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forty or fifty years ago, after a war between Shigar and Ladak, when their country was occupied by the Ladàk army, the Làmas converted them. The head Làma at the monastery of Skirbuchan, further up the river, told me, however, that it was only some twelve or fifteen years ago that the Bròkpàs were converted by Làmas from his monastery who went on begging tours amongst them. But this may have been a mere revival. At any rate, there is a remarkable absence in the Dàh-Hanu country, of those Buddhist monuments (long stone dikes covered with inscriptions, and tall structures surmounted by obelisks and containing relics, called respectively Mané and Chorten) which form such a conspicuous feature along the roads and in the villages of Tibet. I saw one or two small chortens, evidently newly erected, and in two villages small gompàs or hermit-cells (the larger monasteries of Tibet have the same name) inhabited each by a single Làma, one of whom was a Tibetan and the other, whom they brought forward rather as a curiosity, a real Bròkpà Làma, the only one in existence. These gompàs also were quite new.
The Bròkpàs burn their dead like the Ladàkis; that is to say in little brick furnaces on the hill-sides. The upper part of the furnace is a short upright cylinder into which the body is crammed in a squatting posture with the head tied well down between the knees, while a fire is lighted in the square base of the furnace. This method is probably adopted as saving fuel in a country where it is so scarce, and where it would be difficult to get logs sufficient for the ordinary mode of Hindu cremation where the body is extended at full length on an open pÿre. The corpse is carried to the burning on a kind of sedan-chair raised by poles on men's shoulders. It is placed in the squatting posture in which it is to be burnt, but covered up with flowing coloured sheets so that it might almost be taken for a veiled woman being carried on a journey. Often in Ladàk a broadbrimmed Làma's hat is placed on its head to secure a blessing for the soul of the defunct.
Mr. Drew, who has given a most interesting short account of these Bròkpàs in his "Jummoo and Kashmir," is, I think, mistaken in supposing that they have no caste, as the other Dàrds have. I have heard of at least three caste-like divisions, which we may call those of priests, cultivators, and artisans. The priestly families (called Lhàbdak, Tib.) form the highest division in each village. Although men of the next caste are allowed to come into their houses, yet it is only on condition of washing their hands and faces before doing so, especially if they have recently been among the Gentiles (Tibetans, &c.), a precaution that does not seem to be considered necessary on other occasions by the Bròkpàs, who are a very dirty people. This next caste which forms the bulk of the people is called Rüshen. The younger branches of the priestly families become Rüshens, since there can only be one priest or Lhàbdak in each village.
Besides these there is a lower caste consisting, in the village of Dàh, of only five families. They were originally blacksmiths, it is said, but no longer carry on the ancestral calling. They are called Rüzmet (Tib.) or Gàrgyut.* Their women are not allowed to approach the cookinghearths of the higher caste, nor are the Rüzmet men, excepting after a purification similar to that of the Rüshen on going into the houses of the priests. The higher castes will not eat what is cooked by them.
Reversing the custom of the Hindus in the matter of marriage, the lower caste may take wives from the higher, but not vice-versâ (except in the case of the priests who, I gather, can marry Rüshen women). Probably as a consequence of this, a married daughter is never allowed to reenter the house of her parents and may not touch anything belonging to them. After three generations of marriages with the higher caste, the progeny are admitted into it. While at Dàh, I was questioning a party of Bròkpâs, and one of them, an old man who, though sitting rather apart, had been very forward in answering my questions, became silent and hung down his head when I began inquiries into the caste-system. It appeared that he was a Rüzmet or low-caste-man. But presently he brightened up and said: "True, I am now a Rüzmet, but in three generations I can become Rüshen." This thought seemed to console the old man, much to the amusement of the others.
Polyandry is the rule in Dàh-Hanu. As the Bròkpàs do not intermarry with the neighbouring Tibetans, it would seem that the question of its possible cause or effect in a disproportion of the sexes could be well studied in this confined area. I had not leisure or opportunity to obtain exact statistics, but if there were any notable excess of either sex in such small communities, where there is no monasticism to speak of, it could hardly escape notice by the more intelligent among them. I repeatedly put the question: "Why do several brothers take only one wife between them ?” The answer given me was : "Because the land is not sufficient to provide food for the families of the several brothers, if they each took a wife.” Again I asked: "If an equal number of boys and girls are born in your village, as you say; and each family of two or three (or more) brothers takes only one girl to wife between them, where are the other girls? Do they
* These castes seem roughly to answer to three out of the four castes prevalent among the main body of the Dàrds: viz., 1st, Shin; 2nd, Yashkun (these two castes trade, cultivate land, or keep sheep); 3rd, Kramîn (? derived from Krum=work) (arc weavers, carpenters, blacksmiths, artisans in fact); 4th, Dóm (are musicians and do low drudgery; this caste seems absent from the Dùh-Hanu division of Dárds). [See Leitner's Dardistán, Vol. I, Part 3, p. 48, 2nd note, and Drew's Jummoo and Kashmir, p. 426.]
marry into the villages of the neighbouring Tibetans ?" They answer, No. "Are there many unmarried women in your villages ?" They reply that, on the contrary, they often find it difficult to procure wives. It would seem therefore that there must either be a great defect in the number of births of females, or an equal excess in their deaths while young. I could not hear of female infanticide and do not believe that it is practised, as, if it were, it must be known to the Kashmir officials.
It is not only in marriage that they keep themselves apart from their neighbours. They will not eat with the Tibetan Buddhists or Musalmans or other outsiders, nor will they allow these to come near their cooking places. The caste prejudice seems to originate on the side of the Bròkpà, for their neighbours often eat in their houses, only separate dishes are given them which are afterwards purified with burning juniper. No Bròkpà will eat in the house or from the dishes of a Tibetan; nor will he eat fish or birds or (of course) cow's flesh. Formerly, if they had been among the Tibetans, they would purify themselves with the smoke of the "shukpa" before entering their own houses again.
The tribe is subdivided into several groups of villages. 1st. Those in the Hanu side valley (whose inhabitants have exchanged their own language for Tibetan, being situated on the main road between Skardo and Ladak.) 2nd. The Dàh group, consisting of Baldès, Phindur, Byéma, Sani, Dundir, and Dàh villages. 3rd. The Garkhon group, consisting of Garkhon, Dàrchik (large village on west of Indus), Sanàcha (ditto), Urdàs, Gragra (up side-stream on east), and Watsara. These are all the Buddhist villages. The people of each group consider themselves to be one community. The Dah people reckon from seven ancestors who first colonised their villages and of whom they give the names: viz., Lalusho (from whom the Lhábdaks or priests spring); Zoné, Dàkré, Gochaghé (these three are the ancestors of the Rüshen caste); Düsé, Gabüré, and Tukshüré (these are the fathers of the Rüzmet caste). The land of Dàh is still divided according to these families, though some of it has changed hands. In this fact we may perhaps see a trace of the early Arian joint family holding, passing into the stage of individual proprietorship. Each man knows his own ancestry (real or imaginary), and each field is known as belonging to the patrimony of one of the seven fathers of the tribe, though it may now be in the hands of a descendant of one of the others. The remaining groups of villages have similar traditions. The Dàh people say that their ancestors, when they first came, lived by hunting, not by agriculture. One of their mighty hunters dropped his bow (called in their language Dah) on the hill-side. It became a water channel which fertilized the fields of what afterwards became a village. One of their Chiefs found certain seeds growing wild which he sowed near the water-course. These seeds proved to be those of wheat
and barley. Thus the village was founded. The story of the bow is probably originated either by the curved course of the water-channel which comes out of a side valley and bends round the hill side to reach the village; or else by a mere superficial resemblance of sound between the name Dàh (of which the origin had become forgotten) and the name for a bow.
Several of the villages possess a communal dwelling in which every inhabitant of the village has a place. That of Dàh is very curious. It covers a considerable space in the angle between the Indus and a side-stream, protected on two sides by the precipitous declivities of the high alluvial plateau on which it stands and on the third by a wall. It was thus fortified against the raids of the neighbouring Baltis. The interior consists of an intricate maze of passages, some open and some covered in, which may be considered either as the lanes of a tightly packed village, or rather as the passages of a vast single storied house which forms the common dwelling of the whole community, each household having its separate apartment or den. Here the people always live during winter, for warmth or for company. They all, however, have other houses for summer, out in the fields. I could not discover that there was any difference in tenure between the lands adjoining the common dwelling and the outlying fields. The village of Dàrchik likewise is cut off from the lower course of the valley by a vertical cliff, the escarpment of the plateau on which it stands. There are only two ways of approach. One high up and away from the river, is guarded by a fortified communal dwelling. The other, near the river, consists of a rugged narrow staircase constructed in the face of the cliff and closed by a gateway at the top. Such precautions were necessary in former days when the men of Baltistán made raids on their neighbours, especially on such as were not Musalmans, and penetrated even to Ladak. Now all is peace under the common rule of our Feudatory, the Mahárájá of Kashmír.
So much for the (so-called) Buddhist Bròkpàs. But the villages of the same tribe which lie exposed to Musalmàn influences down the Indus on the two roads leading north-west and south-west respectively, have all been converted to Islám. Of the settlements on the former road, that down the Indus, and in side-valleys near it, the village of Ganok is entirely inhabited by Musalman Bròkpàs, while those of Dangel, Marul, Chùlichan, and Singkarmòn, are inhabited partly by Musalman (Shi'ah) Bròkpàs, and partly by Baltis (Tibetan Musalmans) of the same sect. Below this the population is entirely Balti. On the other road, that across a low Pass south-westward to Kargil, the villages of Tsirmo and Làlung are also inhabited partly by Musalman Bròkpàs and partly by Musalman Tibetans from the adjoining district of Purik. These Musalman Bròkpàs on both roads speak the Dàh dialect, and dress like the Dàh people, and keep apart from the Tibetan Musalmàns both in matter of marriage and in eating.
But they have no caste inequalities amongst them like their non-Musalmàn kinsmen, and generally they do not object to drinking milk, though at Tsirmo, there seems to be a relic of the Bròkpà prejudice against the cow in the fact that their women do not touch that animal.
A short account of the language of these Upper Indus Dàrds (or DàhHanu Bròkpàs, as they are usually called), including both the Buddhist and the Musalmàn sections, is given hereafter.
It is a question how these Arian Dàrds (for Arians and Dàrds they undoubtedly are) reached their present abode. Both above and below them in the valley of the Upper Indus and to the east of them in the parallel valley of the Shayok, the inhabitants are all of Tibetan race. Dàrdistan proper, or the country of the Dàrds* (the ancient Bolor), is situated far away on the lower course of the Upper Indus, and along that river no vestige of their passage exists and no connecting link with their former home.† But from the country of the Dàrds the Indus makes a wide bend westwards and southwards, and from the concavity of this bend we find a line of Dàrd communities running south at first and then trending off to the east until it almost abuts against the settlements of the Dàh-Hanu Bròkpàs on the Upper Indus. These Dàrds are Musalmans, as are also the main body of the Dàrd race in their own home. The Buddhist Bròkpàs of Dáh-Hanu acknowledge no kinship with these people, although they say that their ancestors also came from Gilid (Gilgit) and Brushal, that is, from Dàrdistàn proper. There is, however, an unmistakable mutual affinity of language and customs. Mr. Drew, in explanation of the difference of religion, very justly supposes the Dah-Hanu Bròkpàs to "belong to an earlier immigration......separated from the main mass of their tribe brethren at a time before the Dàrds were converted to Muhammedanism."§ The Dàh-Hanu people, having Buddhists on one side of them, would the more easily receive an outward varnish of that faith, while the later Dàrd settlements to the west of them, surrounded by, and intermingled with, Musalmàns, would
* See Mr. Drew's excellent Race Map in his "Jummoo and Kashmir." To illustrate the present paper the whole of the lightly shaded region to the south, west and north of Gilgit up to the Muztagh mountains, should be painted of the same colour as Gilgit, for it is all the home of the Dàrds, though Mr. Drew's plan only permitted him to colour what lies within the Mahárájá of Kashmir's territories.
+ The isolated settlements of Dàrds in certain villages of Baltistán, are apparently of more recent origin and moreover do not bridge the chasm.
Drew's "Jummoo and Kashmir", p. 430.
§ If we are to believe the Târîkh-i-Rashîdî, this had not taken place at the time of its author, Mírzá Haidar's invasion of Dardistán, in the first half of the 16th century; and, according to Mr. Drew, "Jummoo and Kashmir”, page 429, does not seem to have been very completely effected so lately as 30 years ago.