A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush — 8 Comments

  1. re.: Photo “Nisakiman as a young man on the guesthouse balcony”

    Why had a small animal died and been left on top of your head?

  2. “was suffering from ‘Delhi Belly’ … One thing about travelling is that it does enable one to leave behind some of those very western inhibitions”

    It said that travel doesn’t just broaden the mind… 😛

  3. Why had a small animal died and been left on top of your head?

    Centuries old tradition up there in the mountains. Smells a bit, but you soon get used to it.

  4. My impression is that hashish was the principle agricultural crop of the region in the seventies. Does the ‘Short walk in the Hindu Kush’ give it any mention? Or was it a 60s and 70s phenomenon?

  5. It’s that long ago that I read it, I honestly can’t remember if it was mentioned in Newby’s book or not, but it would certainly have been very much in evidence when he was there, I’m sure. Perhaps even more overtly than a decade or so later, when it was becoming something the western authorities loved to hate. When I was in those parts (both in Afghanistan and Pakistan) it was a normal social lubricant, used in lieu of alcohol, which is of course forbidden by Islam. Certainly, most of my social interactions with the locals involved sitting around smoking hash, and my impression was that it was a centuries old custom.

    And yes, it was always an important cash crop for the region; ideally suited to the conditions in the mountainous north and providing a relatively high income stream. A great deal of it was exported down to the plains of southern Afghanistan and Pakistan where conditions didn’t lend themselves to producing high quality plants.