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0075 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 75 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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could be checked by an adequate number of measurements taken among ` Dard ' tribes further south-east, such as those of Astbr and Guréz, whose difference in appearance from the ` Dard' speaking Chitralis appeared to me striking. In any case it is clear that, as far as Chitral is concerned, the Hindukush can neither in a linguistic nor in an ethnic sense' be considered to form a true watershed.

The composite racial character of the present Chitral population is reflected also in the languages spoken in the territory. In the main valley of Chitral from below Mastûj to Drôsh as well as in the large side-valleys northward, collectively known as Kashkar-Bala, the bulk of the people, whether they belong to the autochthon stock of cultivators or to the ruling classes, speak Khôwar. The term is derived from Khô, the name by which the cultivators designate both themselves and their country. Khôwar or Chitral', as it is also called, forms a separate group among the languages which Sir George Grierson calls ` Modern Paisaci', and to which it was the custom to apply the historical term ` Dard ', without regard for its more limited modern use. Occupying an intermediate, and somewhat independent, position between the Kafir and Eastern groups, Khôwar ` often shows striking points of agreement with the Ghalchah languages '.8

This relation to the Eastern Iranian language group in the north and north-east deserves special attention in view of the ethnic links already referred to. Whatever the explanation of.this linguistic connexion may be, it is a significant fact that in the Lutkhô Valley of Chitral a Ghalchah dialect is actually spoken by a large and apparently old settlement from Munjan.' In view of what has been said above as to the former extension of Kafiristan into the Kûnar Valley, it can scarcely cause surprise to find the Kalasha Kafir dialect spoken by numerous settlements in side-valleys immediately to the south-west of the Chitral capital and also in the main valley below it (Figs. 8-1o). Further down in the portion of the Kûnar Valley, which extends to the debouchure of the Bashgol River and which has long been counted as a part of Chitral, the language spoken is Gabar-bati or Naristi, another Kafir dialect. Even the Shina or proper Dard group of Sir George Grierson's ` Modern Pai§aci' languages is represented by ` Dangarik ' colonies found between Ashret and Drôsh along the left bank of the Chitral river.10 In addition, the presence in Khôwar, as in other ` Modern Pai§aci' languages, of non-Aryan words traceable to the Burushaski language surviving in HunzaNagar supplies, in all probability, evidence for the earlier occupation of these valleys ` by the ancestors of the present speakers of Burushaski whom they [the Khô, Dards, &c.] expelled or absorbed'."

In spite of such a great racial and linguistic mixture Chitral, as far back as historical records go, appears always as an organized political unit under the rule of a recognized dynasty. This fact is all the more striking when it is compared with the agglomeration of amorphous tribal communities which even our own generation has found adjoining Chitral from the west, south, and south-east. Yet the natural obstacles raised to peaceful intercourse and co-ordination by the barriers of high mountains and difficult gorges were quite as great in Chitral, if not greater, than in the surrounding valleys held by these far more primitive communities. It is, I believe, necessary to recognize in the political consolidation of Chitral the result of a more developed civilization which itself was

Languages spoken in Chitral.

Political organization of Chitral.

See Grierson, Pi dca Languages, p. 6. It is true that the name Dard is not acknowledged by any section of the tribes to whom it has been so sweepingly applied ' (Biddulph, Hindoo Koosh, p. 156). Yet, as the classical references and many passages in Sanskrit literature show, it must have once been widely used as a general designation for people in the Upper Indus region. Its ancient application was, no doubt, very vague. But this does not seem to me in itself to con

stitute a valid reason against the scientific employment of a term which has the great advantage of being significant, short, and historical in origin.

9 See above, p. 26.

10 Cf. for these various settlements Biddulph, Hindoo Koosh, p. 64.

" See Grierson, Paaca Languages, p. 4.

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