Swat History

Fredrik Bath Trip To Indus Kohistan (Swat State) In 1954

The following pages summarize information gathered on a three week trip in July-August 1954 through the areas in question, preceeded by exploratory interviews with a few Kohistani travellers and informed Pathans in Swat. I venture to publish this fragmentary and preliminary material only in view of the extreme lack of published ethnographic material from the area… Sir Aurel Stein who, in 1941, was the first European traveller to traverse Indus Kohistan gives (Stein 1942) geographical and historical information only. In that area, I partly followed his footsteps, and partly had the rare pleasure of being the first European to visit some valleys. From Swat Kohistan more readily accessible and frequently visited by Westerners, ethnographic accounts are limited to Biddulph (1880) and occasional comments by Stein (1928, 1929). …My thanks go first of all to H. R. H. the Wali of Swat for offering me all facilities on this trip, and to His Chief Secretary, Ata Ullah Khan, for helping me in my preparations. Further, my thanks are due to all the Wali’s appointed administrators, and among them most particularly to the Hakim Sahib of Patan, who invariably received me with the most gracious hospitality. In spite of the efforts of the Wali and his officials, however, travel through these areas must necessarily involve one in considerable discomforts and hardships; and I am indebted to Aurangzeb of Parona and Kashmali, my servant, for their patient struggles in what they regarded as the most terrible of countries. For my own part, the magnificence of nature and glimpses into an extraordinary culture offered ample compensations for such discomforts as were inevitable.

Reference (Source of Information):

Fredrik Barth, Indus and Swat Kohistan, An Anthropological Survey, STUDIES, HONOURING THE CENTENNIAL OF UNIVERSITETETS, ETNOGRAFISKE MUSEUM, OLSO, 1857-1957, VOLUME II, 6.

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