Numero di utenti collegati: 1861

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The Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush

Robertson George Scott

Editeur - Casa editrice

Lawrence and Bullen Ltd.


Città - Town - Ville


Anno - Date de Parution


Pagine - Pages


Titolo originale

The Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush

Lingua originale

Lingua - language - langue


Ristampa - Réédition - Reprint

Kessinger Publishing, LLC (January 17, 2007) (United States) - order this book
The Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush

The Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush  

The present work is a record of journey of George Scott Robertson to Kafiristan during 1890-91. He was then a British agent at Gilgit. This work also describes the wild and interesting inhabitants that he encountered during his one-year journey in the Hindu-Kush.
This account of the Kafirs of Kafiristan, who still live in the Hindu-Kush mountains, remains a major source of information on pre-Muslim Kafiristan.

Book Description
A remote and mysterious ethnic group, today the Kafirs cast a spell similar to the one they cast on Robertson nine decades ago. The author combines the perception and approach of an anthropologist with the skills of a novelist. The volume comes with an introduction by Louis Dupree.


Recensione in altra lingua (English):

From the preface: "In the year 1888, in company with Colonel Durand, C.B., then a young cavalry captain, I was travelling through the Astor Valley of Kashmir to Gilgit. On one memorable occasion we had made a double march. The track was extremely arduous, and the waning light found us tired and jaded, and still some distance from camp. Silent and slow-footed, we rounded the Doian spur in the gathering darkness, and had begun the descent to the village, when a strange sight to the north-west startled us into open-eyed wonder. And indeed a wonderful picture lay spread out before and beneath us. It was bounded and restricted below by the large spurs which guard the mouth of the Astor Valley. Above, the pure sky domed over all, while in front a filmy veil of cloud was suspended, which seemed to magnify and accentuate, instead of dimming, the noble outlines which lay behind. Through this mysterious curtain could be seen a bold curve of the Indus flanked by mighty mountains, and the light yellowish-grey shades of the Sai Valley, which increased the general appearance of dream-like unreality. Beyond this, again, were the dark mountain ranges of the gloomy Gilgit region, divided by equally sombre ravines, while the eternal snows of the lovely Rakhipushi, calm and brooding, with a single cloud pennon streaming from its solitary peak, completed a background of surpassing beauty. The whole scene was illuminated by a dying afterglow. Swiftly, almost instantaneously, the light failed, and the translucent veil deepened and darkened so rapidly, that the vision like picture was shut out almost as magically as it had flashed forth upon our senses.

"As we turned away silently, the fantastic thought arose in my mind that behind that transparency, that translucent cloud-film, a veritable faery country had been revealed to me, stretching far into the nothingness beyond; and an anxious doubt disturbed me lest I should never be permitted to enter that strange and enticing dreamland. I never revisit Doian, and look towards the Rakhipushi mountain, but the memory of that picture recurs to my mind; but now if I gave way to fantasy my reflections would fall upon the countries and people I had visited through the mysterious cloud-curtain."


Sir George Scott Robertson (October 22, 1852 - January 1, 1916) was a British soldier, author, and administrator who was best known for his arduous journey to the remote and rugged region of Kafiristan in what is now northeastern Afganistan. He chronicled his Kafiristan experience in the book The Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush. Some have suggested that Robertson's year-long expedition and subsequent book (originally published in 1896) provided background and inspiration for Rudyard Kipling's short story The Man Who Would Be King. However, Kipling's work was originally published in 1888, predating Robertson's travels to the region.

Travels to Kafiristan
Robertson was born in London, England, and received his education at the Westminster Hospital Medical School (now Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London). In 1878 he entered the Indian Medical Service and served throughout the Second Anglo-Afghan War of 1878-80. In 1888, he was attached to the Indian Foreign Office and assigned as agency surgeon in Gilgit, in northern Pakistan. According to his book, it was around this time that Robertson, having encountered several interesting Kafirs (people from Kafiristan) during the war and while in Gilgit, he became curious about their land and way of life. He asked the Government of India for permission to attempt the journey, and by October 1889 was on his way, departing from Chitral in northwest Pakistan in the company of several Kafir headmen of the Kam tribe. His journey lasted just over a year, ending in 1891, and providing Robertson with first-hand experience of the strange customs and colorful people of Kafiristan.

The Siege of Chitral

In 1893, after his travels in Kafiristan, Surgeon Major Robertson was assigned to the then-independent kingdom of Chitral once again, this time as a political agent. In 1895 he brought a force of around 400 soldiers, under the direct command of Captain Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend, from Gilgit to oversee the transfer of power in Chitral following the murder of its ruler. After his arrival, Robertson engaged in a series of complex political and military maneuvers, including an unsuccessful sortie on March 3rd, 1895, from his base in Chitral Castle. The British forces took heavy losses during this sortie and retreated to the castle, where they endured a month-long siege from hostile factions. The siege was raised on the 19th of April when a relief force, under Colonel Kelly, arrived and dispersed the hostile tribesmen. For his service during the famous "Siege of Chitral" Robertson was made a Knight Commander in the Order of the Star of India (K.C.S.A.)and appointed British agent in Gilgit.

Later Years
Robertson continued in the Indian Service until his retirement in 1899. He then returned to England where he made an unsuccessful bid for political office in Sterlingshire in 1900, but later was elected in Central Bradford in 1906. He died on New Year's Day, 1916.