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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Began to be attracted to Nushki


[Illustration:

Beluch Huts thatched with Palm Leaves and Tamarisk.]

An agreement of submission and allegiance was made by the Maliks of Zhob, Bori and the Muza Khal, and Sardar Shahbaz Khan, on November 22nd, 1884, and they further undertook to pay a fine of Rs.22,000, to put a stop to further raiding in British territory, and raise no opposition to British troops being stationed in Zhob and Bori. The occupation of Zhob took place in 1889-90, when the Somal Pass was opened up, and the tribes intervening between the Zhob and the Punjab in the Suliman range were subsequently added to the district.

FOOTNOTES:

[7] See Treaties, Engagements and Sanads. Aitchison, Office Superintendent Government Printing, Calcutta.

CHAPTER XXXVII

The evolution of Nushki--The Zagar Mengal tribe--Tribal feuds--Competition in trade--Venturesome caravans--Pasand Khan--Dalbandin and its geographical situation--Game big and small--Dates--A famous Ziarat--A Beluch burial ground--Preparing corpses for interment--How graves are cut into the ground--Beluch marriages--Beluch thoughtfulness towards newly married couples--A mark of respect.

Having given a general sketch of the agreements with the principal chiefs we will now return to matters relating

to the most important point, the pivot, as it were, of our route--Nushki.

When Nushki was taken over by the British Government, the leading tribe in the district was the Zagar Mengal, a Brahui tribe. They had settled in Nushki approximately a century or 150 years ago, and were a most powerful tribe, supposed to number about 9,000, a large proportion of whom lived in Registan (country of sand), to the north and mostly north-east of Nushki across the Afghan frontier. The Zagar Mengal Sardar was in Nushki itself, and he had a right of levying what is termed in Beluch, _Sunge_ (a transit due) on all merchandise passing through Nushki. Foreseeing how such a right would interfere with trade, the British Government came to terms with the Sardar, by which, instead of his transit dues, he undertook what is called in Beluchistan a _noukri_ or service (old custom by which a man supplies a number of _sawars_ and is responsible for them).

The next thing was to settle all the tribal feuds. Three or four tribes were at war. Cases were carefully inquired into and settled according to Beluch law, through the medium of a tribal _jirga_, a council of elders. One case led to another and eventually all were settled up to everybody's satisfaction.

In the meantime traders from Shikarpur, from Quetta, and Kelat, began to be attracted to Nushki; a bazaar was started and is fast growing from year to year. One hundred thousand rupees have already been spent on it, with the result that a number of competing traders came in. Competition resulted in good prices, which further attracted trade, first from the districts to the north in the immediate vicinity of Nushki, and later from further and further afield.

The name of Nushki--practically unknown a few years ago--is at present well known everywhere, and the place has, indeed, become quite an important trade centre. From Nushki, as we have seen, a chain of posts, manned by local Beluch levies, was pushed west as far as Robat on the Persian frontier. Even as late as 1897 trade in these parts was limited to a few articles of local consumption, and Persian trade was represented by a stray caravan from Sistan that had forced its way to Nushki and frequently lost men, camels and goods on the way. The venturesome caravans seldom numbered more than one or two a year, and were at the mercy of a Mamasani Beluch called Pasand Khan, who lived in Sistan and levied blackmail on such caravans as came through. This man was well acquainted with all the marauders who haunted the stretch of country south of the Halmund between Sistan and Chagai. Pasand Khan levied at the rate of twenty krans (about 8s. 4d.) per camel, and saw the caravans in comparative safety as far as Chagai, from which point they were left to their own devices and had to force their way through to Quetta as best they could.


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