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Remoteness and ModernityTransformation and Continuity in Northern Pakistan$
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Shafqat Hussain

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300205558

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300205558.001.0001

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Lifting the Veil

Lifting the Veil

The Sacred and Political Geography of Hunza

(p.21) Chapter 1 Lifting the Veil
Remoteness and Modernity

Shafqat Hussain

Yale University Press

This chapter looks into the construction of Hunza's remoteness in the socio-spatial domain of geographical exploration. It describes how the explorations and surveys performed in the region resulted not only in acquisition of geopolitical information, including descriptions and cataloguing of people and space but also in an exaggerated sense of uniqueness. In the British Empire's account, the region was the origin of sacred rivers and of people who were the ancestors of both Indians and Europeans. That is, the British viewed the inhabitants as the ancestors of the Aryan race. They discovered similarities in Latin, Greek, Persian, and Sanskrit texts and languages as proof of the existence of a proto-language spoken by the people of Hunza. In their explorations, the British Empire deployed the discourse of “lifting the veil” to construct the region as full of mystery and mystique and, hence, an appropriate and suitable candidate for exploration.

Keywords:   Hunza, remoteness, geographical exploration, British Empire, sacred rivers, ancestors, Aryan Race, Indians, Europeans

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