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This book is in pursuit of Alice, whose name rhymes with ‘galluse’. That, however, is another memory, another book, waiting to germinate. John Lang (1816-1864), inebriated on John Exshaw, a cognac, eau de vie, most of his adult life, was a dogged underdog from Sydney; he spared no effort to hurt the John Company (East India Company). He lived in India after the age of 26 and was a prolific writer, journalist, and lawyer.


His novels were too feminist for Victorian comfort, and his white male protagonists have been described by Lang a couple of times as "India he loved, England he despised". As a journalist, he was irreverent toward the army and legal systems; modern journalists can take a lesson or two from Mr Lang. As a lawyer, John Lang learnt Persian and Urdu fast to be able to argue cases in lower courts. He fought some important cases for Indians against the Company, and even won some of them. The establishment, however, found a way to send him to jail. The Rani of Jhansi was impressed and invited him to be her lawyer.


There was a party going on at Lang’s house when he died. He said a party could not be stopped just on the account of his ill health.

John Lang: Wanderer of Hindoostan by Amit Ranjan

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