Salman Rashid

Travel writer, Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Travel writers are myth busters

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I first wrote in 1986 that the Kalasha people of Chitral are NOT of Greek descent. That was a time when everyone, including everyone, believed that. Now, thankfully, DNA testing has shown my assertion to be true.

There have always been quasi-religious stories of the power of holy men. The story of the struggle between Wali Kandahari and Guru Nanak and the resulting hand print in Hasan Abdal is shown to be false by history. Wali Kandahari died twenty years before Guru Nanak was born. Not that Guru Nanak was not one of the greatest spiritual leader.

The myth of the Karakoram Highway being the old Silk Road. The road between Hunza and Kashgar was a local travel route. No long distance trade came into the subcontinent this way. Least of all silk. The old trade route from, say, Yarkand or Kashgar was over the Karakoram Pass in the east that led to Leh (Ladakh) and eventually Srinagar via Kargil.

Then there are the several stories of Invisible Saints. The one just outside the PTV station in Lahore can easily be investigated. Another is the Jhandian vali Sarkar at Choa Kariala midway between Kharian and Jhelum. This one is a complete and total fraud. It was created after the famous signal exercise November Handicap. The place where the so-called tomb now stands was one of the gun positions of 14 Field Regiment Artillery. Someone saw the flags and the rifleman’s trench and turned it into a Pir Ghaib who had gone into purdah.

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posted by Salman Rashid @ 8:00 AM,

8 Comments:

At April 7, 2016 at 2:04 PM, Blogger Arslankataya said...

So Salman the buster.
There is a town between Rahimyarkhan and Khanpur by the name Zahirpeer. So it must be opposite of Peerghaib.

 
At April 7, 2016 at 2:39 PM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Sounds logical. The corollary to Pir Ghaib can only be a fraud that is Zahir.

 
At April 7, 2016 at 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aha, u are at it again. the holy men are not going to like u !!!

Personally I don' think there is anything wrong in these sort of beliefs or traditions as long as folks don't start going on warpath. Making a little money on the side, I guess that's ok!!
Enjoyed the post.

 
At April 8, 2016 at 4:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Salman very good article. Could you name a religious authority who is clean these days and can be listened to ?

 
At April 8, 2016 at 12:03 PM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Javed Ghamidi is the ONLY clean religious scholar who should be heeded. As well as him there is Maulvi Jahangir Mahmood who does a programme on FM radio. I don't know his channel.

 
At April 9, 2016 at 12:33 PM, Blogger Farrukh Nazir said...

My grandfather Mian Abdul Hameed had been in charge of whole trade between Kashgar and India via Lagakh. He was stationed at Sirinagar looking after that trade rule. His title was Aqasqal and was called Khan Sahib Mian Bdul Hameed. He belonged to Mian Family of Baghbanpura.

 
At April 9, 2016 at 4:34 PM, Anonymous Salman Rashid said...

Aqsaqal is Turkish for White (Aq) Beard (Saqal). Good to know that an Arain of Baghbanpura held such an important station. If you live in Lahore, please text me your phone number. You can find mine on the "home" and "About" page.

 
At April 9, 2016 at 7:33 PM, Blogger Farrukh Nazir said...

Thanks a lot for reply. My cell is 03334236178 and I live in Lahore. I have a lot to share with you. Insha Allah,

 

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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