Sir Lepel Henry Griffin KCSI (20 July 1838 – 9 March 1908) was a British administrator and diplomat during the British Raj period in India. He was also a writer.

Lepel Henry Griffin was born in Watford, England on 20 July 1838. His father, Henry, was a clergyman in the Church of England and his mother was Frances Sophia. His mother had been married previously and thus Griffin had ten half-siblings as well as two full sisters.[1]

Griffin was educated briefly at Harrow School, having also attended Malden’s Preparatory SchoolBrighton. He did not go to university but was privately tutored for the competitive examination for entry to the Indian Civil Service. He sat and passed those examinations during 1859 and 1860, being ranked tenth among the 32 successful candidates.[1]  

He reached India in November 1860 and was posted to Lahore.[1] The mannerisms of Griffin had attracted attention in India from the time of his arrival there, and in 1875 Sir Henry Cunningham satirised him in the novel, Chronicles of Dustypore,[1] in which he was depicted as the character Desvoeux.[2][3] Katherine Prior, the author of his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, describes that, “He was a dandyish, Byronic figure, articulate, argumentative, and witty. Anglo-Indian society was at once both dazzled by and scornful of his languid foppishness and irreverent tongue”.[1]

In 1880 he became Chief Secretary of the Punjab.[4] He was sent as a diplomatic representative to Kabul, at the end of the Second Afghan War.[5] He was then Governor-General’s Agent in Central India and Resident in Indore; and Resident in Hyderabad.

He collaborated with the pioneer Indian photographer Lala Deen Dayal.[6]

He was a proponent of an Anglo-American union, he addressed a meeting on 15 October 1898 in Luton, on the subject of the suggested Anglo-American union, Col. John Hay, the former United States Ambassador at London attended the meeting.[7]

The story
Lepel Griffen wrote 2 editions of his famous Punjab Chiefs, 1865 and 1890.  

In 1865, he wrote the first edition of the Punjab Chiefs, in it he mentions some key points.
1.  MGA’s family didnt move to Qadian til Ranjit Singh died, which was June 27th, 1839.  Thus, MGA must have been born after June 27, 1839.  Or his family moved to Qadian, while MGA’s mother was pregnant, MGA was nonetheless born some time in late 1839 or 1840, further, MGA always admitted to being born in either late 1839 or 1840 (see Kitab ul Barriya).

2.  That the pension was for 700 rupees, and it was given to the entire family, the 4 mirza brothers, not simply to MGA’s father, who was the leader of the entire family.  Further, this is why Mirza Imam ud din went with MGA to pickup the family pension.  Moreover, this was also Imam ud din’s money, you can read the entire pension story here:

2.a.  It seems that 2 of MGA’s uncles had no off-spring at all…thus, there lands were lost.  The only other brother left, who was the father of Imam-ud-din, MGA would be embroiled in economic controversy with them til MGA’s own death in 1908.  They also seem to have left no off-spring.  MGA was the only one who had 4 sons and 2 daughters who also had off-spring. This may have been since all of these people married each other, or “cousin-marriages’, which sometimes lead to babies being retarded or not being born at all.  Nonetheless, by 1908, all of MGA’s cousins had died off and only MGA, since he married a non-relative from Delhi in 1884, seems to have had proper off-spring.  One more thing, MGA’s eldest son, Mirza Sultan Ahmad, who took over as the family leader in 1890, he seems to have had one son, Mirza Aziz Ahmad, who seems to have taken MGA’s bait.  However, his off-spring is also missing from any and all records.

3.  MGA was incapable to be a family leader, since he could barely speak, and when he did speak, he has a terrible stammer and stutter, and was thus unintelligible.  Further, he couldn’t writer because of a broken arm.  Thus, MGA’s eldest son, Mirza Sultan Ahmad is listed as the family leader in the 1890 edition of the punjab Chiefs by the same Lepel Griffin.

4.  Some additional data on Mirza Sultan Ahmad
Mirza Sultan Ahmad’s name is not to be found in the Edition of 1865, because at that time he was barely 9 years old. Moreover Mirza Ghulam Murtaza was still living. And the adoption of Mirza Sultan Ahmad by his son’s widow was to be enacted years later. His son Mirza Ghulam Qadir, who was chief of the family after his father, died in 1883.

There is an Urdu translation of the later edition of “The Punjab Chiefs” by Sayyid Nawazish Ali unter the title: “Tazkira rousaa-i panjab” which was published from Lahore in 1941. “Ta’rikh-e Ahmadiyyat”, part one, has reproduced its text concerning the family of MGA. There are even some editions also. For example it is reported that after the death of Mirza Sultan Ahmad in 1930 his son Mirza Aziz Ahmad was accepted as the chief of the Mirza Family.

The 1865 edition

see pages 380 and 381

Also see here, available on amazon:


The 1890 edition