Saturday, December 11, 2010


The earliest Scots to reach the lands of Bangladesh may have arrived as early as the 16th Century. Across the Indian subcontinent European mercenaries played a great part in local wars between various autonomous states.
Not the least of the reasons that Scots were early travellers, selling their unquestionable courage and skills were not only the poverty of the country, but the almost unending civil wars, most with religious origins, in which so many accomplished soldiers found themselves on the losing side and forced into exile.
That became even more so following the 1745 rebellion, which devastated the Highland region and made fugitives of so many.
It is , therefore, unsurprising that so many of the servants of the East India Company, who, following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, acquired the control of Bengal, which included the lands that are now Bangladesh, and developed the basis of two hundred years of Empire in India.
A lasting monument to the Scottish connection can be found in the name of the most popular seaside resort in Bangladesh. Captain Hiram Cox, whose name is immortalised in Cox’s Bazar, was almost certainly a Scot, probably from Inverness, ‘the Capital of the Highlands’
What is certain is that he married there, and his wife was probably the Great Grand daughter of the 8th Lord Lovat, the last man executed, for his part in that rebellion, on Tower Green in the Tower of London, the scene of so many famous, and infamous executions throughout its history.
But the evidence of the Scottish connections is far greater than that. In both of the great industries of Tea, and of Jute, the Scottish connections are very close, and the mortal remains of , perhaps, hundreds of exiled Scots fill the burial grounds of Sylhet, and the great cities of the Raj. Even the burial grounds near the great railway junctions have many monuments that bear the names that are distinctively Scots.

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