I was glad to leave Ude-gram on March 23rd and reach Saidu, the hereditary seat of the Badshah for I felt it advisable to meet without further delay the remarkable chief whose rise had given me access to this fascinating and hitherto forbidden land… Mingaora, favoured by its situation near the present political centre of Upper Swat and of easy access from all directions, seemed to be on the way to rivaling Thana as a modest commercial emporium. I found the long narrow lanes of its Bazar packed not only with people from Upper Swat, but also with ‘Kohistanis’ from Torwal and the other high valleys on the headwaters of the Swat river… It was interesting to note the quantity of good wood- carving displayed on the doors and in the interiors of most of the shops. Among crowded designs of a florid geometrical type I recognized graceful acanthus scrolls and other floral motifs frequently met with in Graeco Buddhist sculpture. It was welcome proof that the influence of Hellenistic art, to which the relics of ancient Swat so strongly bear witness, had not been altogether effaced by the flood of barbaric invasion. I was soon to find far more distinct traces of it surviving in the domestic architecture of Torwal, whose alpine seclusion had helped to protect remnants of the old Dard population of Swat… In Swat, as elsewhere on the Frontier, there is little hope that modern Western influence will serve to revive the artistic elements in the crafts of the country. But here, too, it must lead to improvements in the material conditions of life. And I found welcome evidence of this in the well-stocked store newly opened by the Badshah’s administration. It seemed intended to bring within easy reach of the people not only useful agricultural implements, materials for the safe transport of produce, and the like, but also some civilized luxuries such as books and writing materials. A wooden box was hung outside for the reception of letters, which at suitable times would be sent on to the British post office at Thana, visible proof that contact with the outside world was also to be encouraged.
Source of Information (Reference):
Sir Aurel Stein, On Alexander Track To Indus, Macmillan And Co., Limited, St. Martin’s Street, London, 1929, Pages 63-64.