April 12, 2005
I was scanning a children's book I picked up in Mongolia for some of the illustrations, when I began to notice that the images taken together give a portrait of a somewhat harsh life:
. . . .
Notes on the Bashgali Language by Colonel J. Davidson of the Indian Staff Corps, Calcutta 1901, a collection of 1,744 common Bashgali sentences with English translations. The sentences give a disturbing impression of life in Chitral at that time. I originally came across these in Eric Newby's excellent travel adventure A Short Walk in The Hindu Kush.. Chitral is in current day Pakistan/Afganistan.
Some of the sentences in Notes on the Bashgali Language
-If you have had diarrhoea many days you will surely die.
-Don't drink water; a snake will grow in your bowel.
-I saw a corpse in the field this morning.
-Thy father fell into the river.
-I have nine fingers, you have ten.
-The dwarf has come to ask for food.
-I had an intention to kill you.
-A gust of wind came and took off all my clothes.
-An eagle came down from the sky and took off my cock.
-You are a very jabbering man.
-Why do you kick my horse? I will kick you.
-Why do you push me? I will kill your son.
-I will sleep now. If you try to kill me I will curse your children's children.
-How long have you been a leper?
The book ends with a short section of dialogs. They also are slightly unsettling. An example:
-I have seen your yellow dog by the river.
-My dog is spotted and is scared of water.
-That spotted dog maimed my child.
-Your child is stupid and should not have provoked it.