Logo Logo
Switch Language to German

Sökefeld, Martin (2002): Rumours and Politics on the Northern Frontier. The British, Pakhtun Wali and Yaghestan. In: Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 36, No. 2: pp. 299-340

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


This paper deals with the British policy towards an area adjacent to the Gilgit Agency on the ‘northern frontier’ of British India during the years of 1914 and 1915. It highlights some aspects of the relationships between the British and the inhabitants of this area which was called ‘Yaghestan’ at that time. But my purpose is not simply to offer a contribution to the regional history of a rather neglected part of the Western Himalaya in colonial times. More importantly, I intend to show how the British policy toward that country was entangled in rumours of local as well as almost global scale. Both local rumours, referring to revolts within the area, and global ones relating to the First World War, reporting that the German Kaiser together with his people had converted to Islam and joined the Turkish Caliph in jihad against the British, were perceived as highly threatening by the local British officers on the grounds of their construing the people of Yaghestan as most unreliable tribals, characterized especially by their ‘fanatical’ adherence to Islam. I will show that in spite of all intelligence efforts the British remained unable to subject these ‘fanatical others’ to the colonial regime of control and information. Rumour, as a multidirectional, uncontrolled form of communication, effectively intervened in the British strategies of power, rendering their colonial informational regime in that area almost impotent.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item