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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Then proceeding along the Nushki plain from east to west


The people of the district are extremely religious, and they have erected Mesjids and Ziarats on every possible hill in the neighbourhood. The most interesting is the Shah-Hussein Ziarat, which has a curious legend of its own. They say, that when the Arabs attacked Shah-Hussein, he killed all his enemies by merely praying to God. With their heads, which suddenly turned into solid stone, he built the Ziarat. The tomb is made, in fact, of round stones, some of enormous size, evidently worn into that shape by water, but the natives firmly believe that they are petrified heads of Arabs!

Nushki is most conveniently situated in a large valley with mountains sheltering it from the north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west, but from south-south-west to north there is a stretch of open flat desert (the _Registan_, or "country of sand") as far as the eye can see. To the south of the bungalow is a hill range stretching from north-north-east to south-south-west, and suddenly broken by the valley, through which runs the stream which, then proceeding along the Nushki plain from east to west, turns in a graceful curve round the western side of the hill on which the bungalow is situated, and proceeds across the desert in a north-north-west direction, where, having supplied several villages and irrigated their fields, it eventually exhausts itself in the desert. A broad river bed can be noticed on the east side of and parallel with the above hill range. The east side of these hills has been much worn by water action; so much so that actual holes and caves in the soft strata of sand and gravel have been corroded by the water, and these holes, as we have seen, are now inhabited by destitute Beluch.

CHAPTER XL

The fast growing city of Nushki--The Tashil--the Tashildar--Beluch law--Hospital--Pneumonia and consumption--Lawn tennis--The Nushki Bazaar--Satisfactory trade returns--The projected Quetta-Nushki Railway--A great future for Nushki--An extension to Sistan necessary--Also a telegraph--Preferable routes for a railway to Sistan--From Nushki to Kishingi--A curious Mesjid--Mudonek Ateng Mountain--A fast of twenty-five days--The Chiltan and Takatu Mts.--The Gurghena tribe--Huts and tents--Beluch hospitality--Villages.

Let us take a walk through the fast growing city of Nushki. Half a dozen years ago there was next to nothing here, but now we have a beautiful _Tashil_--a large walled enclosure, with a portico all round inside and circular towers at the four corners. The actual Tashil office, occupying the north-east corner, has a most business-like appearance, with handsome iron despatch-boxes, clocks that mark each a different time, but look most imposing all the same, and folio-documents folded in two and carefully arranged in piles upon the floor by the side of wise-looking clerks squatting in their midst. The Tashildar himself, Sardar Mahommed Yuzaf Khan Popalzai, is a much respected man of Afghan birth, of the Bamezi Popalzai Durranis, or descendants of the tribe reigning in Cabul before Mahommed Zeis took the throne, when his ancestors and the Saddo Zeis were forcibly banished from the country.


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