Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/188

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Griffin
Griffin
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formally acknowledged as Ameer of Kabul, Griffin meeting hmi at Zimma, sixteen miles north of Kabul, a few days later, and discussing the conditions of British recognition and questions of future relationship. Griffin's official minute, dated 4 Aug., gave impressions of the new ruler which subsequent events proved singularly correct. 'The interview had the happiest results,' writes Lord Roberts in his 'Forty-one Years in India,' 'and must have been extremely gratifying to Mr. Griffin, whom we all heartily congratulated on the successful ending to the very delicate and difficult negotiations, which he had carried on with so much skill and patience.' The British defeat at the hands of Ayub Khan at Maiwand on |27 July slightly postponed the settlement, and Griffin remained at Kabul until the withdrawal of the British troops after the rout of Ayub Khan's army by General Roberts on 1 Sept. He was made C.S.I, in July 1879, and K.C.S.I. in May 1881. He also received the Afghan medal. The Ameer admired Griffin's skilful diplomacy, and wrote that ' he deserved the title of "Lord of Kabul" just as much as Roberts did that of "Lord of Kandahar" ' (Abdub Rahman's Life, 1900, ii. 115).

After this triumph Griffin became agent to the governor-general in central India in February 1881. He was instrumental in effecting valuable reforms in Gwahor, Indore, Bhopal, and some smaller states, and he won the regard of the chiefs. His action in securing in 1884 the degradation of Sidik Hasan Khan, second consort of Shah Jehan, Begam of Bhopal from 1868 to 1901, for his usurpation of power and his covert disloyalty is warmly conmiended by her daughter, the present Begam Sultan Jahan, in 'An Account of My Life' (1912). When home on leave in 1886 Griffin was a royal commissioner for the Indian and Colonial Exhibition, and at the Queen Victoria jubilee in the following year he was on special duty with the Maharaja Shivaji Rao Holkar of Indore. Refusing Lord Dufferin's invitation to supervise the reorganisation of Burma, after the annexation of the upper province in 1886, Griffin remained in central India until his retirement from the service in January 1889. He had hoped for the lieutenant-governorship of his old province in 1887, when Sir Charles Aitchison [q. v. Suppl. I] retired, but his unconventional frankness seems to have made the government shy of giving adequate recognition to his exceptional abilities.

On educational policy in India Griffin held original views. His constant intercourse with the Indian aristocracy bred in him distrust of the system of making the English language the sole instrument of the higher native education. With Dr. G. W. Leitner (1840-1899), principal of the Government CoUege, Lahore, he early in his career urged the employment in teaching of the Indian vernaculars, and the award of honours for proficiency in Eastern literature and learning, as well as for English. Ultimately at his instigation a university college was established in 1870 at Lahore to give effect to these principles, and when the Punjab University was created there in Oct. 1882, one of the five faculties was for Oriental learning. Yet the Oriental faculty which alone sought to employ in tuition other languages than English never flourished and is now practically defunct {Quinquennial Report on Indian Education, 1902-7). The Inayat Ali-Griffin prize is annually given in his memory for the highest marks in Mahommedan law in the first law examination. Griffin further helped Leitner to establish without much success the Oriental Institute at Woking, to enable Indian students in England to adhere to their caste and communal customs. Griffin also founded in 1885, with Leitner and Mr. Demetrius Boulger, the fibrst editor, the 'Asiatic Quarterly Review,' which long enjoyed a prosperous career.

On settling in England Griffin interested himself in Uterature, finance, and politics. As chairman of the Imperial Bank of Persia he did much for British prestige in Persia, and in 1903 the Shah conferred upon him the imperial order of the Hon and the sun. He was also chairman of the Burma ruby mines, and was on the boards of other companies. From 1894 to his death he was chairman of the East India Association, which disinterestedly advocated the interests of India. He took an active part in its proceedings, which were fully reported in the 'Asiatic Quarterly Review.'

He constantly wrote in the magazines and spoke in public on Indian questions, and while upholding the conservative view of Indian administration, showed a warm regard for the Indian people as well as for the native princes. He vigorously espoused the cause of Indians in the Transvaal and elsewhere in South Africa, heading deputations to the secretaries of state for India and the colonies on the subject in 1907. He was a supporter of the liberal unionist cause in home politics, and in 1900 he contested unsuccessfully West Nottingham in their interest.