Home > Uncategorized > [Opinion] 1974,Time Magazine’s Views about Hunza

[Opinion] 1974,Time Magazine’s Views about Hunza

apricots drying 



Exit the Apricot Prince

Monday, Oct. 07, 1974

 Hunza is a very small state. It lies in the Karakoram Mountains north of Pakistan. The 40,000 or so Hunzarwals live on barley and millet but they love apricots. In Hunza, for instance, it was long customary for a pretty girl to refuse to marry anyone who lived in one of the few places where apricots did not grow. 

After marriage (mothers-in-law often went along on the honeymoon) wives would practice a unique form of birth control: if a woman became pregnant she stayed away from her husband’s bed until the child was weaned two years later. A Hunzarwal saying goes: “Better a home with no roof than one with no view.”

The once fierce Hunzarwals are descended, it is said, from three roving soldiers in the army of Alexander the Great. For the last 900 years they have been ruled by a Mir (or Prince) from the somnolent capital city of Baltit. From now on, though, they will be ruled by bureaucrats from Islamabad. Last week the Pakistan government, which already had taken responsibility for Hunza’s external affairs, communications and defense, formally absorbed the ancient feudal principality without violence. The 40th Mir, one Mohammed Janal Khan, was put out of office and on a pension.

Back in 1951 the Mir had been very worried because word came that gold had been discovered in Hunza. His relief was great when the report proved false. A gold rush, explained the Mir, “would have meant the end of our way of life.” source

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