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0067 Across Asia : vol.1
Across Asia : vol.1 / Page 67 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000221
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About 7 1/2 miles from Kök Rabat lies the village of Rabatch. Here a large expanse of cultivated land begins, reclaimed at the time when the Yarkand district was administered by the son of the last re-conqueror of Kashgaria, the Chinese general Ljo Konj Tchin. The area of the cultivated land must be about 20 X 40 li. The vegetation appears to be good. At the 8th or 9th mile large uncultivated sand-fields extend along the south side of the road on which some poor grass grows. At the i 2th or t 3th mile the road crosses a small river, Qara Su, after which fore some miles it follows a large waterway, Chanti ariq, with several flourmills. — At the 16th mile you come to the village of Qara Qum, where the land was first cultivated about to years ago. The water has been led a distance of about 16o li from a river, Teja darya (?). For every mou the population is bound to give a day's work to maintaining the irrigation system. Those who were able to till the fields by themselves, have become the owners of their land. Those who required help from the authorities, have been granted a lease of the land. In both cases the payment of taxes or rent only began in the seventh year at a rate of 21/2 djin per mou. A mou is sown here with 21/2 thins and yields an average crop of 6o djins, in the best years 15o. From this place I drove in a cart through a lovely and fertile district with a great many ariqs and rivers.

In Yarkand I called on the Swedish missionary, Gustaf Raquette. Thanks to his profound knowledge of the country and people to whom he has devoted his life, I obtained an insight into many things that I might otherwise not have noticed. In addition to his missionary work he is very busy practising as a doctor, studying the Turki language and doing research work. During this winter he hopes to complete a Turki grammar in English and should then be able to devote more time to preparing a big dictionary. — In the mission there is a well-equipped dispensary, where the local people can obtain medicine at very low prices, a good collection of instruments and a free bed for poor patients. At present a school is being started for 40 pupils, where besides general tuition in reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and a little natural science the pupils will be able to learn their Mohammedan prayers under the guidance of a mullah — excellent testimony to the toleration exercised by the Swedish mission. The object of their work is evidently not to be able to boast of so and so many converts from Islam, but to develop the people, so that they can make their own choice between different religions. The mission quarters are far more modest than the two missions in Kashgar, but pleasant and charming, to a great extent, no doubt, thanks to Mrs Raquette's ability and devotion. — Venereal diseases are far and away the most prevalent. Owing to faulty treatment, or rather for want of any kind of treatment, they occur in a very severe form. Among infectious diseases smallpox and typhus are common, especially the former. But the population seldom applies for treatment. A deformity that is so widespread here that it can scarcely be called an illness, but rather a normal occurrence, is goitre. It develops the most astonishing size and forms. It is ascribed to the influence of the water and nothing is done to obviate this »blemish». It is a joke among the people of Yarkand that you cannot be a true Yarkandlik unless you possess a respectable goitre.