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0010 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 10 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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a variety of ` unknown characters '—were the best proof of the urgent need for proper explorations on the spot.

I had discussed the plan of such explorations with Professor Bühler before I left Europe in 1897, and often have I thtought since of the words with which that lamented scholar, during the last hour I was destined to spend in his ever stimulating company, expressed his keen interest in my plan as well as his appreciation of its practical difficulties. Not the least of these was the question how to secure the needful freedom and means. The exacting duties of the post then held by me under the Panjab University did not allow me to take preparatory steps towards the execution of my plan until the summer of 1898, when, after having obtained in Kashmir the necessary practical data, I asked Dr. Hoernle to help in securing for my project the support of the Indian Government. I owe it largely to Dr. Hoernle's generous interest in my proposals that the formal application which I submitted in August, 1898, met with favourable consideration. Regard for the exigencies of the post then held by me had obliged me to restrict the first scheme to a journey of only six months, to be undertaken in 1899. The total cost was estimated at Rs. 6,800, and this sum the Governments of India and the Panjab agreed to provide by joint contributions of two-thirds and one-third, respectively.

Final sanction had scarcely reached me in the spring of 1899 when my appointment to the Indian Educational Service as Principal of the Calcutta Madrasah necessitated a postponement of the journey, and a reconsideration of the official arrangements concerning it. Fortunately the Government of Bengal, under the late Sir JOHN WOODBURN, a zealous friend of Oriental research, proved as ready to recognize the importance of my proposed explorations as had Sir MACKWORTH YOUNG'S administration in the Panjab. The changed conditions of my appointment permitted an expansion of the time limit and also of the scope of my journey. The modified scheme to which the Government of India accorded their final sanction in July, 1899, provided for my deputation to Chinese Turkestan for a period of one year from June, 190o. A grant of Rs. 11,000 (733) was placed at my disposal to meet the estimated cost of the expedition, the contribution of the Government of India being increased to Rs. 6,500, while the remaining sum, as far as it was not covered by the grant which the Panjab Government kindly allowed to stand, was provided from provincial funds of Bengal.

It affords me gratification that, in spite of the difficulties arising from great distances and physical obstacles, and of the uncertainties inseparable from an enterprise in a new field, the whole of my programme was accomplished strictly within the sanctioned estimates of time and expense. I should probably not have been able to keep the expenses within the relatively modest limits here indicated had not the Survey of India Department offered its assistance for an important adjunct of my researches. The necessity of fixing accurately the position of ancient sites and generally elucidating the historical geography of the country brought surveys of the regions visited into close connexion with my immediate task. But I also realized from the first that only by utilizing every opportunity the journey might offer for geographical work of a more general character, could I gain that practical familiarity with the physical conditions of the country which is needed for the right interpretation of its past.

Colonel ST. GEORGE GORE, R.E., c. s. I., late Surveyor General of India, readily offered for this object the aid of his Department. He kindly agreed to depute with me one of its experienced native surveyors, Babtz (now Rai Sahib) Ram Singh, and to provide the necessary equipment of surveying instruments, together with a grant of Rs. 2,000 (£ 133) intended to cover the additional expenses of survey operations. With the assistance of the Surveyor, to whose excellent services I have had occasion to refer elsewhere, it became possible to carry on a continuous system of