34 THROUGH CHITRAL AND MASTOJ [Chap. II
fresh tribute is said to have arrived from Bolor, and to have been offered ever since at the prescribed times.
The matter-of-fact account given by the Chinese record makes it clear that in the true sequence of events an invasion from the side of Badakhshan and Wakhan ended with Chinese intervention. The impression left by the latter was evidently strong, and accounts for the form given to the events in Chitral tradition. It is likely enough that the traditions about earlier Chinese invasions rest on historical facts not essentially different in scope and character.
SECTION II.—ANCIENT REMAINS IN CHITRAL
The scanty nature of the data available for the history of Chitral made me doubly anxious to utilize whatever chance my rapid passage through the main valley might offer for a survey of any surviving remains. I knew that in a confined and relatively poor mountain region, where timber with rubble or rough stone-work must always have been the only building-material readily available, no conspicuous ruins could be hoped for. I had therefore all the more reason to feel grateful for the care which Captain E. Knollys, then Assistant Political Agent for Chitral, had taken to meet the request made by me in advance for the collection of local information about any existing remains. I owed it entirely to the list with which he kindly furnished me as soon as I had crossed the Lowarai, and to the detailed indications subsequently supplied under his instructions by Waffadar Khan, ' Diwan-bégi', that I was able to note down and in part to examine the objects of archaeological interest here recorded.
The first ' antiquity ' to which that list took me on my way up the valley, brought, it is true, some disappointment ; for the rock-cut inscription reported about two miles above the fort of Gahirat (Fig. i2) on the left bank of the river proved only to contain a few rhetorical couplets in Persian, turned apparently after the model of Jahangir's famous line in the Great Moghul's palace at Delhi. They seem to have been engraved by order of some Chitrali ruler of the eighteenth or nineteenth century. Insignificant this inscription looked on the magnificent rock-face rising precipitously to fully a hundred feet above the river, fit to receive the records of a ` king of kings ', like those of Darius at Behistün. Yet somehow it also struck me as a sign of the fact that Chitral could boast of a line of chiefs who, in spite of their limited mountain territory, have for centuries proudly carried the title of ` Badshah ', and that their petty court was not foreign to Persian culture. Among the modern sgraffiti which the presence of these couplets had attracted, there were plentiful signs of iva's trident, marks, no doubt, of the religious propensities of the honest Gurkhas usually forming the Chitral garrison, and destined to become in future visible antiquarian evidence of the Indian political control now established for the first time in these mountains.
If these first two days (May 4 and 5) of travel in Chitral which brought me to the ` capital ' did not reveal any other distinct remains of the past, yet they helped to familiarize me with quasi-negative evidence of the autocratic rule which Chitral has owned for long centuries. In striking contrast to the valleys of Swat and Panjkbra none of the large villages we passed, wherever the debouchures of side valleys afford soil and water for cultivation, showed any of those towers and fortified dwellings which in the settlements of the Pathan borderlands further south are held indispensable for safety. At points of importance for defence, such as Mirkanni and Drôsh, there rose indeed turreted strongholds which looked of some age. But these were in each case forts of the Mehtar intended to shelter his officials or to guard the route from the south.1
I Biddulph, Hindoo Koosh, p. 6i, duly notes this and sometimes two, forts sufficient to hold all the inhabitants,
evidence of a more secure state of society' as characteristic as is the case in the valleys draining directly into the Indus'
of the whole of Kashkar, ' instead of every village having one, (Gilgit, Hunza, &c.).