National Geographic : 1951 Dec
747 National Geogral)lic Ihotograpller J. Baylor Roberts Pakistan's Rifle Imitators, Who Copy Famous Firearms, Make Feuding Inexpensive Fighting Afridi tribesmen, like old-time Western cattlemen, feel undressed without a rifle; some have com mitted murder to get one. In Kohat Pass's rude arsenal they make their own, imitating the best Western models. Bearded blacksmiths heat gun barrels in primitive forges; boys drill the rifle bores on machines using wagon wheels as flywheels; woodworkers whittle gunstocks held between toes. Chief Akbar Shahkhan (seated, right) fondles a homemade Lee-Enfield. Using it, he bested the author in a shooting match. arriving at 2:30 a.m. (page 736).* But the cloud-filtered moonlight was too weak for Joe's camera. I stretched out on the hard stone pavement and thought of its builder, Emperor Shah Jahan, who, with his beloved wife Mumtaz-i-Mahal, lies beneath its dome in eternal sleep. And soon I too slept. Sitting out a Siamese Revolution Taking to the air again, we flew to Bangkok and were met by a friendly and efficient Pan American official, Lambeth Renstrom. On the way to town he lamented the fact that, six months before, his bride of two weeks and all other company wives had been or dered back to the States as a precaution, be cause of uncertain political conditions. "But obviously there was no need of it," said Renstrom. "Nothing has happened!" A few minutes later, Renstrom stopped in his office and came out excitedly announcing that Premier Pibul had been kidnaped and a revolution had broken out. "Why, they've even thrown up a road block between here and the airport! We'd have seen it if we had looked behind us," he exclaimed. "But don't worry," continued Renstrom, "there will be a little harmless shooting to night, and tomorrow morning when you wake up it will be all over." That evening we heard only that the contest was between Thailand's Army and Navy. The shooting was sporadic and seemingly not near enough our hotel to be alarming. At 3 a.m. the shooting could no longer pass for sporadic. By 7 a.m. Thailand's Army Air Force was dive-bombing and strafing the naval barracks across the river, and our hotel seemed to be a check point for the bomb run. Soon the planes scored a hit on the Navy's oil depot. Flames and billowing black smoke filled the sky. Just then there was an ear-splitting ka wham in the river some 30 yards from the * See "Delhi, Capital of a New Dominion," by Phillips Talbot, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, November, 1947.