Orlich, Captain Leopold Von
Early Account Writer of Sikhs (1800’s)
Capt. Von Orlich, a German, arrived in India on 6 August, 1842 to join British army for participating in the Kabool campaign and joined the Army at Ferozpoor. By then the British forces have returned from the campaign with success. Hence Capt. Orlich embarked on travels for "acquainting himself with that remarkable country, which has been visited by very few of his countrymen." "He relates plainly and faithfully, what he saw and felt, and, to supply the deficiency of actual observation, he has added other matter which he heard and learnt from men of impeachable credit."
Although like many other European authors, he has written his account not with wholly impartial manner-Colonel Sykes, a director of the East India Company was his personal friend who gave valuable assistance to the author in his writings-still Orlich’s writing provides important and eye-witness information of those times.
In a letter dated Ferozpoor 4 January 1843 addressed to Maharaja Shere Singh, the British Governor General Lord Ellenborough while regretting his personal presence in the ‘friendship mission’ proceeding to Lahore introduced Capt. Von Orlich as "of the guards of his Majesty the King of Prussia, whom his Majesty had sent to witness the campaign in Afghanistan. Capt. Orlich has been a witness to the recent evidences of the mutual friendship of the two allied governments; and I rejoice he will be enabled to report to his sovereign that our alliance endures for ever."
The accompanying article is an extract from the author’s detailed letter on the affairs of the Punjab addressed by him to Alexander Von Humboldt, dated Lahore 12 January 1843. These letters were first printed in German and their English translation was published in 1845.