Sir James Wilson was born to Rev. John Wilson, DD, minister and historian of Dunning, Perthshire on 27 February 1853.  He passed the Indian civil service examination in 1873 and arrived in India in November 1875 to take up the position of assistant commissioner and settlement officer in Punjab Province, where he stayed for most of his career in India. He worked under various capacities. He began as a secretary to the government of Punjab and as a senior financial secretary to the finance commission in 1885 and 1886. He was later appointed as deputy commissioner in 1890 and as settlement commissioner in 1899. From 1903 to 1908 he was Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Revenue and Agriculture (having officiated as such earlier), and in early 1908 he took second place to the lieutenant-governor in his old province, when he was appointed Financial Commissioner of the Punjab.[1]

Charles Montague King was born at Calcutta in 1872. He studied at St Pauls and later at Balliol College, Oxford.[2] He joined the civil service in 1890. He became a deputy commissioner in 1901, Commissioner Punjab in 1918 and later became finance commissioner and revenue secretary in 1923.[3]

The Arrival in Qadian

On the 21st March 1908 Sir James Wilson and Charles Montague King both came to visit Qadian for a day. For the comfort of the distinguished guests, tents were erected at the adjacent ground to Talim-ul Islam School. A door with a message of welcome was also placed at the entrance. Hazrat Mirza Bashirudeen Mahmood Ahmadra, Khawaja Kamaluddin and Khawaja Jamaluddin went to welcome the eminent guests on horses. The Financial Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner both arrived at around 11 o clock, with the students of the Taleem ul Islam School standing in rows to welcome the eminent guests. The guests discussed some important matters with the headmaster of the Taleem ul Islam school, Hazrat Maulana Sher Alira.

old qadian

Many prominent companions of the Promised Messiahas were present at Qadian and all were introduced to the commissioners by Maulvi Muhammad Ali Sahibra. The Commissioners were informed of an invitation for an evening meal from the Promised Messiahas which they accepted. The deputy commissioner was given a tour of the school building and later the commissioner also left a small note of appreciation in the visitor’s book. During the conversation the Financial Commissioner desired to meet the Promised Messiahas. The Promised Messiahas arrived with some members of the community and entered the tent placed for the Commissioner. The Commissioner came forward to the door and welcomed the Promised Messiahas with respect and reverence. A healthy conversation pursued between the host and the guests. The Promised Messiahas addressed the guests for 45 minutes on the purpose of his mission, the goodwill of the government and the true understanding of Jihad. The Financial Commissioner was really pleased to meet the Promised Messiahas. The Promised Messiahas returned to his residence thereafter and on his way back Huzur was also really pleased and stated:

We have thoroughly presented the beauties of Islam to the commissioner and have conveyed the message on our part. The question about the bloody Mahdi was asked and I suggested they look at such and such book written by me. Our belief is that the religion of Islam was spread by strong arguments and heavenly signs and this will be the cause of its future propagation. All Islamic expeditions were defensive, the spread of Islam through the sword is an innovation of the opponents. The Financial commissioner desired to speak on worldly matters, I said to him just as you are a worldly governor, God has appointed me as a spiritual governor of faith. Just as your time is occupied in various works similarly, we are also responsible for various works and right now it is the time for our prayer. I stood up and so did the commissioner and he accompanied me to the outside of the tent and removed his hat to say salam’[4]

[1] The Times December 24, 1926

[2] Foster, Joseph. 1893. Oxford Men & their Colleges, 1880-1892. Oxford: J. Parker. Col.347

[3] Who, s who 1931. An Annual Biographical Dictionary with which is incorporated Men and Women of the Time, Page 1837/ The India list and India office list P. 540/ Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Monday 02 January 1922 P. 7

[4] Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat Vol 2 P.517-518

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