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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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The Friction and Rhetoric of Distance and the Alterity of Hunza

The Friction and Rhetoric of Distance and the Alterity of Hunza

(p.43) Chapter 2 The Friction and Rhetoric of Distance and the Alterity of Hunza
Remoteness and Modernity

Shafqat Hussain

Yale University Press

This chapter views the construction of remoteness at the Hunza region from the perspective of categorization and governance of imperial territory. It uses the discourses of “friction of distance” and “rhetoric of distance” in this perspective, rendering Hunza as a remote place and inhabited by primitive and savage people. The resistance of the leader of the region, called “mir”, to British Empire frontier policy and his political machinations with Russia and China made him a quintessential savage who did not understand the concept of civilization, which the British thought they were “bringing” to Hunza. Aside from savages, the people of Hunza were constructed as caravan raiders who wreaked havoc on trade. While the British viewed the people of Hunza as remote and isolated, the rulers of Hunza positioned themselves differently: at the center of three powerful empires (British, Chinese, and Russian) rather than at the edges of civilization.

Keywords:   remoteness, Hunza, categorization, governance, imperial territory, friction of distance, rhetoric of distance, mir, civilization, British Empire

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