I RECENTLY went through an article by a German professor of geography, Dr Hermann Kruetzmann, under the heading ‘The Karakoram Highway: The Impact of Road Construction on Mountain Societies’, published by Cambridge University Press in 1991. In it, the author has self-termed the war of 1891 fought in the Nagar Valley, Hunza-Nagar district in Gilgit-Baltistan, now part of Pakistan, between the British and locals as ‘The Hunza Campaign, 1891’.
Taking into account the historical context of Hunza and Nagar as two equal neighbouring principalities, I disagree with the author on the following three points:
(a) In 1891, the war between the British and locals was fought at Nilt Fort in a place called Jamila Mo Har, a narrow gully between the villages of Nilt and Thole, in Nagar rather than in Hunza.
(b) In a direct confrontation with the British-backed army of the Maharaja of Kashmir, it was the fighters of Nagar who lost many personnel and still have a historic graveyard in the Thole village in Nagar sub-division. However, one cannot spot any similar memorial after the 1891 war in the Hunza region.
(c) The 1891 Nagar campaign is called jangire laei, meaning ‘The barrack of war’, in the Burushaski language, which remains unknown or almost unknown to the people of Hunza today.Keeping in view the above-mentioned points, calling the 1891 battle in the Nagar region as ‘the Hunza Campaign’ might not be justified.
SYED MUJAHID ALI SHAH