Alexander Duff is a traditional
Scottish tune arranged here by Hamish Moore.
D.D. LLD. (April 15, 1806 – Sidmouth February 12, 1878), shown
above, was a Christian missionary of Scottish heritage who
worked in India.
Alexander Duff was
born in the heart of Scotland, at Auchnahyle, in the parish of
Moulin, Perthshire. His parents were James Duff, gardener and
farmer at Auchnahagh and Jean Rattray. After receiving his
initial schooling at a local country school, he studied at the
University of St. Andrews. He then accepted an offer made by the
foreign mission committee of the Church of Scotland's general
assembly to become their first missionary to India, and was
ordained in August 1829.
After an adventurous voyage during which he was
twice shipwrecked, Duff arrived in Calcutta on May 27, 1830. He
at once identified himself with a policy which had far-reaching
effects. Christian missions in India had been successful only in
converting a few low-caste groups from a needy socio-economic
background. The upper caste Hindu and Muslim communities had
been practically untouched. Duff shrewdly assessed that these
affluent communities could not be accessed by traditional
evangelical methods. He recognized that holding out the prospect
of upward mobility, by offering a western education, would bring
the children of the affluent classes into his range of
influence, which could then be extended to encompass religion.
Duff devised the policy of an educational mission.
Duff opened a school in which
all kinds of secular subjects were taught, from the rudiments
upwards to a university standard, alongside the Bible. The
English language was used as the medium of instruction on the
grounds that it was the key to Western knowledge. Duff wrote a
pamphlet on the question, entitled A New Era of the English
Language and Literature in India. A government minute was
adopted on March 7, 1835, to the effect that in higher
education, the object of the British government in India should
be the promotion of European science and literature among the
natives of India, and that all funds appropriated for purposes
of education would be best employed on English education alone.
In 1849, Duff returned to
Britain. He was moderator of the Free Church assembly in 1851.
He gave evidence before various Indian committees of parliament
on matters of education. In 1856, Duff returned to India, where
the mutiny broke out the following year; his descriptive letters
written during this period were collected in a volume entitled
The Indian Mutiny - its Causes and Results (1858). During
this stint in India, Duff gave much thought and time to the
University of Calcutta, which owes its examination system and
the prominence given to physical sciences to his influence.
Alexander Duff died
on February 12, 1878.
After graduating as a
veterinary surgeon in 1975, Hamish Moore worked as a vet until
1986 when he retired from The Ministry of Agriculture in order
to play music and make bagpipes professionally. Through his
recordings, teaching, and pipe-making he has done much to
promote the bellows blown pipes of Scotland.
Due to the social, political
and religious history of this country much of the rich, colorful
diversity of piping culture has been tragically lost and Hamish
has been at the fore-front of a renaissance promoting a
pre-military style of piping. This has been achieved principally
through his integrated approach to teaching, where the music is
taught through the medium of Gaelic song and as part of the old
step dance rhythms.
The melody is a traditional Irish reel that goes by a number of
names, "Duffy the Dancer," "The Gauger," and "Sandy Duff."
Robin Morton (1976) says the tune was originally the Scots
"Sandy Duff," transplanted to Ireland where it gained currency.
It is in O'Neill as "Duffy the Dancer."