Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Moving the mountains

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Our porters are of singular courage, strength and resolve. This is true wherever they be they from: Baltistan, Shimshal, Chitral or Kaghan. The Shimshalis are great fun-loving ranksters, they sing, joke and laugh with abandon. The Baltis may be generally quieter, but they have a sharp sense of humour. The Chitralis are the most generous and kind. The people of Kaghan concentrate on the work at hand.

I have never yet come across a mountain guide or porter who lacked courage or strength. In loyalty too they are remarkable, going to great lengths to help their wards. They will help you across difficult stretches or through streams and be always ready with a word of encouragement when you begin to flag. Their understanding of topography is remarkable which, I suppose, comes from a lifetime living among the mountains. Similarly their knowledge of weather conditions is surprising. In lightly falling snow, my Shimshali friend Yahya Beg felt the snowflakes between his fingers and declared that before nightfall, the sky would be clear. He said he knew from the quality of the flakes. And sure enough, we had a beautiful starlit night!

Similarly, Hasan Jan from Hushe predicted snow one evening. And we had snow!
Related: Abdul Karim

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 1:06 PM,

5 Comments:

At March 29, 2013 at 9:34 PM, Blogger Nayyar Julian said...

Interesting. I read profile of Karim. Our porters are "real men" earning their living the hard way and no recognition. Wonderful story of human courage.

 
At March 29, 2013 at 10:02 PM, Anonymous Zurriat Ali said...

Ap ko seway gumnay phrnay ky aur koi kaam ni sir?

 
At April 1, 2013 at 12:23 AM, Anonymous Kausar Bilal said...

Beautiful! An awesome picture of mountain guides vital role in human life. Wish to visit the place.

 
At June 13, 2013 at 10:29 PM, Anonymous Avery S said...

Porters (call then guides) serve as portals to the outdoors, playing a critical role in introducing people to outdoor recreation and sports. And since they often spend more time in the field than even travelers, porters serve as eyes and ears for travelers.

 
At June 14, 2013 at 12:40 PM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

They, porters and guides, are wonderful people. One can truly start to appreciate them after one has travelled long with them. Their fortitude and sense of commitment to the work at hand is admirable.

 

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My Books

Deosai: Land of the Gaint - New

The Apricot Road to Yarkand


Jhelum: City of the Vitasta

Sea Monsters and the Sun God: Travels in Pakistan

Salt Range and Potohar Plateau

Prisoner on a Bus: Travel Through Pakistan

Between Two Burrs on the Map: Travels in Northern Pakistan

Gujranwala: The Glory That Was

Riders on the Wind

Books at Sang-e-Meel

Books of Days