The love struck railway man

Letter courtesy of Sikh Heritage in East Africa

 The following is a letter written in 1905 by an Indian Station Master named Gokal Chand  to his boss, the railway traffic manger in Nairobi. Chand in the most honest and amusing of ways wrote this letter to ask for permission to go back to his home town in India and marry the love of his life, before someone took her away from him.



April 4, 1905

To The Traffic Manager,
Uganda Railway,

Most Honoured and Respected Sir,

I have the honour to humbly and urgently require your Honour’s to relieve me of my onerous duties at Londiani so as to enable me to visit the land of my nativity, to wit, India forsooth.

This in order that I may take unto wife a damsel of many charms who has long been cherished in the heart-beats of my soul. She is of superfluous beauty and enamoured of the thought of becoming my wife. Said beauteous damsel has long been goal of my manly breast, and now am fearful of other miscreant deposing me from her loftly affections. Delay in consummation may be ruination most damnable to romance of both damsel and your humble servant.

Therefore, I pray your Honour allow me to hasten India and contract marriage forthwith with said beauteous damsel. This being done happily, I will return to Londiani to resume my fruitful official duties and perform also my natural matrimonial functions. It is dead loneliness here without this charmer to solace my empty heart.

If your Honour will so far rejoice my soul to this extent, and also as goes equally without saying that of said wife-to-be, I shall for ever pray, as in duty bound, for your Honour’s life- long prosperity, everlasting happiness, the promotion of most startling rapidity, and withal the fatherhood of many Godlike and lusty children to gambol playfully about your Honour’s paternal knees to heart’s contentment.

If, however, for reason’s of State or other extreme urgency, the Presence cannot suitably comply with terms of this humble petition, then I pray your most excellent Superiority to grant me this benign favour for Jesus Christ’s sake, a gentleman whom your Honour very much resembles.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your Honour’s most humble and dutiful servant, but terribly lovesick mortal withal,


(B.A. (failed by God’s misfortune) Bombay University and now Station Master, Londiani)”

This is what the traffic manger had to say ..

Not only did I approve of this quaint effusion, but wished Gokal Chand the best of luck with his romance and application for leave to Bombay. I knew” Cruicky” would be hugely entertained and would add this letter to his collection. Later, I heard that Gokal Chand’s leave had been granted; and, when next I saw him, a purdah woman shyly peeped out at me from the depths of his quarters. I wondered if she was as beautiful as her husband claimed! I shall never know.

Letter courtesy of Sikh Heritage in East Africa