George Roos-Keppel

Sir George Roos-Keppel , the founder of Islamia College and boss of Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan

Roos Keppel, then chief commissioner of the North West Frontier province, wanted to tame the Pashtun people through higher education. As such, he went forward with a movement that led to the foundation of Darul Uioom and the affiliated lslamia School and lslamia College. The lslamia College Committee was formed to raise funds and make arrangements for establishing the mentioned educational institutions. Roos Keppel remarked, ” I shall try to get all the sons of the tribal maliks, the chief of the next generation, to attend the school and learn that the ‘Firangi’ and his administration are not as black as they are painted.” The pro-government camp under the leadership of Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan joined hands with Roos-Keppel in establishing Islamia College at Peshawar.

Roos-Keppel would dress up in the Pashtun traditional attire and speak Pashto with his subordinates. He wrote two books, one is the Pashto grammar published in London in 1922 and the other is a manual of Pashto published also in London in 1902. The latter was a textbook of Pashto and has been very popular.

“George Roos-Keppel the wizard on Frontier, whose appointment as chief commissioner was hailed by John Morley in 1908, had warned in 1912 that a warliking and “fanatical” population of the Frontier was a good “seed-bed” for revolutionary ideas and actions and could cause maximum harm. Roos-Keppel always thought that Frontier was north-westerly and not southeasterly in its outlook and the Pathan could only be tamed to civility with greater watch. The foundation of Islamia collegiate school and college in concert with Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum was one of those taming efforts.” [The Role of N.W.F.P. in the Freedom Struggle – p-43]

“Roose-Keppel, the Chief Commissioner of North Western Frontier Province, was keen on carrying on with the war (Third Afghan War) and had ideas of his own. He wanted to annex large portions of the Pushtu speaking areas of Afghanistan.  However, Lord Chelmsford, the Viceroy, and his foreign secretary, Sir Hamilton Grant, welcomed the armistice and were determined to end the messy little war they had on their hands.” [ Pakistan Army Journal – Volume 23 – p-51]

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