A British army officer got drunk and arrested a tree in Pakistan in 1898 – it’s still in chains

In Peshawar, Pakistan, you can find a banyan tree draped in chains and tethered to the ground.

It has a plaque attached to it explaining the history behind it – and at first you might think it was making a serious point about slavery or oppression in the past.

But actually, the reality is gloriously bizarre and this is what you will read if you get close enough:


One evening a British officer, heavily drunk, thought that I was moving from my original location and ordered Mess Sergeant to arrest me. Since then I am under arrest’

James Squid, a British army officer, ordered the tree to be arrested one day when he got so drunk he thought it was trying to run away.


A sergeant did his bidding, and sadly for the tree, it has remained bound for more than 100 years at the Khyber Rifles Officers Mess at Landi Kotal way. (Not that it would have moved somewhere else, even so.)

The colonial hangover has now become a tourist attraction.

But according to Pakistani newspaper the Express Tribune, not everyone finds it so hilarious.

‘Through this act, the British basically implied to the tribesmen that if they dared act against the Raj, they too would be punished in a similar fashion,’ a local resident said.

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