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0082 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 82 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Physique and character of Darélis.

Aims of Ràja Pakh- tan Wâli.

End of Pakhtùn WO and his kingdom.

for whom he was anxious to secure an undisturbed succession to what he had won by craft and unscrupulous violence, his features always seemed to soften in a manner that compelled sympathy. That he could command genuine attachment and devotion from those whom he employed round his person or used as the confidential instruments of his policy, was apparent from much that I noticed or heard. He evidently took care to keep on good terms with the priestly element, the Saiyids and Mullahs, in view of their influence both in Darél and Tangir. But though he, no doubt, might have been prepared to use fanatical feeling if it served his ends, yet it seemed to me that the Mullahs neither individually nor collectively were allowed much weight in Pakhtûn Wall's inner councils.

In the strange medley attending on the Raja, which seemed to call up times and methods of rule long gone by, Darélis were evidently still kept much in the background. Yet to me their elders and headmen (Fig. 26) were figures of distinct interest. They appeared to represent certain features of the racial type of the Darél population in a specially characteristic fashion. This racial type in its general aspects, as far as I could judge without anthropometrical observations, for the collection of which there was no time, seemed to me unmistakably akin to that of the other Shiva-speaking Dard tribes that occupy the adjoining mountain territories. Yet the refinement frequently noticeable in the features of the men and their less heavily built frame suggested inheritance from a more developed civilization, but one that had been decadent for many generations. The weakening effects of such descent and of a long period of anaemic anarchy, such as is generally supposed to have prevailed in Darél previous to Pakhtûn Wall's advent, seemed best to account for that want of vigour which struck me in the physique and mentality of Darélis. I received the distinct impression that theirs was a race subject to the inherited instincts of town-bred folk and needing a strong ruler.

There was much to claim my interest in what I heard from the Khushwaqt chief that evening and during the long return visit . he paid me next morning in my camp pitched by the Gime-gah stream not far off. But there is no need here to record details. He was manifestly anxious to effect material improvements after the model of those to which British influence is slowly opening the way in the tracts controlled by the Gilgit and Chitral Agencies. Perhaps he rightly hoped that the making of roads practicable for laden animals, instead of the goat tracks that connect the valleys under his rule, and similar facilities for trade and intercourse, would make his subjects more ready to forget their former independence. In any case there was more hope of his securing the required engineering implements and other assistance from the British Political authorities than the supplies of modern arms and ammunition on which his desire was set. To the great openings for increased agricultural production and to the possibility of developing the important natural resources of Darél and its adjoining valleys eastward Raja Pakhtûn Wall seemed to be fully alive. It did not surprise me to learn, years later, that he had since my visit spent much energy on making roads convenient for laden traffic and on endeavours to attract new settlers to waste areas in Darél and Khanbari.

He had spared no care nor trouble to facilitate my safe passage through his territory and to make it as profitable as the strict limitation of my time permitted. So it was natural that I should carry away from my Darél visit warm gratitude for the friendly welcome accorded to me and a genuine and sympathetic interest in its ruler. This feeling prompts me to record here in all briefness the sad end of Raja Pakhtùn Wall's life and kingdom. The years following my visit had seen a wise diversion of his policy from further expansion and conquest to the peaceful consolidation of his territory by means of improved communications, trade facilities, &c., as well as by closer relations with the Gilgit Agency. However, old hatreds were kept awake by the remembrance