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23 November 2017

The mehtar of chitral and his suite.

Mehtar of Chitral and his suit

One of the most important strategic positions on the Rnsso-Indlan frontier lies on the road from the Indus to Chitral, where the British have erected a fort to command the territory. Until quite recently Chitral was a small dependency of Kashmir, but by the treaty with Afghanistan In 1893, the British secured its allegiance as one of the dependencies of the Indian empire.

It had long been a coveted possession for the English, since all their military authorities had Insisted upon its strategical importance, because of its proximity to one of the easiest passes over the formidable Hindu Kush mountains, which here rise to an elevation of over 12,000 feet.

Its isolation may be inferred from the fact that It was first visited by Europeans less than 20 years ago, and yet, from the costumes of the mehtar or native ruler and his suit, who are at present honored guests of the Indian government, It may be seen that their status in civilization Is not very low.

When the British agent who was sent to Chitral In 1893 to settle some bloody disputes between members of the different clans arrived there, who was at once besieged, and It became necessary to fit out a strong military force to relieve him and his party.

Following its time honored custom In India of allowing the native chiefs to retain at least a nominal Independence and authority, the British government has kept the mehtar In power, controlled, however, by an English resident and garrisons at three locations.

Virginian-pilot., August 10, 1900
Photo Credits: 
Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA