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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Which commands a ready sale both in Khorassan and Sistan


In the northern portion of the main street are the few shops with English and Russian goods. Most of the articles I saw in the couple of Indian shops were of Indian or English importation--many of the articles appeared to me of German manufacture, like the usual cheap goods one sees in the Indian bazaars.

On the opposite side of the road was the rival merchant who dealt in Russian goods, and he seemed to be doing quite a brisk business. He appeared to deal mostly in clothes. There is a kind of moleskin Russian cloth called the _shikin maghut_, of various shades, colours and qualities, which commands a ready sale both in Khorassan and Sistan, although its price is high and its quality and dye not particularly good. With a little enterprise Indian manufacturers could certainly make a similar and better cloth and easily undersell the Russian material.

It is most satisfactory to find from Captain Webb-Ware's statement that Indian trade by the Nushki-Sistan route, which was absolutely nil in the year 1895-96, and only amounted to some 64,000 rupees in 1896-97, made a sudden jump to 589,929 rupees in the following twelve months, 1897-98. It has since been steadily on the increase, as can be seen by the following figures:--

1898-99 Rupees 728,082 1899-1900 " 1,235,411 1900-01 " 1,534,452

These figures are the total amount of imports and exports by the Nushki route, beginning from 1st of April each year. In 1900-01 the imports were Rs. 748,021; the exports Rs. 786,431.

When the route comes to be better known the returns will inevitably be greatly increased, but of course only a railway--or a well-conducted service of motor vans--can make this route a really practical one for trade on a large scale. The cost of transport at present is too great.

A point which should be noted in connection with the railway is that every year a great number of horses are brought from Meshed to India _via_ Quetta for remount purposes. In 1900-01 the number of horses brought by dealers to Quetta amounted to 408, and as the Khorassan horses are most excellent, they were promptly sold at very remunerative prices. The average price for a capital horse in Persia is from 80 to 100 rupees (15 rupees to L1). I understand that these horses when in Quetta are sold by dealers to Government at an average of 300 rupees each, leaving a very large profit indeed. As horses are very plentiful in Khorassan, if a railway existed the Government could remount its cavalry at one-third of the present cost.

Adjoining Sher-i-Nasrya to the south is the partly ruined village of Husseinabad. It has a wall, now collapsed, and a moat which forms an obtuse angle with the east wall of Sher-i-Nasrya. There are in this village some miserable little mud houses still standing up and inhabited, and the high-walled, gloomy mud building of the Russian Vice-Consulate which has lately been erected, opposite to an extensive graveyard.


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