“…they have enemies in every direction”

In 1832, Alexander Burnes an Englishman in the service of British India government on his way from Kabul to Bukhara passed through Bamiyan, and out of curiosity, paid a visit to a Hazara family in that province. His description of the Hazaras in 19th century interestingly resembles the today situation, with one little exception that now the Hazara people know about money – even if they don’t own a lot of it.

“These people have no money, and are almost ignorant of its value. We got everything from them by barter… a traveller among them can only purchase the necessaries of life by giving a few yards of coarse cloth, a little tobacco, pepper, or sugar, which are here appreciated far above their value. The Huzaras are a simple-hearted people, and differ much from the Afghan tribes. In physiognomy, they more resemble Chinese, with their square faces and small ayes. They are Tartars by descent, and one of their tribes is now called Tartar Huzaras. There is a current belief that they bestow their wives on their guests, which is certainly erroneous. The women have great influence, and go unveiled: they are handsome and not very chaste; which has perhaps given rise to the scandal among their Soonee neighbours, who detest them as heretics. Were their country not strong, they would soon be extirpated; for they have enemies in every direction.” (p. 177-8)

Burnes , A. (1834).Travels Into Bokhara; Being The Account of A Journey from India to Cabool, Tartary, and Persia; also, Narrative of A Voyage on The Indus, from the Sea to Lahore. Vol. 1. London: John Murray


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