Stanley Lane-Poole

British orientalist and archaeologist (1854–1931)

Stanley Edward Lane-Poole (18 December 1854 – 29 December 1931) was a British orientalist and archaeologist. His uncle was Edward William Lane.

Jijel in 1664 by Stanley Lane-Poole


  • To realize Medieval India there is no better way than to dive into the eight volumes of the priceless History of India as Told by its Own Historians which Sir H. M. Elliot conceived and beganot, and which Professor Dowson edited and completed with infinite labour and learning. It is a revelation of Indian life as seen through the eyes of the Persian court annalists. It is, however, a mine to be worked, not a consecutive history, and its wide leaps in chronology, its repetitions, recurrences, and omissions, render it no easy guide for general readers.
    • Medieval India under Muhammadan Rule by Stanley Lane-Poole (1903), p.v-vi.
    • Quoted in History of India: The Mohammedan period as described by its own historians by A. V. Williams Jackson and Vincent Arthur Smith, pp. v-vi
    • Quoted in Studies in medieval Indian history by K. S. Lal, p. 84; also in The Legacy of Muslim rule in India p. 54
  • The Hindu was taxed to the extent of half the produce of his land, and had to pay duties on all his buffaloes, goats, and other milk-cattle. The taxes were to be levied equally on rich and poor, at so much per acre, so much per animal. Any collectors or officers taking bribes were summarily dismissed and heavily punished with sticks, pincers, the rack, imprisonment and chains. The new rules were strictly carried out, so that one revenue officer would string together 20 Hindu notables and enforce payment by blows. No gold or silver, not even the betelnut, so cheering and stimulative to pleasure, was to be seen in a Hindu house, and the wives of the impoverished native officials were reduced to taking service in Muslim families. Revenue officers came to be regarded as more deadly than the plague; and to be a government clerk was disgrace worse than death, in so much that no Hindu would marry his daughter to such a man. ... [These edicts] were so strictly carried out that the chaukidars and khuts and muqad-dims were not able to ride on horseback, to find weapon, to wear fine clothes, or to indulge in betel. . .... No Hindu could hold up his head. ..... Blows, confinement in the stocks, imprisonment and chains were all employed to enforce payment."
    • Lane-Poole: Medieval India, quoted from B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • The fatal blot in Islām is the degradation of women.… Yet it would be hard to lay the blame altogether on Moḥammad. The real roots of the degradation of women lie much deeper. When Islām was instituted, polygamy was almost necessitated by the number of women and their need of support; and the facility of divorce was quite necessitated by the separation of the sexes, and the consequence that a man could not know or even see the woman he was about to marry before the marriage ceremony was accomplished. It is not Moḥammad whom we must blame for these great evils, polygamy and divorce; it is the state of society which demanded the separation of the sexes, and in which it was not safe to allow men and women freely to associate; in other words, it was the sensual constitution of the Arab that lay at the root of the matter.
  • It is not so much in the matter of wives as in that of concubines that Moḥammad made an irretrievable mistake. The condition of the female slave in the East is indeed deplorable. She is at the entire mercy of her master, who can do what he pleases with her and her companions; for the Muslim is not restricted in the number of his concubines, as he is in that of his wives. … The female white slave is kept solely for the master’s sensual gratification, and is sold when he is tired of her, and so she passes from master to master, a very wreck of womanhood. Her condition is a little improved if she bear a son to her tyrant; but even then he is at liberty to refuse to acknowledge the child as his own, though it must be owned he seldom does this. Kind as the Prophet was himself towards bondswomen, one cannot forget the unutterable brutalities which he suffered his followers to inflict upon conquered nations in the taking of slaves. The Muslim soldier was allowed to do as he pleased with any ‘infidel’ woman he might meet with on his victorious march. When one thinks of the thousands of women, mothers and daughters, who must have suffered untold shame and dishonour by this license, he cannot find words to express his horror. And this cruel indulgence has left its mark on the Muslim character, nay, on the whole character of Eastern life.

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