Henry Martyn Clark

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Dr Henry Martyn Clark (1857-1916)

Henry Martyn-Clark (Peshawar, c.1857 - Edinburgh, April 1916) was an Afghan-born adopted British medical missionary stationed in Amritsar in the late 19th century.[1][2]


Clark was born to Afghan parents, and was adopted after his mother's death by Elizabeth and Rev. Robert Clark in 1859. It is thought that he was named Henry Martyn after the Anglican missionary to Persia and India. Clark was educated at the University of Edinburgh (MB, CM 1881) and received his MD in 1892[3]. In 1881 he was accepted by the Church Missionary Society to start the Amritsar Medical Mission as a Medical Missionary. He left for Amritsar to join his father on 4 February 1882. The same year he married his wife Mary Emma.

In Amritsar Clark gained a reputation as a Christian debater and pamphlet writer, on Islam and Hinduism. He participated in a famous 15-day debate with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community. This was later published by the Ahmadiyya community in Urdu as Jang e muqqadas (the Holy War).[4]

On 1 August 1897, Henry Martyn-Clark filed a lawsuit of attempted murder against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad with Deputy Commissioner Montagu William Douglas in Ludhiana.[5][6] Clark stated that Ahmad had sent a youth named Abdul Hamid to murder him. A version of events is included in the biography A life of Ahmad by the Ahmadi Imam of Fazl Mosque London, A. R. Dard. Based on Douglas' investigation of the youth's testimony the charges against Ahmad were dropped. In his book Kitab ul Baryyah (An Account of Exoneration) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has narrated the details of the case.[7]

He was editor in chief of the Dictionary of the Punjab, and wrote a biography of his adoptive father, Robert Clark of The Panjab: Pioneer and Missionary Statesman. He retired to Edinburgh in 1905 where he lectured in tropical diseases.

He is buried in the Dean Cemetery in Edingburgh. His birth date on the stone is 19 September 1859 and the death date is 10 April 1916. The inscription reads "Physician to both soul and body" He was survived by his wife Mary Emma Ireland, and their sons Walter Ireland Foggo Martyn-Clark and Robert Eric Noel Martyn-Clark. Their sons were both born in Amritsar and like their father studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh.


  1. ^ Gerald H. Anderson Biographical dictionary of Christian missions - 1999 p136 0802846807 entry by Jocelyn Murray: "Clark, Henry Martyn (c. 1857-1916), Church Missionary Society (CMS) doctor in North India. In 1859, when his Afghan mother died outside Peshawar. Clark was taken into the family of Robert *Clark, CMS missionary in the "
  2. ^ Jeffrey Cox Imperial Fault Lines: Christianity and Colonial Power in India, 2002 p173 "Another Indian doctor, Henry Martyn Clark, was described in the CMS register as "An Afghan of Peshawar" but was nonetheless included in the list of "foreign missionaries" serving in India, presumably on the basis either of his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh or his status as the adopted son of CMS missionaries Robert and Elizabeth Clark."
  3. ^ Clark, Henry Martyn (1892). Some observations concerning malaria: especially as met with in Indian practice (Thesis). University of Edinburgh.
  4. ^ Farina Mir The Social Space of Language: Vernacular Culture in British .. 2010 p20 "Religious reformers often engaged one another in public, and some of their debates seem to have been public spectacles. In one famous example, when Mirza Ghulam Ahmad accepted the Christian missionary Henry Martyn Clark's invitation to debate, Ahmad held Henry Martyn-Clark in ex- tended dialogue for fifteen days.50"
  5. ^ The India List and India Office List Great Britain. India Office - 1900 p436 "DOUGLAS, Montague William, CLE., Major, Indian Army (dep. commr , Punjab). — In mil. employ from 21st March, 1887; asst. commr., April, 1892 ; dep. commr., Nov., 1899 ; CLE., June, 1903."
  6. ^ The Cyclopedia of India: biographical, historical, administrative 1992 p154 "Major MONTAGU WILLIAM DOUGLAS, c.i.e., Deputy Commissioner, Punjab, entered the 1st Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment, in February .1884. He was Private. Secretary to the late Sir Henry Norman when Governor of Jamaica"
  7. ^ Kitab ul Baryyah