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.

posted at 01:12 PM by raul

Filed under: noted

TAGS: afganistan (5) bashgali (1) eric newby (1) hindu kush (1) language (2) pashtu (1) translation (1)


04/12/05 03:15 PM

...that's pretty harsh.

the quote "Why do you push me? I will kill your son" in particular shocked me for a bit.

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