Hunza

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CONFIDENTIAL

 

LETTER FROM THE RESIDENT IN KAHSMIR, NO. F. 18-C. /35, DATED SRINAGAR,  THE 8TH OCTOBER 1936.

I have the honour to invite a reference to the correspondence ending with Mr. Caroe’s demi-official letter No. F. 206-X/35, dated the 7th November 1935, and to enclose a copy of a letter received from the Political Agent, Gilgit, No. 93-T., dated the 8th September 193, submitting proposals for compensating the Mir of Hunza for the loss of his rights in Chinese Turkistan.

In regard to grazing in the Nalter valley to be made available for the flocks of the Mir of Hunza the Political Agent is of opinion that after satisfying the requirements of the villagers of Nomal and Naltar there is ample grazing ground available and that the Mir can be allowed grazing for 500 head of sheep and goats and 200 yaks. As there is no separate grazing tax in the Gilgit sub-Division the concession given the Mir would not result in any loss of revenue. Further, that no existing rights of the villagers would be disturbed by allowing the Mir grazing within a restricted area.

2.  In regard to the Mir’s loss of cultivating rights in Raskam the Political Agent suggests that the Mir of Hunza should be given part of an area known as Oshkan Das situated at the mouth of the Bagrote Nullah belonging to the villagers of Fafuh and Bulchi. The land comprises 312 acres and the villagers have no objection to the transaction provided that the Mir constructs a Kuhl large enough to irrigate the whole area of 1188 acres. The Mir ha s agreed to this, provided that the holds the land revenue free. The Political Agent further suggests that the land to be given should be treated as a Jagir in perpetuity subject to the kuhl being completed within two years and thereafter maintained in good repair.

3.  In paragraph 2 of his letter the Political Agent has mentioned that the Mir’s estate in Yarkand was purchased by his grand father 90 years ago and has been held ever since. In paragraph 4 of my letter No. D.-482-C/35, dated the 30th July 1935, I have mentioned that the Yarkand Estate was granted to Mir Shah Ghazanfur of Hunza in recognition of his services for rendering assistance in overcoming the rebellion of the seven Kholas in Yarkhand. The Political Agent informs me that Mir denies this and that there is no authority for this except that 4 and 5 of his letter the Political Agent has dwelt on the heavy loss of prestige which the Mir must lose by the severance of relations with Sinkiang which have existed for 170 years.

He does not consider that compensation of grazing rights in Naltar and some waste land elsewhere is adequate compensation. He points out that the Mir has been consistently loyal during his rule of 44 years and is much respected not only in the Gilgit Agency but also in SInkiang.

4. Finally the Political Agent gives his considered opinion that the Mir should be   given :–

  1. grazing rights in the Natar valley,
  2. grant of rent free Jagir at Bagrote as proposed,
  3. and increase in his annual subsidy of Rs. 2,000, and the grant of a title, preferably the K.C.S.L., as compensation for the discontinuance of his annual present from Kashgar, for the loss of prestige and for adverse effect which the severance of relations with China will have on his trade and revenues derived from his Yarkhand estate.

5. So far as grazing in the Naltar Valley is concerned the Political Agent is not happy at the idea of to some extent, mortgaging the future of the permanent inhabitants and he is further doubtful whether the Mir really needs the area or whether the Mir really needs the area or whether he would not prefer cash compensation. He suggests that grazing might be given as an experiment for three years.

Personally I am of opinion that there is ample grazing in the Naltar Valley and that if a defined area as suggested by the Political Agent is allotted for the Mir’s flocks the necessity of giving Rs. 500 per annum for loss of grazing fees need not be considered.

If however no grazing is allotted then I consider that the Mir should receive as compensation Rs. 1,000 per annum made up of Rs. 500 on account of loss of grazing in the Taghdumbash Pamir and Rs. 500 on account of the loss of his grazing fees.

I support the suggestion that the grazing should in the first instance be given for three years.

6.  The grant of a Jagir at Bagrote as suggested by the Political Agentwould considerably benefit the Gilgit sub-Division as the construction of the kuhl would result in 800 acres of fallow land being brought under irrigation in addition to the 312 acres given in Jagir. The villagers are unable to construct the Kuhl and welcome the idea of the Mir of Hunza, ho is a past master at the art, doing the work for them. In the circumstances I strongly support the suggestion that the Mir should be given 312 acres of land in the Bagrote Nullah in perpetuity as a Jagir free of assessment, subject to his constructing within a period of two years a Kuhl large enough to provide water to irrigate the whole area of 1188 acres in the Oshkan Das.

7.  In my letter No. F. 18-c./35 of the 21st October 1935, I recommended that, in the event of it being decided to discontinue permanently the present to Kashgar, the Mir should receive Rs. 2,000 annually as compensation.

The Political Agent has strongly urged the necessity of an increase of the Mir’s subsidy to the extent of this amount. I am of opinion that the annual present should be definitely stopped and that al relations between the Mir of Hunza and the Chinese authorities should be discouraged and if possible definitely abolished.

The severance of all relations must ultimately result in the loss to the Mir of his Jagir in Yarkand and I feel that compensation to the extent of an increase in his subsidy of Rs. 2,000 is the least that can be given.

In regard to the Political Agent’s strong recommendation that the Mir should be honoured by the grant of the title of K.C.S.I., I am of opinion that the grant would be much longer. In the circumstances I would support the suggestion that the Mir should receive an annual increase in his subsidy of Rs. 2,000 and the grant of the title of K.C.S.I.

If the Government of India agree in principle to my recommendation I will submit a separate proposal in regard to the honour in the Special Coronation Honours List.

_______________

Copy to the Political Agent, Gilgit, for information, with reference to his letter, No. 93T., dated the 8th September 1936.

Enclosure to Serial No. (13).

LETTER FROM THE POLITICAL AGENT, GILGIT, TO THE ASSISTANT TO THE RESIDENT IN KASHMIR, NO. 93-T. Of 1936,  DATED CAMP NALTAR, THE 8TH SEPTEMBER 1936.

I have the honour to submit official proposals for compensating the Mir of Hunza for the loss of his rights in Chinese Turkistan as asked for by the Resident in Kashmir in the last paragraph of his confidential demi-official letter No. F. 18-C/35, dated the 2nd December 1935. I presume that the previous correspondence on this subject will now be treated as official and that it is not necessary for me to review in detail the history of the Mir’s connection with Sinkiang as this has been dealt with by the resident in his demi-official letter to the Government of India No. D. 482-C/35, dated the 30th July 1935.

2. Briefly the rights of the Mir at present are :-

(i)           To graze his own flocks free on the Taghdumbash§ Pamirs from the Wakhijir pass in the west to Dafdar in the north and the Oprang Pass in the south-east. To levy a tax on the Kirghiz Nomads who graze their flocks in that region. These rights have been enjoyed almost continuously for a period of 170 years.

(ii)          To exchange presents, in which the exchange is considerably to his advantage, with the Chinese Representative in Sinkiang. This custom also dates back 170 years.

(iii)        To cultivate certain lands in Raskam as a tenant of the Chinese Government. He has now done this for at least forty years.

Although these three are always looked upon as constituting the Mir’s rights he is also the owner of a valuable estate in Yarkand. This estate was purchased by his grandfather Mir Shah Ghazanfar some 90 years ago and has been held tenaciously ever since.

3. It is now the intention of the Government of India that the Mir of Hunza should sever all his relations with Sinkiang, giving up those rights enumerated in the previous paragraph, and receive instead such compensation as may appear to them to be suitable.

(1)  It has been suggested that for the loss of his rights othe Taghdumbash Pamirs he should be given, Inter alia, grazing rights in the Naltar Valley (Survey Map 42 L squares A/3 and A/4c) situated in the Gilgit Sub-division, provided a satisfactory arrangement can be made with the proprietors. This point has been examined with great care during the course of this summer and I am now in a position to answer the points specifically raised by the Resident in paragraph 3 of his letter No. F. 18-C/35, of the 2nd December 1935.

(a)    The villagers of Nomal and Naltar enjoy grazing rights in the valley up to the limits of the Sub-division on the Ishkoman border. At the Settlement of 1917 very cursory enquiries seem to have been made into these rights. According to the statements of the villagers only six areas out of some sixteen were claimed of which one, the Barkut Nullah, was subsequently allottede to Nagar. These two villages claim to graze 3,000 animals in the valley of which some 2,000 are sheep and goats. They have not confined themselves to the areas originally claimed but wander at will all over the lower part of valley.

(b)    Outsiders have been allowed to graze during the Kashmir Administration. The case of the Barkut Nullah has been mentioned above. Zemindars of Gilgit proper are also allowed to graze their animals on payment of a tax called “Mari Rasoom”.

(c)    After satisfying the legitimate needs of the villagers of Nomal and Naltar and keeping a margin for normal development there is still ample grazing ground available. The exact extent is difficult to say but, having regard to the present population, it is almost unlimited. This does not mean that quarrels over trespass would not arise but if the areas were properly controlled there should be no just cause for grievance. It would be safe to offer the Mir grazing for 500 head of sheep and goats and 200 yaks. This represents what he now claims to be the numbers grazing on the Pamir. Whether he would move his yaks to Naltar is doubtful as it is said that they do not do well there even in the heights tracts.

(d)    There would be no loss of revenue. There is no separate grazing tax in the Sub-division. At the time of Settlement the revenue rates were slightly raised in consideration of the advantage enjoyed by zemindars from the live stock maintained on the tax free grazing areas. The villagers have their own grazing areas in which the right of user alone has been recognized. These areas are ample for their present and, so far as one can see, for their future needs.

(e)    No existing rights would be disturbed by the grant of restricted areas to the Mir. The matter was discussed with the villagers. T first they disagreed, naturally, to let the Mir in. When however it was pointed out that they had ample grazing areas, areas which exceeded those claimed at the Settlement, and the Mir would be confined so as not to trespass o their rights they withdrew their objections.

In view of the above Government would be safe in allotting the Mir an area sufficient to graze 700 head of livestock free in the Naltar Valley. For the preservation of the forests and of the rights of the villagers the Mir would have to guarantee the proper behaviour of his shepherds and make adequate arrangements for watch and ward of his flocks.

(ii) For the probable loss of rights in Raskam it has been suggested that the Mir should be given land on favourable terms in the Gilgit Sub-division.

Reference is invited to Survey Map 43 I square C/1 and B/1. On the right bank of the alluvial fan at the mouth of the Bagrote Nullah is the area known as Oshkan Das. This belongs to the villagers of Farfuh and Buluchi. It is a gently sloping plain 1188 acres in area and these villagers have made several unsuccessful attempts in the past to irrigate it, spending several thousands of rupees on kuhl construction. They have never abandoned the idea of cultivating this fine piece of cultivable waste but the construction of the kuhl is apparently beyond the. They are prepared to give the Mir 2,500 kanals (about 312 acres) of this land on condition that he constructs a kuhl big enough to irrigate the whole area and maintain it himself. The Mir is agreeable to this provided he could hold the land revenue free. The construction of the kuhl would cost hime some two or three thousand rupees. If these proposals as a whole are acceptable. I would recommend that the Mir be given 2,500 kanals as a jagir in perpetuity on condition that within two years he completes the kuhl and thereafter maintains is. The average annual revenue on the jagir would be about 900 rupees at 3 rupees an acre and as this may be taken to represent 1/4th of the net assets the eventual profit, in some ten or fifteen years, should be about 3,600 rupees per annum. At the same time Government would, after a similar period of time, benefit from the revenue of the rest of the land (about 876 acres) to the extent of some 2,500 rupees per annum. This proposal does not directly benefit the people of Hunza but it would provide more and much needed land for the Mir who would doubtless establish his tenantry on it. The Hunzawals who at present cultivate Raskam pay revenue to the Mir. There does not seem any reason in this case to benefit the people to the exclusion of the Mir as it is compensation to the latter which is under consideration. The proposal would certainly be a handsome from of compensation but as it would require considerable initial expenditure by the Mir and not bear fruit for many years it may well be conceived as benefiting the people rather than the present Mir because, whatever may happen, the Mir’s successor will not be allowed to exploit his subjects.

4. The Government of India, on the Information now before them, consider that the grant of grazing rights Naltar and land for cultivation elsewhere is ample compensationnot only for the loss of rights in the Taghdumbash and Raskan but also for the discontinuance of the Chinese present.

I feel that if the compensationis to be assessed purely on a cash and land basis we shall have missed the real point at issue. For one thing it is extremely difficult, in fact impossible,to fix an accurate compensation in cash or land. The Mir may or may not lose much materially though we should remember that if he severs his connection it is quite certain that the Chinese will make things so impossible for him in Yarkand that that estate will rapidly cease to have any value. Even at the present moment they are making things difficult for him there.

The vital aspect of the case to my mind is the fact that the connection of the Mirs of Hunza with China, which it is now proposed to sever, is of verylong standing, going back as it does some 170 years. Its roots are fixed deep in the past and they will not easily be disturbed. For much of that time the Mir and his predecessors have been the de facto controllers of a large area which we admit is beyond the presumptive frontier. But that is our admission, not the Mir’s. He believes, or pretends to believe, that his jurisdiction should extend to Dafdar and, as we know, the Government of India at one time seriously considered a demand for a recognition of a frontier which would include all the Mir’s claims, vide Sir Denys Bray’s letter to J. E. Shuckburgh, Esquire, Secretary, Political Department, India Office, London, No. 165-F. C., dated the 7th September 1917. in all that very considerable area between the red line and the blue on the secret map* the influence of the Mir has been very great until three years ago and even now it is far from negligible. The Mirs have had intimate and on the whole, friendly relations with generations of Chines officials and it is well known how, under the old type of Chinese official, these relations could be exceedingly amiable and productive of the minimum of friction.§ The result has been that Hunza men have moved freely in and out of Sinkiang, frequently ranging up to Kashgar. It has been the practice for the Mir to give his subjects passes as far as Tashkurghan and sometimes beyond and this practice has always been honoured. For trade and barter they have moved without let or hindrance to that it has been easy for the Mir to get a variety of merchandise from the north considerably cheaper than he could from India. His name has been spoken in the oases of southern Sinkiang with a respect seldom accorded to a petty chieftain. At an earlier date the Hunza raiders of Knajut struch terror into Chinese subjects beyond the Yarkand river and even up to Shahidullah but it was at the instance of the British Government that the raiding ceased and that it left no ill feeling with the Chinese is shown by the fact that, while the reputation of those raiders was still fresh in men’s minds, Safdar Ali sought and found an asylum in Sinkiang after his defeat in the Hunza Nagar war of 1891. It is clear then that the severance of the Mir’s relations with Sinkiang will mean more than the mere loss of income or land. His frontier will become a very definite barrier with all the consequent worries one associates with passports and visas. It is extremely unlikely that the present influx of custom free merchandise will conitnue. It may be small but it is of considerable benefit to the Mir. Nor does it seem likely that the Mir’s agents will be permitted to roam Sinkiang in search of horses and goods as they do at present. Though these are all petty matters, in the aggregate they assume importance and even so are nothing to the loss of personal honour. When the Mir has to retire behind the Killik and Mintaka passes will ill be reduced to a very petty chief, no bigger than his cousin of Nagar : he will, to use an apt phrase of Mr. Peter Flaming, , “lose face” everywhere in Sinkiang and in the Agency and it is going to make him very sore. As such he will be a tempting object for Bolshevic intringue. I do not say that he would necessarily succumb to it but there is the danger and it is one that Government very earnestly desires to avoid.

5. I do not therefore consider that the compensation of grazing rights in Naltar and some wast land elsewhere is adequate compensation. The Mir has ruled now for 44 years. During that time there is not an atom of evidence that he has been otherwise than consistently loyal. He may have flirted with our friends over the border though personally I don’t not believe it could have been loyal but he has been a big figure in these remote parts. It seems to me that in future his unquestioning loyalty is even more important than in the past .  this loyalty can, in my opinion be assured :–

(i)           by the grant of Naltar grazing rights, in itself a doubtful blessing as it is cut off from Hunza and entails a journey through Nagar :

(ii)          by a grant of land at Bagrot as proposed, a concession which will immediately take money out of the Mir’s pocket and be of little benefit to the Mir personally but which will one day be  to the considerable benefit of his successor and to the revenues of the Agency :

(iii)        by increasing the Mir’s annual subsidy by 2,000 rupees, a sum less than half the sterling overseas bpay of one British Civilization and :

(iv)        by the grant of a title.

Although much has been written about the Naltar compensation and it has been examined with care I cannot feel altogether happy about it. The least pleasing aspect is that we are to some extent mortagaging the future of the permanent inhabitants, chiefly so that Government may avoid making a cash payment to the Mir. If ever a wave of prosperity overtook the people of Gilgit they would bitterly regret that they ever agreed to let the almost (at present) unlimited grazing. However if the grazing is given as an experiment for three years in the first instance we shall know where we are. I am rather doubtful whether the Mir really needs the area or whether he would not prefer cash. A journey through Hunza and Little Gujhal does give one the impression that there is plenty of grazing. If this impression should be correct I doubt whether we shall see many of the Mir’s flocks in the Naltar Valley.

The subsidy and the grant of some form of title are the crux of the matter. The former has many times been considered by Government. Mr Fodd the then Political Agent in his demi-official letter to the First Assistant to the Resident No. X-21, dated the 15th January 1931 assessed the compensation at 3,000 rupees plus 2,000 rupees for loss of ‘izzat’. As long

Ago as 1904 the Government of India in their Secret despatch No. 70 (Frontier), dated the 24th March 1904, recognised their probable obligation to pay “a small sum, possible about 3,000 rupees a year”. It is only very recently that Government have set their face against any form of cash compensation and would prefer compensation to be extracted out of the Gilgit Sub-division which has so recently and so fortunately come directly under the Imperial Government. Perhaps the increase in the subsidy might be until such time as the lands in Bagrot show a clear profit of 2,000 rupees per annum?

The Mir is greedy but, even more for a title than for cash. The last word’s of the Mir to the Resident during his tour in August 1935 were “please don’t forget my title”. When I visit Hunza, they are always his last words to me. With the example of Chitral before his eyes he hankers after the title of “His Highness”. The Resident has already stated that he could not support the suggestion, firstly because the Maharaja of Kashmir would resent it to one under his suzerainty and secondly because, he does not consider the Mir to be of the status of an 11 gun chief because this case is full of difficulties that I venture once more to ask the resident to consider certain points in favour of a title. So far as, suzerainty goes, I understand Chitral to be on all fours with Hunnza. When Chitral was separated from Gilgit in 1897 the Government of India in the last sen­tence of their Secret Despatch No. 161, dated the.1st September 1896 said “ the suzerainty hitherto claimed by Kashmir over Chitral will continue unaltered”. I understand aslo that Chitral still receives a subsidy both from the Imperial and Kashmir Governments and still pays Kashmir an annual present of two horses and 5 hawks.

In such circumstances it would seem that the Maharaja (if he is asked) could only vacil at the title on the ground of the Mir’s comparative unimportance. No doubt is his revenues are any criterion he is utterly unimportant. About this all I would urge is the unique position of Hunza in the British Empire. If the map is consulted the Hunza Frontier does not march with Russia but so little is the distance from the Russian Frontier post of Qizil Rabat and so great is the influence of that country in Sinkiang that in all truth Hunza and therefore India may be said to march with Russia and this surely must gice to the ruler of those marches an importance not to be gauged by ordinary standards. If the title of His Highness is still considered out of place  I would strongly recommend the grant of a K.C.S. I. I cannot press this pointof some form of title too strongly because I know that its bestowal will go far to enable the Government of India to solve this problem in a manner most satisfactory to them.

One would have to be prepared for jealousy from Nagar but could deal with that as it arose inless Government consider that we should adhere strictly to the policy of treating both Mirs alike. Actually Hunza with its Chinese commitments and connection is a much bigger factor than Nagar though to the latter that is an unpalatable truth.

6.       As to the most suitable time to stop the annual present I feel that this irrevocable step should not be taken until Government have finall decided what form of compensation they will give the Mir and that it should therefore be continued this year. On this point I would solicit telegraphic order as the matter has been raised by the Chinese, vide my Secret telegram No. 2487, dated the 12th August 1936.

_______________

(14)

LETTER FROM THE RESIDENT IN KASHMIR, NO. F-18-C/35, DATED SRINAGAR,

THE 23rd OCTOBER 1936

In continuation of my letter No. F. 18-C/35, dated the 8th October 1936 [S.no. (13). I have the honour to enclose for the information of the Government of India, a copy of a not given to me in Srinagar by Lieutenant Colonel J. w. Thomson Glover, C.B.E., late His Britannic Majesty’s Consul-General, Kashgar. As mentioned in my letter No. D 482-C/35, dated the 30th July 1935, I do not feel justified in recommending the grant to the Mir of Hunza of the status of His Highness but am prepared to recommend him for the grant of the K.C.S.I. as mentioned in my letter No. F 18-C/35, dated the 8th October 1936.

____________

Copy, with enclosure, to the Political Agent, Gilgit, for information, in continuation of the endorsement from this Residency, No. F 18-C/35, dated the 8th October 1936.

 

Enclosure to S. No. (14)

 

COPY OF A SONFIDENTIAL NOT FROM LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J.W. THOMSON GLOVER, C.B.E., LATE HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY’S CONSUL GENERAL, KASHGAR, TO LIEUT-COLONEL I.E.LANG, C.I.E., M.C., RESIDENT IN KASHMIR, DATED CAMP PASU, THE 23RD September 1936.

Hunza comes under the Political Agent, Gilgit, and the Resident, Kashmir, but I thought you might like to hear how important I regard Hunza in the Kashgar-Sinkiang situation.

I am certain that the Mir’s political importance has been fully represented to the Government of India, but having seen Chitral, Hunza and Kashgar, I may be permitted to remark that in present day politics his importance to the approaches to India, is even greater than that of Chitral. He is now the first line of defence in time of emergency and is unsupported by regular or state troops, there would seem to be the strongest reasons for his holding at least the same position as the Mehtar of Chitral, and he might well be honoured both in the eyes of his own people and other interested countries with the status of high Highness.

Kashgar is far removed from touch with India but it is the ling supplied by Hunza which makes the position tenable. It has been seen that wireless is liable to break down, or it may be forbidden. Misgar lies 12 days from Kashgar by runner so that a telegraphic reply takes 25 days. I have nothing but the highest admiration for the manner in which the Mir of during the rebellion when runners were often in danger of their lives. In the post rebellion period when the runners have threatened, their shelters removed in mid winter so that they have endured hunger and suffered from frostbite, there has never been the slightest interruption of communication over the Pamirs, so often referred to as the roof of the world.

The quantity of mail and stores for Kashgar has increased with the larger staff, but this increase in demands for transport has been met most adequately.

In time of emergency one felt that the Mir was ready to take the initiative in rendering help.

It is possible that all this lies within the scope of what was required of the Mir as a Ruler, but the situation is far different from what it was when the Mir was first installed. It can hardly be said that the Rulers of sinkiang are at present friendly nor are they likely to abstain from intrigue.

I believe that in the Mir the Government of India have a most loyal ally and a Ruler suited the people over whom he wields authority.

This however, seems to me a time when he should realise that not only has he the fullest support of the Government of India but that be should see some solid recognition of his work which far exceeds the minimum required of him.

On this recent journey I see that he has improved the difficult track running through mountainous country across dangerous slopes and unfordable rivers.

All these services are well worthy of recognition but in addition the Government of India have decided that the relations between Hunza and Chines officials should be regularised.

By this the Mir will lose

(a)grazing for his sheep,

(b)grazing fees,

(c)some balance in his favour on the exchange of presents.

(d)His settlement in Raskam.

(e)Probably he will lose his lands in Yarkand.

(f)   He will lose much prestige.

 

(a-e) have a definite value with the present Mir. I think matters might well continue in the same satisfactory manner, but I feel that it would be wise to strengthen our position now and without delay. Hunza is not a new sate like Swat and I can think of no better way than to reward the Mir in recognition of the work he and Hunza have so ably carried out in the past, and which would be commensurate with the increased importance of the role, which Hunza and its ruler will be called upon to fulfill in future, and that compensation may be awarded on a generous scale for any losses which Government’s wise policy may cause him.

Then I think that whoever may find themselves in Kashgar, whether the present ruler be alive or not will feel that between them and the rest of India lies a sturdy and loyal state who will be their immediate support in time of emergency or difficulty.

The Coronation is not far distant, and what better occasion could there be for generous appreciation of the Ruler’s services, instead of waiting for these same or greater concessions to be forced upon us.

 

 

 

the Taotai against the Kanjuti claims, “representing the Raskam Valley having been give to the Mir of Hunza, it would be unwise to allow the Kanjutis to have a hold on the Taghdumbash also”.

6th January – Taotai said seven places would be made over to the Kanjutis for cultivation, for which they would be required to pay a grain – tax equivalent to 12 Tales a year. This payment was necessary to prevent the Russians from saying that the Chinese had renounced their jurisdiction over Raskam. He said he had received ho communication from Urumtsi showing that this matter had ever been discussed between the Russian Minister at Peking and the Tsung Li Yamen. The Russian Consul had of course been interfering, but the Taotai added that there was scarcely a single matter of local concern which escaped M. Petrovski’s criticism.

20

Diary of the Special Assistant for the fortnight ending 15th February 1899.

5th February – Macartney asked the Taotai whether it was true that out of the seven plots of ground which the Chinese Authorities had assigned to the Kanjutis, the Governor had approval of the allotment of five only. Taotai replied that this was the case. The Chinese Officer at Bazar Dara had objected to the Kanjutis having Azghar and Arsar, and Chang, the Commander-in-Chief at Kashgar, wanted only three to be given. The Governor’s telegram did not state the reasons.

21

Abstract of news reports received by the Special Assistant during the half-month ending 28th February 1899.

27th February – Taotai says that about three weeks ago M. Petrovski verbally informed one of this subordinates that he had received at telegram from the Governor General of Russian Turkestan stating that the Russians intended establishing posts at Tagharma in the same way as at Irkishtam. Taotai there upon telegraphed to the Governor who replied that the situation called for the dispatch of a few extra Chinese troops to Tagharma, adding that information had reached him from an European source to the effect that the Russians intended seizing Tagharma by way of compensation for the grant of land in Raksam to the Kanjutis.

22

Abstract of news reports received by the Special Assistant during the half- month ending15th March 1899.

10th March :- The Chinese Munshi had  seen in the Hsie-tai Yamen a copy of a dispatch of the current year from the Governor of the New- Dominion to the Commander-in- Chief in Kashgar, saying that the Commander-in-Chief had previously advised that the Raskam country should not be given  to the Kanjutis. This advice he could not accept. The Agent of the Mir had made repeated journeys in connexion with the Raskam  negotiations and it would be a breach of faith not  to allow the Kanjutis to occupy the five plots promised to them at the south- west of the Yullo (?Yarkand River).

23

IN CHINA PRINT, Part VIII, p. 264.

14th March:- Sir Claude Mac Donald in pursuance of the instructions transmitted in Foreign Office Dispatch No. 209 of 14th December 1898, addressed  a note to the Chinese Government setting forth proposals for a clear understanding as to the frontier between Cashmere and the New Dominion,” To obtain this it is necessary that China should relinquish her shadowy claim to suzerainty over the state of Kanjut. The Indian Government, on the other hand,will, on behalf of Kanjut, relinquish claims to most of the Taghdumbash and Raskam districts.”

  1. Mentions some seven plots in all. The Brigadier- General change had recommended that Azghar, Kuk Tash and Uruk should be given. At Uruk there were in June 1898 some Kanjutis engaged in tilling the ground. About the end of the month the District Magistrate of Yarkand informed the Agent of the Mir of Hunza that the land at Azghar, Kuk Tash, Arsar, Uprang, Urukand Aksu should be made over to him. From (14) it seems that the mission sent to hand over the land was prevented reaching Raskam by the swollen state of the rivers, and the operation was consequently put off till the autumn. In November (15) the understanding that it was simply for grazing and cultivation. Later in the month there was a report that the Taotai was prepared to hand over 7 places, namely Tashmani, Kuk Tash, Uprong, Uruklu, Aliksu,Azghar and Ursar (17) . On January 6th 1899, the Taotai told Mr. Macartney that he would give 7 places to the Kanjutis, but in February he said he would leave out Azghar and Azghar (20).

On March 14th 1899, Her Majesty’s Minister at Peking made proposals for an understanding as to the frontier between Kashmir and the New Dominion. China was to relinquish her claim to suzerainty over Kanjut, while the Indian Government in return would relinquish on behalf of Kanjut her claims to most of the Taghdumbash and Raskam district (23). On the 6th April, Mr. Bax- Ironside was told that his Note had been communicated to the Governor of the New Dominion, who had been asked to report (24).

Up to March the Chinese Authorities had more or less inclined to disregard Russian threats of taking compensation for the grant of lands to the  kanjutis, on the ground that repeated promises had been made to the latter, who as tributaries to China were entitled to the receipt of favours (4), (7) (8,) (9,) (12), (13), (14), (19,), (22).

On 16th April (25) Mr. Macartney’s munshi learnt that instructions had come from the Tsung Li Yamen to resume all lands granted to the Kanjutis, because the Russian Minister at Peking had threatened to occupy Tazharma an Eghin. Hence forward the Chinese Authorities persistently alleged Russian opposition as their excuse for revoking the promise given to the Kanjutis. They never alluded to the proposal that China should renounce he suzerainty over Kanjut, nor to the suggestion that Kanjut should give up her claims to most to Taghdumbash and Raskam. And yet it seems not unlikely, from what we know of Chinese feelings in regard to questions of suzerainty that this was at the bottom- their real motive. To the proposal about the boundary made in writing the never returned any answer to H.M. Legation, nor did they mention the subject even verbally. Mr. Macartney was doubtless ignorant of the proposal about the frontier, and naturally took the line that seemed best under the circumstances (see No.28) Believing that the Chinese motive was furnished by Russian threats, on April17th,he advised of the Authorities to take no further steps locally, but to await the approval of the Tsung Li Yamen. As he points out “Hitherto the Kanjutis had been their own negotiators in the Raskam Affair, the IndianGovernment having as far as he knew, stood aloof from the discussions.”

The diary which all this is noted received by the Resident in Kashmir on 27th May,and at Peking on 13th July. Up to these dates the Indian Government and the Legation respectively were ignorant of the advice given in good faith by Mr. Macartney.

For the view taken by the Chinese Authorities of the Indian Government’s proposal to define the frontier, see especially No. (49), Mr. Macartney’s interview with the Taotai of Kashgar, and a later conversation (No.59). The Indian Government considered this t be caused by a misunderstanding of a paragraph in the Note of 14th March1899, (see No. 60), and desired that Mr. Bax- Ironside should clear up the point. For the conversation with the Yamen which ensued, see No. (64).

The narrative contained in the Indian Government’s telegram of May 1, 1899, seems to corroborate the foregoing suggestion about the real. Chinese motive being our proposal that they should renounce suzerainty over the……………

 

 

No of 1904

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

FOREIGN DEPARTMENT

SECRET

To

The Right Hon’ble St. John Brodrick,

His Majesty’s Secretary of State for India.

Fort William, the March1904

Sir,

We have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Secret dispatch No. 8, dated the 12th February 1904, regarding the between Hunza and the Chinese Dominions, and the disputed rights formerly enjoyed by Kanjutis in Raskam. You refer to a dispatch from His Majesty’s Minister at Peking, of which a copy has been forwarded direct to the Government of India, and you ask for our views as to action which should be taken to put these questions upon a satisfactory footing.

2. Sir Ernest Satow has factored us with a copy of a précis which he had made as complete as possible from the materials at his disposal, and we are sending him, as an Appendix, a brief abstract of the few remaining papers in our possession which bear n the subject .He draws attention to the fact that the Chinese began to put forward the objections raised by the Russians as an excuse for not completing the grant of the Raskam lands to the Raskamlands to the Kanjutis, immediately after the delivery of Sir C. Mac Donald’s note, proposing a definition of the boundary between Kahmir and Kahsgaria, and the renunciation by the Chinese of their suzerainty over Hunza. That note has never been answered by the frontier having been entirely lost sight of in the prolonged dispute about the Raskam lands.

3. The question which has now to be decided is not merely as to the desirability or otherwise of dropping the question of the kanjuti rights in the Raskam valley: if it were so limited, we might be inclined to leave matters as they are, or even to advocate that pressure should be applied at a Peking to induce the Chinese Government to fulfill their promises to the Mir of Hunza, who is still concerned about suitable provision for the redundant population of his country. Such efforts might now be attended with success, as the Russo-Chinese border in this direction has been settled, and the Chinese Government could not again put forward the unsettled nature of this as a reason for not allowing the Kanjutis to settle in Raskam.

4. But larger interests are involved and the question of what action should be taken turns entirely on the degree of advantage or disadvantage that we are likely to derive at a later date from asserting or relinquishing the Hunza claims. If we successfully revive them, we provide for a small surplus of the Hunza population; but we do this at the expense of re affirming the suzerainty of China. So long as the Chinese Dominion lasts in Turkistan, the anomaly of Hunza sending even a nominal tribute to China is perhaps, worth retaining, because it gives us a voice in the ulterior disposal of the Raskam valley. But when Russia has taken the whole of Chinese Turkistan, as she will ultimately do in spite of out protests, it is a point for consideration whether we shall cause  her more inconvenience by asserting the claims of the Kanjutis to cultivate in Raskam (for it must be remembered that it is occupancy rights alone that we have claimed for them) or whether she will be more troublesome to us by asserting that, she has taken over the Chinese suzerainty over Hunza, involving aright to interfere on out side of the border or, at any rate, a claim to continue direct relations with the Mir. A balance of these consideration leads us to the conclusion that it would be well to server the connection between Hunza and China without  further delay. We should hardly be likely to make anything out of the presence of a few kanjuti cultivators along the Raskam Daria – even if we did succeed in reinstating them- that would either arrest the progress of Russia or qualify it when accomplished. On the other hand, an almost certain source of friction in the future will be removed if we now sever the link. The moment is propitious because the Mir of Hunza is now himself sceptical as to the advantages of continuing his connection with China. The only obligations that such a decision will entail upon us are the payment of a small sum, about Rs. 3,000 a year, a compensation to the Mir for the loss of the presents which he receives from China, and the attempt, by improved irrigation, to provide for the increase of the people in the Hunza State, or, if this is impossible, to move them somewhere outside.

5.       We accordingly recommend that a formal notification be made to China that since the Chinese Government have been unable to fulfill their promises to the Mir of Hunza, that State, under the advice of the British Government, withdraws from all relations with China, and henceforth will own suzerainty to the Kashmir State and the British Government alone. As regards the boundary between Kashmir and the New Dominion, we strongly recommend that the Chinese Government should be informed that, as they have not shown any reason for disagreeing with the proposals placed before theme in Sir Claude MacDonald’s dispatch of the 14th March 1899, we shall hence forward assume Chinese concurrence and act accordingly.

6.       In the penultimate paragraph of his dispatch of the 3rd November 1903 to the Marquess of Lansdowne, Sir Ernest Satow remarks that the reference in the India Office letter to the Foreign Office, dated the 22nd March 1901, to “the expulsion by the Chinese of the people of Hunza from Raskam and the settlement in their place of Chinese subjects” was apparently not justified the facts, since the Kanjutis had not received possession of the lands on which the Chinese subjects were settled, and that the repetition of this sentence by him had unfortunately given the Chinese Government an opportunity of successfully refuting a settlement made by direction of His Majesty’s Government. We had ourselves used the expression “ousted” in His Excellency the Viceroy’s telegram of the 13the March 1901 on which the India Office letter was based, and we consider that this term or even the stronger word expulsion was justified by the facts. Though the latest action of the Chinese at the time immediately preceding the dispatch of our telegram may not have amounted to actual expulsion, the paper cited as 1 and 2 in the Peking précis show that Kanjutis were turned out of Raskam in 1897. Again in 1898, Nagar Ali, on behalf of the Mir of Hunza, succeeded in obtaining permission to cultivate at least five tracts in Raskam, and the Kanjutis had begun to cultivate them, when, in the spring of 1899, a large number of men arrived with a Chinese Amban and demanded the withdrawal of the few Kanjutis who had been left to water the crops. The actual expulsion of these men is reported in the letter from the Mir Gilgit, dated the 11th May 1899, which apparently was not sent to Peking.

7.       We are sending a copy of this dispatch to Sir Ernest Satow.

We have the honour to be,

Sir,

Your most obedient, humble servants,

(Signed)           CURZON.

“                  KITCHENER.

“                  T. RALEIGH.

“                  E. F. G. LAW.

“                  E. R. ELLES.

“                  A. T. ARUNDEL.

“                  DENZIL BETSON.

 

 

  • The map to be consulted is that referred to in paragraph one of Mr. Carce’s demi-official letter to the Resident in Kashmir, No.F 206-X/35, dated 22nd June 1935. The Map is of the scale of 1/1,000,000
  • * See demi-official letter from the Deputy Secretary to the Government of India in the Foreign and Political Department to the Resident in Kashmir, No. F. 206-X/35, dated the 22nd June 1935.

318(C) F&PD.

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Abdul Hamid Khan is the chairman of Balawaristan National Front (BNF), a nationalist political party of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan), which Pakistan had purposefully named as Northern Areas to keep its disputed status obscured. Chairman Khan started a political struggle for the human and political rights of the deprived people of Gilgit-Baltistan, after the year 1988. However, in the depoliticized region under the Pakistani bureaucratic establishment he faced many difficulties.

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