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Showing posts from July, 1997

Social and Economic transformation of Northern Areas

Social and Economic transformation of Northern Areas, The Muslim dated December 21, 1997 By Syed Shams ud Din
The Northern Areas spreading over an area 72,496 sq km constitute a territory which is unparallel due to its unique geographical composition and immense natural beauty that has all along been a source of unabated attraction the world over. Leaving its touristic significance aside, the area has a great potential in terms of its untapped mineral wealth and immense glacial network which serves as veritable life-vein to the rest of the country.
Its geostrategic importance redoubled with the construction of the Kakoram Highway (KKH), linking Pakistan and China via Khunjerab Pass. The KKH will also serve the Central Asian Republics (CARs) as is evident from the agreement between Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, China and Pakistan in early 1995 regarding transit trade which if implemented, will surely turn these areas as a hub of activity in commercial context. The population of the Northern Are…

Episode 4: A window to Gilgit-Baltistan | Finale

A window to Northern Areas, The Muslim dated July 13, 1997 The last episode from “A window to Northern Areas" Author: Syed Shams ud Din 
It will be in the fitness of things to mention the significance of a few areas in the historical context that served as a junction in the past in  serving for a linkage with Baltistan for an easiest access and free passage in the olden days. The name of Hooper-Hisper in Nagar comes first in this regard as this place then served as a junction because of the fact that its present gigantic glacier was at that time, quite hospitable for such an access with Baltistan via Shigar.
This linkage ,however, seems to have become bedevilled subsequently due to the formidable glacial movement in a cyclical manner to an extent that at present no penetration of the kind except sophisticated climbing equipment, is possible. Let us also have a brief discussion on the Nagar at large and how the world attributed to it could have originated.
It becomes prima facie, const…

Episode 4: A windows to Northern Areas part 2

A window to Northern Areas, The Muslim dated July 12, 1997
The last episode from ‘A window to Northern Areas’
Author: Syed Shams ud Din 

The deadly end to Shribadat’s brutal rule was, in fact, a final axing of the Buddhist grip in Brushal, as this proved to be the last nail in the coffin of that dynasty, staged through the allured lady of the family. This however, again served to revive the erstwhile chieftaincies. The famous German scholar Karl Jetmar, while describing the famous localities of the areas in his book titled ‘Bilore and Dardistan’, considers it worthwhile to mention the name of Astore, Chilas and Gilgit. In short, the decline of the great kingdom of Bilore started after 9th century AD caused revival of the erstwhile principalities mushrooming throughout the tracts of Brushal and the adjoining areas.
Brushal was famous during the days of Biloristan as has been discussed earlier. The popularity of ancient Brushal had vanished on the perpetuation of the Buddhist rule for well …

Episode 4: A Window to Gilgit-Baltistan part-1

A window to Northern Areas-IV, The Muslim dated July 7, 1997
Author: Syed Shams ud Din 

The word providence in Sheena language equates with ‘bagharo’ and in this sense, it may safely be implied that the term Bagrote emanated from this word as the valley once famous for its agricultural produce, wildlife and richness in fruits hence the people living there were used to be called ‘bagharoos’ – those distributing basic necessities of life. This attribute seems to have later degenerated into Bagrote – the land of ‘bagharoos’ (distributors).
 It has been noticed that the famous mythology of Gilgit is all in Brushiski which also includes that of Kirak Prince. The attribution of all the names to almost all places of what was formerly called the Brushal are a pointer to the firm hold of this kingdom in the past as a reality. The people of these areas, prior to Islam, all embraced ‘Shamanism’. A cursory glance over the ancient history of India may abundantly reveal the fact that the idyllic engra…

Episode 3: A Windows to Gilgit-Baltistan

A window to Northern Areas-III, The Muslim dated July 6,1997
Author: Syed Shamsuddin 

In the ‘History of Jammu and Kashmir’ by Maulvi Hashmatullah Khan Lakhnavi, there is a mention of ancient rulers (Rajas) of Gilgit called Aghurtham and Baghurtham who have been famous rulers of Brushal. It is to be noted that the word ‘Tham’ in Brushaski means ruler. When delved deep, it transpires that the words like Berish (the land of Berish), Malokush, Kanjukush etc.,  were further embellished by the Tibetans, the Baltis and Ladakhis by pronouncing at ease as like Brushal in their own tongue. The Aghutham’s rock still lies amidst Gilgit river near Thopchar in Gilgit city which is called “Aghurthamai Giri”. Likewise, Aghurtham’s Forte is situated at Konodas, Gilgit near Gulsher Mohellah where the remains are. It has been observed that the carvings on the above rock and that of the Karagha nullah and the one at Hal Nal near Nagaral are identical and hence seem to have been engraved with the same hand…

Episode 2: A Window to Gilgit-Baltistan

A window to Northern Areas-II, The Muslim dated July 5, 1997.
Author: Syed Shams ud Din 


In the meantime, adverse winds started blowing again and its decay and disintegration ensued resulting in a ruthless split of the territory into tiny tribes each being ruled by an independent sovereign chieftain. With the emergence of this cluster of states, each of the rulers became at loggerheads solely aiming to expand influence which during the course, prompted outsiders to machinate against them all. In such an inhibitive milieu, Sheenaki Kohistan broke away in defiant tribalistic manner never to become re-galvanised afterwards. Centuries passed in this state of absolute pell-mell. At last, the Maqpoons of Baltistan were poised to reach the zenith of their pomp and prestige during the period 1565-1680. They successfully conquered all the adjoining areas areas and brought them under their dominion from Kargil (Ladkh) in the east to Chitral in the west.
The downfall of the Maqpoons however, res…

Episode 1: A Window to Gilgit-Baltistan

A window to Northern Areas-I, The Muslim dated July 4, 1997.
By Syed Shamsuddin

Most of our people even today seem quite oblivious of the geo-political position of Northern Areas while the exact historical background concerning Gilgit-Baltistan and where these must stand politically remains yet another subject of discussion. Not to speak of a layman, a person of the stature of Chief Executive of the country, once inquired whether the Northern Areas an integral part of the north west frontier province (NWFP). This happened when he rule the country in the aftermath of martial law. Yet another minister on Kashmir and Northern Areas, during the democratic government that followed, was pleased to tell a member of the northern areas council that he owed his minisitership not to them (Northern Areas people) but to the turbaned man of his constituency, standing at the door of his official chambers.
There is infact, dearth of substantial historical evidence as to when exactly man first crossed …