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Jumrood Fort and Camp from right bank of the Khyber stream, looking towards Mohmund Hills.

Jumrood Fort and Camp from right bank of the Khyber stream, looking towards Mohmund Hills.

Photographer: Burke, John

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1878

Shelfmark: Photo 487/(8)

Item number: 8

Length: 15.3

Width: 31.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph showing Jamrud Fort in the distance, taken by John Burke in 1878. John Burke accompanied the Peshawar Valley Field Force, one of three British Anglo-Indian army columns deployed in the Second Afghan War (1878-80), despite being rejected for the role of official photographer. He financed his trip by advance sales of his photographs 'illustrating the advance from Attock to Jellalabad'. Coming to India as apothecary with the Royal Engineers, Burke turned professional photographer, in partnership at first with William Baker. Travelling widely in India, they were the main rivals to the better-known Bourne and Shepherd. Burke's two-year Afghan expedition produced an important visual document of the region where strategies of the Great Game were played out.

The Anglo-Russian rivalry (called the Great Game) precipitated the Second Afghan War. Afghanistan was of strategic importance to the British in the defence of their Indian Empire, and the prevention of the spreading influence of Russia. They favoured a Forward Policy of extending India's frontiers to the Hindu Kush and gaining control over Afghanistan. An opportunity presented itself when the Amir Sher Ali turned away a British mission while a Russian mission was visiting his court at Kabul. The British had demanded a permanent mission at Kabul which Sher Ali, trying to keep a balance between the Russians and British, would not permit.

British suspicions of the Amir's perceived susceptibility to the Russians led them to invade Afghanistan.

Jamrud Fort is at the entrance of the Khyber Pass, about 17 kms from Peshawar in Pakistan. It was built by the Sikh General Hari Singh Nalwa in the 1836 to strengthen the Sikh base at Peshawar for further advances into Afghanistan via the Pass. He was killed soon after, and is buried here. The Fort affords commanding views of the rocky and arid scenery of the Khyber Pass. The British had taken control of Peshawar in 1849 after defeating the Sikhs and established a cantonment here. The Peshawar Valley Field Force advanced from Jamrud into the Khyber Pass.

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