Thursday, April 19, 2007

The great game

This is a term made popular by Rudyard Kipling in that wonderful book of his, which every teenager should read; Kim.

Now read Atul Aneja commenting upon the great game along the Silk Route.

The part I liked most was the deduction made by Lord Curzon, which I reproduce here....

Alarmed by the Russian advance, George Nathaniel Curzon, 29, who would one
day become the Viceroy of India, began a visit to Central Asia to study the
Tsarist intentions first hand. The first stop was Baku on the western Caspian
coast. From there, he crossed the sea by steamer and soon reached Krasnovodsk.
Curzon's travels took him to Merv, by then firmly under Russian control. The
last leg of his rail journey took him to Bokhara and Samarkand. After halting at
both places, he took the horse drawn tarantass, a typical Russian contraption,
to Tashkent.

Curzon recorded his observations on Central Asia in a voluminous book,
Russia in Central Asia and the Anglo-Russian question. His conclusion: Russia
was not building the trans-Caspian railway for the conquest of India. Instead,
its moves were directed at keeping its imperial adversaries preoccupied in Asia.
In doing so, it sought to protect its interests in Europe, starting from
Constantinople (modern Istanbul) in Turkey. Curzon's findings strongly shaped
British policy towards Afghanistan and Russia.

Read it here!!!

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