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By Victoria Schofield

"Every rock, each hill has its story", Winston Churchill wrote of the North-West Frontier, and here's the whole tale of those turbulent lands. opposed to a heritage of the historical past and geography of the sector, the writer paints a shiny photo of this awesome position. Drawing on written files, soldier's letters, memsahibs' journals, tourists' stories and primary hand event, Victoria Schofield unravels the background of the North-West Frontier layer by way of layer.

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There remains in Chitrali folklore the story of a weary traveller who managed to reach Chitral. He sits down to rest by the side of a stream on green velvet grass. Floating in the stream he sees luscious fruits, mulberries, apples, pears, grapes, cherries mingled with ice cubes. He eats his fill and lies down to sleep. When he finally returns to his village he recounts his experience in the local mosque. But the mullah silences him, since he is anxious that the people should not think that the traveller has come back from Paradise.

Abbottabad, the main town in Hazara, is named after James Abbott who was a popular nineteenth-century administrator; and Haripur takes its name from Ranjit Singh’s general, Hari Singh, from the time when the Sikhs ruled the Punjab. A legend surrounds the name of the lake of Saiful Maluk in the valley of Kagan at the northern tip of Hazara, near the town of Naran; a prince of Delhi heard that a fairy queen lived in the mountains near the great 26,660-foot mountain of Nanga Parbat (‘the Naked Mountain’) in Chilas State.

The Turkish bath Benumbing cold and scorching heat combine to make the whole area at times quite unbearable. ’ Heat is a factor which has caused discomfort (and worse) to many a European. Jack Lowis, a British political officer in 1935, wrote from Tank to his sister back in the cooler climate of England. I have never found the heat so appalling. Only stayed a couple of hours in the office. Four men got heat stroke that day, of which one died in the evening and another nearly died and is still bad.

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