house where he dies two days later. We also saw his tomb amongst many other defenders of the town. Then to Alambagh, about five miles away where General Havelock, a native of Bishop Wearmouth, and General Outram started on their march to the relief of Lucknow. They arrived but were also besieged and it was left to Sir Colin Campbell to eventually effect the relief of the town. The tomb of General Havelock and memorial to his son, who was killed in the Khyber Pass, are in the cemetery at Alambagh. A further run round the native quarters and bazaars and then back to the hotel where embroidery dealers take their stand on the step, here men do wonderful embroidery – very costly. We visited the Congress Exhibition of Indian Industries but found it a very crude attempt at an exhibition. There was a native pipe band marching round the grounds playing Scottish airs. Posters bearing slogans – “India is not a graveyard – what we want is Youth. Let us not rest until India is Free.” We made one or two purchases of metal work and priced a coloured table-cloth of nice design and guaranteed fast colours. It was eleven annas – about 1 / 0 1/2- which makes one wonder where we shall stand as competitors in a few years.