Gojal area of the Karakorum mountains
Pakistan glossary

Baig Daulat











19 July 2000



Section 1
I am sitting in numberdar (government representative in the village) Baig Daulatís house to interview him. His house is located at an elevated terrace at about 1-1/2 kilometres to the east of the central village. The house is located in such way that the entire village can be viewed. Except us nobody was present in the house. During the interview we had a short tea break and when we resumed the interview, the son of numberdar and mukhi (local religious leader) Nazar Muhammad entered the house. Though the atmosphere was still peaceful and both of the new comers were keeping silent, however numberdar was feeling a little bit hesitation. Anyway it was a good interview because whatever he spoke he explained it with examples. He has a very sharp memory and is an intelligent man.

Numberdar janab (Mr, sir): I want to ask about your personal life. Would you like to tell me? First of all would you like to tell your age?
On this July (July 2000) I will be exactly 75 years old.

I was born on the first day of August, on the day of Chaneer (harvest festival)

Correct numberdar janab. Is the same your birth place or it is some where else?
The same place, in my ancestral house down there.

I be your servant (an expression of respect)! My father told me this, as I was orphaned from childhood.

Your mother belonged to the same village or she came from elsewhere?
No she belonged to Passu. Her grandfatherís name was Ali Parast the son of Mir (rulers of Hunza state up to 1974) Abdullah Khan. Muhammad Adab was the son of Ali Parast and father of my mother and my Aunt Bibi Zahida. My Aunt Bibi Khair was married across the boarder to Sariqol, China. Yes I be your servant! It was the saying of my father that my mother was second in number among his brothers and sisters. According to my father and Aunt Bibi Zahida, mother of Shaheen, my mother weaned me at Pamir (Shimshalís mountain pastures) just before returning to deyore (Shimshal village). After three monthsí stay in the village, she passed away. I didnít know what happened to my mother and nobody told me; they would only show me my motherís shoes hanging on one of the pillars of our house, but nobody told me where my mother was. I was orphaned when I was two years and three months old.
Section 2
I be you servant. When I was orphaned my father looked after me and when I was 15 years old my father passed away.

True numberdar.
At the age of 13 I got married in accordance with the wishes of my father. I married in the family of Aziz Baig and Ghulam Mehdi. I was not yet mature but my father due to his household problems got me married. I married at a young age and after two years of my marriage, my father passed away. I was left orphaned. Thereafter I served the village.
Those who possessed livestock and more family members and those on whom God had bestowed wealth were called lopan (literally, elders; refers to those wealthy enough to pay taxes - in kind - to the Mir). They were required to pay yeelban (taxes). They would pay taxes in the form of sargaz (hand woven coarse woollen cloth), yak etc. These people were called foster brothers of the Mir. In fact none of the Mirs have been fostered in Shimshal.
Those who were poor were called borwar (literally, one who carries the load; less wealthy who carried the Mirís taxes from Shimshal to his palace in Hunza). Until two years after the death of my father I was treated as a lopan. But on the third year, Qurban Muhammad who was arbob (Mirís main representative in the village) he came to me and made me aware of the difficulties of subsistence in Shimshal. He suggested that I might no longer be able to continue as a lopan because I had only a few livestock left. Therefore I must take the rope and carry the load. So I became a borwar. I started carrying the load for the Mir along with other borwars.

In the course of transportation of the load there would come a garai (person appointed by the Mir to supervise the shearing of goat, sheepís hair etc) of the Mir to Pamir. There was used to be a yarpa (Mirís representative responsible for livestock production and supervision of the central grain store). When I was borwar, Uncle Zarmast, Pooyee, and Mayat Shah used to be yarpas. People from Hunza would come along with them to Pamir and with Chaneer these people would return to Shimshal. We would transport their loads from Pamir to Shimshal with the help of yaks. But from Shimshal down to Hunza these loads were carried by the borwars on their backs and would be delivered to each one of them. The loads (goods) of Zarmast and Mayat Shah were delivered to their houses and the load of Mir to his palace. Yes! I forgot to mention a few more names that would come to collect yeelban (tax). One was named Kaseer whom I do not recall explicitly. He was followed by Shah Sawar from Hyderabad, then followed by a man named Deewan who belonged to Baltit. These people would come to collect the taxes and we would also carry their loads and the goods and livestock of the Mir and deliver it to Baltit, Hunza. The taxes included one sheep and one goat from each lopan whereas one lamb or baby goat and one taghar (sack made from goat hair to store wheat) from each of the poor people and handicapped people. It was the tax on the small (poor) segment of the society.
Section 3
Numberdar janab: Were these borwars exempted from taxes and they only carried the load?
Yes geeram (an expression of respect)! They would give a buzghala (baby goat), and in addition they would also transport the loads. The tax of one big male sheep and male goat for each of the lopan. This was the custom.

Later on when I matured and became capable to carry the loadÖthen grandpa Bathi, father of my cousin Ashraf Khan suggested his father took me to show me to the Mir and tell the Mir that he was enjoying the crown whereas his brother Baig Daulatís back had become humped by lifting his loads. His father advised him to be patient on this matter. Then Ashraf Khan got angry and told his father that ďit would be better for us to die rather than to see our successor in such a miserable condition.Ē But his father told him not to say things like that, as he did not know much about these things. He said that we are the children of the Mir. My father was the son of Mir Abdullah Khan and my name is Muhammad Adab Khan we will run the affairs of the state along with the Mirs as we are the children of Mir. But the father of Baig Daulat is from Shimshal he should do whatever other people in Shimshal did.
So my uncle didnít do any thing for me and in this way I carried the load for about 14 years. Being borwar I served the Mir too much. I also served my village. First I will narrate that we (borwar) were like deaf and dumb. Uncle Joul Muhammad, Tafat, Nazar Ali, Muhammad Niaz, Muhammad Hafiz and Muhammad Ali Shah, we were all borwar - these were seniors. Uncle Ghulam Hassan, Ghulamchi, Muharam Shah, I also remained borwar with these people. We were like dumb though I was young but I was sharp. Whenever the representatives assigned us the load and would not deliver it to Mir, I would straight away go to the Mir and would tell him that a certain quantity of goat, patto (coarse woollen cloth), carpet, ropes [etc] had been misappropriated by the representatives. On this Uncle Joul would say ďlive long, what a lucky moment when your parents gave birth to you. You conveyed our miseries to the Mir.Ē

Why not?
I be your servant. Later on when I get matured what I did is, I started herding the Mirís livestock in Pamir. I served as the Mirís shepherd in Pamir. Thereafter when Shareef was deputed to oversee the activities of the Mir in the village he intimidated the people and I went to the Mir and informed him of the injustices.
Section 4
When we got control of Pamir, then the Mir in the presence of Shaheen border levy, Jaffar ullah, arbob Baig, and Mirza Ali, asked me whether I had been to Quz (former Chinese army camp place) and if I had seen anything there. I told him that I had recently been there and found nothing. I assured him that there was nothing in Quz and they (the Chinese army) had already left. Then I presented the account of his livestock to Ayash Khan (brother of the Mir). Ayash Khan then requested my introduction and then I introduced myself and also told him that I was his shepherd and borwar. He expressed his anger and said nobody from our family could be borwar. He said why had I not informed him of my social status. I told him that my uncle had instructed me to silently serve the kings (Mir) by herding their livestock then God would bless me with good days, I would also behold good days and I would never remain an orphan forever as it was part of life. When Ayash Khan was talking to me, arbob Bulbul was also present there. Later on when arbobi (responsibilities of arbob) was shifted to arbob Baig then I was told that I would be blessed with some position. So I refused and when arbob Balti was nominated as arbob then I was blessed with a position and from then afterwards I became eligible to be treated as a lopan.

I be your servant: The life we spent was full of misery and hardships. There was tough works of the Mir, transportation of his salt, and if the poor were left with no seeds for the next crop they would go to the Mir for help. But thanks to my ancestors I never begged for seeds. It was the food grain from my fatherís time, which was left behind whereas the rest of the resources including yaks and goats were all consumed; then I fell down to the depression of poverty.
Tidardam (I may take your pain; expression of respect)! The transportation of the Mirís salt was such that first we would transport the Mirís goods to Kunjut (old name of Hunza). After returning from Kunjut, we would go to Pamir and just after Chaneer we would go to the salt range in Pamir to extract and refine the salt for the Mir. If during Chaneer, we could not find sufficient time, then we would go in autumn just after harvesting and threshing of our crops, to carry out the assignment as salt was one of the main taxable items. These were the hardships imposed on us. Then after returning from Pamir with the load of salt we would get prepared for the transportation of the sufra (literally, gifts; refers to some of the taxes paid by Shimshalis to the Mir). The borwar would collect soft wool from the animals of the Mir and would make black patto out of it. The lopan would make good quality patto from the sheepís wool; it would normally range from 7 to 9 numbers [of patto] in total as the Mir had sufficient number of animals in Shimshal.
After that when [it was] kooch (seasonal migration with livestock to and from pasture) [and we] would return to the village in the autumn the borwars would make black patto and the lopan would make fine patto from the wool of the Mirís animals. In addition the lopan would also make one woollen patto from their own resources. All these loads were carried by borwars. The lopan would also prepare khesht (wheat flour fried in butter) and would slaughter one male goat each for Mir. Those lopan who possessed some position would slaughter two male goats from their houses one each for the Mir and the queen. All these loads were also carried and transported by borwar. The ordinary lopan would slaughter one male goat. Then there was the livestock production including butter and cheese from Mirís animals and these things were also transported by borwar.
All these things were then presented to the Mir in such a way that first of all the butter was presented, then patto, followed by carpets, and then as I already told you, the gifts from individual lopans were presented. Sufra from the lopan were presented one by one by announcing their names such as the gift from Qurban Muhammad, the gift from Ghulam Nasir, the gift from Momin Shah, the gift from Abdullah, the gift from Bulbul, the gift from Nazar Muhammad. When all these gifts were presented the Mir would inspect them and would say khair barkat (prayer for prosperity) and then these gifts were removedÖ
Thrangpa (representative of the Mir who visited Shimshal once a year to monitor tax collection) would come from Hunza. These were normally nominated from Wazir Kathor (clan of ministers). Imamyar Baig was from Wazir Kathor and then there was Rahmanullah, then Juma from Baltit were nominated as thrangpa. As far as I recall, from Ghazan Khan onward Bodolo, the son of Wazir Hamayun, you would also recall him, was nominated as thrangpa for Shimshal. Thrangpa would manage all these activities. On returning back to Shimshal after delivery of the sufra goods, the people of Shimshal would bring with them the thrangpa and a mahram (personal servant of the Mir). These two were carried on their (borwarsí) backs all the way up to Shimshal. Afiat Khan would normally carry mahram on his back. Mahram would come for the collection of yeelban.
I am talking about those things which I have witnessed and which I still recall. Whatsoever happened in the past that I had not witnessed, I will not talk about that. Thrangpa Bodolo was normally carried by khalifa (local religious leader) Rehman Baig on his back.
Section 5
Numberdar janab: why they would carry them on their back?
The trail was the major constraint. There was no proper trail. They were carried on backs to get them across the river.

Correct numberdar janab
The people, from down villages or from Shimshal, who claim that it was required for a Shimshali to cross the river for 40 or 50 times in a single trips - it was not correct. We would ford the river only for 29 times. Our legs would get bruised due to the crossing of icy river, everyone would be exhausted at the end of the trip, only those who were physically strong like you would get them across the last river crossing.
I be your servant! Later on I solicited the Mir for help. I told him that despite my poverty I collected firewood for him i.e. for the military deployed at Quz. Earlier the Mir had sent me a message through Muhammad Ali Shah and Qanbar Baig, that he had got the contract for the supplying firewood to the military at Quz and had instructed us to supply firewood. Our people are good but sometimes unpredictable, they had announced that the Mir would pay 6 rupees per maund (1 maund = 37.5 kg) of firewood. With this understanding I thought that the rate of 6 rupees per maund is profitable for the delivery of firewood from the proximity of Quz.
Section 6
Yes, yes.
I delivered 62 maunds of firewood at the rate of 6 rupees per maund. Then arbob Baig took me to the Mir as he was the yarpa in those days. The Mir enquired about the quantity of the firewood when I told him that I had collected 62 maunds he became happy and told me that he would pay me 8 rupees instead of 6 rupees as I had honoured his words. So he gave me a yak along with 300 to 400 rupees.
Then Sani came here. Arbob Gul Badan is still alive, I am not telling lie and God is the witness. When I had started constructing the road, Sani came and told me that he has the mandate to change arbob and yarpa. He asked me whether I would accept the position of arbob or yarpa. Looking at my domestic conditions I decided that my domestic conditions might not allow me to cope with the requirements of arbobi. I will tell the truth and God is a witness and all these things that happened today are from God. I donít deem it as a result of my efforts. Sani took Gul Badan and me to Khundra Razen (a place near the graveyard) and asked who among us would accept to be arbob and who would be yarpa. When he asked me what I would like to choose, I told him that I would like to be yarpa, I was not capable for the position of arbob. In this way arbobi was offered to Gul Badan and yarapgi (responsibilities of yarpa) to me.
I accepted yarpagi and after three years of service to the Mir the position was withdrawn from me. Then it was granted to Brother Shagoon Muhammad. After this responsibility I got the position of numberdar with the cooperation of the people of Shimshal. This position was granted to me not because of my knowledge and capabilities. It is solely the cooperation of the people that enabled me to maintain this position for 21 years.
Section 7
You rendered services for 21 years as numberdar?
Yes 21 years

Likewise I experienced various lifestyles. I would submit here that people talk about conditions and environment. God is responsible for all these things, except God nobody has the power to bring changes. When God wishes he changes the human beingís life. If he doesnít willÖ

Correct numberdar janab.
I experienced a lot of hardships and miseries in my life. I was busy at Pamir with the activities of yarpagi when I was informed about the sudden death of my younger son: Ibadullah. He fell down from the rock and died on the spot. I tolerated the incident and praised God as it was his will and I had no remedy. Two years later my second son Qurban ullah Baig passed away and again people informed me about his sudden death. I again praised God. What else could I do except to thank God. Whatever happened was the will of God, how could I deny it. In this way I was left with my only son. I consistently thanked God and God blessed my son with children. I witnessed such kinds of divergent era and conditions and experienced various aspects of life.

Correct numberdar janab.
When my father died it was the era of free labouring for the kings (Mir) and I was not capable even to make threads from goatís hair.

Correct numberdar janab.
I could not make threads, one day I was sitting in the same house when a person named Shahsawar who was garai entered my house along with arbob Qurbon Muhammad. I greeted them, as it was the house of an orphan so I had only two palos (local woven carpet made of yak or goat hair 7x12 feet consisting of two pieces each called palosbar) lying in my house. They told me that they had come to take a palosbar (one piece of the carpet). I requested them that I was unable to make thread hence I possessed no palos, but Qurban Muhammad told me that it was a strict orders and Mir would not exempt me so I should not grumble like that. I wept bitterly and humbly requested them that I could not afford palosbar. Though I was then 15 years old but I had too few livestock to make palos.

Qurban Muhammad then suggested Shah Sawar to exempt me from the tax but instead he took a knife out of his pocket and cut a carpet into two pieces and snatched away one piece (palosbar). It was an expensive one made of yakís hair. I then went to my cousin (Shaheen Baig) with a chain of tears on my face so that he could redress my miseries.
Despite the fact that I had given a palosbar as tax for being lopan but the next day I was informed that I should carry the load and deliver it to Hunza via Qaroon (5100-metre high pass). Then my cousin khalifa (Shaheen Baig) went to arbob and made him aware of the injustice and abuse for being orphan despite payment of tax. Then I was exempt from carrying the load via Qaroon. There was tremendous cruelty and poverty.
After that when I matured then I started leading the borwars. I led them in such a way that we constructed the trail of Wayeen (a pass) sponsored by Ghulam Nasir. The trail of Ghulam Nasir - he was wealthy and generous and the Mir asked him to offer part of his wealth to philanthropic activities.
First my grand father who was a famous man had constructed the bridge at Dikut on the orders of Mir Nazim Khan. He had instructed him to construct the bridge. Whatever I have seen I would tell the truth. I have had the sight of my Imam (hereditary spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims, currently Prince Karim Aga Khan) for six times so I would not tell a lie.
Section 8
No numberdar janab why should you tell a lie.
God knows better if some thing escaped my memory.

No numberdar janab you are talking correctly.
When Mir ordered Shaheen he constructed the bridge of Dikut a little bit downstream of the present jeepable Bridge. My dear! After that when arbobi was withdrawn from Shaheen and granted to Muhammad Amin. At that time Muhammad Amin was very famous for being a wealthy man. Though he had also left orphan like me.

When he reached adulthood he became arbob and Nazim Khan had granted him arbobi because of his wealth. When Muhammad Amin went to greet the Mir he had suggested him to spend the excess wealth and had instructed him to build the bridge at Qaroonben like Shaheen, who had constructed at Dikut. He obeyed the orders and constructed. I will try to narrate correctly so that nothing is left inconspicuous against me at the day of judgement.
After that Qusqol with his young son Muhammad Amin whose mother was the daughter of grandfather Abadi from his own family undertook the task. Qusqol is the descendent from your (interviewer) family.

I be your servant: When the Mir asked him to build the bridge at Qaroonben in the name of his father, then he returned to Shimshal to discuss the matter with his son Ghulam Nasir. They discussed the feasibility of the bridge and realized that the wooden beams of the desired length would not be available at Moomhell (grandmotherís pasture: a natural forest). So they decided to approach arbob Dolik at Moorkhun.

Arbob Ghulam Nasir then approached arbob Dolik to convey his fatherís request for allowing them to get the wooden beams from kerchkerch boibar forest (place), for the construction of Qaroonben Bridge. Arbob Dolik then gathered the lopan of the area and put before them the request. They discussed the matter and finally allowed them to get the requisite wooden beams.
After getting the permission, all the people from Shimshal left for Boibar with loads of butter and wheat flour. From there they had visited Wahab and Mohabat Khan real brothers: fathers of Ghulam Baqir and Awaz Khawaja. Wahab, Ghulam Nasir, father of Ali Sher and Muhabat Khan were first cousins and Jalal is the grandson of Mohabat Khan, his daughterís son. Sultan Nasab and mother of Wali of Moorkhun were the sisters of Hafiz Shahís father.
Due to their kinship they had offered them yaks and also participated with them in the cutting of beams and had also transported it up to the Qaroon pass with our people. Then they returned to Moorkhun from Qaroon pass. It was the saying of my grandfather. Yes my grandfather was also orphaned.
I just described briefly here the consequences of orphanage. And they were blessed with respect only for being attached to the king (Mir). And when they were preparing construction of the bridge then they offered iron rope for the bridge. Therefore Nazim Khan had granted them a thin iron wire that was later on transported to the village and his family might possess it even today. That was offered to them by the Mir.
My dear! Thereafter what I witnessed as a borwar at the time of Ghulam Nasir was that in the process of becoming foster to the Mir, your father (interviewerís father), my father in-laws Baqi, Aziz Baig,Ali Sher, Chechen, Niamatullah all were behind him. The Mir had heard that Ghulam Nasir possessed nine bags (about 27 maunds) of apricot kernels and for this reason the Mir had chosen him as his foster son. As he had collected apricot kernels over the years and Mir had estimated the extent of his wealth from the kernels. In this way they had become the foster sons of Mir and the queen.
Section 9
I myself went to the place of Mir along with them carrying the load. The Mir was very loyal and would always think about this village. When the government started constructing the road in the down valley (refers to Hunza and Gojal) the Mir of the time also demanded a link road for Shimshal. Then Ali Gohar requested the Mir to sublet the contract of the road to him for 1.7 million rupees - at that time it was difficult to keep the account of million rupees. Then Ali Gohar undertook the construction of the road. Gohar Shah from Gulkin and the labourers from Shimshal worked on this road. The village was linked through a walking trek by the efforts of Mir.
I just mentioned those conditions, which I had witnessed, the circumstances I experienced in my lifetime, I just discussed it with you. It is not something like that I have more knowledge. Now thank you I consumed much of your time though I am not much capable.
Section 10
Numberdar janab: as you mentioned that the Mir would choose them for arbobi who possessed more wealth. When you became numberdar was it the Mirís regime or the state had been disbanded?
The people from my clan and the villagers had jointly decided and when tehsildar (magistrate) visited the village they nominated me as numberdar.

It is correct. So! Prior to your selection as numberdar, the state was abolished?
Yes but in the stateís time the Mir had offered me numberdari but I did not accept it. Then the state was abolished and the Miri system ended.

Numberdar janab: You described the background of your life, you may tell us if still you wish to tell about some thing?
I wish to talk about few things more if you would allow me.

Exactly numberdar janab: that is why I am here.
I would like to tell you about the customs and the social set up and about the life that we experienced in this village.

Yes exactly numberdar janab.
Regarding the birth of a child to one of our brothersÖwas such that there used to be joint family system, two brothers or three or four brothers in a family would live together. Then if any of them would get his first child then the tradition was such that he would prepare a deg (cast iron cooking pot; 100 litre capacity) of mool (local dish; bread mixed with qurut Ė local dried cheese - and butter) and a silver pot of beth (local dish, wheat flour mixed with butter, water and salt served with mutton) and would invite all the women of the village.

Correct numberdar janab.
After completion of one year of that child they would celebrate his birthday called nasson. One deg of mool would be prepared for their clan. A person from your clan would prepare it for you; similarly a person from Boqi Kathor would prepare it for his clan, Ghazi Kathor for his clan and Bakhti Kathor for his clan (the three major clans in Shimshal). The system was such that they would eat mool at his house and would distribute the beth among them. When the child would reach the age of three years they would celebrate Nongyadak (naming celebration). Although names were suggested just after the birth it was celebrated in the third year. Customarily they would slaughter three goats and would prepare three deg of beth and would invite the entire villagers. It was a custom.
Section 11
When the child would reach the age of six and sometimes for the poor like me who could not afford they would celebrate Dast Halal (circumcision celebration) at the age of seven. For carrying out this custom they would slaughter six goats and prepare six deg of beth. And when the child would reach the age of maturity, his parents would look for him a wife. They would go to the father of the proposed girl to settle the arrangement. The custom for this was such that the father of the girl would gather all his relatives and would obtain their agreement for that.

The people of my clan would come to kiss the hands of the people of girlís clan as a gesture of gratitude.

Correct, right.
Thereafter when the procedure of betrothal is completed they would proceed for Pergvendak (necklace tying ceremony). On the occasion of this celebration they would prepare two big pots of molida (local dish; bread mixed with qurut and butter) in which poor persons like me would consume 12 guzi (scale for measuring butter) equivalent to 8 kilograms and the well off people like you (interviewer) would consume 13 to 14 guzi in it.
One year after Pergvendak, the marriage would take place. A poor person would make nine deg of beth and the rich man would prepare 12 deg of beth and 9 to 12 but not less than seven goats would normally be slaughtered to be eaten with the beth.

In this way we would accomplish the marriage procedure and later on we would discuss it. These expenses were the same irrespective of the number of sons it was the same for those who possessed three sons and the same for those possessed four sons. This was the custom. The same procedures were practiced for all the people. At the time of marriage 18 number of khesht were also made.

On every marriage there was a share of the Mir: a nine-metre patto called jaithgar (invitation gift). This is what we have experienced. Shahgoon Muhammad janab, Wali and Chughbai have also knowledge about this tradition. Your (interviewerís) father is no more alive but Bashi and Qazi Syed Mohmmed also know it. In addition, six kanais (cotton cloths previously used to make womenís shirts) known as peshkash (offer/present) and one big male sheep along with the sufra were presented to the Mir.
If the size and quality of the khesht of the poor were not to the expectation of the clan of the girl they would reject it and would get angry. The patto was also measured and if not found to the required length of 35 hareth (1 hareth = approximately 18 inches; derived from the length of the arm from elbow to the tip of the first finger), they would reject it and would get angry.
I may share your pain: these were the customs. Those well-mannered and well-intentioned brothers would live in joint family system. They would bear in mind the services of their parents for them and in recognition of their services, they would offer part of their wealth as nomus (system of donating resources for a community project in the name of a relative) in the name of their parents. The way nomus worked was that people would get inspiration from each other and they would enthusiastically offer part of their wealth to nomus. They built bridges, trails, irrigation channels and some people arranged banquets for the entire villagers. This was the pattern of our lives.
Section 12
Correct numberdar janab.
The descendants would normally realise the duties and services of their parents, which they discharged in feeding and caring them. In turn they would discharge their duties as descendents by offering their wealth in the name of their parents. There was no compulsion; only those rich people blessed by God would perform nomus. There was no shame on those poor people who could not afford nomus.
Nomus solely depended on material prosperity. There were no compulsions at all.

I be your servant: The reason for our successful survival was due to the customs and traditions of philanthropy. Because if they had not built vandan (area where herders take their yaks for milking) and ghell (shelter for goats and sheep) and if they had not built in the name of God the bridges and trails: two parallel trails had been constructed up to Shimshal, then who else would have cared about us. Neither the government nor the people of Ghulkin, Passu, and Gulmit would have helped us out despite our relationship with them. But nobody is to help us. This village was built in the name of God through the act of generosity in the name of God. Right from the construction of channels and huts to the construction of houses and trails, our parents, our forefathers and our ancestors spent tremendous resources to build Shimshal.

Numberdar janab: you discussed many issues at length. Is the present custom of marriages good or the custom in former times was good? What is your view about it?
God knows better was it the era of illiteracy and lack of knowledge and planning or they established such customs as a result of mimic actions, I donít know about it. But now the Imam has brought such reforms in the customs that one can easily bear multi-marriage expenses in a year. Rich people like you can afford even four marriage expenses in a year. Off course, the customs of marriages in former times were so hard that people were forced to sell their fields just to bear the expenses of the marriages. Our beloved Imam sir Sultan Muhammad Shah had also disliked such customary expenses of that time. The expenses of marriages as well as nomus were very high. But for nomus it was the orders of Mir Nazim Khan to perform as much nomus as one could afford. He himself had also constructed a trail at Yukig in the name of his mother just close to the trail constructed by grandfather Qusqol.
The expenses that would be incurred on the birth, naming and circumcision celebrations of a child are [now] used to meet the educational expenses of our children today. If we will not make the expenses on education then it would be the act of disobedience to the orders of our Imam because Maula (literally master, refers to the Aga Khan) advises us to educate our children. But if I, instead of educating my children, spend the money on so called circumcision and naming celebration then it would be a gross disobedience. Thank God: weíve got a leader of the time, who, in consonance with the needs of the time, guides us and always lead us and instructs us in our daily activities.
I discussed many issues perhaps nothing is left un-discussed.
Section 13
Correct numberdar janab. Well you talked about the expenses of marriage. What about the expenses incurred on death? What have you heard or witnessed, please tell us more?
Oh my brother! The customs on death occasions were such that five deg of boach (coarsely pounded grain mixed with butter and meat); five goats and five deg of beth were prepared. At that time due to these expenses people were forced to sell even their land. But we havenít seen those (even more) expenses made by our ancestors. The expenses, which we witnessed, were such that on the evening of takbeer (religious activity performed on the third day of death) one deg of beth and one deg of boach in the deg, which the Mir Ghazan Khan had gifted, were prepared. Rich and poor would fill this extra big deg with boach according to their capacities. Our great saint had ordered first offer prayer by raising hands and then slaughter the goat. This was mixed and cooked with boach and was served after completion of the Chiragh (religious event performed on the third day after death). For Chiragh a male sheep, wheat grain and butter were also offered, butter was then used in beth.

That is correct.
Later on when the new constitution was enforced then many people did not act upon the constitution but brother arbob Gul Badan on the occasion of his motherís death, implemented the new constitution and abandoned the beth of takbeer.

Correct numberdar janab.
That beth was abandoned and the new custom was enforced. Thanks to our Imam, the new constitution has now removed the difference between the rich and the poor. Mir Muhammad Jamal Khan was the president of the supreme Council when the constitution was enforced and nominated khalifa Shaheen and khalifa Rehman Baig for the training, they got them trained and returned to the village. On the third year my father in-law Niamat ullah was also appointed as khalifa. The Mir had instructed them to form a council and advised us to give them 2 gharbal (1 gharbal = approx 13 kg) each, of wheat grain or flour. The council had been formed by Mir Nazim Khan.
Section 14
That is correct.
Uncle Muheeb, Uncle Ismail and Uncle Dildar Baig were appointed as the council. The Mir had advised them not to make beth but only that specified in the constitution, not to deviate from the constitution. The expenses are still not at par throughout the area. In Avgarchi it is different and in down valley it is some thing else but we abided by the constitution and they are still practicing a few things from the former time. There is a slight difference between their tradition and our tradition. The Mir had strictly ordered to abide by the constitution and not to make alteration to it. Mir Nazim Khan on the orders of our beloved Imam Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah formed council. Then offerings to the Imam were also managed by the councils, nobody would interfere.

Was it so?

That is correct.
I be your servant: Thanks God; Now we act according to the constitution and you (interviewer) know it better than I and you (interviewer) told us about it in several meetings. So, I told you all about what I had witnessed or heard. Now you advise us.

You described those events that you have seen or heard and you also observe what is happing today. What difference do you feel between the modern era and the former times?
I will be sinful if I comment adversely on the era of the Imam of the time and praise the former time. It was a tradition, we had limited knowledge but we had unity. It was like we were the sons of one parent. In the pasture when someone would be in need of flour then others would lend him but they would not taunt each other for being poor. They would go to one another with their peel (wooden plate) to get qurut for their soor (oneís turn for grazing in rotational system) if they needed. In turn some would give a bowl of qurut and some misers like me would make simple excuse and promise to give for the next time. If one would transport a small quantity of flour to Pamir that would feed every one there.

Correct numberdar janab.
They offer in the name of God. In the old days grandmother Shehnaz, Qurmoma mother of Abadi, Aziz Baig and Gulam Mehdi and in near past mother Gulchin would manage the things in pasture. Whatever instruction they would give to our daughters (the young women of the village) they would obey the instructions and act accordingly.
But present is the time of the Imam and the Imam is standing with us, he guides us like parents and has opened the door of his treasury to all, but our gratitude has become very less.
Section 15
Correct numberdar janab.
This is something according to my limited knowledge that I told you.

No you are talking very well. Numberdar janab you described the background of your life and also mentioned about the taxes imposed by the Mirs. Was it only imposed on this village or the down villages were also included in the tax net?
The tax was enforced in the down valley as well. In centre Hunza it was called katocal. From Hindi (old name of Nasirabad village) downward, there was five kharbal (about 50 kg) wheat grain as tax. In Gulmit village they would give apricot kernel oil for lighting. The borwars would collect apricot kernels from the Mirís garden and would crush them and extract oil. They would also dry the apricots. Whereas we would prepare purified cubes of salt and would transport them to Gulmit and the borwar of Gulmit would transport them down to Hunza but they would charge us two goats per house per year as wage for transportation to Hunza.

The borwars of Gulmit would charge us two goats each. They were father of Badel, Tash Muhammad janab: father of Wafa Baig and Saloom: father of Ibrahim. If I talk like this today they would term it my dishonesty and would deem it as their insult.

No, no numberdar janab, you are describing what you have witnessed.
I be your servant: They (Gulmit people) would prepare lunch called Tarkhun yundak (invitation to banquet) for the lopan from Shimshal, Passu, Gulkin, Hassani, Gulmit, and about 15-20 lopan from Hunza that would sit with the Mir in the courtyard of his palace. The lunch would include plain bread, with 8 guzi (about 6kg) butter and meat from sheep and a bunch of thin breads. This is what I have witnessed. Many other colleagues would also know it. Brother Chughbai also knows it, brother Shagoon Muhammad and Bashi Khan also know it very well. Daulat shah would distribute the bread to all the people sitting in the courtyard. There was a tax on the people of down valley. In addition to the taxes they would also foster one prince of the Mir. Gulkin, Gulmit, Hussani and Passu would foster one prince each, as grandfather Abuzar jangi, father of Juma Baig, fostered Ghazan Khan. They fostered Mir Ghazan Khan. Then they would prepare tharkhun yundhak and the borwar would collect and deliver firewood from Aandra (place) for Mir. People would also trim their fruit trees to provide firewood to the Mir. There was a tax of three gharbal (24 kg) wheat grains on each family in the down valley.
In Mir Ghazan Khanís regime, for Shimshal there was tax of three gharbal grain: two gharbal wheat grain and one gharbal barley grain. These were stored in a central place and the Mirís yarpa would look after it. As far as I recall, Muhammad Baqi was yarpa of Shimshal.
Section 16
Correct numberdar janab.
I be your servant: After Muhammad Baqi, Momin Shah, Zahoor Baig and then Maad became the Mirís yarpa in Shimshal. Muhammad Ali Shah was responsible for the Mirís other store from where poor people would borrow seeds for their fields. They would also lend one gharbal each to the poor so that they could celebrate Chaneer without any problem. Then they would return this food grain back to the store when their new crops are ready by the autumn.

Correct numberdar janab.
I have never borrowed food grain from the Mirís store because I had a small family size: only my wife and me. I never borrowed from the Mirís store nor did I deposit anything in the store. Only those who would borrow from the store would deposit things in the store.

Numberdar janab: Would you transport raw salt or refined salt to the Mir?
We would transport refined salt. The salt mines were located at Lamarz keshk, Koonban, Qucheen and Forzeen. There were special stoves and pots for refining the salt. The salt ore was first heated and dissolved in ponds made for this purpose then the water was filtered and then cooked in special pots till it tuned into salt slabs. Firewood from the natural forests was used to cook the dissolved salt. At that time salt was extinct elsewhere in the area and it was only supplied in the market from Shimshal. It was so precious that when we would give a piece of salt to the people from down valley, they would first kiss it and then would take it.

Correct numberdar janab.
And they would insist for further salt. Now the era has come for comfort and prosperity. Salt is available everywhere in the market nobody cares for it. Yes I be your servant: The patto made from the soft hair of yaks were distributed among the people of Hunza. One very rough coarse woollen cloth called thraq bet was also distributed among the people of Hunza.

Was it the order of the Mir?
Yes it was the orders of the Mir. These woollen cloths were made for Mir. There were various colours and quality of patto made and presented to the Mir. There was black patto made by the borwar, and also from the soft hair of the Mirís yaks, another type was white coarse woollen cloth was roughly made. Then there was the patto given from the lopan which was finely made. The black patto was made by the borwar from the fine hair of yak. These were the taxes.
Section 17
Correct. Was there anything else other than that mentioned in the text?
I be your servant: you will feel a headache if I start mentioning the taxes imposed by the Mir. There were a lot of taxes.

Numberdar janab: We donít know anything so you please tell us?
Yes, first the summer tax was one male goat and one male sheep per household for the lopan and foster brothers, and one goat each for the borwar. As far as I recall there were 35 households in Shimshal.

Correct numberdar janab.
Borwars would make free labour (carrying the load), in addition they would also give one goat each as tax. In autumn, the lopan would slaughter one male goat or male sheep each and one goat alive as tax. The meat of the slaughtered goat was carried by the borwars. These were also the taxes imposed by Mir.
I be your servant: yes there was another tax called handkerchief tax, it was beyond my experience but I had heard about it. The tax was such that when Rehmano, Juma and Badolo (representatives of Mir) would come to the village they would bring with them pieces of cloth as handkerchiefs as a present to the lopan. In turn the lopan would collectively give them two goats.

Correct numberdar janab.
I carry your pain: Other than that already described, there was another tax called ďgold taxĒ and ďlead taxĒ. Two yaks per year were given collectively to the Mir as gold tax and a cow per year as lead tax. The turn for gold tax would start at [a household] at one end of the village whereas the lead tax [collection] would function in reverse order.

Numberdar janab.: what do you mean by the lead tax?
The lead tax was such that it was extracted from the lead mines in Chipursan. Since there was no lead mine in Shimshal, we would give a cow instead of lead to the Mir. The people from Chipursan would transport this lead to Gulmit, on their animals.
Therefore, our forefathers would give yaks instead of lead.

What they would do with the lead?
The Mir would give the lead to the Government. Also Mir Nazim Khan had poured lead into the foundation of Ghalapan Bridge so that the river do not erode the abutments.

Aha! He did a wonderful job.
Yes he did this job. I carry your pain: Then there was an additional tax of 3 yaks. On every third year we would pay the cost of gold and on alternate years the cost of lead. Gold was presented by the Mir to the Chinese. It was the era of Maharaj (British rule) rule.
Section 18
Correct numberdar janab.
The Mirs of Hunza since the establishment of the state were paying tax to China. They would pay gold as tax because they were under the Chinese rule.

They paid gold as tax to China?
Yes they would pay it to China and it was the reason that we retained the occupation of Raskam (land formerly part of Shimshalís territory which is now part of China) where we would cultivate for the Mir and would also look after Mirís livestock there and there were also the Mirís oxen for cultivation. Borwar would live there and look after the crops and would also herd the livestock. The food grains were stored there and were sold to Kyrgyz and [in exchange we?] would purchase carpets and other goods for the Mir.
I be your servant: In Ghazan Khanís regim Bodolo was appointed as thrangpa. His brother Wazir Imam Yar Baig was killed. Subedar Nasim ullah is the son of Imam Yar Baig.

Correct numberdar janab.
Then Ghazan Khan appointed Badolo as thrangpa for Shimshal. The Mir had granted him full powers and would normally avoid interfering in his activities. The Mir was least concerned about Shimshal and Badolo ran all the affairs of Mir. He would exercise the powers both in right and wrong ways. Whenever he would like to grant someone the post he would do so and would only inform the Mir of his action and Mir would normally not object to his decision. Obtaining a position was extremely difficult in those days. He would only grant the positions to those who were financially strong. He would never award the position to poor.
Mirza Hassan father of Fida and Ghulam father of Jab from Moorkhun were lubis (border security personnel) they came to Shimshal with the message from the Mir that five guns named cinyder (may be Schneider) would be given to safeguard the border. Mir Ghazan Khan had the orders for the levies to perform duty at Qashsar. Uncle Rahim Shah, Noor Ali, Afiat and Khalifa were levies and Havildar Bulbul and Abdullah were also with them. Later on when Jamal Khan took over as Mir, he announced that government of Pakistan had given guns for the sake of security of border, whoever would offer him a yak would be appointed as levy and would be granted them the guns.

Arbob Bulbul was selected, Abdullah, Khalifa Rahman, Khalifa Niamatullah and Daulat Muhammad were also appointed as levy because they offered five yaks to the Mir. The yaks were handed over to Mir in autumn and the next spring they bore calves. In those people would also pay yeelban for becoming lopan; these people were also called lopan despite no prince had been fostered here.
Section 19
The guns granted to the levies remained their property or these were returned back?
No the guns were government property hence they returned them back. These guns remained in use until the time of Jaffar ullah,Qurban Khan, Malashikar and Uncle Muhammad Ali Shah being levies. Later on these guns were returned to Mir.

Thank you very much numberdar janab.