AGRIC UL TURF
a small force from Gilgit caused their assailants to withdraw. A week
later (April 26) the advance guard of the main relief force, which had
been dispatched via the Malakand and Dïr, entered Chitral territory
over the Lawarai pass. Sher Afzal was taken prisoner and Umra Khan
fled to Afghan territory. Sher Afzal, Amir-ul-mulk, and their leading
followers were deported to India, and the selection of Shujd-ul-mulk as
Mehtar was confirmed. Since then Chitral has enjoyed an unwonted
peace. The British garrison, most of which is stationed at Drosh, has
been reduced to a single regiment of native infantry, relieved annually
by the Swat and Dir route. Hospitals have been opened at Chitral,
Mastiij, and Drosh. Cultivation has been extended and the Mehtar's
revenue continues to increase, while at the same time his mental horizon
has been much enlarged by his visits to Calcutta in 19oo, to the Delhi
Darbar in 1903, and to Peshawar in 1904.
Mention should here be made of the Chitral levies, zoo strong, who
were raised in 1899 for the defence of Lower Chitral. In 1903 the
Chitral Scouts were raised, with the Mehtar as honorary commandant.
Their object is to provide a wholly irregular force of cragsmen for the
defence of the country in case of invasion. The corps has a total
strength of 1,200 men, but all of these are never embodied at one time.
The present inhabitants of Chitral are divided into three strata
Adamzadas, Arbabzadas, and fakir miskin (literally, `poor beggars').
The last form the majority of the population and till
the soil, paying the usual tithe in revenue. The Population,
other classes are exempt from taxation. The theory that these three
classes represent successive waves of invaders is probably correct, but the
origin of all three is unknown. The Adamzadas at least are certainly of
Aryan descent; and the language of the country, Khowar, is classed
with Shïna, or the language of Gilgit, as Indo-Aryan but non-Sanskritic.
The total population numbers about 50,000.
The religion of the people is now Islam, but their conversion is
recent, dating from early in the fourteenth to late in the sixteenth
century, and many primitive beliefs and customs survive. Most of the
people of Lut-kho belong to the Maulai sect, whose head is the Agha
Khan, the chief of the Khoja community at Bombay. His agents
yearly convey to him the offerings of his adherents. The local religious
leaders are the Airs, to each of whom is assigned a tract of country, and
under whom are khaPfas or collectors of offerings. One tenet of the
sect is said to be a belief in metempsychosis. Fanaticism is markedly
absent throughout the country.
All three valleys-the Tûrikho, Malkho, and Tirich-are fertile in
the extreme, and are cultivated continuously. The
soil is mostly clay and gravel, and the hill-sides are Agriculture.
generally bare. The chief crops are wheat, barley, maize, and rice.