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0053 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 53 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Sec. ii]   CHI LAS AND ITS PAST   9

called by the other Dards " Bhute " ',11 and in DarEl and Tangir I found the term Bula generally applied to all Childsis. Is it possible that Albérûni's information about the Bhattavarydn (*Bhuttavary5.n) and their ruler Bhatta(* Bhutta)-Shah was somehow connected with this old ethnic designation of Childs ? The materials at present available do not permit us definitely to answer the question.12

The references to Childs in the records just analysed are far too scanty to throw light on the early history of the territory. Yet by reason of the raids that, as already mentioned, its people have until recent times made into neighbouring tracts, and on account of their universal reputation for bravery, Childs may lay claim to greater importance among these Dard territories than either its size or resources would justify. For this and other similar reasons, I cannot help particularly regretting that the great length and difficulties of the route to the scene of my contemplated winter campaign in the far-off Taklamakdn and Lop deserts, as well as local arrangements made on my behalf, rendered it impossible for me to devote more than a bare three days to my passage through Childs. In view of the scanty time at my disposal, the rapid marching it involved and the numerous practical tasks that at the same time occupied my attention, I am evidently unable on this occasion to fill up the gap that the inaccessibility of Childs at the time when Mr. Drew and Colonel Biddulph did their pioneer work for most of the Gilgit Agency obliged them to leave in the published accounts. As, however, the four or five main valleys which make up Childs, all draining from the south to the Indus, share the same general physical features, a brief record of the impressions gathered on my way down the valleys of Niat and Thak, together with some observations made on the former principal settlement of Childs by the Indus, may usefully find a place here.

All the valleys comprised in Childs are very narrow and steep. This characteristic is fully accounted for by the abrupt fall of the land. Over a direct distance which is nowhere more than about 25 miles and in most cases considerably less, they descend from a watershed 14,000 feet or more in height to the Indus bed, which lies here only from about 3,50o to 3,300 feet above sea-level. Eastwards where the huge ice-clad ridge dominated by the peak of Nangaparbat approaches still closer to the deep-cut gorge of the Indus, the valleys descending its northern slopes are even more difficult of access and wholly uninhabited. As a result of this configuration the heads of the habitable valleys, also, are very confined and the area for summer grazing limited. Hence the stock of cattle kept by the people of Childs is small, and settlements of grazing Gujars, such as are numerous farther south, are conspicuously absent in these valleys.

At the head of the easternmost main valley leading down to Bûnar on the Indus we spent a trying night amid rain and snow after crossing the Barai pass. Thence we ascended on the

Importance of Childs.

Narrowness of Childs valleys.

Descent from Barai pass to Niat.

I am unable to attach any importance to the conjecture added by Colonel Biddulph in a note, loc. cit. : ` This is perhaps the origin of the name " Bôte ", applied indiscriminately to all Dards by Cashmere officials.'

11 See Jumnwo and Kashmir, p. 459.

12 Prof. Marquart, Weh-Mt (kindly made by him accessible to me in proofs but not yet published), p. 109, has proposed a very ingenious explanation for the tribal name Bha(u)ttavarydn. He assumes it to be the New-Persian plural form, presumably of a secondary adjectival stem in -i, from a local name *Bha(u)Udwdr, itself the phonetic derivative of a Skr. *Bhullapura after the analogy of Purushdwar, the modern Peshawar < Skr. Purusapura. The derivation suggested is philologically acceptable, but cannot be established in the absence of connecting links or other direct evidence.

For Bha(u)tta-Shdh Prof. M. compares rightly the title Sdhi borne by a Darad chief, Vidyadhara, whom Kalhana mentions as ruling at Daratpura, probably Gurcz, on the upper Kishangangd ; cf. Rajal. vii. 913. He is also justified in connecting this Shdh : Sâhi with the ancient P AO, i. e. Shahô, the royal style used by the Kusana kings and continued for long centuries by their successors on the Kabul river and the upper Indus ; cf. my paper Zur Geschichte der phis von Kabul (Festgruss an R. v. Roth, p. 199) ; Rajal. iv. 143, note.

When, however, Prof. Marquart, Weh-rät, p. r zo, proposes to derive the name Bolor from the conjectured name of a town *Bhuttapura, I am, for a variety of reasons which cannot be discussed here in detail, unable to follow him.