"The natives of India, are not much addicted to curious investigation" wrote an Englishman in the eighteenth century, "and are generally inattentive to the history of their own country" (Forster, 1798: (1) 13).
Hari Singh Nalwa was reportedly inquisitive and put forth a variety of questions to visitors. The Sardar was well informed on the statistics of many European States and the policy of the East India Company. When Hugel, a German, and Vigne, an Englishman, visited him he requested them for information about the names of the different countries in Europe, their capitals and extent, and took notes for his own information (Vigne, 1842: (1) 235-6; Hugel, 1845: 255).
Forster, G. 1798. Journey from Bengal to England through the Northern part of India, Kashmire, Afghanistan, and Persia, into Russia by the Caspian-Sea, v 1., rpt 1970, London: Patiala: Languages Department Punjab.
Vigne, G.T. 1842. Travels in Kashmir, Ladak, Iskardo, the countries adjoining the Mountain-course of the Indus and the Himalaya, North of the Punjab, v 1., London: Henry Colburn.
Hugel, Baron Charles von. 1845. Travels in Kashmir and the Panjab, containing a Particular Account of the Government and Character of the Sikhs, tr. Major T.B. Jervis. rpt 2000, Delhi: Low Price Publications.