Thursday, October 24, 2019

References of India in the Canon

(August 17, 2013)

There is no specific adventure in the Canon which entirely occurs in India. Similarly, there is no record in the Canon of Sherlock Holmes having visited India. It must be said that Dr Watson havingreceived his medical degree from the University of London in 1878,  had subsequently gone on to train at Netley as a surgeon in the British Army. He joined British forces in India, saw service in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, was wounded at the Battle of Maiwand, suffered enteric fever and was sent back to England on the troopship HMS Orontesfollowing his recovery. It is quite possible that he must have traveled the length and breadth of the (then) British India, since being a part of the British Indian Army. 

Notwithstanding Dr Watson's  reluctance to reveal much about his career in the British Indian Army, a few mentions of "India" dot the entire Canon. It is but natural that India should find its place in the Canon as it was the Jewel in the Crown, as the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, ( 1874 to 1881) had termed it.

The references to India in the  Canon in chronological order of appearance is as follows:

A Study in Scarlet

"The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. On landing at Bombay, I learned that my corps had advanced through the passes,..." 

" I was struck down by enteric fever, that curse of our Indian possessions. "

The Sign of Four

" a man who was smoking an Indian lunkah, "

" 'The sahib awaits you,' said he, and even as he spoke, there came a high, piping voice from some inner room. 'Show them in to-me, khitmutgar,' it said. 'Show them straight in to me.'"

" Major John Sholto, once of the Indian Army. He retired some eleven years ago and came to live at Pondicherry Lodge in Upper Norwood."

" 'I fancy that this ally breaks fresh ground in the annals of crime in this country -- though parallel cases suggest themselves from India and, if my memory serves me, from Senegambia..'"

" The Hindoo proper has long and thin feet. The sandal-wearing Mohammedan has the great toe well separated from the others because the thong is commonly passed between."

" What a pretty box!" she said, stooping over it. "This is Indian work, I suppose?" "Yes; it is Benares metal-work."

" ...taking the Queen's shilling and joining the Third Buffs, which was just starting for India."

The Adventure of the Five Orange Pips

" 'From India!' said he as he took it up, 'Pondicherry postmark! What can this be?' Opening it hurriedly, out there jumped five little dried orange pips, which pattered down upon his plate. 

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

" When Dr. Roylott was in India he married my mother, Mrs. Stoner, the young widow of Major-General Stoner, of the Bengal Artillery.He has a passion also for Indian animals, which are sent over to him by a correspondent, and he has at this moment a cheetah and a baboon,That fatal night Dr. Roylott had gone to his room early, though we knew that he had not retired to rest, for my sister was troubled by the smell of the strong Indian cigars which it was his custom to smoke."

"It is a swamp adder!" cried Holmes; "the deadliest snake in India. "

The Adventure of Cardboard Box

" For myself, my term of service in India had trained me to stand heat better than cold, and a thermometer at ninety was no hardship. "

The Adventure of the Crooked Man

" He was all right, as far as money went, but in his deposit he had given her what looked like a bad florin. She showed it to me, Watson, and it was an Indian rupee"

The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter 

" Served in India, I see."
"And a non-commissioned officer."
"Royal Artillery, I fancy,'' said Sherlock.
"And a widower."
"But with a child."
"Children, my dear boy, children."
"Come," said I. laughing, "this is a little too much."
"Surely." answered Holmes, "it is not hard to say that a man with that bearing. expression of authority, and sun-baked skin. is a soldier, is more than a private, and is not long from India.

The Adventure of the Empty House

" Colonel Sebastian Moran, once of Her Majesty's Indian Army, and the best heavy-game shot that our Eastern Empire has ever produced. I believe I am correct, Colonel, in saying that your bag of tigers still remains unrivalled?" "

The Adventure of the Three Students 

" "The case is not entirely devoid of interest. Had anyone visited you in your room after the papers came to you?"
"Yes, young Daulat Ras, an Indian student, .... 

The Adventure of the Second Stain

 " The knife with which the crime had been committed was a curved Indian dagger, plucked down from a trophy of Oriental arms which adorned one of the walls. "

The Valley of Fear

" Here is page 534, column two, a substantial block of print dealing, I perceive, with the trade and resources of British India. "

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