arrived in India, but have since come around, even seeking the help of the Muktifauj to shepherd violent tribals whom the police are unable to control or arrest. It so happened that Booth-Tucker, along with his ‘lieutenants, captains and cadets’, was on his way to a settlement in Najibabad, twenty miles from Bijnor, where the Salvation Army keeps more than two hundred bhantu tribals in confinement.
‘All convicted of violent crimes, I suppose?’ I asked. ‘Some,’ Booth-Tucker replied, ‘but those who have not yet murdered will do so at the first opportunity, for they are criminals by heredity and instinct, crime being their primary means of subsistence. Even among criminal tribals, the bhantus are particularly vicious. The skills of their trade—theft, robbery and murder—are passed from father to son, so we separate the children from their fathers.’
‘Do they serve life sentences?’ ‘It isn’t a prison. We preach the gospel and try to curb the violent tendencies in their blood. If they are able to demonstrate good behaviour, they are issued certificates and given some land, where we hope they will settle down, having given up their ways.’ ‘Does it ever work?’ Booth-Tucker looked out over the Tarai. ‘The Lord’s work is difficult, not impossible.’ I asked if I could accompany him to Najibabad Fort. He pointed to my military uniform. ‘A major may not create the best impression—the bhantus have suffered much at the hands of the police.’ I promised to remain inconspicuous and my request was granted. Since the ghastly incident last April in Muzaffarpur, when Pringle Kennedy’s wife and daughter were so brutally killed by a Bengali boy, Government have asked the military to confine themselves to cantonments, but I foresaw no trouble if I stayed a step behind Booth-Tucker. The settlement lies within the walls of an old fort in the care of Warren Smith of the Salvation Army. He is called Adjutant Anand by the inmates. We walked through the fort gate crowned by an arch of bright orange marigolds