SHIMSHALI PEOPLE

“I have heard from our elders that when our great grandfather named Sher visited Pamir he saw many Kyrgyz (the people from Kyrgyzstan) around the lake area. He appeared quite strange to them, so they enquired about the purpose of his visit. Our grandfather claimed his proprietary rights over Pamir and asked them to leave his land. But they also claimed Pamir as their property. The argument went on until they came to the conclusion that the decision would be made by a polo match on the plain of Pamir. The Kyrgyz had horses and yaks with them. So our grandfather choose yaks for the polo match and they used horses, as the performance of yaks in high altitudes is better than that of horses.

Stelian Pavalache, Pavalache Stelian, www.lifeographies.com, www.satwaguna.com

They decided to play polo over the plain from Waraow (the pass towards China) to Gulchinwashk (the pass towards Shimshal). If our grandfather drove the ball over Waraow toward China, he won Pamir and if the Kyrgyz drove the ball over Gulchinwashk toward Shimshal first, they would become the owner of the whole of Pamir. Our grandfather had some supernatural knowledge so he choose yaks and fastened tawiz (verses from the holy Quran for the control of something) around the neck of the horses. That was also the time of magic. As God knows better, our forefather used magic or spiritual powers to win the match. He drove the ball over the Waraow to the Chinese side hence wining the entire territory of Pamir. In accordance with the agreement, the Kyrgyz left Pamir and since then, we have been the legitimate owners of Pamir.”

Asmat (M, 55 year. driver/retired soldier)