The Closed Valley: With Fierce Friends in the Pakistani Himalayas

The Closed Valley: With Fierce Friends in the Pakistani Himalayas

by Jurgen Wasim Frembgen



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The Closed Valley: With Fierce Friends in the Pakistani Himalayas by Jurgen Wasim Frembgen

In Pakistan, stubborn mountain tribes still lead a largely secluded life, preserving their archaic cultural traditions. Their distinctive features are Sunni Islam, strict gender segregation, a prevalent caste system, and frequent blood feuds already apparent in the layout of fortified villages with watchtowers. Jurgen Wasim Frembgen, renowned anthropologist, was one of the first to venture into the valley of Harban, a world hostile to outsiders, lying in the Gilgit-Baltistan region located in the Himalayas of North Pakistan, branching off from the east bank of the Indus River. The study was conducted over the course of several stays between 1989 and 1997. Enduring strains and dangers, Jurgen Wasim found a way to overcome the omnipresent mistrust. In this work of literary anthropology he narrates his experiences in sharing the daily life of a harsh, male-dominated society where he surprisingly discovers gentleness, poetry, and warm-hearted friendship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199400232
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 10/28/2014
Pages: 124
Product dimensions: 9.40(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Jürgen Wasim Frembgen is Chief Curator of the Oriental Department at the Museum of Ethnology in Munich, as well as Professor in Islamic Studies at the University of Munich. Since 1981, he has been teaching Anthropology and Islamic Studies at different universities in Germany. In addition he has been a visiting professor at the Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad (National Institute of Pakistan Studies), National College of Arts in Lahore, and Ohio State University in Columbus, USA. He has conducted ethnographic field work in Pakistan on an annual basis since 1981, including working in the Hunza and Nagar valleys, the Indus Kohistan, Punjab, and Sindh. Frembgen has more than a hundred English and German language publications to his credit.

Table of Contents

Open Sesame!
The Land of Outlaws
Disconcerting reading
A letter as a key
Journey to Harban
Where're you going? Who do you know there?
Arrival in the fortified village
The first day
My new host
On Narrow Paths
Morning ritual
Through the fields to the river
Encounters with craftsmen
In the fortified village
Hiking to the Heavenly Fortress
The story of the carpenter Qalandar Shah
A Rose in the Desert
The keeper of the shrine
A Sufi's years of apprenticeship
No longer of this world
The saint's nephew
In the Men's House
Yusuf Jan and his friends
Flowers, fragrances and feathers
Passion for hunting
The dance of the peacock
Alif's third leg
A Harbani in Germany
Blood Revenge
The fortified towers
The shots
The feud
The dead Shin woman
Love, honour and violence
Literature Cited in the Text

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