Captain Eyre’s Irregulars: evening parade in the Phoongye Kyoung, at Pouk, Yan country. Click on image to enlarge it.

“The British and Indian military forces in the parts of Upper Burmah east of the Irrawaddy river, beyond the Yoma mountain range, and across the valley of the Sittang, are now employed in protecting the friendly Shan tribes and their Tsawbwas or local chiefs, in putting down some turbulent aggressors on their peaceful neighbours, and in repressing the predatory excursions of marauding ‘dacoits.’ Several regiments of the Bombay army, forming part of the forces engaged in this service, have distinguished themselves not less than the Bengal and Madras troops in the pursuit of the dacoits, and in other operations required for the settlement of the country. We are indebted to Lieutenant E. R. Penrose, of the 23rd Bombay Light Infantry, for sending us the Sketches presented this week. They were taken, in the latter weeks of March, at Pouk, in the Yan country, which we suppose to be in the highlands of the Poung Loung, between the Sittang and the Salween, towards the Siamese frontier. ‘Yan,’ or ‘Yen,’ is the name given by the Shans, the dominant race in these provinces tributary to Burmah, to the Karen people, who were described by Lieutenant-Colonel A. R. Macmahon in an interesting book ten years ago. They are quiet and unwarlike, and have seemed capable of instruction under the missionary influence of Dr. Wade and Dr. Mason since 1832; those in the plains have become a good deal mixed up with the Shans, and have adopted the Buddhist religion. The whole population of Karennee is estimated at 216,000, including the Kayas or Red Karens, who seem to be of different race. Some of the ‘Yans’ have been enlisted as irregular troops; and the evening parade of these, held in the ‘Kyoung’ of the ‘Phoongyes’ or Buddhist monks, at Pouk, is shown in one of the Sketches. Another Sketch is that of a race between women carrying water-pitchers, got up for the amusement of the troops at Alégan. The village people were most friendly with the sepoys from Bombay, and mourned greatly at their departure, in the middle of April, to a station that would be more healthy during the summer heats and rains.”

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You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Hathi Digital Library Trust and the University of Chicago and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow]


“With our troops in Burmah.” The Illustrated London News. 90 (18 June 1887): 677, 679. Hathi Diigital Library Trust vesrion of a copy in the University of Chicago Library. Web. 6 December 2015.

Last modified 2 January 2016