Thursday, 9 July 2015

History of Gilgit the capital of North Pakistan

The capital of Northern Areas of Pakistan is Gilgit. It is thriving frontier town, expanded rapidly about 283,000 inhabitants since the opening of the Karakorum Highway in 1978, connecting with the rest of Pakistan and China. The bazaar is full of with people traders of different parts of Pakistan, Pathans, Punjabis, Balochese, Chitralis and many others speaking babble languages.
   It has pleasant climate in the in the summer and freezing in the winter at altitude of 1,500 metres above sea level.
  Gilgit has been the inhabited for thousands of years. The various waves of invaders that passed through Pakistan also reached to Gilgit, and their various beliefs and costumes were layered on one top of the other. The animism of the early inhabitant from Iran, which was modified in turn by Hinduism following the Aryans, invasion about 1700 BC.
From the first century BC, Gilgit was an important staging post on the Silk Route from China and the Chinese wielded considerable influence in the area. Inscriptions and pictures carved on the rocksaround Gigit tell us about the history, as does the collection of sixth, to eleventh century, Buddhist manuscripts discovered in Kargah near the Gilgit town in 1930.
  There were Buddhist from the fourth century to the eleventh century, Gilgit was mostly Buddhist Gilgit and Yasin were together called the Little Bolor according to the Chinese Tang Annals, with its capital in Yasin.
 Early in the eighth century, three great powers- China, Arabia and Tibet jostled for control here. Some of the rock carvings around Gilgit list the Tebitan kings who ruled in the seventh and eigth centuries. In 725, according to a rock in Gilgit the kingdom of Great and Little Bolor merged under the Tebitan rule. There was a short Chinese interlude from 747 to 715, when the Chinese invaded successfully across the Broghil and Darkot passes and captured Yasin, before being driven back by the Arabs from the west.
  In 711 BC the Muslims forces invaded to the sub-continent from the south by sea, simultaneously reaching Xinjang in the North and Muhammad Bin Qasim was successful in the south, but the northern invasion was repulsed.
  Tenth century brought the invasion of the Shins, a Eurpoid people who spoke Shina still the language of most parts of the Northern Areas drove the native Brushaski speakers up into Hunza, Nagar and Yasin. The Shins may have been Hindus as were Hindu Shahi kings who then ruled upper Pakistan from their capital at Hund on the Indus, just below the modern Tarbela Dame.
  After the fifteen century, the whole northern areas gradually converted to Islam, Pathan came up the Indus from Swat in about the sixteenth century, and the people of Baltistan came from Kashmir before the seventeenth century. Finally early in the nineteenth century the mir of Hunza Salum Khan III, who had been in temporary exile in Badakhshan reached to Hunza converting to Ismaili muslim.
  In 1846 the British sold Kashmir Ladakh, Baltistan and Gilgit to Maharaja of Kashmir Gulab Singh, and appointed him the first maharaja of Kashmir. But the maharaja’s Hindu soldiers could do little to subdue the Muslim tribsmen, despite repeated compaign in the 1850’s and 60’.
After the first Anglo-Sikh war in 1845-46 the British began to worry about a possible Russian invasion through mountain to Kashmir, inducing them to take more active interest in Northern frontier. In 1877, they sent a political agent to Gilgit, the most isolated outpost of the British Empire, to prevent the Russian destabilising the remote mountains kingdoms with influence gain through gifts and promises. There was also the fear that the Russian invasion of India, which was expected via the Khyber and Bolan passes, secondary light weight Russian thrust penetrate the Karakorum and Hindukus passes, totally cut off by snow for eight months of the year, the first British agency failed. It was too small and isolated to make its presence fell and it ended abruptly in 1881.

  The second agency established in 1889, forced better. By then the route from Srinagar via Astore had been improved; there was a telegraph link and the agency included a full compliment of British soldiers.  There followed a series of campaigns to subdue the surrounding kingdoms: in 1891, the British led by Colonel Algernon Durand, overran Hunza. In 1893, they strengthened thefort in Chilas to defend the new road over Babusar pass against the kohistani tribes. The year1895 saw the dramatic rescue of the garrison at Chitral fort by 500 troops from Gilgit who marched across the Shandur pass.


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