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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 hands and at the same time.

The famous Chinese traveller Huyuan Sung, who travelled down to Swat crossing the Northern Areas via Karghah nullah which took well over six months during sixth century AD, mentions the  rock carvings of Gilgit. As far Aghurtham and Baghartham are concerned, they ruled over the Brushal before 6th century AD.

The word Sargin Geleet in fact, originates from Brushiski from Sherkin meaning securing as in a sanctuary or on a hunting ground. Giri means wildlife like Markhor etc. Meaning in Sheena as ‘sharah’. It appears that the tract constituting the present Gilgit was first used as a land for hunting wildlife while the above word gradually went into the jargon that gave rise to Gilgit instead of ‘Sherkin Geleet’.

Likewise the word Baremoos land comes from sliding and flood. This has a bearing on the village Barmas of Gilgit town. There is yet another remain of graveyard near Mohellah Nagaral Gilgit called Khultoshing, on the pattern of Barmoos. Iltishin in Brusheski means graveyard hence it appears that the place was the graveyard at the time of Brushal which later passed through the jargon in Sheena as Khultoshing. There are still words of Brusheski like Kapalkhan, Khomar, Jutial, Sikar, Sakwar, Shilmish, Naltar, Brumai, Astotre, Halimal, Danyore, Chamoghar, Jotel, Matumdas so on and so forth which all originally seem to have flowed from Brusheski but later underwent degenerative phases on being used by people of other linguistic groups.

Bagrote valley in Gilgit carries immense historical and cultural significance in the area. It is noteworthy that the brutal passage of time brings in its trail, drastic changes in the socio-economic context and the said valley has not been  immune from that. Once Bagrote valley was famous for its abundant wildlife, fruits, crops and agricultural produce besides the signs of ‘shamanism’ to be found there. It brings forth unequivocally that the area of entire Brushal seems to have remained under the spell of ‘shamanism’ while Bagrote valley stood in the vanguard in the above context.

It has been observed that the carvings on the above rock, that of the Kargha nullah and the one at ‘Hal Nal’ near Nagaral Mohellah, Gilgit town are identical hence seem to have been engraved with the same hands and at the same time.The famous Chinese traveller Huyuan Sung, who travelled down to Swat crossing the Northern Areas via Kargah nullah which took well over six months during sixth century AD, mentions the rock carvings of Gilgit. As far Aghurtham and Baghurtham are concerned they ruled over the Brushal before 6th century A.D.

This tract was replete with superstitions like ‘dayal’. Let us discuss as to how the word Bagrote became known.


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