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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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Rural Romance and Refuge from Civilization

Rural Romance and Refuge from Civilization

(p.88) Chapter 4 Rural Romance and Refuge from Civilization
Remoteness and Modernity

Shafqat Hussain

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the construction of Hunza's remoteness within the discourse of antimodernism. During the mid-twentieth century, a number of Western medical doctors and farmers visited the region, fascinated with the remarkably good health of the people of Hunza, which they attributed to the traditional methods of agriculture and food production that had flourished because of Hunza's isolation from the world. If Hunza's location earlier was seen as being on the margins of—and even beyond—civilization, it was now seen as a refuge from civilization and modern society. It was depicted as a rural utopia likened to the mythical city of Shangri-la. Aware of his diminishing power, the mir manipulated tourists'representation of his domain as remote by playing along in a hopeless effort to strengthen his position against the Pakistani state, whose own policies reinforced Hunza as remote, albeit being connected more with the mainstream society and economy.

Keywords:   Hunza, remoteness, antimodernism, traditional agriculture, traditional food production, isolation, rural utopia, mir, Pakistani state

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