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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Quite a number of Beluch were settled at Mushki Chah


At this particular Ziarat, a small marble mortar with pestle and a marble hammer, occupied the most prominent place. A flint arrow head was also in evidence. Further was perched a curious doll with a string and charm round its neck, and some chips of beautiful transparent streaked yellow marble like bits of lemon. From the pole hung a circle of wood and horns, as well as coarse wooden imitations of horned animals' skulls. Offerings of palm leaves had also been deposited.

West of the Ziarat was a small semicircular Mesjid of brown stone, with a few white marble pieces to the north by north-west, and, further, long heaps of stones extending in a north by north-west direction. The last one was in the shape of a grave with a high white stone pillar to the south.

The new bungalow, of which the foundations were just being laid, will be erected near this Ziarat.

Quite a number of Beluch were settled at Mushki-Chah, and some lived in small quadrangular mud houses, with a black tent stretched over the walls to act as roof; or else they had put up coarse huts made of branches of tamarisk and thatched with palm tree leaves and tamarisk, in which they lived--apparently in the most abject poverty. Yet, although these residences were often not higher than five or six feet, their owners did not lack pride. In Beluchistan as in England, the home of a man is his castle. The Beluch, however--most unlike the English--would not let anybody who did not belong to his creed go into it.

The occupations of the stay-at-home people did not seem to have an excess of variety, and consisted mainly of plaiting fuses for their matchlocks, keeping the threads tightly stretched by means of a wooden bow. There were but few coarse implements inside their huts, and a bag or two with grain. A long matchlock and a sword or two lay in a corner in most dwellings, and that was about all.

The house of the chief was somewhat more elaborate, having trunks of palm trees inserted vertically into the stone wall to strengthen it. It had a mud and stone enclosing wall, and trophies of heads of _dumbahs_ near the flat roof. In one room of this dwelling lived the family, in the other the animals. An out-of-door enclosure for horses was also noticeable. Two mud huts were next to it.

The thatched semispherical huts of palm tree leaves and tamarisk were also interesting, as was the windmill, identical with those already seen in Sistan.

On my arrival at Mushki-Chah two large tents had been placed at my disposal--the first time I had been under a tent on this journey--and I received a great many callers. A very amusing incident occurred when I asked an old Beluch and his two sons to sit for their photographs. They put on a sarcastic smile and said they would rather die a natural death than be taken. The old man, who said he had heard all about "the black boxes," as he styled cameras, and all the mischief they could do, complained that since one or two sahibs had passed along the route carrying "black boxes" a great many Beluch had been taken ill, had misfortunes of all kinds, and those who actually had the camera pointed at them had died from the effects. One sahib had offered him, personally, a bag of silver if he would only sit for his picture, but "No, sir, not I!" said the father, as he shook his head and scratched his beard; and "No, sir, not we!" echoed the grinning youths, "never shall we be taken!"


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